Xtrend ET-9000 review
Is the Xtrend ET-9000 worth buying? Check out this review which compares it to the Vu+ Duo.
I have previously tested the Vu+ Duo and this made a really good impression, so when I heard about a new model (ET-9000) from the German trade name Clarke Tech with enhancements, the ET-9000 was an obvious target for a product review here at LINUX-TV.COM. The receiver from Clarke Tech is like so many others actually produced in South Korea but is distributed from Germany. We have reviewed the Clarke Tech edition but will call it Xtrend ET 9000 going forward as they are identical.
Like the VU + Duo, the ET-9000 from Xtrend is an Enigma 2 Linux box for satellite TV with the ability to integrate hard disk. What makes it stand out compared to the Vu+ Duo, is that it is supposed to be faster and it has the picture in picture feature. Does it live up to the hype? You’ll find out by reading this product review, which will focus on the differences between the Vu+ Duo and the Xtrend ET-9000 boxes.
Note this review was done back in January 2011. Since then Xtrend has provided bug fixes and new functions which are not included in this review.
Xtrend ET-9000 – engineering, design and connectivity
Xtrend ET-9000 is based on a newer processor and is supplied with more RAM than Vu + Duo. Inside the box is a Broadcom 7413 Mips 400MHz processor compared to the 7335 in the Vu + Duo. The Vu + Duo has 384 MB of memory compared to 512 in the Xtrend ET 9000.
Xtrend brags about the fast boot on the Xtrend ET-9000 compared to competitors. My comparison proved that the ET-9000 boots 16 seconds faster than the Vu + Duo. That being the interval from being completely off to showing channel on screen.
Design is a matter of taste, but I personally like the Xtrend design a bit more than the Vu + Duo. I think it looks a tad more exclusive. Behind the front flap on the box on the left you find 2 card readers and 2 ci slots. As with Enigma 2 boxes in general, the built in card readers require installations of softcams.
The built in tuners do support blind scan but there is no software support for this in Enigma 2 yet sadly. DiSEqC 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2/USALS is of course supported. The speed boost of the Broadcom 7405 or more memory does not speed up scanning for channels, it is pretty slow as with Enigma 2 receivers in general. But many users of this kind of box probably use settings downloaded from the web anyway. The channel editor for this, Dreamboxedit works without problems with the ET-9000.
On the back we find these connections:
- 2 LNB outputs (with physical loop-through option, which Vu + Duo does not have)
- Optical digital audio output
- Analog video and audio outputs
- Component video output
- 2 x SCART outputs
- HDMI Output
- e-Sata connector
- Ethernet connecter
- 2 USB connectors
- Serial RS-232 port
- Power switch
Included in the box:
- A remote control with batteries
- A HDMI cable
- A user manual in English, which by the way is one of the more detailed I have seen
- Loop-through cable
- Mounting screws for hard disk installation
Power consumption in standby 22 W (The box is ready for use immediately)
Deep standby mode below 1 W (It takes a while before the box is ready to show TV. Also works with timer recordings)
|Box||Operation (W)||Standby (W)||Deep Standby (W)|
|VU + Duo||26||22||<1|
|Cool Stream Neo Sat||15||12||<1|
A comparison of power consumption on different Linux boxes
Xtrend ET-9000 – Installation
The factory-installed firmware (Openpli version) was of older date (24/11/2010) so I decided to upgrade this with the at the time latest OpenPli beta. Openpli are working on the software continuously and publishes regularly, usually daily, new Bata versions that can be downloaded from the pli-images.org . Further image teams have emerged since my review, among those we find the popular ViX Team and the Xtrend-Support image. What you choose is pretty much a matter of taste.
Aside from the installed image we also have the important element of the drivers. These are also updated regularly and here Xtrend (or should we say E-View) so far has been relatively active in correcting errors. At the time of my review it was a pretty new box, so many fixes have been provide since.
I experienced a strange problem with some HD transponders on 1 west on the box. Tuner A worked fine with all these even those with Symbol Rate 30,000, but with exactly the same signal was just mosaic on the same channels through the tuner B. All other channels worked fine also via tuner B. This was actually the primary reason for me selling this unit again so I do not have the ET 9000 anymore so I am unable to check whether this has been fixed yet.
Xtrend ET-9000 – Hard drive installation
The installation of the hard drive is quite simple, but it does require that you take of the cover.
- Installation requires that you screw the screws out of metalchassis’et the box and take this off.
- Inside the box, remove the hard drive frame by screwing the screws out
- Place the hard drive on the tray and fasten the screws
- Screw the hard drive frame back onto the box
- Connect power and data cables to the hard drive
- Metal cover back on and mount screws. All done
The box has no fan and therefore the hard drive will be the only thing you can hear. The missing fan does make this box a bit on the the warm side though but hopefully not too hot.
Xtrend ET-9000 – General thoughts, Picture quality, PIP functions
In relation to image quality, the Xtrend 9000 appears a little sharper and better on HDTV channels than the Vu + Duo. I do not think that upscaled standard definition channels appear better but that could be just me. SD pictures seem blurry and you could still get good use of the Video Enhancement plugin.
The Xtrend ET-9000 differs from Vu + Duo box with the possibility of real PIP picture in picture. Do note that hardware restrictions means that it only works on SD channels. It is possible to watch a HDTV channel and have an SD channel in the small picture, but not 2 HD channels and no HD in the small picture if you are watching a SD channel. With more and more channels in HD this is a restriction that may or may not concern you.
The box seems to be faster and more responsive compared to the Vu+ Duo, perhaps thanks to the new processor and more RAM.
Xtrend ET-9000 – Remote Control
The remote control is included is quite reasonable with direct button for PIP. Compared to the Vu + Duo remote the Xtrend can be used to control up to 3 additional devices if they are included in the supplied code table that is.
Xtrend ET-9000 – Conclusion
The Xtrend ET-9000 offers some advantages over the Vu+ Duo. The new processor and more ram seems to make the ET-9000 a bit faster during boot and zapping and general use. The box was though fairly new at the time of this review so I do find it difficult to completely determine its full potential.
The Picture in Picture feature is there and is working, but with the stated limitation regarding HD channels and you may find this limitation a bit annoying in the long run.
I would not think that this box from Xtrend will persuade Vu + Duo owners to switch over. The improvements of the ET 9000 are not that significant, in my opinion.
The box might fit the bill for new buyers though who want the best speed. And prices seem more reasonable right now where the box has been on the market for some time.
Really quick Enigma 2 box
Picture in Picture function
Nice design and universal remote
Picture in Picture does not work with HD channels
I had issues with HDTV tuner B on transponders with SR: 30000 (Possibly solved now?)
This review was released on Danish web site www.digitalt.tv on 7. January 2011 and has been translated for use on this web site with permission.