Updating the software on a Humax PVR

A couple of weeks before Christmas, my wife expressed an interest in getting “on of those video recorder things” (and she didn’t mean a VHS recorder) as only I could work the Mac hooked up to the TV with BBC iPlayer on it (and anyway, iPlayer can be a little unreliable at times).  Realising that this was effectively a green light to purchase a gadget, I suggested that, if we were to get a personal video recorder (PVR), then Christmas would be the time when we would get a lot of use from it and I began to research the options.

We use digital terrestrial TV (Freeview) after an earlier attempt to use FreeSat became unreliable, and I knew that the Humax PVRs boxes were the ones to go for so, after a little crowdsourcing on Twitter, some Googling for reviews (like the one from Radio and Telly) and a shufti at the Which reviews, I decided to purchase a Humax PVR-9300T (the 320GB model was £169 at John Lewis although the price has since risen – other retailers may have been less expensive but I called the store to check/reserve stock and collected it within an hour or so of purchase).  Basically, this gives me two Freeview tuners so I can record on two channels and watch a third (as long as it’s on the same multiplex as one of the two that are recording) or play back something from the hard drive.

After two weeks of using it, I have to say that the 9300T has been great and I can’t believe we waited so long with a broken VCR and iPlayer.  Sure, the UI could be spruced up, but it seems to be functional and, most importantly, it’s easy for consumers to navigate (my wife is no technophobe but complexity is not good when you’re rushed off your feet with two small children and you just want to record/watch something on the telly); however I was disappointed to find that it locked up occasionally, requiring a power reset and sometimes resulting in missed recordings.

Checking the software version in the system status, I found that my PVR was running an old release (UPTTF 1.00.15 Dec 17 2008) and that Humax had released an update (UPTTF 1.00.18 Nov 12 2009) which includes a resolution to an intermittent lockup issue.  Over the air (OTA) updates didn’t work for me – as the Digital TV Group’s engineering channel was not playing the Humax updates at the time so I downloaded the update from the Humax website, along with Humax’s download tool (WDN4OAK+).  I also needed to find an RS232C (9 pin female-female) null modem cable to transfer the software to the PVR and a laptop computer with a serial port (I could have purchased a USB to RS232 converter) as well as an operating system that would run the Humax download tool (the installer is a 16-bit application so it failed on Windows 7 but ran OK on XP).  Armed with the necessary hardware and software I then:

  1. Connected the RS232C cable to the PVR and the serial port (normally COM1) on the PC
  2. Installed and ran the Humax download tool (WDN4OAK+)
  3. Selected the software update – in this case it was apps(UPTTF_10018)_LDR(a4_37).hdf
  4. Clicked Download
  5. At this point, nothing happened (except that the downloader will wait for a request!) until I powered on/off the PVR to start the update process.  I didn’t think this was particularly clear in Humax’s instructions, which is why I’m repeating the steps here).
  6. Waited for the PVR to update (it’s important not to interrupt power at this point – to either the PC or the PVR) – a progress bar is displayed on the PC, and the PVR display will show END when it is complete.
  7. Power cycled the PVR once the update had completed and closed the download tool on the PC.

Ever since I applied the update (which was over a week ago now) the PVR-9300T has seemed to be more reliable (no more lock-ups) although I have to say that this process is probably far from simple for less tech-savvy users (but full marks to Humax for making the necessary software available for download).

10 thoughts on “Updating the software on a Humax PVR


  1. Hi Mark,

    Glad that you have resolved your issues and that you are happy with the product. Humax has committed to improving the products as best we are able.

    That update is as simple as practical with that generation of hardware, but our newest products actually make it much easier. All of our Freesat HD products can be updated from a typical USB flash key and our new Freeview HD product being sold soon will also support this method.

    I wish you the best for the future with your Humax product and welcome to the family!

    Regards,

    Bob from Humax UK


  2. Thanks Bob! Not sure I want to know that I’ve just purchased the outgoing model though ;-)

    Oh well, guess that’s the price you pay with technology (and my TV is not HD anyway!)


  3. Thanks for a great How-to Mark, but I cannot agree full marks to Humax. My recently purchased PVR is now “freezing up” the picture on my TV, so we need to disconnect it to watch anything. And their customer services tell me a new update will come through maybe in next two weeks!! Meantime I’ve to leave it on standby overnight. 0 out of 10 from me to Humax. I’m not techie minded enough to go through the procedure written up here. But then, why should I? Humax should sort it.


  4. @Bob Neely – I had similar problems to you with the old software, but, since updating, it’s been rock solid (so much so that I won’t be updating again!).

    Hopefully an over-the-air update will work for you. You don’t mention which model you have (mine is now an old one with no support for new features, like iPlayer integration :-() but it is a shame that Humax can’t help you out.


  5. Long time after your post I know but I have just inherited my mother’s Humax PVR 9150T and found the software was out of date. She bought it in Feb 2010 and the software dates from Jan 2010. There isn’t a DTG download available at the moment, so I decided to have a go with the PC route. Problem #001 I use a Mac mainly. No Mac app, #002 I do have a Windows laptop but it is Win7, #003 it needs a serial connection. Nothing in the house or possibly the street has one. A call to Humax was er…..disappointing ! No newer software than XP, no mac stuff (had to and ask) and no help with anything else really. So, I agree zero out of ten, and they were lucky to get zero, as someone else said.

    I picked up a lead from Amazon USB to RS232 with a gender changer, and set about it. I reckon the tool will work in any windows as I have run it in W7, and XP SP2 mode, even in Win 98 mode. Also my late mother’s Dell was pressed into service running XP.

    The result of all this? Zilch. Each time is the same, it just sits there waiting for a Humax connection. I notice that Mark’s did that too until cycled off and on. I’ll try once more but the instructions are poor.

    I cannot understand Humax’s stance at all. They keep referring to the age of the equipment. What? As far as I recall RS232 is a very old interface, and even USB has been around for about ten years. Windows 7 has been the current Microsoft OS for just about two years now. Mum’s machine is less than two years old, so why do they keep referring to it as an old machine? They are right in one respect, they have sold an obsolete design, with outdated support software, and a redundant interface. What more can one say? Could do better, a lot better, and that includes their so-called support. Oh and what about Mac users please?


  6. Have to agree with Stephen here… RS232 instead of USB in this day and age is ludicrous. Old PVR hardware – maybe by modern consumer electronics standards – but the reliance on even older computing interfaces and legacy software platforms is, arguably, worse.

    Creating a market to keep TV engineers in work, perhaps?


  7. I need to update my PVR9300 with the latest software and have not been successful using OTA. I was just looking at getting a cable and wanted to ask is it a really a null modem cable you need or a straight serial cable?


  8. I have just done the update with a usb to serial adapter and null modem female to female cable (it must be a null modem cable). Everything worked fine, and box seems solid at the moment.

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