My review of the IceCrypt T2400 Freeview HD PVR has now been published on Register Hardware. Here I’m going to add a few more bits of information, which couldn’t all be fitted in the space I had over on RH.
Firstly, the overall summary – I gave the unit 70%, because I think it’s pretty much as good as the Digital Stream, to which I gave 75%, and adds media playback facilities that the Digital Stream doesn’t have at the moment. But, set against that, it has an EPG that is rather flawed, in my view, and doesn’t support Dolby Digital transcoding.
Now, that may change in future – I know that the people at IceCrypt understand the importance of this – but it’s not yet a firm commitment, and as I’ve said many times before, it really makes sense to buy a product on what you know it does now, rather than what you hope it will do, if it gets an update at some unspecified time in the future.
For those who want to know, the review was written based primarily on firmware version 1.04.4A, loader 1.02, Micom 1.24.00, though I’ve had a pretty steady stream of firmwares since the box arrived in November, and already have another one (1.04.6A) to install.
There are a few other impressions of the T2400 that I want to jot down, in no particular order.
First, the remote; one other reviewer didn’t like this, but actually I find the positive click of the buttons as you press them quite good. It’s not a full universal remote, but it can control your TV – the manual (which I’ve linked to below) has a table of codes in the back.
There are a couple of niggles around how the remote is used, though, which I hope will be addressed soon. To jump around using the yellow ad-skip button, you have to bring up the progress bar, which you do with the navigation keys; that’s fine, as it’s only two presses to skip the ad break – up, then yellow. But if you press pause, you can’t jump without pressing play first, which I find a little irksome. That might not bother everyone of course, but I find it’s quite a common thing for me to want to do – for example, the ads come on, so I press pause, pop to the kitchen for a drink, and when I come back I want to jump past the ads and carry on watching. Ideally I’d like to press the yellow button and have play resume. But it doesn’t – you have to press play first, and then yellow, and those two buttons are quite a long distance apart.
A very nice touch, which I’m afraid I omitted from the RegHardware review, is the handling of Audio Description. There’s a dedicated button for this, and it’s the bottom left, so very easy to find by touch. And there’s an audible signal too, with two tones when it’s turned on, and a single one when it’s turned off, so even if you can’t see the screen display, you know whether you’ve set it the way you want.
It’s worth talking a little about the media playback in the box, as it works in a way that will be unfamiliar to many people. You’ll need to go to the Advanced menu, and there are two relevant sections.
The ‘Media Settings’ menu allows you to say how much of the hard drive should be reserved for media files – the default is 10% You can also set the slide show time, and registration for DivX files (not that I’ve ever found anyone who needed that).
The Network setting screen is the important thing in terms of transferring media to your unit; the default setting seemed to be ‘Manual’ rather than ‘DHCP’ so you’ll need to change that, and you may want to restart the PVR. Go back into the menu and you’ll see the IP address that’s been allocated by your router. You need to make a note of this – in the case of my unit, it’s 10.0.1.26.
To connect to the unit you need to either use an FTP program (there’s a command line one built into the Mac, for example, as shown in the screen) and connect to the IP address; you can just press enter when asked for a name – it doesn’t matter, as the PVR only accepts anonymous logins.
For a command line FTP program, you’d type (replacing my IP address with the one of your T2400)
Then you could type dir to see a list of the files you’ve stored, as in the screen – though note that only the .divx, .avi and .mkv files will appear when you browse media on the box.
Mac users can mount the drive in the finder by pressing Apple/Command-K and entering the server address ftp://10.0.1.26 then pressing Enter and selecting ‘Guest’ as the logon type. You’ll then be able to drag files into the PVR window.
In Windows XP, you can type ftp://10.0.1.26 into the Open box on the Start menu, while in Vista and Win 7 just type that into the search box, and press Enter.
As I mentioned in the review, you can’t transfer recorded programmes from the unit via FTP. You can copy to a USB drive (FAT32 formatted), but only SD programmes – HD can’t be exported from the box.
As the screenshot shows, when you copy a recording, you actually end up with a several files, in a folder that’s named (more or less) for the programme name. I recorded a concert listed in the EPG as ‘Bruce Springsteen: Darkness …’ and it shows up in the list on the T2400 as ‘Bruce Springsteen_Darkness___’. Copy to a USB drive and what you end up with is a folder named 000&&Bruce Springsteen_ Darkness___, which contains the list of files shown in the screenshot. The .TRP file is the actual broadcast programme, and plays in MPEG StreamClip and VLC on the Mac, so should play fine with VLC on Windows too (though my version of VLC did display an error message, it still played fine).
I’ve not analysed all the files that are exported, but the .TH0 file contains the programme description from the EPG.
One of the quirks I mentioned in the RegHardware review is pausing radio – that’s something that you can’t do. In fact, it looks as if the hard drive is powered down when you switch to radio mode, unless you’re recording something.
If you want to be able to pause the radio, then you need to start recording – and remember that pressing the Record button only records up to the end of the current programme – and then go to the file list, and start playing from there. You can then pause, rewind and do whatever else you want to, but unless you set a very long recording, it’ll only work until the end of the current programme, when the recording stops, and you’ll be taken back to the live broadcast.
Another little oddity, though not one that will affect many people, I think, is that it appears you can only start one instant recording at a time. So you can’t press record while watching TV, switch to another channel and press record again to start recording that one. Dual records set by timers work just fine (and as with the other Korean boxes, like Topfield, Humax and Digital Stream, you can watch any channel available on the multiplexes being recorded).
So, that’s more or less it – I’ll be playing a little more, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them here, or in the thread over at AV Forums.