I've had my Humax 1000S Freesat+ box for just over a year now and now that the warranty has expired, I thought I'd have a poke around inside and see what I could see.
The first thing I spotted was some unpopulated UART connectors. I got my scope out and had a probe about but there didn't seem to be any obvious UART data coming down the Tx lines, so left them for the minute to see what else I could fiddle with.
According to various forums, the recordings partition on this box is luks encrypted, but I thought I'd remove the drive, blow the dust off my Gparted boot CD (yes, CD), stick the drive in my PC and see what I could see.
Oh. The disk seems to consist of three bog standard ext3 paritions. Clearly /dev/sda2 is the partition used for recordings. No encryption here then!
Encouraged by this I tried to mount the drive. Sure enough, all the recordings were visible on the drive. Each recorded TV show appears to consist of 3 or 4 files, an hjm, hts, nts and optionally a png. Presumably the png is the thumbnail that is generated by the box for each recording. Based on filesize, the hts file is the actual video.
A guy called raydon did some excellent analysis of the sidecar files on the Humax Foxsat HDR (the predesesser to this box) and I'm sure the sidecar files present on the HDR 1000S won't differ much from the ones on the HDR.
I decided to copy off a couple of recordings - one episode of Blackadder, which was recorded in SD and an episode of I'm a Celebrity (don't judge me), recorded in HD. You can see my process below - I simply mounted my ext3 USB stick, mounted the Humax partition and copied the files across. Click the image to enlarge it.
After copying the files across I put the drive back into my PVR, hoping that I hadn't accidentally done something silly to the drive and erased all the quality reality TV that I had recorded.
Phew! All still there! As you can see from this A-Z listing, I'm a Celebrity has disappeared. Let's hope it's safe on my USB drive.
I put the 1000S back into my PC and copied back my Blackadder and I'm a Celeb recordings... (click to enlarge)
Unmounted, disconnected, put it back into my PVR, aaaand...
Hooray! I'm a Celebrity is back! As you can see, my 'space used' has increased from 17% to 18% too.
So, to summarise, it is certainly possible (at least on my box!) to archive off your recordings, freeing up space on your PVR. The recordings partition is not encrypted.
It's possible that the drives were shipped encrypted but a firmware update meant that any drive formatted from that point on was unencrypted (perhaps as a result of this), so if you try this with your own drive and find that it is encrypted, then use the menu to format the drive and you'll almost certainly find that it isn't anymore. Obviously you'll lose your recordings when doing this though.
I'm carrying on with looking at the contents of the Humax filesystem and will post any interesting information here.
I'll make sure I make an image of my drive. That way I can still watch I'm a Celeb whilst working on it.