Venton Unibox HD2 Review
No picture in picture with HD channels
Unibox HD2 offers twin pluggable tuner support for DVB-S2, DVB-C and even DVB-T2. Read our review of this PVR and Hbb-TV ready receiver.
Venton Unibox HD2 introduction
The Unibox HD2 from German Venton is a pluggable twin tuner receiver with internal PVR support. It is a step up from the single tuner Unibox HD1 which we have reviewed previously here at Linux-TV.
Venton offers 3 dirfferent tuner modules for the Unibox HD2 supplying both DVB-S2, DVB-C and DVB-T2 making this a very versatile receiver. Read our full review of the Unibox HD2 below.
Design and Connectivity
The Unibox HD2 is very stylish and gives a high end brushed aluminium impression. Actually it is just plastic but it looks great. The size of the Unibox HD2 is 320 x 58 x 230 mm.
Embedded in the front as touch buttons are a standby button and navigational buttons, so basic controls are available without the remote. The fact that Venton decided to go with touch buttons adds to the high end impression of the Unibox HD2.
As you can see the Unibox HD2 is also a step up from the Unibox HD1 when it comes to card readers and ci slots. Here we have 2 of each. Also included behind the front flap is a front mounted USB connection.
- 1 x LNB in/loop thorugh
- 1 x DVB-C in/loop thorugh
- Composite video and analogue audio out
- Component video out
- 1 x Optical digital audio out
- 1x scart
- Ethernet port
- 2 x USB
- Serial RS-232 port
- Power connector and switch
As the Unibox HD2 is a pluggable dual tuner receiver you can setup you tuners as you wish. Our review unit came with DVB-S2 and DVB-C but you can do any other combination of DVB-S2, DVB-C and DVB-T2. It is very positive to see Venton offering DVB-T2 tuners as we often only see Enigma2 vendors supplying DVB-T tuners. Do remember that the Unibox HD2 is not CI+ certified if you need that for your DVB-T2 channels like in some Nordic countries.
Changing the tuner module is easy to do.
Inside the Venton UNiBOX HD1 we find a 400 MHz MIPS processor , 512MB NAND Flash and 512MB DDR SDRAM. Granted it is not the 1300 MHz of the most recent receivers released but then again Enigma2 is not optimized for those fast CPUs so for daily use not a big issue.
As you can tell from the image the Unibox HD2 has an internal power supply. The trend seems to be going in the direction of external ones but still some might prefer the internal option for less clutter outside the receiver.
- Power Cable
- Remote with batteries included
- User Manual in English/German
- 4 Screws for internal PVR
Unibox HD2 Remote Control
The Unibox HD2 is a bit different than the one supplied with the Unibox HD1 but that is positive. The button layout is clear and logical and responsive wise it seems good.
Installation / Choosing an image
Venton receivers have support from many image teams like Openvix, OpenAAF and also has the Egami image 3.0 which is updated with the latest features like Hbb-TV support. Venton likes to keep things simple so no need to hunt down a specific version for the HD2 as the Image releases work for both HD1, HD2 and HD3.
The Egami 3.0 image including Kernel 3.6.0/OE 3.0 would probably be our choice for this receiver packing all the latest features like Hbb-TV, blindscan and web browser.
The menus and zapping seem pretty fast and in general the receiver feels stable. Where we did have some issues was using the Picture in Picture mode. Here we could reproduce crashes if we did a swap services. Also this receiver does not support HD PiP.
Picture quality is good and there is good driver support in the Egami Image for various usb devices wlan or usb tuners.
The DVB-C scan is very fast if you enable network scan. We found all channels without any issues.
The web browser is not super snappy to use while Hbb-TV seems a bit faster. A faster CPU perhaps would have shown its power in this area.
If you are into hunting down feeds you will appreciate the blind scan function all though we have not tested how good it is working.
Boot speed wise we clock the Unibox HD2 at 65 seconds.
PVR – Recording tv on the Unibox HD2
The PVR install is pretty basic at least if you want to use a 3.5″ hard drive. It is just a matter of taking the cover of and you then have the hard drive mounting plate in the center of the receiver. The power and sata cable is already connected inside the receiver so one thing less to worry about.
A 3.5″ hard drive just fits if you want to use a 2.5″ hard drive you would probably need to buy a 3.5/2.5″ adapter mounting kit.
With dual tuners there is no problem recording one thing and watching another or even recording 2 things at the same time. More is also possible if those are on the same transponders.
All our recording tests worked as expected and timeshift too.
All recordings are of course saved as .ts files which you can transfer via Ethernet if you want. Do not expect the fast file transfers of Gigabit Ethernet as we are only taking of a 10/100 MB Ethernet interface on this receiver.
Music wise there were no trouble playing MP3 on this receiver while we had no luck with .ogg, .wma and flac. We had success playing .m2ts, mkv, vob but not wmv and flv.
Verdict Venton Unibox HD2 Review
The Unibox HD2 gives a good overall impression. It is very stylish with its brushed aluminium look and very versatile with its pluggable tuner support.
There are several Image teams with support for this receiver but the most feature packed seems to be the Egami Image.
Picture quality and zapping speed is quite good and it seems pretty stable apart from the Picture in Picture mode where we had issues.
If you are looking for a pluggable twin tuner Linux receiver right now the Unibox HD2 is a good choice.
Linux-TV.com thanks MultiKom-DeltaSat for letting us try the Unibox HD2 for this review