Why buy a personal video recorder (PVR) like the Humax Aura in the age of streaming? That’s the question we’re going to answer today. And, well, there’s a lot more than a single answer to this one.
The first becomes obvious as soon as you dig under the surface. A Humax Aura is much more than just a video recorder. It’s a full streaming and smart TV solution, ready to become the nerve centre of your home entertainment setup.
It runs Android TV, giving the Humax Aura access not just to essential apps like BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, but apps and games too.
Android TV adds a stack of smarts on its own too. You can ask for content rather than flicking through the interface, made possible by the microphone built into the remote control.
Have kids? Just tap the dedicated Kids button on the remote to jump directly to all the child-friendly on-demand content, and kids’ shows you have recorded on the Humax Aura’s hard drive.
A Humax Aura can do an awful lot for a box just 26cm wide and roughly 4cm tall.
One of our favourite smart features these days, though, is Chromecast. It comes baked into the Humax Aura thanks to the Android TV software, and means you can beam content directly from your phone to the Aura with just a tap on a shortcut button in the phone app.
We love this one for continuing YouTube videos you started watching on your phone. But Chromecast is available in stacks upon stacks of apps, not just ones made by Google.
The stream juggle
That’s a few of the pure smart feature reasons to get a Humax Aura, so it’s time to head back to the main event: the actual PVR stuff.
A Humax Aura offers either a 1TB or 2TB hard drive, enough room to store up to 1000 hours of standard definition broadcasts, or 500 HD hours. Need more? No problem, you can plug in a hard drive or data stick over USB, to avoid having to delete those episodes of E.R. or Eerie Indiana it took months to collect.
If you’ve owned a PVR before, you can’t help but be impressed by the Humax Aura’s recording chops too. It has a massive three tuners, meaning you can record up to a whopping four programmes at once, and watch a fifth.
These are tuned for Freeview Play, giving access to loads of top-quality channels including Stuff favourite Film4, which always seems to show those films you always meant to see — but not always at times that let you see them live. A Humax Aura means you no longer need to stay up until 3am to finally catch modern zombie classic One Cut of the Dead. Just set it to record instead.
An 8-day EPG makes it easy to find the shows and movies to record, and the 3GB RAM plus advanced quad-core processor ensure it all runs smoothly. Freeview Play also aggregates content from all the key catch-up services, meaning live TV and platforms like BBC iPlayer or All 4 no longer seem like separate content universes.
The integrated hard drive also lets you pause and rewind live TV. And, once you’re behind the actual broadcast, you can fast forward too. It’s a great way to avoid ever having to watch ads in a classic TV broadcast. Just make a cup of tea as it starts with the show paused, and you have that ad-killer buffer in place.
There’s a real quality of life argument for a box like the Humax Aura, something you wouldn’t guess from a glance. That argument only gets stronger as we look a little more into what you can do with the Aura’s voice remote.
Google Assistant lets you set reminders, see weather reports or even control the lighting if you have smart lighting in your living room. A movie night setup with a word spoken into your Aura’s remote control? That’s impressive stuff.
You can also control other smart home gear through your Humax Aura, such as smart thermostats.
There is way more to the Humax Aura than you’d guess, and all the tech standards we look for in 2022 are here too. The primary connector is an HDMI 2.1 port. It supports 4K output and HDR10 with HLG.
There’s an Ethernet connector, handy if your home Wi-Fi isn’t so hot. And support for both 5GHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi ensures the best balance of range and speed for your home when using wireless internet.