Faster YouView makes time travel fun

Humax DTR-T2000Under-the-hood tweaks make the DTR-T2000 Humax�s nimblest YouView PVR � Martin Pipe enjoys the slick experience offered by the hybrid TV platform
Back in the last century, an electronics magazine I used to work for ran a fantasy inventions competition. One of the winners was a gizmo that would allow a VCR to retrospectively record programmes you didn�t know were on, and had therefore missed at the time. This was in the pre-internet days, when digital TV broadcasting was in early development, and it seemed a pretty improbable idea. Now, though, you can get hardware that does a similar thing for less than �200, courtesy of YouView.
Launched in 2012, YouView is a combined digital terrestrial PVR and internet on-demand platform, jointly owned by BT, TalkTalk, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Arqiva. Channel availability is broadly similar to that of the Freeview platform, as are the catchup apps. Current hardware is available from Humax, Huwaei, BT and TalkTalk. Sony�s 2015 TV range will be adding the service.
Familiar functionality
As with other PVRs, a YouView one � like the Humax DTR-T2000 tested here � is equipped with a timeline EPG to browse schedules and set recordings. In the case of the DTR-T2000, you get a 500GB hard drive. And, like most modern PVRs, the DTR-T2000 is equipped with series recording and chasing playback; its two HD tuners, meanwhile, let you simultaneously record two different programmes. So far, so ordinary PVR.
With most other timeshifters, though, you cannot go �back in time� beyond the programmes currently being transmitted. With YouView, though, you can, by up to a week, via the scroll back guide, which interfaces with the various on-demand catchup services (4oD, iPlayer, etc) and inserts the relevant programmes into the various timeslots. To access one, highlight and select it in the EPG. The player then loads up the selected programme for playback.
In retrospect, this is an obvious idea. But that doesn�t detract from its brilliance. Instead of messing around with PCs or Smart devices, you have a portal that gathers together previously broadcast programmes from all main terrestrial channels and delivers them to where they were intended to be shown � a TV set. As with the catchup websites, some material (e.g. movies) isn�t available. However, film fans should note that the DTR-T2000 supports some pay services including Netflix, Sky Store and Now TV.
HD catchup streams are catered for and, if my own experiments are anything to go by, are buffered for 30 seconds or so to provide a frontline safeguard against streaming glitches. The DTR-T2000 provided reliable catchup viewing, even at peak times.
Humax DTR-T2000 ports
Connection concerns
Humax�s PVR connects to your router via Ethernet rather than Wi-Fi. This can be annoying, but Wi-Fi can be rather iffy in areas where numerous routers can be fighting over a limited slice of radio spectrum.
There�s another feature that�s conspicuous by its absence � the ability to play multimedia files from USB sticks and DLNA network servers. There is a USB port behind a frontpanel flap, but that�s for devices like accessible keyboards (YouView has improved the EPG zoom facility for those with impaired senses; subtitles, audio descriptions and digital teletext are, of course, onboard too).
Something that has made it in, though, is a nimbler processor. The DTR-T2000 redresses the criticisms of slowness levelled at earlier YouView hardware. Going through the schedules (past, present and future), making programme searches and working your way through the nicely-designed menu system proves to be responsive. Only occasionally did I manage to overshoot the desired option when driving YouView with the supplied handset.
The zapper isn�t the only way of controlling the DTR-T2000; it�s compatible with the wonderful YouView app. The box generates an eight-character pairing code � enter this into the free app and you can remotely schedule recordings from anywhere within mobile or Wi-Fi range. When time comes to view them they�re listed under the �MyView� banner. A handy feature for forgetful types.
Picture quality via HDMI is superb, with a believable colour palette, natural detailing and wide contrast range. Even SD channels look better than expected on my Full HD 40in TV and 6ft projection screen, with artefacts never detracting unduly from the programme material. Interestingly, if you go back in the EPG to view a programme the box will automatically prioritise any HDD recording (up to 1080i) over a catchup stream (up to 720p). That said, on-demand material fares well even though there�s a perceptible drop in quality when compared to off-air.
5.1 audio from HD channels is transcoded from AAC to Dolby Digital rather than being passed to an AV receiver in decoded 5.1 PCM form. Despite this, 5.1 material (like a BBC One broadcast of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) didn�t seem to lose anything in the process. With a decent AV system built around an up-to-the-minute Onkyo AVR and Rogers speakers, slam and subtlety were evident in equal measure.
Commendable combination
The Humax DTR-T2000 certainly does justice to a worthwhile TV platform, combining useful functionality with a fine AV performance. The design is trendy rather than traditional, with its black/silver livery and centralised control pad (which, admittedly, you�ll probably never use), and to sweeten the deal it�s not much more expensive than a non-YouView terrestrial HD PVR. Of course, many of those are better equipped when it comes to multimedia playback, and proffer larger storage capacities. But with YouView�s focus on net-delivered content, perhaps the days of archiving TV content are on the way out. If 500GB is enough for you, then the DTR-T2000 is a decent proposition.
HDD: Yes. 500GB (for up to 300 hours of SD or 125 hours of HD)TUNER: Yes. TwoCATCHUP CHANNELS: BBC iPlayer; ITV Player; 4oD; Demand 5; Milkshake; STV Player; UKTV; S4C; Netflix, Now TV and Sky Store also supportedCONNECTIONS: 1 x HDMI output; 1 x RGB Scart; 1 x composite video; 1 x optical audio; 1 x Ethernet; 1 x USB; aerial in/out; stereo analogue audioDIMENSIONS: 360(w) x 50(h) x 245(d)mmWEIGHT: 2.1kgFEATURES: Record up to two programmes simultaneously; chasing playback; Smart scheduling (avoid programme clashes during recording by capturing repeat showings); series record; YouView EPG; auto standby; programme search; remote scheduling apps (iOS and Android); onscreen mini guide; 14-day EPG (seven days behind, seven days ahead); digital teletext

7Review earns Amazon affiliate commissions from qualifying purchases. You can support the site directly via Paypal donations ☕. Thank you!
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.