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Humax Foxsat PVR. Picture quality?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema, Hi-Fi and Gadgets' started by qawsed, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. qawsed
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    qawsed Member

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    Just wondered if anyone can answer this.
    I have sky+ and use the digital tuner in my Pioneer plasma.This tuner gives great picture quality.
    Now dont laugh,but i want to replace a VCR(I KNOW) with a PVR.
    But i have no idea how good the picture quality will be with a Humax/foxsat box.Once it is plugged in i will have to use that all the time and not the pioneer tuner.
    Any feedback would be great.
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  2. FactionOne
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    FactionOne Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I'm a little confused, why would you have to use the Foxsat instead of the built-in tuner all the time?

    Anyway, regardless of that, there are two main factors which would affect the picture quality of the Foxsat box on the display...

    1) The method of connectivity. If you connect it over SCART (or similar 480i connection), the upscaler on the SCART stage of the Pioneer display will have more to do with it. If you've got the Sky+ connected over SCART and are happy with the way that looks you should be OK - after considering point (2) below - if you're connecting over HDMI or component (Y Pb Pr) etc. it will have more to do with the upscaler in the Foxsat receiver (and of course to have that type of connectivity you'd be looking at a Foxsat HD box - and the upscaler in these is pretty decent as far as consumer equipment goes).

    2) The bit rate of the channel you're watching - Not all broadcasts come in at the same bit rate, if you look at BBC1 on Sky it'll probably appear better than a lot of the infomercial channels (for example) that live in the higher reaches of the EPG; so to a point, you could have the best upscaler in the world working on making the 480i signal fill your 720p / 1080p panel, but if the bit rate of the channel is really low, it's always going to be tantamount to polishing a turd.

    ...If it's a PVR you're set-on, Humax are a fair choice, at the very worst above average in the field, but I'd be happy to say their output quality puts them above the vast majority of the competition.

    Any more questions give us a shout - hopefully I'll be able to help - I see a GOOD range of A/V set-ups on my travels (I'm a field engineer working with television audience research equipment by 9-5 trade)...

    All the best,

    Rob.
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  3. qawsed
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    qawsed Member

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    Thanks Rob,
    I am no AV tech-head but the digital tuner in the pioneer plasma is not freeview/freesat.Just BBC1,2,ITV,C4 etc.
    Apart from watching these channels on SKY digital i watch using the digital tuner in the TV as well.much better than the normal/anolouge setting.
    If i get the freesat/foxsat? box i will get more channels and some HD ,i will need to get another dish fitted bit thats no probs.
    This means i lose the use of the inbuilt tuner.
    The TV is full HD ready and i think the PVR will conect with HDMI cable.Sky+ uses scart and the picture is great.I did not know if the Humax/freesat/foxsat box would perform as good.
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  4. FactionOne
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    FactionOne Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    1) Does the built-in tuner only get BBC1 / BBC2 / ITV / C4 and five? If it gets NOTHING else at all, it's unlikely to be digital (and therefore analogue). When you go into text from that tuner, does it look like 'old style' Ceefax/Teletext or does a bar appear with nice clean/clear text, filling about the rightmost third of the screen? ...Or easier still, what's the model number of the telly?

    2) A digital tuner built in a telly is 99% of the time Freeview, the other 1% of the time Freesat. If it doesn't have either of these, it's most likely analogue only (built-in).

    3) Freesat carries most of the channels on Freeview (but not all), and a few others which aren't on Freeview (although how much there is on them worth watching is very much debatable). FreesatHD carries BBC HD, ITV HD (neither broadcast 24/7, but there's worth-watching stuff on both regularly enough), and also Luxe TV HD - I've never once seen anything worth watching on that one.

    4) If you're connecting a Foxsat HD box (receiving FreesatHD), it will have HDMI output, that means a) high definition channels will be displayed on the TV in high-definition (normally 720p), and b) non-HD channels will be upscaled from their native 480i resolution to 720p resolution by the chip in the Humax FoxsatHD unit - as above, this does a fairly reasonable job of upscaling - and you can expect it to look around the same as your Sky probably does.

    5) You can use the same dish for Sky and Freesat, you just need enough LNB connections. If you've got Sky+, you've got at least a twin-LNB (one Sky+ box needs two connections to the dish), and very often Sky engineers install a quad LNB because it's just easier. In that case (and so long as you've not got other Sky boxes elsewhere in the house), you'd have two LNB connections free for a Freesat(/HD) PVR. If you've a twin LNB you can replace that with a quad for under £20 and just run the cables; if you've a quad with two free connections you just need to run some cable and plug a Freesat(/HD) box/PVR into the end of them. ...Word of warning by the way, always disconnect the power from Sky/Freesat boxes before messing around with LNB (dish) connections - failure to do so could lead you to blow up the LNB (there's no exciting fireworks, but you'll have no signal).

    6) I still don't understand how having a Sky+ box connected on a SCART, and a Freesat box connected on HDMI (in the case of Freesat HD), or another SCART (even chained through the Sky+ box if required), FORCES you to no use the inbuilt tuner? So long as you've still got an antenna plugged into it, there's no reason you couldn't still use it (if you wished).

    All the best,

    Rob.
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  5. qawsed
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    qawsed Member

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    Sorry to take up your time Rob,I am at work so i can not remember or get the Pioneer model number.Its a earlyish 43"plasma.
    You are correct,i do get more that 1,2,3,4 and 5. I can get ITV 2,etc ,etc,etc. When i select these channels it comes up D1,D2,D3 etc so i presume its digital ,possibly freeview?
    The way the TV is set up is with a short pigtail lead on the tv going from one areial socket to another adjacent.My old does not run through the tv.When it does i lose the digi tuner.TV not installed or setup by me.
    I am glad you mentioned the SKY+ and dish with using foxsat.
    I was going to have a second dish fitted BUT as i only have 1 sky+ box perhaps i can do as you say and get a new LNB?fitted.
    If the humax/foxsat box picture quality with HDMI cable is like SKY+ on scart that is ok for me.
    Can i just ask, you can record 2 sky progs at once,when foxsat is set up can you record 4 progs at once?
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  6. mitch78
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    mitch78 Active Member

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    Yes, that's a built-in freeview tuner.

    You've lost me with the bit about the aerial lead, it must be getting an input from somewhere for the aerial, otherwise you wouldn't be able to use the built-in tuner, which you obviously are doing.

    You probably won't need a new LNB, most of those that are used when they're installing sky+ are already quads, so you'd have enough outputs for dual feeds to both the sky+ and foxsat boxes.

    Provided the foxsat has 2 tuners (which I'd assume it does, and if it has 2 sat inputs, it definitely does) then yes, you should be able to record 4 programs at once, while also watching a fifth program on the TV's built-in tuner.
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