Sunday, 4 March 2012

Blue Screen of Death … well almost

Yesterday I took delivery of a Humax HDR-FOX T2 device; this is a so-called Personal Video Recorder (PVR), which is somewhat anacrhonistic - a Hard Disk Recorder is, perhaps, a better name, hence the model name :-)

The Humax ( also known as a Hummy ) contains a pair of Freeview HD tuners, allowing me to record two different Freeview digital TV channels at the same time, which is rather useful.

There were a number of reasons for the purchase, including the fact that the Humax devices were listed as Best Buys by Which? a wee while back.

As an example, the Humax can connect to the internet, via Ethernet or a USB WiFi adapter, providing access to internet TV and radio - for me, access to the BBC iPlayer was a definite advantage.

This also allows me to use the Hummy (!) as a DLNA media server, which should allow me to play media recorded from Freeview across my home network using my Mac, iPad and iPhone - we'll see :-)

Thus far, I've only tested the so-called TV Portal feature of the device, via an Ethernet cable, contacted to my Mac, which was sharing it's WiFi connection.

I've ordered a USB WiFi adapter - an Edimax EW-7711USN N150 High Power WiFi USB Adapter with Detachable 3dBi Antenna - from Amazon; once it arrives, I'll test DLNA etc. and report back ...

In the meantime, back to the purpose of this post ….

Having plugged the Humax into my LCD TV, a Toshiba 32KV500B, via the supplied HDMI cable, I was soon up and running, and happily recording and scheduling.

However, I was somewhat perturbed to note that the telly displayed a blue screen ( hence the title of this post ) for 3-4 seconds each time I changed channels, either via the [Program Up] and [Program Down] buttons, or via the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).

I tried switching the HDMI cable from one port to another ( the telly has two ports, the other is used for the iPad and iPhone via an Apple HDMI adapter ).

Sadly, I wasn't able to resolve the problem, and assumed that it was a fault with my TV - my aunt has the same model of Humax, used with a Sanyo LCD telly, and doesn't see the same problem.

However, before I "wrote off" the TV, I thought back to the initial set up of the Humax - one of the first screens that I saw, having set  the language, tuned the Freeview channels, confirmed the location of my TV transmitter etc. I'd seen a screen that asked me about the display resolution.

At the time, I accepted the default … which was 1080i.

Can you see what I did wrong ?

My telly is "HD-ready" rather than "Full HD" which, apparently, means that it's not capable of displaying a full High Definition - it can only handle 720p

 Supports High Definition 720p resolution. A HD ready TV will be able to display High Definition images from any HD source.

whereas the Humax can generate all the HD outputs; 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p and 576i.

So, as a final confirmation, I ran back through the initial setup of the TV ( sadly losing all my scheduled programmes ! ), and chose 720p this time around.

Having done that, I'm pleased to report that there's no longer any blue screen ( or, more seriously, loud popping noise which I heard intermittently ) when I toggle through the channels.

So, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself :-)

*UPDATE* Having read the Humax User Manual [PDF] I note that there's a rather useful V-FORMAT button on the Hummy's remote control: -

Note: Some TVs/Displays may not support all Video Resolutions, to change this in the future please use the V-FORMAT button on your remote control.

so I needn't have reset the device, thus losing all my scheduled programmes :-(

Still I do love the Find feature within the Humax's EPG; it allows me to search for programmes by name or genre e.g. drama, movie etc.

Will post back re the WiFi access in a week or so ….

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