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Test Report for AB-com IPBOX 9000 HD PLUS


PVRs are becoming the norm for HDTV reception as well and while the pioneers of HDTV PVRs equipped their products with a single tuner at the beginning, these days two integrated tuners have become standard so that at least two simultaneous recordings are now possible.

Most manufacturers have such offerings in their range and ABCom is no exception. However, their new IPBOX 9000 HD Plus has a few astonishing extra goodies in store as well, as you will see shortly. ABCom offers their latest box in silver or black, which will please customers who prefer electronic gadgets to fit in smoothly with the rest of their existing equipment. So if your flat screen TV and home theatre receiver is black, simply go for the black IPBOX as well. The receiver's front panel comes with the standard standby button, an easy to read alphanumeric VFD display and– stylishly hidden behind a flap– eight buttons to control the box whenever the remote is not at hand or out of battery. The same flap also hides two CI slots for all standard Conditional Access modules such as Irdeto, Seca, Viaccess, Nagravision, Conax or Cryptoworks.

Turning around the IPBOX 9000 HD Plus reveals a perfectly equipped back panel. What strikes right away is the fact that the two tuners are not permanently integrated but rather only plugged in as modules. So if you would like to not only receive DVB-S and DVB-S2 signals, but rather also DVB-T or DVB-C, all you have to do is open the receiver and exchange one tuner (or both) for a different one. Right next to the slots for the two tuners two scart euroconnectors are available to connect a CRT TV or a conventional VCR. In addition, you'll find an S-video connector, a telephone jack, a USB 2.0 host interface and USB 1.0 client interface, a 10/100 Mbit Ethernet port as well as an RS-232 interface. There's even a mechanical power switch to disconnect the receiver from the mains. When turned on for the first time an installation wizard pops up on screen and asks for the preferred on-screen, audio and subtitle language(s). As it turns out the IPBOX 9000 HD Plus is a genuine globetrotter, with available languages including English, Russian, French, Dutch, Italian, German, Danish, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Greek, Turkish, Korean, Croat, Bosnian and Serbian. Next, the receiver wants to know the local time difference to GMT and whether the clock should be synced via satellite or set manually by the user. The third segment of the installation wizard takes care of configuring the reception system that is used with the receiver. By default the IPBOX 9000 HD Plus comes with a list of 161 currently active satellites which – apart from all relevant European positions – includes Asian and American birds as well. By and large the transponder lists seem to be up to date, even though we detected some weak spot for a few satellites, such as NILESAT 7° West, for example.

IPBOX 9000 supports DiSEqC 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 (USALS) protocols. IPBOX 9000 HD Plus will fit into any existing reception equipment, no matter how out of the ordinary. The LOF can of course also be set manually so that all varieties of LNBs are supported. This brilliant overall impression is further enhanced by the intelligent way in which signals are distributed to both tuners. Either both tuners are provided with signals or one of them becomes master while the second becomes slave and is hooked to the first with a short connecting cable so that it can receive its signal from the first tuner. Convenient features like network scan or FTA only are available and in case you're looking for signals on a particular transponder only the IPBOX 9000 HD Plus even lets you even finish the installation wizard with a manual search by defining a valid frequency with correct polarization and FEC values. Thanks to the automatic signal scan the channel memory fills up quickly. Once the scan is completed you're all set to actually use the box for watching and listening. Before that, however, it's a good idea to flick through the main menu and familiarize yourself with all the features that are available. One of them is the extremely convenient transponder editor that allows adding new transponders to the satellite list in a breeze. The IPBOX 9000 HD Plus is a new-generation HD PVR receiver that is convenient to use every day.



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