Really, Humax? Another internet-connected streaming box? Man, this market is packed… and confusing as hell.
Tell me about it. Between the Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Now TV, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick and any number of smaller brands’ efforts, it seems like there are dozens of options, some of which are compatible with certain streaming services but not others. But the Humax H3 Espresso (or H3 Espresso Smart Media Player, to give it its full name) is a bit different from the others.
As well as delivering a classic cord-cutter service by streaming Netflix and YouTube from the ‘net, it can also pump live broadcast television into your eyeballs, and link up with a Humax set-top box to play your recorded programmes. The H3 Espresso does live telly in one of two different ways. Either hook the box up to your Humax FVP-4000T PVR (via your home network and the H3’s Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection), which lets you select shows from the PVR’s electronic programme guide, as well as watch things you’ve already recorded, fresh from the hard drive. Or sign up to TVPlayer, the little-known streaming service that serves up 55 free-to-air live channels and 25 on-demand channels including the likes of BBC One, ITV, Channel 4 and CNN.
Oh, and before I forget: it’ll also stream video, photos and music from a bunch of other sources, like NAS drives, smartphones, tablets or computers on your home network.
What’s the catch, then?
Well, you don’t get access to the huge range of apps that some other streaming platforms offer, there’s no onboard storage, and video can be streamed at 1080p here, rather than 4K. But given that the H3 Espresso is just £79.99 (the Apple TV now starts at £139), we suspect some of those points can be overlooked.