Humax Aura – single-box for TV recording & video streaming

The Humax Aura offers a variety of functionalities that cater to different individuals, and its pricing seems to be attractive to a wide range of customers. Its primary use is as a Freeview Play recorder, equipped with various internal storage options capable of capturing hours of live television in Full HD and standard definition.

Moreover, the Aura features the Android TV platform, enabling it to function as a Chromecast device with added benefits. This means you can access over 5000 apps and streaming services, delivering an abundance of 4K content to your television or projector. Additionally, the device includes USB ports, support for hi-res audio, and 3D home cinema codecs, allowing you to utilize it for local playback of film files. It truly offers a multitude of capabilities.

Humax Aura
Humax Aura

In terms of pricing, the Humax Aura comes in two models: the 1TB variant priced at £249, which can store up to 250 hours of HD or 500 hours of SD programming, and the 2TB model priced at £279, offering storage for up to 500 hours of Full HD or 1000 hours of SD programming.

Physically, the Aura is a compact box measuring 26cm by 20cm, occupying a similar space to your Wi-Fi router. Its glossy black body features an LED strip underneath that changes color, indicating its power status and whether it’s recording or in standby mode.

While the Aura impresses with its front-end design, the back of the device is where the real business happens. It provides a single HDMI 2.1-out port, along with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 (Type A) sockets for local media connectivity. Additionally, there’s an optical audio-out port and a LAN connection for those who prefer using a wired connection instead of relying on 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi.

The Aura’s remote control is fully equipped with dedicated buttons for all essential functions, including shortcuts to streaming services, recordings, the TV guide, the Freeview Play platform, and the Android TV homepage. To utilize the Google Assistant voice system, the remote needs to be paired with the Aura box via Bluetooth.

Thanks to its three Freeview Play tuners, the Humax Aura grants access to over 70 non-subscription live TV channels and over 20,000 hours of on-demand entertainment through catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, and My5. These tuners also allow you to pause, rewind, and record up to four channels while simultaneously watching a fifth live channel.

Unlike its predecessor, the FVP-5000T, the Aura lacks a built-in app for streaming live TV or recordings from the box to other devices within your home. However, Humax has announced plans to add DLNA support to the Aura through a future firmware update. In the meantime, the Aura mobile app serves as a convenient tool, providing a comprehensive view of the electronic program guide (EPG) on your mobile screen. With the app, users can schedule recordings, watch saved content, and even enjoy live TV on their mobile devices, making it ideal for keeping up with shows like Countdown while making a quick tea break.

The Humax Aura enhances its big-screen experience with the inclusion of Android TV, granting access to approximately 5000 apps available through Google Play. This encompasses popular subscription services like Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, as well as UK-specific apps such as BT Sport and UKTV Play.Humax Aura

To play local media or connect a NAS drive from your home network, you’ll need to download third-party apps like VLC or Plex. With support for 4K HDR (HDR10 and HLG) and 3D audio codecs, the Aura has the potential to deliver excellent performance when playing high-quality movie files.

The combination of a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU and 3GB RAM ensures a snappy and cohesive user experience. From the responsive remote to the on-screen navigation, the device caters to your commands smoothly.

However, the integration of Freeview Play and Android TV 9.0 proves to be a bit challenging. Each platform has its own home page experience, creating confusion for users about which one to use. Some apps are available on both platforms, while others are exclusive to one. Additionally, each platform has its own settings menus. Although the remote shortcuts provide some convenience, the poor integration of the two interfaces remains a notable drawback.

Nevertheless, the Aura’s compromise of sacrificing a touch of detail for better blending seems like a well-considered decision by Humax. The resulting visuals showcase a natural aesthetic, with the bright blue TV shelf exhibiting a sense of complexity. When upscaled to 4K, the picture feels believable and offers a pleasing viewing experience.

When switching to SD content, such as the BBC News channel, the Aura’s slightly softer approach alleviates the harshness and blockiness typically associated with low-resolution content. It smooths out unwanted edges and adds subtlety to clothing colors and skin tones, enhancing the overall visual quality.

One minor downside is the complexity of the dynamic range and refresh rate content matching system, which may not be user-friendly for everyone. Incorrect settings can result in juddery motion and jumping streams. While adjustments can be made using the remote during viewing, it is not an easy task. Ideally, the Aura should have an automatic matching feature similar to quality standalone streamers.

Humax Aura
Humax Aura – photos Humax

In terms of sound, the Aura delivers a spacious and immersive experience, particularly with vocals and guitars. The acoustics of the recording room are captured exceptionally well, and the instruments exhibit dynamic range and character. The music feels complete, and the excitement is maintained throughout. While some streamers at this price range may offer slightly crisper rhythm, they often sacrifice the Aura’s level of excitement.

The Humax Aura performs its primary function admirably as an excellent Freeview recorder, supporting both Full HD and standard definition. It features an easy-to-use TV guide, ample storage space, and convenient remote recording capabilities. However, compared to its predecessor, the Aura falls short in delivering the promised extras effectively, despite the higher price tag.

The omission of the most popular app and the subpar handling of streamed TV and film content are notable issues. The inclusion of the Android TV platform also slightly compromises the overall user interface experience.

Download the Aura app to a compatible smart device and stream Live TV or recordings around the house.

Set reminders, schedules and recordings through the Humax Aura App, or download recordings straight to your device to take on the go.

Available for both Android & iOS.

For those seeking a comprehensive and superior performance, opting for the cheaper but still impressive Humax FVP-5000T alongside a separate Google Chromecast with Google TV is a better alternative. This combination provides a more complete smart offering with improved picture quality.

Nevertheless, if you prefer a single-box solution for TV recording and video streaming, the Humax Aura remains a solid choice.Humax Aura

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