I guess that they won't be adding new channels very often after settling down so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. It also lets beta testers trail the new sites without letting the rest of the universe onto something that may crash.Not without modifying the firmware no.
As the box is loading the webpage locally and only downloading the images, redirecting won't make any difference.
This also means any new channels they add to the portal will require a firmware update. Seems a bit of a daft way to do it, but I suppose they are factoring in the security issues that a redirect could pose.
What evidence do you have for this assertion? Humax themselves are reported to have said that when Sky Player becomes available it will "automatically appear on the TV portal page" (without needing a firmware upgrade).Not without modifying the firmware no.
As the box is loading the webpage locally and only downloading the images...