PVR software beta for Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD box

When I first reviewed the Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD box for RegHardware, one of the promised features was an update to enable recording to USB hard drives. And now, I’ve managed to get my hands on a beta version of the firmware that makes it possible.

You’ll need a USB stick or external hard drive, and though the T2200 can play back from FAT-formatted devices, it can only record to those formatted using NTFS. While it can format a drive via the Installation menu (System Recovery / Format Hard Disk) it won’t do that if it doesn’t recognise the partitoning – in fact, the drive won’t even show up as available.

So, to re-use a drive that had been formatted using the Digital Stream PVR, for example, I had to delete the partitions and recreate them in Windows, before the T2200 would recognise the drive – but considering many other PVRs want drives formatted in Linux, that’s not a major worry.


Setting a recording is a simple matter; just highlight a programme in the EPG and press Record, or press OK twice (the first press sets a ‘pre-select’, which changes to the channel, but doesn’t record).

You can also do an instant record – just press the record button while watching TV, and it will run for the time specified in the Recordings menu. Press the button again and a pop-up allows you to specify a duration, or ‘after this programme’ or ‘after next programme.’

T2200 instant recording popup
Press Record a second time and you can easily alter the duration of an instant recording

There’s no series linking or automatic tracking of start and stop times at the moment, but you can set repeat recordings with options for every day, every weekday, every weekend, or weekly, and you can adjust start time and duration to give you a bit of leeway in case the schedules slip.

T2200 record settings
There's no series link, but there is a comprehensive range of repeat settings

The Recording menu in the settings section also allows you to turn on buffering, so you can rewind live tv for 30 minutes, 1 hours, or even up to five hours.

T2200 record settings
Timeshift can be switched off, or enabled - for up to five hours

Two other points worth mentioning: first, while recording you can watch another channel on the same multiplex, and second the box will record from standby, and then go back to sleep afterwards.

T2200 channel list
Watch one channel while recording another - the channels in white are available, others are on a different mux so can't be watched during recording

Playback features

During playback, you’ll find some useful features in common with Topfield’s PVRs. For example, type a two digit number, like 75, on the keypad, and playback jumps to the 75% position.

Pressing the play button brings up the on-screen progress bar. While this is displayed, you can use the |< and >| keys to jump to the start or end.

T2200 playback progress bar
The progress bar shows bookmarks; it's easy to navigate around a recording

Whether the progress bar is displayed or not, press green to set a bookmark, and yellow to jump to the next bookmark. If no bookmarks are set, then the yellow button will jump forwards 30 seconds. Fast forward doubles each time you press the button, up to 64x.

There’s a reasonable file browser – you can create folders, and move files to them, though the on-screen keyboard isn’t the easiest to use.

T2200 file browser
Recordings can be saved to an NTFS disk, and organised into folders - but they are encrypted

It’s worth noting that although the files are saved as .rec (which is the format used on Topfield PVRs), you won’t be able to play them on your PC. You can see them, but they’re encrypted, to comply with the Freeview HD content controls. Even SD recordings are protected at the moment, though perhaps that may change in future.

Installing the update

If you want to have a play, you can download the zip file for the update below. Note that it’s a beta test, so use at your own risk. Unzip the file and copy the TFD file onto a USB stick. Plug it into the T2200, and you should see an on-screen message telling you that a device has been connected – if not, try another USB stick; it worked for me with one formatted as FAT-16, but not as FAT-32.

When the stick has been detected, go to the main menu, select Installation, then Firmware Upgrade, and USB Firmware upgrade. The screen will show a file browser, and you should see the firmware file; select it and press OK to begin the update.

Click here for the T2200 beta firmware (zip)

307 Replies to “PVR software beta for Icecrypt T2200 Freeview HD box”

  1. Hi All,

    Whats the max size Hard disk/Stick anyones put on this kit? Waiting for my delivery of this and want to know what max size I can get before it might start locking up etc. ill get a seperatly powered one to be safe of course…


  2. Tthe size of Hard Drive seems to be whatever you can buy – I have a 2TB HDD, externally powered, which works fine. I don’t see the point of going any larger. I have 40 films (all .mkv HD) and 2 complete TV series (Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire) which take up 500GB of the drive so there’s plenty of capacity and scope for even more 🙂

  3. Just wanted to point out in case someone else is in similar situation I was after just buying one from Play.com with Firmware:

    Software Version: TF-TEST 1.04.00

    you still have to install the firmware linked in this post. I thought it shipped with the pvr function and tried for 2 days trying different USB sticks before realising the recording function wasn’t actually loaded on.

    Loving the unit so far. First time in 4 years since buying a HD TV I can actually watch a HD channel 🙂

  4. Just bought one of these from Turbosat, read all this thread before using. Downloaded and installed both firmware patches (recording patch second), turned off ‘interactive services’, turned on ‘active’ pass through and Voila! This box is an absolute little treasure.
    The freeview HD is absolutely fantastic, it records brilliantly (to both USB powered and AC powered drives),with no fuss setting up the recording, plays media files brilliantly (which is great for me as i’ve a massive collection of films on mkv).
    Will admit took me a little while to get used to the remote, but now no problems at all!!
    The media playback (video) is easily on a par with my WD HDTV player, which i can now re-use elsewhere in the house. Not too concerned over the audio as i only play it back via my TV (Pioneer Kuro 8G), as i don’t yet have a surround sound system, which sounds great.
    Easily the best bit of kit under £50 that i’ve ever bought and it’s saved me bundles as i was close to buying the new Sony 1TB Freeview HD PVR @ £299.99

  5. Yes it’s very good value for £60, but without any firmware updates we will increasingly be left behind. Apart from Freeview+ features like Series Record and accurate recording which would be very useful, the IPTV side of things is taking off now.
    Take a look at the new CH110, 11, 112 on MuxD which will operate over the net, and the BBC is sensibly enough following DBOOK 7 standards http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2011/08/bbc_iplayer_connected_tv.html

  6. My apologies if this is considered as blasphemy on this site but if you like the T2200 (as I did) it may be worth you investigating the Humax HD-Fox-T2. It can also record to a usb hard drive with the latest firmware and is available for around £90.

    Coming from a 2 tuner PVR, the only negative point of the HD-Fox-T2 (which also applies to the T2200) is that it only has 1 tuner – I’m surprised how lost I feel without 2 tuners.

  7. Hi – is it normal for these boxes to get quite hot? Mine feels like a radiator when its been on an hour or so and am slightly worried it will start to develop problems over the long term.

    Also one other question – the box I bought already had the pvr firmware already on it and I believe other people have bought the unit from Tesco with the sofware already updated so does that mean its now being officially supported by the manufacturer?


  8. Thanks Nigel. I was looking for a cheap Freeview HD Box. After reading this post, I download the Firmware then I ordered the box from Tesco Direct. I am more than happy with the product and even happier that with this firmware I have just recorded a program (in HD) and I am watching in now. Thanks a million + 1

  9. The Humax is indeed a very good box provided you are connecting to your TV via hdmi.
    My TV has the older DVI type input and the Humax refused to work with that and as if to rub salt into the wound randomly changes the scart output from RGB to composite!

    Also, the humax needs the disc drive to be in a Linux format for recording, making transferring other files onto the drive very awkward.

    Although the Icecrypt isn’t so advanced in some respects, it seems to suit my needs much better.

  10. Used to have a samsung tv connected to this, just recently changed it to an LG one, however the same thing occurs with both TV’s. When I set the box to record something and want to watch a different side to that recording which I can’t on the box. I switch to the freeview on the TV however certain channels I try to watch go all ‘blocky’ breaking up at times which is quite annoying. Usually end up watching the programme as can’t watch something else.

  11. Alan B I’m guessing that’s because the passthrough signal in the box isn’t boosted? If the freeview is sapping all the signal decoding the channel and then not boosting the channel back to it’s original level before passing it out again you’re going to get a weak signal going to the television. As I don’t have any freeview going into freeview I can’t test this to see if any boxes are better than others at boosting the out signal

  12. There shouldn’t be any “sapping” going on as such.

    Worth checking the Standby Mode is Active in the Menu.

    Also, I’ve experienced a nearby PC having this kind of effect on a marginal signal strength channel, some say this is due to the HDMI cable. But a freeview box shouldn’t generate RFI.

    It’s worth looking at the signal strength meter on the TV as you try different box settings, or switching the box or other devices on and off, or physically re-arranging them.

  13. Thanks Ash & James for your comments/advice, just about to go on Hols but will try when get back and report on findings.

  14. hiya,i hope someone can help i have done a retuned my Icecrypt T2200 and for some reasom am not getting bb1 bbc 2 bbc 3 & bbc news can some tell me why is this happing and can i fix it?

    many thanks


  15. Thanks for the upload NIgel, much appreciated. But I would like to know where/how you got it, and if they have any plans for regular firmware updates that we can download? Did you send them an email and they sent it to you?


    1. It came from the UK distributor, with whom I have a pretty good relationship, having worked with them for over five years on the Toppy.org.uk web site.

  16. I bought this box purely as a well priced HD Freeview receiver which was reviewed as doing what it was meant to. So;
    1. Huge credit must go to Nigel for bringing us this beta firmware to our attention.
    2. I can’t believe the gripes I’m reading about the PVR limitations – get real folks, this is a cheap receiver which has been tweaked to allow basic recording. It is NOT a PVR, it doesn’t have Freeview+… if you want one of those, go buy a box for a couple of hundred quid.

    I am blown away with the fact that this sixty quid box also fundamentally replaces my excellent WD-TV media player but records too!

    As for updates to the firmware to further improve functionality – why on earth would Topfield want to allow this box to compete against their core range?

  17. First a big thanks to Nigel and all the others for this informative set of posts !!!

    Had the Icecrypt T2200 for a week now and have been impressed by it’s media playing ability and now the ability to record with the firmware update.

    However I’ve just noticed (like another poster) that the SD BBC and ITV1 channels have lost their signal whilst HD ones are still good.

    This “may” be due to the imminent Freeview switchover for phase 1 in a few days here in the midlands but the TV and hard disk’s tuners have those channels fine and with a good signal 🙁

    Much weirdness I know but any thoughts welcome !!


  18. I think the problem is Stephen is although it now sells for 60, when it came out many like me paid closer to 150 pound (not exactly a cheap set top box). It was marketed as future proof, and all the reviewers seemed to have been informed that PVR functionality, iplayer capacity etc were all in the pipeline.

    While it is pretty much future proof hardware wise, that is little good when there are no corresponding official software updates.

    To make matter worse, if we get updates to fix some fairly serious issues (like I have to turn off interactive services to prevent the box stalling between HD and normal channels) we are likely to lose key features like being able to record.

    For 50/60 pound it is a great set top box, but for those that paid alot more it is a box that is unlikely to fulfill its potential

  19. Indeed, 11 months and no software updates. These are part of the deal with freeview boxes and the like, especially if you paid full price, and especially for ones still being sold.

    On http://www.icecrypt.com/downloads/viewcategory/5.html they update their other boxes from time to time but even Nigel doesn’t seem to be able to bring us any news from Icecrypt these days.

    1. The slightly odd situation with IceCrypt is that it’s not a manufacturing brand, it’s a marketing one. The brand belongs to Turbosat, and they use it on boxes that they select from various manufacturers.

      So, for instance, the T2400 PVR is made by a company called HomeCast, and their engineers have delivered updates including functionality such as Dolby transcoding.

      The T2200 is made by Topfield, of whose engineers I have a somewhat low opinion these days, certainly compared to their keenness when the TF5800 first appeared in the UK. I think as the specifications for the UK market have become more detailed, Topfield have become less willing to make the effort to comply fully with them

  20. Just experienced first major fault with this box and can’t seem to rectify it.
    Was fast forwarding through a programme recorded when it stopped and reverted back to the viewing channel mode. The box then turned itself off, then back on again and the following sequence displayed ‘LO1, Boot, Run’ and then is just hangs.
    Tried turning the box of by remote and a small dot appears on the display, then the standby light comes on but no clock display.
    The same sequence happens when turning back on, have turned off at mains overnight thinking this would reset the box however this morning the same still happens.
    I have had to unplug the arial cables and plug together as no display is reaching the tv at the moment.
    Does anyone know if there is a way to reset (I can only get a blank screen when ‘run’ is displayed and no functions work on remote)

    1. My first thought would be to put the firmware update from this page in a USB stick, plug that in, and then power up, and see if the loader is bright enough to spot it, and try re-flashing.

  21. UPDATE TO YESTERDAYS POST – Tried firmware update again, box seems to read USB stick (flashes) however still suck in a loop boot and run, TV changes from receiving no signal to a black background once run appears. Box then starts over again after about 15seconds doing the same loop. Only button that seems to do anything on remote appears to be the on/off one.
    looking like its replacement time under guarantee from shop.

  22. I’m afraid there are similar posts above and a replacement seems to be the only option. There does not seem to be a power-on hard factory reset in case it’s a corruption of settings data rather than a hardware fault. Probably worth buying a spare!

  23. Just to update, I risked getting a portable USB powered 320gb buffalo HDD to overcome my USB stick problems, and so far it’s working great. Was worried it wouldn’t have enough power, but as it’s a small laptop size disk all seems to be working well.

  24. I’ve had my box a couple of weeks and the record functionality has worked very well. You can even schedule a recording and leave the box in passive standby and it will boot up and record. Only two bugs of note; the estimated time left is wrong and the box will freeze randomly if interactive services is turned on.

    It is a huge shame about the encryption, although it is a legal requirement. When my warranty runs out I will open the box up and attempt to retrieve the key. The system’s OS is linux and hopefully it will be stored on a flash card inside I can just pull out and mount.

    Also to ask a question that was posed earlier and didn’t get an answer. Does anyone know how the box deinterlaces 1080i content? Some boxes use a quick and dirty method that effectively reduces the resolution down to 540p before upscaling back to 1080p.

  25. hi Nigel
    i have just bought this unit but im unable to use the USB. i have plugged my hard drive in but it is not showing up on the screen.
    Any ideas?

    1. What format is the hard drive in?

      Is it externally powered, or USB powered?

      Both these can have an effect on whether or not the drive will show up.

  26. Now call me dim, but I can’t find any way to rearrange the channels. Am I missing one or is this something it lacks? I know you can play with favourite lists, but I just want to swap the usurping channels from the new transmitter over to the old ones. Now I can get HD from the new transmitter, it’s also replaced my local channels with it’s local ones, which I don’t mind so much other than their signal strength being much lower.
    The other box we have in the house just replaces the ones you delete with any alternatives in the list, butt hat doesn’t seem to happen on the icecrypt.
    Other than making a favourite list or changing to channel 801 to watch my local bbc, is there a way I can get it onto channel 1?

  27. when I first got this unit I used a usb powered harddrive and it worked but if left for a while it powered off. I then grab a powered 2TB western digital from currys and I have had no problems since 🙂
    well apart from some recording’s ending too soon so I think it’s best to add time on .

  28. Hi Nigel

    I’m looking forward to, and praying for, a firmware update that would fix the MKV issues noted above and add more audio/video codec support to the Icecrypt media playback arsenal.

    Maybe I was hoping for too much from an abandoned product. HD is great and the PVR is a bargain extra, which I may use in the distant future, but media playback support would be much more appreciated, as it would save me having all those little boxes attached to my tv.

  29. I have also noticed that my T2200 has a tendency to randomly skip past a file that is part of a sequence of files being played. Pressing the previous button goes back to the skipped file, plays it perfectly and then continues playing the sequence as expected until another jump.

    File navigation is slower than Royal Mail.

  30. Hi Nigel

    I just bought a T2200 from Amazon and updated with your firmware.

    The Recording option in Settings is greyed out.

    When I try and record in EPG it only cycles to P (little round P in the name of the program on the EPG) and empty, not the record option.

    I updated the Firmware again and the same thing.

    Am I missing something?

    My USB stick is FAT32 and my usb HDD is FAT32 also.

    SW Version is TF-TEST 1.04.00 and device version v1.0.0


  31. aha .. it would help to read .. will format or create a new NTFS partition .. doh !!

    Let’s see how it goes .. 🙂

  32. In a bang of smoke my Icecrypt died last week. I have replaced it with a Humax T2 (£60 Humax direct) I have to say its a much better box (handles media better, Iplayer, DNLA, Photos etc).

    I know not much help for those with and icecrypt, but if your undecided or looking for another “PVR ready” device, I would strongly recommend the Humax instead.

  33. Andy,

    I had the same problem with an 8GB stick, but it worked fine with a blank 16GB stick, so it’s probably done to free space.

    1. The unit will reserve a fair bit of space for timeshift; and I think if you change the allocation it will affect the remaining space – but it’s also not very good at reporting things like this accurately, either.

      If there’s no timeshift option at all, then I would suspect that it can’t see enough space on the drive to even start recording. I’d try reformatting in that instance.

  34. I’m wondering if the write speed of the USB stick may affect the timeshift option if not just the space required? To note, my 32gb stick only registered as 9gb, so maybe 8gb is detecting as even less?

  35. I have read your report saying that VLC will play the Icecrypt T2200 .rec files, I’ve tried to play these files on my computer with the latest VLC update, however it will not play them, it does try you can see the hard drive light flickering as it tries to read it, I have also tried VideoReDo as suggested elsewere, but to no avail, I just get “no header file found”, I hope you are able to shed some light as to the reason this is so.
    Regards Bert.

  36. “VLC will normally play .rec files, but Freeview HD has content controls, which are there to stop high quality copies of programmes being uploaded to the net.
    The current recording software on the T2200, rather than just encrypting high def programmes, encrypts them all, and that is what makes them unplayable with VLC.” from Nigel

    So afaik you’re out of luck

  37. Thanks Ash, for reminding me about the T2200 recording everything (including copy protection) I do remember reading that on this site but had forgotten about it, That makes this T2200 almost useless to me, as I hate watching any interesting film or programme that is full of advertisements, so normally I just edit them out with VideoReDo, pity really because I think T2200 is good recorder for the money, I will continue to look for some method of editing these recordingsand if I do I will be back to make report.

  38. If you wanted to open up the box and find out whatever encyption ID is hidden in one of the chips onboard you may well be able to find a way to view them on your pc, but that all seems far more trouble than it’s worth to me

  39. is there any hope of a final /finished version?

    As said by some of the other people
    i emailed icecrypt and they said the had nothing to do with the software firmware.
    I am hoping to get one soon

  40. Still considering whether to buy the T2200. Anyone know whether it can be connected to the internet and receive BBC iPlayer?

  41. Hey guys just got this from the manufacturer:

    “[Techradar review]This review has caused us no end of problems, BBC iPlayer was never anticipated on this model, only the T2400. Unfortunately we don’t get to proof the review before it is printed to check for accuracy.

    The Beta version of the recording software was released and then Freeview changed the criteria for the external record facility whilst it was in testing and would not approve it as a final release. This, along with a particularly aggressive market price meant we did not continue to develop the recording software.”

    So your stuck with the test firmware I’m afraid!! Still a good £120 cheaper than anything else for a HD recorder though!!!

  42. Stuart if the flash drives are anything like the 32gb USB drive i tried to use then it doesn’t seem to detect the full capacity, I only ever saw 9gb. My 320gb usb powered hdd is fine however, and HD recordings take up approx 2.85gb per hour

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