Despite earning its technical launch last year , we're only just starting to see hardware that can decode Freeview HD signals: first past the post is Humax, with its HD Fox T2. It's a simple Freeview HD receiver with some smart little extras that will make it a tasty purchase indeed when it goes on sale later this month for around £170.

When you tear open your packaging, you'll notice the box is fairly petite. You get some basic controls on the front for navigating through menus, and there's a little drop-down flap that conceals a card slot. At the back, there's an HDMI output, and Humax kindly provides a cable in the box. An Ethernet socket is also provided, and is mandatory on all Freeview HD boxes, as it was with freesat hardware. Eventually we'll get access to iPlayer , 4oD and ITV Player through these connections, but not just yet.

USB is also provided, but this is potentially one of the most exciting developments. Via a firmware update later on this year, Humax will add the ability to record TV shows to USB drives on this machine. That means to get basic record functionality, you won't need to spend money on a hard drive-based recorder. Just splash out for some memory sticks. USB can also be used to listen to music, look at photos and watch video too, although for video the codec support is fairly limited.

At the moment, the only channels available are BBC HD and ITV1 HD. These are two different approaches to HD entirely, with the BBC cherry-picking the best of its shows and plonking them on BBC HD in high quality. ITV, on the other hand, just upscales shows that aren't in HD to give better picture quality even if there's no HD. Honestly, we prefer the ITV system, but BBC HD has so much more brilliant content we can't object.

What impresses us most with the T2 is the beautiful user interface, and the speed with which the machine operates. This is a really top-notch piece of hardware, and while it isn't all that cheap, you certainly get more than a bog-standard Freeview receiver here. So, have a look through our hands-on photos, and rest assured, a review is forthcoming...

Updated:
Caption by:
From the top you can see the Humax has plenty of ventilation. If you're putting this in an AV rack, you'll need to make sure you leave some room for it to breathe.
Updated:
Caption by:
We don't know why Humax is so keen on the name 'Fox', but it crops up on lots of its equipment. Curious.
Updated:
Caption by:
A power button makes turning the machine on and off a very real possibility.
Updated:
Caption by:
There appears to be a card socket on the machine too. This could eventually be used to decode encrypted signals -- although of which kind, we aren't too sure.
Updated:
Caption by:
At boot-up the HD Fox goes into a little LED sequence on the front of the machine.
Updated:
Caption by:
If it's your first boot, the machine will enter the install routine. This helps get you tuned in and ready to go.
Updated:
Caption by:
Menu navigation is possible from the front of the machine using this multi-direction button, and the controls mirror those you'll find on the remote...
Updated:
Caption by:
...as you can see.
Updated:
Caption by:
At the rear of the machine, you'll find a power lead (hard wired) and an optical digital audio out.
Updated:
Caption by:
HDMI is provided for the Humax to output HD at up to 1080p. Ethernet means iPlayer is a future possibility. The USB socket has exciting potential too, including video playback and recording TV shows to USB disks.
Updated:
Caption by:
To cater for old TVs, there are a series of analogue outputs that both bore and annoy us. As such, we shall waste no further time on them.
Updated:
Caption by:
Happily, an HDMI lead is included in the box. Well done Humax -- bonus points are yours.
Updated:
Caption by:
We like the remote -- it's slender and stylish and makes the box do things. You can't ask for more.
Updated:
Caption by:
Setup is dead simple. The box will guide you through the process.
Updated:
Caption by:
You can select from a decent number of output formats, including both the original broadcast resolution, or a fixed size. 1080p is probably the best option here for most people.
Updated:
Caption by:
As long as you're in an HD region, the box will easily find both BBC HD and ITV HD. Channel 4 HD is expected to launch around March.
Updated:
Caption by:
The info bar gives plenty of information about the picture and other available options such as audio description and subtitles. It will also tell you the resolution of the video.
Updated:
Caption by:
1080i is the standard for HD in the UK, and no broadcasters make use of 720p. With Freeview, 1080p is an option too for certain material.
Updated:
Caption by:
On-screen logos are present on both BBC HD and ITV HD. It's worth getting upset about this, because logos are the screen-hogging work of Satan and must be stopped.
Updated:
Caption by:
Hot Galleries

Time to toss the old dirtbag

Looking for a vacuum?

Whether you’re looking for a traditional upright vacuum or a low-key bot, we've picked the best vacuums for your needs.

Hot Products