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55 —
04-05/2012 —
TELE-satellite International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine
built-in decoder or creates
VBI insertion so that the TV
panel’s decoder can be used
Both tuners used by
AMIKO left nothing to be
desired in our test. Their re-
ception capabilities are bril-
liant and thus meet the ex-
acting demands Karmacom
places on all components.
The DVB-S2 tuner can eas-
ily deal with weaker signals
as well, even when they only
hover around the threshold
When tested with signals
from ASTRA 2D at 28.2E or
BADR 26E the AMIKO box
impressed with flawless re-
ception and processing of
channels from those two
birds. Carriers with small
bandwidths, such as those
from TURKSAT 42E, for ex-
ample, did not pose a prob-
lem either, and even RASD
– usually a very bitter pill
to swallow – came in nicely
with the AMIKO STHD-8820
It was the same story with
DVB-T reception: We used a
small indoor antenna with-
out external power supply
and had nothing to complain
about, even though the in-
coming signal was extremely
error-prone and put a lot of
strain on the receiver’s error
correction routines. If we
had to do some nit-picking,
the only issue we can think
of is the lack of DVB-T2 com-
patibility, which would have
added even more shine to
this set-top box.
Signal output via HDMI
as well as optical or coax
digital audio passed our test
with flying colours. Thanks
to 1080p output this AMIKO
receiver served up brilliant
video to our large-sized LCD
and plasma panels, and the
digital audio output brought
out the best from our home
cinema amplifier. Zapping
is great fun with extremely
fast channel switching times
of about one second if two
different DVB-S2 transpond-
ers are concerned. Channels
on the same transponder
are available even faster. It
doesn’t get any better than
While the AMIKO STHD-
8820 CICXE PVR does not
come with an integrated
hard disk it does, however,
offer USB 2.0 to hook up an
external storage medium
in order to make full use
of the receiver’s PVR func-
tions. No matter whether
it’s SD or HD, DVB-S, DVB-
S2 or DVB-T, the set-top box
will record all input signals,
even though it can only deal
with one recording at a time.
Once a recording has begun,
it is possible to watch an-
other channel live, but not
to record a second channel
at the same time. We don’t
want to sound like we’re
complaining for the sake of
it, but given its dual tuner
concept we would have liked
to see two recordings be-
ing possible simultaneously.
Time shift viewing, on the
other hand, is possible on a
second channel, and you can
even add the content of the
time shift buffer to a record-
ing that is started too late.
That means the whole event
is recorded, even though
you only pressed the ‘REC’
button some time into the
broadcast – provided you
haven’t changed channels.
This option can be activated
in the PVR section of the
main menu.
A total of eight timer en-
tries can be set to make sure
you’ll never miss your fa-
vourite show or movie. Each
entry can be marked for sin-
gle, daily, weekly or monthly
This latest AMIKO receiver
comes with an interesting
‘Record Scrambled’ option
that can be turned on or off.
The reason behind is a per-
sistent problem with PVRs
and pay TV. Recordings that
are saved with encryption
can only be played back un-
til the corresponding pro-
vider changes the decryp-
tion key on the smart card
(which happens at regular
intervals). After that, the re-
cording becomes useless. If
‘Record Scrambled’ is turned
off, all pay TV recordings are
first decrypted and only then
saved on the attached stor-
age medium.
You should bear in mind,
though, that this way it is
not possible to record an en-
crypted channel and watch
another encrypted channel
at the same time. We believe
that this is a small price to
pay for lasting recordings.
We looked at all PVR func-
tions of the AMIKO STHD-
8820 CICXE PVR in depth
and discovered no problems
or flaws. But then again,
we would not have expect-
ed anything less from that
manufacturer. A dedicated
overview lists all available
recordings, which can be
renamed or deleted, if re-
quired. It is also possible to
simply unplug the storage
medium from the receiver,
attach it to a PC and create
a DVD with recorded events
using appropriate software.
If TV and radio reception,
recording and playback are
not enough for you, the re-
ceiver comes with an MP3
jukebox, an image viewer
and a movie player for MPEG,
VOB and TS files downloaded
from the Internet. Unfortu-
nately however, the AMIKO
set-top box does not support
In this day and age of
global communication via
the Internet it is only a logi-
cal step for an increasing
number of manufacturers
to add network connectiv-
ity to their set-top boxes.
Karmacom is no exception
and their AMIKO STHD-8820
CICXE PVR comes with both
an RJ45 Ethernet socket as
well as a WiFi option with
an external WiFi dongle that
can be connected to the USB
port. While you may choose
any brand you like for that
dongle, you must make
sure it comes with a Ralink-
RT5370 chip, since this is the
only chip that is currently
compatible with the receiver.
Thanks to its integrated
DHCP support it will auto-
matically obtain valid IP and
DNS addresses from the
router, so that users don’t
need to worry about all
those settings. If need be, it
is of course possible to en-
ter all parameters manually
as well.
For the time being AMIKO
does not offer a web brows-
er, but has implemented a
fully-featured FTP client in-
stead. If you’re one of those
persons always interested
in the weather, you will like
the built-in weather fore-