Icecrypt t2200

Maybe it's sheer processing power, or perhaps it's because the digital signal in our test area has strengthened since the analogue switch-off, but the T2200 finds – and holds – a lot more Freeview channels than we'd experienced before.

Its Freeview HD/DVB-T2 tuner is highly sensitive, and its search for both standard definition and HD channels takes just a couple of minutes. In our test, all Freeview HD channels available were tuned-in, and presented in the correct order.

The efficiency of its DVB-T2 tuner proves typical of the way the T2200 behaves; kudos goes to Icecrypt not just for its impressive haul of features and future-proof possibilities, but also for the way they're delivered. It's largely down to an excellent user interface, a 32-bit high resolution on-screen display befitting a receiver with hi-def status.

HD performance

Turn to channel 50 – BBC HD – and it's obvious why the devices like the T2200 are in high demand.

We watched the BBC's Life output in 1080p resolution to a Full HD plasma telly; even though the programme itself is broadcast in 1080i (you won't find 1080p transmissions on any HD broadcast platform for a very long time), the picture does look better if you let the T2200 output in its maximum resolution.

As a polar bear and its cubs trudge across the ice, the T2200 brings out some good levels of close-up detail and, most impressively, contrast between peak bright whites of the snow and the darker shades of the sky and mountains. A cinematic picture is the result, while a blast of Champions League footie from ITV 1 HD impresses, particularly with its detail and brightness.

SD upscaling

The T2200 also does a decent job of upscaling the rest of the standard definition channels, and though a bright and clean picture is always present, they necessarily don't sparkle anywhere near as much as pictures from BBC HD and ITV 1 HD.

ITV is dotted with MPEG blocking, but how much you notice that depends on how big your TV is; if anything, it lends weight to the argument that Freeview HD is essential if you've a big-screen TV (Freeview currently recommends a 28-inch screen or higher for HD, though we're not sure why; we've not seen a 28-inch TV since the days of cathode ray tube TVs).

Meanwhile, a selection of movie trailers downloaded in DivX HD format (MKV files) are played from a USB stick in spectacular fashion. Detail levels are high and images are clean, and while there's very little motion blur, slow camera pans do involve a modicum of stepping.