Icecrypt t2200

The T2200 is future-proofing defined. While most manufacturers are planning to follow-up their initial Freeview HD receivers with all-singing Freeview HD+ recorders, in the T2200's case, there's no need; the USB slot on its front fascia will, we're promised, soon be able to record programmes from the TV tuner to memory stick or external hard drive.

Better still, the box is fitted with an Ethernet LAN port, so could indulge in on-demand services – such as BBC iPlayer – when Freeview gets the go-ahead to carry such services, probably in 2011.

These will all require software upgrades, unlike the USB port's current ability to play DivX and even DivX HD files – a rare skill indeed for a set-top box.

We liked:

Although the EPG is an acquired taste, it's well-presented, colourful and quick to use – there's no annoying stalling or freezing common to some Freeview decoders.

Well made and sporting excellent picture quality – especially from the HD channels – the T2200 promises much for the future, but also delivers in the here and now. DivX playback on a digital TV receiver is almost unheard of, and the T2200's ability to play DivX HD files is going to win it a lot of fans sick of using their games consoles or media streamers to watch MKV and other digital files.

We disliked:

The remote is basic and not very imaginatively designed, though it's as functional as it needs to be. We'd like to see a second USB on the rear panel for use with an external hard drive – it would make for a far tidier setup. Our only other minor complaint is about the promised Freeview HD recording software update … we want it now! That would truly give the T2200 the leg-up on its rivals.

Verdict:

A powerful and future-proof Freeview HD receiver that handles hi-def from both DVB-T2 broadcasts and DivX HD files could be hard to resist for many after pin-sharp World Cup action, but the T2200 will keep on giving.

As if the promise of iPlayer and USB recording was not enough, the appearance of two CI slots for pay TV viewing cards make this the ideal Freeview HD box considering the likely appearance of Sky Sports channels on the Top-Up TV service.

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