The appeal of free-to-view TV platforms is obvious, but 2010's addition of hi-def channels in the shape of Freeview+ HD is starting to convince Sky and Virgin subscribers that there is another way.
The Freeview+ HD recorder has been blossoming of late with tempting boxes from the likes of Humax and Philips, but Icecrypt's imminent follow-up to the T2200 receiver has gone one-up on its rivals by including a 1TB hard drive on the T2400 as standard – and a Western Digital Green Drive, at that.
As well as storing recordings (a stunning 250 hours of HD or 500 hours of SD), that HDD can pause live TV and store other digital files. Both 500GB (£309.95) and even 2TB (£TBC) versions will also be available, the latter in 2011.
The back of the T2400 presents more evidence that this is a serious candidate.
Two Scarts are joined by outputs for HDMI and composite video, while audio-only feeds can travel via its analogue stereo audio outputs or an optical digital audio cable.
Makers Turbosat has confirmed to us that the T2400 is not able to transcode HE-AAC (the compressed audio stream that Freeview HD uses) to Dolby Digital – though this may be rectified by a firmare update in the future.
This transcoding will become a mandatory for all Freeview HD equipment as from April next year, but for now the only option now for those with a home cinema is to engage the Dolby Digital Pro-logic II mode on their AV amplifiers, which will create something akin to surround sound.
Back there we also spotted an Ethernet LAN port and a USB slot, both of which can play the likes of DivX and MP3 files from an external USB drive, respectively.
Home networking will be introduced to the T2400 experience, though not in time for the initial sale date; the early review sample we're looking at here is still being tweaked before going on sale very soon.