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Humax Aura questions from a blind user

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    thepiper

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    Dear all,

    I heard about the humax aura after trying to find a suitable accessible PVR, other than a mac mini using a tv tuner card and EyeTV 4, which I used to use for some years, but due to a family tragedy, several pieces of equipment I owned, I sold to help in a difficult time.

    I use a Sony bravia android based TV which has the built in screen reader, it makes a huge difference to the quality of my life. I am fully blind and a mac user by speciality, so the android OS is an interesting learning curve. I use the built in screen reader called VoiceOver for both MacOS and iOs and it's a huge help.

    I'm a little concerned about buying this product. I tried discussing this with Humax UK who weren't very interested in my questions nor a request for a review model this week in order to see if this can support my needs, also to give feedback to RNIB and SENSE charities so that these products can be listed as suitable for blind users to use. I was rather saddened by their unwillingness to help, also a member of staff swearing at me under his breath over the phone, wihch was reported. So I'm a little concerned as to the level of customer support provided upon purchasing a product like this.

    I'm looking to use this purely as a hard disk recorder to record various programmes from digital TV, I'm not really interested in all the extras like youtube or anything like that as my bravia provides that support directly.

    OK, here's my questions... if anyone can chime in and advise me, I'd really appreciate it.

    1: What known problems are there with this device? I've listened to various posts about complaints, even on the humax reviews page, etc, some seem low level, others more concerning. What do I need to be aware of in terms of issues such as recording, playback, general OS / Firmware issues, software support issues, etc?
    2: Can I backup the contents of the internal hard disk to a FAT32 / exFAT formatted drive, to then play back the files on a mac / convert the files so that I have audio versions of the programmes I want to listen to on an ipod or through itunes as an example
    3: Is there a way that via the network, I can connect this unit to a mac and directly access the disk to copy the files?

    If neither of these can easily be achieved, then I will need to look at going back to a 2012 mac mini or maybe a hackintosh and find a way of recording multiple programmes over multiple channels using EyeTV4 which is a VoiceOver compatible piece of software.

    One of the headaches I face is the lack of accessible products from the likes of panasonic, etc and as such at present a panasonic blu-ray recorder sits under the TV, I can't use it without sighted help and it isn't fair on them for me to ask for help accessing certain functions.

    If anyone can guide me through this rather daunting maze, I'd much appreciate it.

    I feel concerned by the number of posts and comments relating to issues, that this product when launched clearly didn't get the right attention it should have done. One of the worst things I found was the lack of marketing to state that it is accessible for blind users, I only have the word of a member of staff who emailed me saying that internal testing has been done, etc, not a product in hand I can assess and give feedback on.

    All the best to you all, take care, keep safe.

    lew

    | Wed 3 Feb 2021 21:20:23 #1 |
  2. jpv1960

    jpv1960

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    I realise you are asking about the Humax Aura device, which I haven't got, but I just wanted to let you know that the previous model, Humax fvp-5000t, can do some of the thinks you have asked for.

    I won't go into the bugs or issues relating to fvp-5000t, as you will find all the relavant information about that on this site.

    So to answer some of the questions you have raised, You can copy programmes onto a usb stick, in Fat32 or ext3 or NTFS format. Being a Mac user, you may not want to use NTFS format. However, the copy onto USB is slow, but it works. Let Humax format the usb stick and Mac will be able to read it.

    As a Mac use, you can download 'VLC media player' which is free. You will be able to see all the recorded programmes on the fvp-5000t. The access for this is under the heading 'Local Networks', Universal Plug and Play. (Credit for this goes to Martin Liddle, for he pointed me in the right direction!). Now, VLC allows you to play the files on your Mac if you wish to do so. But, if you wish to extract the Audio from the recordings, you can select 'File' from the top menu on VLC (after you have located your recordings) and then select 'Convert / Stream' You will need to 'drop' the selected programme and with the correct output selection you can save the output as Audio only onto your Mac. I have just tried this and it works fine.
    But remember, I am only referring to fvp-5000t.

    | Thu 4 Feb 2021 10:47:50 #2 |
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    thepiper

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    jpv1960 - 1 day ago  » 
    I realise you are asking about the Humax Aura device, which I haven't got, but I just wanted to let you know that the previous model, Humax fvp-5000t, can do some of the thinks you have asked for.
    I won't go into the bugs or issues relating to fvp-5000t, as you will find all the relavant information about that on this site.
    So to answer some of the questions you have raised, You can copy programmes onto a usb stick, in Fat32 or ext3 or NTFS format. Being a Mac user, you may not want to use NTFS format. However, the copy onto USB is slow, but it works. Let Humax format the usb stick and Mac will be able to read it.
    As a Mac use, you can download 'VLC media player' which is free. You will be able to see all the recorded programmes on the fvp-5000t. The access for this is under the heading 'Local Networks', Universal Plug and Play. (Credit for this goes to Martin Liddle, for he pointed me in the right direction!). Now, VLC allows you to play the files on your Mac if you wish to do so. But, if you wish to extract the Audio from the recordings, you can select 'File' from the top menu on VLC (after you have located your recordings) and then select 'Convert / Stream' You will need to 'drop' the selected programme and with the correct output selection you can save the output as Audio only onto your Mac. I have just tried this and it works fine.
    But remember, I am only referring to fvp-5000t.

    Thank you for your kind reply and answers. I' sure like many, I've been searching the internet for other such systems with DVB T-2 interfaces running android, other than Mecool, etc there's nothing much out there. I'm really sceptical of buying this unit for the amount of posts about it on here. I just wish manufacturers would really think about what they're producing, iron out the bugs before they are rolled out, but that's commercialism for you lol.

    thank you for the advice on network connections to and from the mac, that's a huge help.

    lew

    | Fri 5 Feb 2021 16:00:26 #3 |
  4. Barry

    Barry

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    Concerned re the original post, especially para 3 asked Customer Service Manager @ Humax Towers to view post. He has acknowledged and investigating.

    | Fri 5 Feb 2021 16:05:12 #4 |
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    thepiper

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    Barry - 1 min ago  » 
    Concerned re the original post, especially para 3 asked Customer Service Manager @ Humax Towers to view post. He has acknowledged and investigating.

    to be honest, I've let it go, no point going further on it. Humax by email couldn't give me clear data regarding accessibility resources and confirmation of functions needed, couldn't involve itself in assisting where asked and as such, from the various levels of feedback on here. I cannot risk putting my name to a system I have no experience in and major questions of trust over the brand. I have to say it because the company promotes this product through it's website, yet makes absolutely no effort in demonstrating functions such as accessible recording, playback and navigation functions, as such it's a huge risk to purchase something I can't test in a store, etc. it really is to be honest, heart breaking

    The responses I received by email told me they had in house testers for accessibility functions, yet wasn't willing to provide supporting evidence. I asked if there was a possibility of a review unit, in order to test not only for my needs, but also to recommend through RNIB and SENSE, both charities for the Blind, Sight and hearing impaired. that was refused. Any business who comes up with a product which could be a game changer to support those with disabilities including sight loss, should really think about engaging with the community, marketing it's products, etc. This isn't the case with Humax. For me to even recommend a system like this without critical test and evaluation, being able to demonstrate the product for review to organisations like RNIB for them to have on their system, just shows lack of care on Humax's part.

    £280 for a recorder with that many software faults and issues makes me worried to the core. I don't see myself going this route, think I'll sort out a tv tuner card for a mac mini passed on to me and do it as I used to do.

    Thank you for getting in touch.

    lew

    | Fri 5 Feb 2021 16:13:37 #5 |
  6. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson

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    I wonder if the voice assist feature would be a great help to visually impaired users.

    Perhaps a thread with voice commands that are known to work might be a good idea.

    | Fri 5 Feb 2021 16:59:34 #6 |
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    thepiper

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    grahamlthompson - 1 min ago  » 
    I wonder if the voice assist feature would be a great help to visually impaired users.
    Perhaps a thread with voice commands that are known to work might be a good idea.

    Hi Graham, Thanks for your reply.

    I'll share with you my experience and knowledge. Voice Assistance differs hugely from being able to physically interact with a controller and navigate a screen / OS. the screen reader service built in to Android OS allows in most circumstances, menus, windows and objects to be spoken out, so as such, the user interface becomes completely spoken, instead of you speaking a command as an example which is speech to text, which is how Voice Assist works, instead, Text To Speech (TTS) is part of the screen reader engine, so synthetic speech reads out what you need.

    Sony has made a commitment to promoting accessibility in it's smart TV's, although not as much as it should do, but with guys like myself promoting systems like this, demonstrating, training and supporting manufacturers, products and services, there's more of a positive reaction.

    When I came to discuss a request for a review unit, explaining carefully the situation, this as where the whole communication cycle broke down from the call handler and I felt completely lacking in trust. I was fair with him, no need to raise my voice or behave in an ungentlemanly manner. I had commented that with the request, it allows me to fully test, demo and review the product, if it works for me and supports my needs, then it would be promoted to RNIB and SENSE for their database which we have to work on as independent testers, etc. It was such a huge shame that HUMAX would act in that way, I genuinely felt that the company had no regard for the needs of a blind community when they've developed a system using a google android OS, etc.

    It's all well and good for someone to say "it works" without evidence, without demonstration, to find out if there are any bugs, faults, issues, etc.

    If I could find a managing director for Humax UK to talk to, lay the cards out, etc, then fine, if not, I'll just sort out a tv tuner card from GeniaTech which will have to do, connect it to a 2012 Mac Mini and build it as a media server / PVR.

    | Fri 5 Feb 2021 17:10:27 #7 |

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