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Humax HB-1100S Freesat Smart Box Review

4.5

The Good

  • Affordable
  • Pause, record and rewind live TV
  • On demand services

The Bad

  • App issues
  • No built-in storage

Our review of the Humax HB-1100S Freesat Smart Box dives into the features and performance of this subscription-free satellite TV viewer. With access to over 200 TV and radio channels, as well as on-demand viewing from the likes of BBC iPlayer and Netflix, this smart streamer offers some serious entertainment on a budget.

If you want to get a bit of Freesat on the go in your home, the Humax HB-1100S is a great set top box option. Although you don't get some of the more premium smart box features such as 4K support or a hard drive for recording, you still get plenty of functionality built in. All for a great price, under £100.

Here's our full Humax HB-1100S review.

Read next: Freesat vs Freeview, what's the difference?

What are the Humax HB-1100S specs?

1 x Satellite tuner port

1 x USB 2.0 port (can be used to connect storage for PVR)

1 x HDMI port

1 x Ethernet port

Wi-Fi 802.11n (2.4GHz/5GHz)

S/PDIF Out – 1 x Optical

RCA Out – 1 x CVBS/L/R

Low power consumption – Max. 24W (Standby under 0.5W)

206 x 42 x 169mm

446g

What can I watch on the Humax HB-1100S?

At the time of writing, Freesat offers over 200 TV and radio channels via satellite dish. You can get your own dish by heading to the Freesat website. This costs £99 if you want two feeds, which allows you to record one channel while watching another. Otherwise, it's just £79. Once that dish is installed, you can consume as much telly goodness as you like at no extra cost. 

The Humax HB-1100S can also connect to the internet via Ethernet (direct to your router) or using your home WiFi network (minimum 2Mbps connection recommended). This allows you to stream on-demand content from BBC iPlayer, BBC News, BBC Sport, ITV Hub, All 4, 5 On Demand, STV Player and YouTube. If you have a subscription to Netflix, Wuaki.TV, Curzon Home Cinema or Hopster, you can also access those video streaming services.

Sadly there's no support for Amazon Prime Video. So if you're a Prime subscriber, you'll probably want to look elsewhere.

If you want to kick back with some movies, home video or other bits sat on your own personal storage, that's easy enough too. Just connect your drive to the Humax Freesat Smart Box via the rear USB port and you can watch your video through your telly.

Connecting a drive also gives you the option of recording shows, and is necessary for the pause live TV feature, so we highly recommend doing so; sadly there's no usable built-in storage to speak of. For that, you'll need to upgrade to the Humax HDR-1100S.

How easy is the Humax HB-1100S setup?

Thankfully, the setup process is nice and simple. Just plug the HB-1100S into the mains, as well as your satellite dish and telly, and you're ready to rock. The smart box automatically searches for a signal and all you need to do is enter your WiFi password to connect to the internet.

What is the Humax HB-1100S video output?

The Humax HB-1100S can output video at up to 1080p resolution. Sadly there's no support for 4K viewing, so you won't be able to enjoy Ultra HD Netflix and the rest. If that's a deal breaker, maybe try the Nvidia Shield TV or Amazon's Fire TV Box instead.

What other features do you get built into the Humax HB-1100S?

The TV guide is well laid out and offers up recommendations (not personalised, sadly) of content you might enjoy. As well as the ability to record, pause and rewind live TV, the HB-1100S has a few other nifty features up its virtual sleeves.

For instance, parents have PIN protection to prevent their little ones from accessing any content - or settings - that they shouldn't. Always reassuring when your little ones claim ownership of your remote control.

If you need a little assistance, Humax's box of course has digital subtitles and audio description built in.

You can also download some handy apps for your Android device, iPhone or iPad, which pair up with your Humax box. For instance, the Freesat app can be used to schedule future recordings when you're on the move, which is handy if you forget to set it before you left home.

Humax's own-brand Remote app doesn't pair with the HB-1100S box sadly, but the Freesat app has its own remote feature if you wish to replace the chunky plastic effort.

How is the performance of the Humax HB-1100S?

This smart box isn't very nippy, offering budget performance. Apps take a little while to load and navigating through the likes of iPlayer isn't exactly a smooth experience. That said, streaming video is thankfully stutter-free, as long as your internet connection is up to snuff. So once you're actually sat down watching a bit of content, the Humax does its job.

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