The guide looks dull, but it does feel very responsive and has a neat Quick Navigation feature that lets you jump between days with the up and down buttons while moving the time slot with the left and right buttons. Pressing the red button switches to a vertical list view and hitting the blue button takes you to the 'find' function that lets you search for programmes by name.
Instead of using the full guide, you can switch between programmes with the channel list view or by using the excellent 'now and next' function that lets you skip forward and back through a whole day's worth of shows.
There are more free-to-air channels available than freesat has put in its programming guide; if you're feeling brave, you can do a manual tune to pick these up. Extra channels of interest include LUXE TV in high definition, Sky News, CNN, the Flaunt music channel and BET. These are placed in a separate EPG, but you can switch between freesat and non-freesat modes in the main menu.
All freesat boxes have to include an Ethernet socket on the rear for use with future IPTV services and the Foxsat-HD is no different. Currently this is unused, but the technical bods at freesat told us that they expect to have IPTV services such as the BBC's iPlayer running by the end of the year. They also confirmed that this box would definitely receive a software update to make it compatible with these future services, so your investment should be well protected.
We only have a few minor niggles with the box, although the first concerns the remote. The layout feels cluttered and we don't like the way the volume and channel change buttons are positioned horizontally. We would've preferred to have them mounted vertically like on most other remotes.
The other issue is over how the guide works. freesat has stipulated that when you open the guide it must first show a genre menu. However, on the Foxsat-HD, this is displayed as a pop-up box that sits on top of the main guide. The problem is that it looks more like an alert box you'd get in Windows. Thankfully, Humax has told us this is going to be changed to a standalone page that you will see before entering the main guide, bringing it into line with the other freesat receivers we saw at the launch of the service.
Not everything is rosy cheeks and candy floss with the freesat service either. The lack of Channel 5 is disappointing at launch and ITV HD hasn't gone live yet -- it's expected to do so soon. Also, because freesat has rewritten the interactive spec to speed things up, this does mean that some services aren't yet fully supported. So even though the Foxsat-HD is much faster than Sky or Freeview boxes when dealing with interactive content, you're currently left without some services, such as the multi-screen view on BBC News 24.
The Foxsat-HD may be one of the first freesat box to hit the market, but it already feels like a mature product. It's fast, user friendly and offers great picture quality, but manages to pack all this into a compact and stylish box. We just wish there were more HD channels available on freesat to take advantage of its high-definition capabilities.
Edited by Shannon Doubleday