Even with out an Oxbridge training, the Humax Aura PVR has managed to attain a double first. It’s the primary Freeview set-top field from Humax to make use of the Android TV working system and in addition the primary to be 4K HDR-enabled. How might we not be intrigued?
The Humax Aura could be numerous issues to totally different individuals and it feels as if it has been priced to curiosity everybody. The obvious use is as a Freeview Play recorder, with sufficient inside storage choices to seize hours of dwell Full HD and standard-definition tv.
With its Android TV platform, you too can use it as a Chromecast with advantages – a manner of including over 5000 apps and streaming providers to feed your tv or projector with loads of 4K enjoyable. With its USB sockets, hi-res audio and 3D house cinema codec help, there’s an choice to make use of it for native movie file playback too – it’s fairly the field of tips.
The Humax Aura prices £249 for the 1TB mannequin, which may retailer as much as 250 hours of HD (or 500 of SD) programming, and £279 for the 2TB mannequin, which may retailer as much as 500 hours of Full HD (1000 of SD) programming.
When you’re severe sufficient about dwell TV to need to document it regularly, then the additional £30 for double the quantity of house appears like a no brainer.
Humax has had nice success with its What Hello-Fi? Award-winning FVP-5000T set-top field and, 4 years down the road, a substitute has been lengthy overdue. For each specs and appears, the Aura is the improve we’ve been ready for.
Stand the 2 subsequent to at least one one other and the sculpted strains of the low slung Aura extra simply match into the class of latest industrial design.
The Aura is a tidy 26cm by 20cm field that takes up about the identical house as your wi-fi router. Its gloss black physique is accented by an LED strip on the underside, which adjustments from purple to blue to violet to orange relying on whether or not it’s off, on, recording or recording in standby. It’s a helpful indicator and paying homage to Ok.I.T.T from Knight Rider in standby mode.
But when it’s a celebration on the entrance of the Aura, then across the again is the intense enterprise. Right here you’ll discover the one HDMI 2.1-out together with USB 3.Zero and USB 2.0 (Sort A) sockets for native media. There’s additionally an optical audio-out and a LAN connection for those who’d relatively go away the two.4/5GHz wi-fi alone.
The Aura distant is totally featured, with devoted buttons for almost every part you may want, together with shortcuts to streaming providers, recordings, the information, the Freeview Play platform and the Android TV homepage too. You’ll must pair the distant with the Aura field utilizing Bluetooth for the Google Assistant voice system to work.
Humax Aura tech specs
Ports HDMI 2.1, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, optical-out
OS Android TV 9
Freeview Play Sure
Dimensions (hwd) 4.Three x 26 x 20cm
The Humax Aura’s three Freeview Play tuners deliver entry to over 70 non-subscription dwell TV channels and over 20,000 hours of on-demand leisure by the catch-up providers, with BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All Four and My5 all current. These tuners let you pause and rewind TV, in addition to document as much as 4 channels whereas watching a fifth one dwell.
Not like the older FVP-5000T, there’s no built-in app for streaming dwell TV or your recordings from the field to different gadgets round your own home, although Humax says the identical DLNA help shall be added to the Aura in a forthcoming firmware replace. The Aura cell app will detect any DLNA or Chromecast-enabled gadgets on the identical community as your field and let you play recordings or dwell channels to these, sourcing it from the Aura as a server.
In the intervening time, the Aura cell app is a useful instrument in its personal proper. It brings a full view of the digital programme information (EPG) to your small display screen and permits customers to schedule recordings, watch recordings and even get pleasure from dwell TV on cell – simply the ticket for retaining monitor of Countdown whilst you put the kettle on.
The Aura’s big-screen providing can also be bolstered by Android TV, and meaning one other 5000 or so apps from Google Play are at your disposal, with subscription providers corresponding to Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, alongside extra UK-specific apps, corresponding to BT Sport and UKTV Play.
There are vital gaps, although, together with Britbox, Now TV and the Netflix app. Considerably satirically, Netflix is definitely one of many few non-catch-up apps out there on the older FVP-5000T. Thankfully, the Aura’s built-in Chromecast performance permits customers to forged these lacking apps from cell, pill or browser as an alternative, however that resolution will not go well with everybody. It’s additionally value noting that casting gained’t work for both Apple TV or Apple Music, that are additionally lacking from the Aura.
Away from the video facet, the hi-res audio help is a welcome addition. It means these connecting the Aura to a good exterior speaker system can get a powerful efficiency from regionally saved or streamed audio information, even when connecting by the HDMI, which may deal with as much as 24-bit/192 kHz ranges.
You’ll must obtain a third-party app corresponding to VLC to play native media and Plex if you wish to join a NAS drive or comparable from your own home community. The Aura’s help for 4K HDR (HDR10 and HLG) and 3D audio codecs presents the potential to do justice to any high-quality film information you personal.
Due to the quad-core 1.8GHz CPU and 3GB RAM combo, the entire expertise feels snappy and effectively put collectively. From the distant to the on-screen navigation, the person expertise will bend to your bidding with out grievance.
The twinning of Freeview Play and Android TV 9.Zero doesn’t make for the best of mixtures, although. Every presents its own residence web page expertise, leaving the person uncertain as to which one to make use of. You’ll discover some apps on each, however others simply on one, and each house pages have their very own settings menus. Thankfully, the shortcuts on the distant imply which you can typically go straight to no matter it’s that you simply’re searching for, however that does not actually excuse the poor integration of the 2 interfaces.
Every interface is sweet in its personal proper, no less than. We significantly like Freeview Play’s Youngsters’ Zone – a brightly colored space with TV programmes specifically chosen for youthful viewers. Content material could be searched based on length and timeslot, and oldsters can use this to dam sure apps and channels from showing.
The image high quality by the Freeview Play tuners in each SD and Full HD is each bit nearly as good as that of the FVP-5000T. Watching Put Your Cash The place Your Mouth Is on BBC2, we get some inviting photographs of a French antiques market on a cloudless summer season’s day. The cobbled streets and stalls are shiny and vibrant, however with a practical sense of tonality and texture.
The Aura trades a contact of element for this higher mixing and, whereas some would possibly want more durable edges to stone partitions, it appears like a well-judged choice from Humax. There’s a correct sense of complexity to the intense blue TV shelf as one of many discount hunters haggles over a number of Euros. It makes for a extra pure aesthetic to the image and feels plausible when upscaled to 4K.
That association is justified even additional when switching to SD on the BBC Information channel. Low-res content material can appear significantly harsh and blocky when upscaled, however the Aura’s barely softer strategy smooths out a number of extra of these undesirable edges than its predecessor and provides some much-needed subtlety to clothes colors and pores and skin tones.
Nonetheless, the app platform is just not fairly as adept. In contrast with a funds streaming stick, the Aura’s ability with a 4K HDR app is rather less assured than it is perhaps. We watch The Boys on Prime Video and whereas the image is punchy and dynamic, a number of the finer element is misplaced, significantly on the brightest and darkest extremes of the distinction spectrum. Viewing a scene set within the White Home, the backlit silk curtains are lacking folds within the materials and the Aura doesn’t reveal the variety of freckles on ex-CIA Deputy Director Grace Mallory’s pores and skin that we would anticipate.
The opposite slight downside is that not all customers will discover the dynamic vary and refresh charge content material matching system simple to make use of. There are a number of choices and, with out the correct ones chosen, app TV reveals and movies are sometimes displayed incorrectly; movement is juddery and streams are sometimes jumpy. It may be mounted utilizing the distant whereas viewing, however it isn’t simple to do. High quality standalone streamers have choices to routinely match the dynamic vary and refresh charge of the supply materials, and the Aura ought to actually have the identical.
The Aura’s hi-res music help presents a wonderful alternative to get good high quality sound from this field by each regionally saved information and streamed music providers. Plugging it into our reference system, we hearth up the Tidal Masters model of Lucky Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival and, by the requirements of PVRs and video streamers, we’re struck by how effectively it captures the recording.
There’s a spacious sound to the vocals and guitars that provides a superb really feel to the acoustics of the room the place the recording was made. In contrast with different, equally priced streaming merchandise, there’s an added dimension to the monitor. There’s a great dose of dynamics that brings pleasure and character to the entire devices. We are able to visualise the drums at first of the monitor and each time the primary snare of every bar is hit with an accent.
The backwards and forwards between the guitar and the vocals is like listening to a dialog. It’s a cohesive sound from high to backside and we really feel assured that there’s little we’re lacking within the music. Some streamers at this stage would possibly provide a contact extra crispness to the rhythm, however not with out some lack of the thrill we get with the Aura.
All of that interprets to an enjoyably emotional really feel for house cinema as we change to AV with the Reside Help scene on the finish of Bohemian Rhapsody on Prime Video. The thuds of the kick drum are splendidly stable and provide a real sense of timbre and resonance because the pedal first hits the pores and skin at the start of the set.
When Brian Might performs his solo on the finish of the piece, it’s like he’s making his guitar sing. Once more, the sense of place is captured brilliantly in a reputable rendition of the sound of the previous Wembley Stadium stuffed with 72,000 individuals clapping in time and singing alongside to Radio Ga Ga.
Sound corresponding to this can be a big leg up for any house cinema gadget. Whether or not capturing the environment of a rock live performance or the particular results of an motion scene, the Aura actually delivers on this entrance.
The Humax Aura does its essential job effectively. It’s a wonderful Freeview recorder for each Full HD and normal definition with an easy-to-use TV information, loads of house and useful distant recording options. The issue is that Humax has supplied – and is charging – extra this time round and this field doesn’t ship these extras fairly so effectively.
When you’re going to vow extra apps, then the omission of the preferred considered one of all is a matter. You additionally want to verify your dealing with of streamed TV and movie content material is as much as the identical excessive requirements because the competitors, and that isn’t fairly the case with the Aura. Tacking on the Android TV platform additionally implies that the general person interface loses a bit of focus.
Whereas the Aura is spot on for sound, choosing the cheaper however nonetheless sensible Humax FVP-5000T and shopping for a Google Chromecast with Google TV as effectively is a greater choice by way of general efficiency. The expertise gained’t really feel far more cut up than the Aura already does however, extra importantly, the good providing shall be extra full and a bit of higher for image high quality too.
That stated, when you have your coronary heart set on a single field resolution on your TV recording and video streaming, the Aura is a stable alternative.
- Image 4
- Sound 5
- Options 4
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