What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 18 Jun 2010, 9:00am

Icecrypt T2200

Tested at £160
80100
4

The Icecrypt has its moments but can’t upset the very best boxes at this price

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For

  • Extensive file support via USB
  • laudable picture quality

Against

  • Doesn’t sound the greatest
  • fiddly remote control
  • no DD 5.1 sound

Looking at the T2200 brings back fond memories. The design appears to be a throwback to the cable boxes that were handed out by the likes of NTL and Telewest when high-definition Later with… was just wishful thinking.

It's fair to assume that Icecrypt isn't a brand that many readers will be overly familiar with, yet if we told you that the internals of the box have been designed by the chaps at Topfield, then perhaps that would help ease any hesitancy. They've produced some great set-top boxes over the years.

Furthermore, the T220 provides you with all the inputs you'd expect from such a machine, including HDMI and optical digital outputs together with a couple of Scarts, ethernet and USB connections.

The Icecrypt's ethernet socket doesn't offer any streaming functionality at present but the unit's USB input (beneath the light-grey flap on the fascia) is already compatible with a whole host of media files including MKV and DivX.

We've also been informed that there's an update in the pipeline that will make the T2200 ‘PVR Ready' whereby you'll be able to record programmes on to a USB memory stick or external hard drive.

Tidy, attractive and straightforward

Switch it on, and you're welcomed by a tidy user interface that uses attractive icons and a straightforward automatic set-up system.

But despite our fondness for the Icecrypt's on-screen menus, the accompanying remote does its best to undermine the whole experience.

Whereas other boxes provide an intuitive control, Icecrypt's offering is swamped by an overwhelming array of small buttons that just make for a cramped and confusing layout.

There's a lot to like about the T2200's picture. Watch an HD MKV file of Doctor Who on BBC1 HD and skin tones and costume textures appear natural and realistic.

The edges of the Tardis aren't drawn quite as sharply as they are with other comparably priced boxes, but the image remains highly watchable, even when you switch to the standard-definition version of the programme.

No Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
Sound quality doesn't offend. The treble has a smoothness that mask edginess but also dumbs down dynamics

One thing to note: like quite a few of the current Freeview HD boxes, it won't transcode the multichannel AAC sound on BBC Freeview HD broadcasts to Dolby Digital 5.1, so you'll only get stereo sound if you hook it up via the optical digital connection to your home cinema amp (more details here).

Weigh up the pros and cons of the T2200 and it does more than enough to break through the four-star barrier. Functional but not quite fantastic.

See all  our Freeview receiver reviews

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