Humax 9200T: Now with added Freeview Playback
If you don't want or can't get Sky+, you'll be thrilled to hear that the first Freeview Playback PVRs are hitting the market, allowing you to record TV without any sort of subscription
Theis nothing new -- we first reviewed it in November 2005 and generally liked it. So why bring it up again now? Well, Humax has discontinued the old model and replaced it with two new ones with a Freeview Playback sticker on the front. To celebrate this sticker -- and the spec standard it represents -- the model number has been altered slightly to 9200TB or 9200TS, depending on the colour you choose -- the choices are black and silver, unsurprisingly.
Playback is basically Freeview's answer to Sky+, but is aimed at those who don't want to line Murdoch's pockets any more than they have to, or people who simply can't get Sky. It offers much of the same functionality, but with no monthly subscription. While Freeview PVRs have been about for some time, there was no guarantee the machine you bought would be able to do all the things you wanted. Playback aims to change that, by guaranteeing certain features, such as the ability to pause live TV or record programmes, even if they're moved about in the schedule.
The 9200T offers a 160GB hard drive, which should hold somewhere in the region of 100 hours of TV -- good, but not as spacious as we'd like to see in a modern PVR. It also comes with dual tuners that allow you to watch one channel and record another, or to record two programmes at once.
There's also support for TopUp TV, which might appeal to fans of football, as sports channel Setanta has snagged the rights to a not insubstantial amount of Premiership and Scottish Premier League matches next season.
One of the great things about Humax is that it remains committed to its PVRs, so if anything needs updating or it fancies adding a new feature for the hell of it, firmware upgrades can be done over-the-air. We just wish more manufacturers continued to add features and fix bugs. -Ian Morris
Update: We now have a full review of the newmodels live in our Reviews channel.