Humax T2500 TiVo Series2 Digital Video Recorder

To the uninitiated, TiVo owners can seem a bit cultlike. And if you're still living in the Dark Ages of analog tape recording, having yet to experience the divine Renaissance afforded by the video hard-disk recorder, or HDR, then the devotion might seem a bit absurd.

Fast Facts

DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 15 x 3 x 11 3/4 inches PRICE $699 plus $12.95 a month for TiVo service or $299 for the life of the recorder MANUFACTURER Humax, humaxusa.com, 866-486-2987

Key Features

• 250-gigabyte hard drive for up to 300 hours of recordings at Basic quality • TiVo interface including Wish List, Season Pass, and TiVo Suggestions • Can share programs with another TiVo through a home network • Can play music or display photos from networked computers • inputs and outputs composite/S-video with stereo audio inputs, 2 sets of A/V outputs; RF (antenna) in/out; 2 USB ports; infrared and serial control jacks; telephone jack for modem

I, too, used to be a skeptic, listening in silence as people gushed about TiVo's fabulous capabilities: "You can pause and rewind live TV!" and "It records all of your favorite shows - automatically!" But now, after living with one for the past few weeks, I get it. TiVo is not merely a piece of gear - it's a cultural phenomenon.

The recorder I used, the Humax T2500, has a 250-gigabyte (GB) hard drive and boasts the highest capacity of any TiVo recorder currently available: up to 300 hours at the lowest-quality setting. Don't feel bad if you haven't heard of Humax (I hadn't), but the Korean company has been around since 1989 and is one of the world's largest makers of digital satellite TV receivers.

SETUP Installing the T2500 was straightforward thanks to the clearly written owner's manual. A big plus is that just about everything you need for basic hookup is included. You don't get a two-way cable splitter, but you'll need that only if you want to watch one live show while recording another since the T2500 has only one tuner.

A phone connection is required for the initial setup, which takes about 30 minutes. This includes telling the unit about your cable provider, the channels you receive, how your system is connected, and so on. Then you wait 4 to 8 hours for TiVo to download program information. humax t2500 back

I used an S-video cable to connect my cable box to the T2500. The only other con nection options are composite-video via stand ard RCA jacks or an RF (antenna) input. There are only analog audio inputs and outputs - disappointing since many movies on HBO and other channels have Dolby Digital surround sound you can enjoy only with a digital audio connection.

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