Hands-on review with the IceCrypt T2200 Freeview HD box
The kind people at Icecrypt gave me one of their brand new Freeview HD boxes on loan for a few weeks. This hands on review is a result of using the box as my primary viewing device, so you’ll hopefully get a good idea of how I found it and the good and bad features.
Summary: A worthy contender to knock the current most popular unit, the Humax HD-Fox T2, off its perch. Intuitive menus, quick, responsive operation, and with the soon-to-be-added recording feature, has some nice add-on features to boot.
Like: small form factor, slick operation, excellent menus and EPG, USB media support, competitively priced, ethernet port for future use and TopUp TV compatible.
Could be better: slow to turn on, easier playback of multiple media files, slightly plasticky feel to remote.
Price: expect to pay around £150, use our Price Comparison to find the cheapest price.
Best Price: Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD Receiver & Media Player
Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD Receiver Review
Icecrypt T2200 Packaging and contents
This review device was sent to me by Icecrypt in dummy packaging, so it would be wrong to comment on the packaging and what will be included in the retail box. It’s a strange decision because even the dummy packaging looked good to me. Inside the box was the unit itself, a remote control (complete with batteries) and an HDMI cable. There were no instructions, however I am told these are currently being revised and will be included in future shipments.
Physically, the very first thing that caught our attention was just how compact this unit is. Much smaller than a Sky box or Freeview recorder, it is however still slightly larger than some of the standard definition Freeview boxes that are available.
Sockets & Connections
Setting up the IceCrypt T2200
The very first time I turned on our T2200, I was presented with a sleek menu interface – minimalistic with no text, and with a very web-esque feel to it with large, clear icons. Using the remote, you are able to scroll left and right, with the appropriate labels appearing when you hover over one of the icons.
As with all TV devices, the first thing to be done was to setup the channels. Going in to the setup screen allows you to start a manual or automatic scan, where you can choose to select either DVB-T (standard definition Freeview) or DVB-T2 (Freeview HD) tuners. Alternatively, choosing the automatic search scans for channels on both. Our search took around 5 minutes, and found the full compliment of Freeview channels (both television and radio).
The basic operation of the unit is very simple, with power on/off and channel up/down buttons on the unit itself, with the remaining functions controlled by the remote. Turning the unit on takes a seemingly long time – between 15-20 seconds, during which time ‘boot’ is displayed on the LCD. I don’t even consider myself to be impatient, but it did feel like a long time and became frustrating when you are trying to turn the TV on quickly to catch the end of the news for example. Once it is on, operation is speedy, with channel changes happening almost as soon as the buttons are pressed, menu screens loading in a flash and paging through the EPG is a breeze.
Both HD channels (BBC and ITV) worked very well – a clear improvement on the standard definition Freeview channels, which I thought were already very good. In my personal opinion, I don’t watch enough television to warrant paying for a Sky subscription just to get HD for a couple of channels. However, now that it is available free of charge over the Freeview network, especially with the World Cup in HD on BBC and ITV this summer, I would definitely go out and buy a Freeview HD box just for that.
The electronic programme guide on the T2200 is very easy on the eye, and conveniently jumps to the channel you are currently viewing when you load it up. Icecrypt have obviously put a lot of effort in to making this user friendly, with the green and yellow buttons used to skip back and forward a day at a time, and the << and >> buttons used to page up and down through the channels. Using the directional arrows on the control you can navigate your way through the programmes, and hovering over a programme brings the details up at the bottom of the screen.
If you don’t want to use the full EPG, there is also the ‘now and next’ on screen display which takes up a small band at the bottom so you can still watch TV while scanning whats on next. Again you can use the directional arrows to scroll through and the ‘information’ button brings up the full description. Whichever way you prefer, between the now and next and the EPG, the T2200 will not disappoint.
The unit has a small display on the front, which is used to show the channel number. When you turn the unit off, it does briefly show the time on the display, but this disappears after just a few seconds, presumably to save power. It is possible that this can be changed in the settings somewhere, but if you can, I couldn’t find it.
Media Player – audio and video playback from USB 2.0 storage
Recording to USB storage
Auto-power off power-saving feature
If you are more organised about going to sleep, there is a sleep timer which allows you to programme the device to turn off at a set time between 0 and 120 minutes in advance, in 10 minute increments. Working in reverse, the unit has an excellent timer feature that allows you to use your box as an alarm clock. Via the remote control, you can configure numerous different timers to work concurrently, each with different settings. Within each timer event, you have the ability to choose to turn on the box to and specific TV or radio station, how frequently the event occurs and at what time (with options for a one-off, each weekday, weekends, weekly or plain and simple every day). As you can configure as many timers as you like, it gives great flexibility. You could therefore set it to turn on the radio Monday-Friday at a certain time, and then turn on the TV each Saturday at a completely different time. The only area where I can see room for improvement would be to set the volume at turn-on – as it stands, it seems to start with the volume at the same level as it was the last time it was on. So you could have had the volume quite low when going to bed, but then it may not be loud enough to wake you up in the morning! The only other slight concern is that the TV I tested it with did not have a wake-up facility, and therefore this feature was completed wasted! Some TVs now have an auto-on function when it detects an active input (i.e. from the Freeview HD box turning on) but mine unfortunately doesn’t!
Multiple Favourites List
While many people often comment about the favourites lists on many models, it has never been a feature that would be a deal-breaker for me. However, if you are someone who likes a favourite list, Icecrypt have added this too. You can actually have as many favourites lists as you like, with the ability to rename each one – perhaps one for each person in the house. When adding channels to your favourites list, you can use the up and down arrows to manually select channels from the list, or you can simply type in the channel number – great when one of your favourites is Sky Sports News on channel 83!
Common Interface (CI) Slots & TopUp TV
A feature which started appearing on even the first Freeview boxes was the ability to add a TopupTV Cam (conditional access module). While the services offered by TopUp TV haven’t exactly set the world on fire, a ruling by Offcom in early 2010 means that soon we should be able to get Sky Sports 1 and 2 also via TopUp TV. Currently you can get ESPN for £9.99 per month, which shows some Premiership football, and there are some early suggestions that you will be able to get Sky Sports 1 and 2 as well as ESPN for around £20 per month. Whether or not this will include Sky Sports 1 HD isnt clear (unlikely I would suggest), however, it is a good start. So if this appeals to you, make sure your next Freeview HD Box has a CI slot. Also, if you are buying the Icecrypt, if you buy from Turbosat (available through the Amazon marketplace) you will get the ESPN CAM (the card bit) free of charge and your first month free too. (Normally £9.99 for the CAM).
Ethernet port for Internet connectivity
Included on this model, as with most of the other Freeview HD boxes, is an RJ45 (ethernet) port for connection to your home router and internet. While there is no functionality to make use of this connection as yet, I would anticipate this could allow access to the like of BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Sky Player etc,
Icecrypt T2200 Price Comparison
Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD Box Photo Gallery
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