Not a bad little unit
Interface is quite good, as intuitive as any that one may expect in the genre.
Too early to evaluate storage space or recording quality.
At the initial installation the Apps key on the remote would not navigate to the Apps screen, but instead brought up a pop-up displaying network properties. The issue was solved by downloading the latest firmware update. The most reliable way was found to be to use a pc or laptop to navigate to the aerial box website and choose the option to download the update to a usb drive. The usb stick will need to be inserted in the usb socket in the rear of the device, then it pretty much takes care of itself. There is no response from putting the usb stick in the front socket - this seems to be reserved for recording only.
Good little unit.
Had a TEAC HD850, took three of them back, they kept loosing channels, ended up buying this, works extremely well, easy to use, has everything you will need on it.
Only little thing is remote is very directional, need to point it at unit.
If you are after a good reliable unit, for a great price, this unit is the one, they are now $90 in jbhifi
Updating my review
After some good help from tech support i am now happy with the box. It still has some very minor faults that i can live with but bearing in mind this is a relatively new product i am sure it will be further improved. Tech support were good and got back to me promptly.
A capable STB/PVR with a few wrinkles
I purchased this STB/PVR after having one of my Telefunckens (which I've had for a number of years) finally break down. I decided to look for something a bit more sophisticated. The T2100 appealed to me because it had an internet access to Catchup sites, and Freeview EPG. I bought mine from Dick Smith and proceeded to test it. I was pleasantly suprised in general with its performance for the price (just under $150). Here's the details:
It has the usual autoscan for channels, and you can connect it to a network via a wired or wifi connect (it got its own IP address on my LAN home network). You can delete, skip and move channels (though it only allows you to move one channel at a time), and you can manually retune channels if you need to. Initially you get to have favourites as well, but this disappears after the first software update.
You book recordings via the EPG and you can scroll through this without affecting the channel you're currently watching. Pressing the RED button will book the program selected. If it's a one-off program (like a film) that's it - but if it's a series you get a choice of booking a single episode or the series. This works only as well as the information added by the the broadcasters. Doing a series booking on Doctor Who on ABC2 for example will select all programs of Doctor Who, including the early morning repeats, but it won't select the Doctor Who Specials, which are stand alone episodes. This worked reasonably well except on the NBN streams, where none of the programs are listed as series.
There are some variations on this. When I attempted to record an episode of The Middle which overlapped an episode of Dr Who I had booked, it asked me if I wanted to record the repeat of that episode next morning! Otherwise you get an error message shown the conflicts where you can either cancel the booking or delete one of the existing bookings. It's possible to record programs on two channels at once provided that they are in the same stream, and you can watch either a third channel on the same stream, or watch a previous recording as well.
The default setting is to record 1 minute before and after a booked program, but both can be changed. You can also record adjacent programs. When replayed the player seems to find the start of the actual program regardless of padding. All recording is done to an external drive and you can plug that into either a front or back USB plug. You have to format that drive first and the format used is EXTFS, which can be read using a Linux PC, or from a Win PC using an open source driver (which I did). In general though, this means that the average watcher is unlikely to access the recordings directly. You can delete, rename and even edit a recording. Renaming brings up keyboard screen that mimics a mobile phone pad. I'm guessing that you can hook up to one as a remote control maybe.
I haven't used the edit function yet, but it seems you can mark a start and end point within a recording, and delete that. Good for adverts perhaps but the drawback is that you have to manually scrub through the recording to find where that is - there's no "GO TO" function in editing or playback, though you can fast forward/rewind as usual. Also, you can't play media files from a USB Stick/external drive. You can have two external drives plugged in, but there's no way to manually explore either and play files directly - it has to be via the Media Library.
Also, there's no quick way of reviewing the booking list. You can cancel bookings via the EPG, but other wise you get to the booking list via MAIN MENU / PVR / BOOKING LIST. You can record on the fly, and do a manual timer (up to 8) via the MAIN MENU..
If you're connected to the net, you can press the APPS button and will then go to a list of links to broadcaster's Catchup sites. From there it's possible to search, scroll and select catchup episodes to play directly on the TV. I still have an old CRT 4:3 TV and I noticed that the catchup program ignored the the 16:9 Letter box setting, instead showing the program in the top part of of the screen rescaled to fit the width, with the bottom row "bledding" down to the bottom of the screen. This probably won't happen on an actual widescreen TV.
Red / Green Buttons also appear on the TV screen as you're watching, and pressing these on the remote will take you to the relevant Catchup site, or the Freeview EPG site. You can also bring up stats on your net connection and reconfigure it on the fly. You can get software updates either directly via the net or from a USB stick, and this may be another reason for having TWwo USB ports.
OK, that's the GOOD news. On the whole it's a well balanced unit for watching and recording TV. However, I did come across some issues. I'm currently on my SECOND T2100, the first was returned to the shop for the following intermittent issues:
Some booked programs sometimes did not record fully. I noticed that instead of recording the whole program, they only recorder the first FIVE MINUTES. This happened three times in two weeks, and all programs were in the ABC stream. On one occasion it cut off Doctor Who broadcast at 19:30, and did the same to the repeat at 00:10 as well! But this was not predicable.
This happened once. I tried recording Extant starting 21:35 and it was still recording at 08:35 the next morning!
Lack of Documentation
As bought, the T2100 comes with a double-sided "Installation guide" which shows what the plugs do on one side, and has a trouble shooting list on the other. There were no other manuals included nor are they to be found on the website. After the initial software update (which happens automatically the first time you turn the T2100 on and am connected to the web) a "user's guide" is included INTERNALLY and you access it via the MAIN MENU, scrolling though it using cursor buttons on the remote.
Issues with support
If you have difficulties you access support. The website is listed on the box it comes in, and you can get an email or phone number. This is based in a suburb of Sydney, and I found phoning from the Newcastle area to be expensive. I explained the issues mentioned above but this was misunderstood (I was told there was no ABC on the terrestial receiver!) and I was put on hold for long periods with no result (the person I was talking with was waiting for the other tech, who was also taking a call), and then finally told to do a "factory reset" as it may be an issue with the tuner and reception, and then to do several tests to see if the issues still occurred.
I can only gather from this that the issues above are uncommon and they were taking a guess. I'd already done two factory resets before calling, and reasoning that it might just be a faulty unit, decided to return it to the shop and get a new one, rather than act like unpaid staff testing it.
Update: I tried another one of these but it had similar problems. Some of this may be related to signal strength or the tuners. Most channels scanned had between 50-70% strength and 93% clarity. I emailed support about this but because I had no response returned the unit for a refund a couple of days later. When I got back home I had a reply saying "This will be fixed with the next update". It was too late as I decided to buy an Altech 9600PVR instead.
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