Our award-winner here is the little box shown in the picture sitting atop the Humax ‘2tune’ personal video recorder - a unit which has previously itself won a Sound+Image award. Humax is currently selling the new H3 ‘Espresso’ in a bundle with the ‘2tune’, because the two pair together over your network to bring a whole raft of abilities into a second zone.
Not only can you watch recordings made on the 2tune, you can also stream free-to-air live TV channels, a clever second-room trick when there’s no antenna available. It was entirely glitch-free in our time watching, and channel selection is easy along a horizontal menu controlled by the nice little remote that comes with the H3. (You can also use your phone as a remote.)
As on the 2tune, the H3 has a dedicated Netflix button taking you off to your normal Netflix account, which of course remembers where you left off watching all your shows, so you can stop Stranger Things playing in the lounge, head to bed and pick up where you left off. YouTube is equally easy to access, while there is a whole series of Humax ‘apps’, from internet radio to a range of viewing options for the kiddies. You can also cast to the H3 from a suitable phone, and through its DLNA portal you can access other network storage, which can be specified including passwords if required.
There’s also ‘Bluetooth out’ available here, a bit of a bonus for sending the H3 sound to Bluetooth speaker - or to Bluetooth headphones when your partner dozes off.
While the H3 is only suitable for use with its packaged Humax partner PVR, we found it a highly useful and effective solution for extending existing viewing habits into a second zone without the need to invest in a full second PVR (which then leaves recordings split across two rooms). As delivered in the current package at $499, you’re getting two zones of tightly integrated PVR and internet entertainment. It’s innovative stuff.
Full review: Humax 2tune + H3 Espresso
All awards: www.avhub.com.au/awards