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The Freecom DVB-T USB stick is an average product which enables digital TV to be broadcasted to your PC. Unfortunately, issues with both software and the aerial make it a clumsy piece of technology, and one which should probably be avoided.
The USB itself is very sleek, and it is impressive that digital TV can be relayed through it at all. At its end is the aerial connector which can be used with the supplied aerial or another you may have lying around.
Using the USB really is a mixed bag of experiences. If you manage to get it to work, the picture quality is very impressive indeed (not high definition, but a very good Freeview image). In addition to this, you have the option to download programmes to your PC's hard-drive, theoretically a brilliant option to have. Having attempted to download various times, I have found it working around half of the time, with the broadcast in one download freezing all together half an hour in. At other times, the download has been seamless and the video file easy to use on Windows Media Player or even easily burned onto a DVD. When it works, it is a very good piece of kit.
Another important note to mention is that the included software must be used with this dongle. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired. In presentation terms, it fares very well, with rather sleek and easy-to-navigate menus. Yet it is in the scanning option where this stick really falters. With the aerial included, it is almost impossible to obtain every Freeview channel available from a set-top box, and even when they are found they always appear to turn out in the wrong channel order (e.g. ITV1 as channel 1 and BBC1 as channel 3. Furthermore, the software takes up a lot of memory on your PC, and also runs in the background and starts up every time you power up your PC until you tell it otherwise. By draining the memory, watching TV at all on your PC can be an arduous process on this television.
I would also recommend using your own aerial for this device, as, too often, the supplied aerial shows it has full signal in a certain area only to lose its signal entirely a couple of minutes later. I found this temperamental tendency very aggravating, and disappointing considering how good the stream quality was when it did actually work without any problems.
The Freecom DVB-T USB stick is a brilliant piece of kit when it works, with excellent stream quality and the ability to record being key advantages. But its unreliable nature, tendency to stop recording at irregular times, and poor software mean this option should probably be avoided in favour of a more reliable dongle.
I wanted 2nd TV for my bedroom, and stumbled across description of this Freecom USB2 TV tuner. I did some research and bouth one for £38 (2 years ago) from amazon.co.uk.
The package arrived in 2-3 days, which also had tiny antena with it. I was not expecting any excellent picture quality, but wanted this gadget for fun and its novelty value. I installed the sofware that comes with this TV tuner. Installation was straight forward. Then I plugged in that tiny antena and started scanning for chanels. NONE found - was the answer. I visited internet forums and found that this tiny antena is not powerful enough to be used indoor. So, I went to my conservatory and tried again. This time it found 20 TV and 20 Radio chanels. The digital chanel quality of standard BBC News chanel was far better than I was expecting on my laptop. Other chanels were bit jerky. So I invested £2 and got antena cable and connected TV tuner with main antena. I had to rescan chanels and found around 35 tv and 30 radio chanels in total. It was excellent picture quality. I also realised that I can record programs on my laptop's hard drive. wow.. I don't need DVD recorder anymore..
I also invested in portable antena, so I can view TV in my bedroom. The TV reception was ok using portable antena. You have to adjust directions a bit to get optimum result. But still main roof antena reception is lot lot better.
Also, this USB TV stick came with small remote controller as well. Remote is not very powerful, but fun to use.
Regarding their TV software, they could make it bit better..
I wanted to upgrade my computer to allow it to receive TV reception so I could watch TV on it. This seemed like a really good cost effective way of doing it.
I am not too good with the INSIDE of the computer so this was perfect for me as it is an all external setup.
What's it For?
This is for those people who want to watch TV on your computer. Who don't want to buy fancy cards to put inside your computer, which you most probably have to pay someone to fit it. This used a USB interface - so if you have USB...you are good to go.
And also on the plus this is DIGITAL TV - so you can get all the freeview channels too!
This kit will allow you to watch and record TV on your computer, you can resize the screen so you can be working and watching TV at the same time! This is what I do all day and it really works - first I thought it was too good to be true. You can even do a schedule record - do it records your favorite programs automatically onto your hard drive. Also there is a multi channel preview - it lets you preview all the channels on one screen - so its like channel surfing but your looking at all of them at the same time.
What's in the Kit?
The included ariel is not very good at getting signal - so I decided to invest in a booster arial which gives a much better picture. The software is not that feature rich that I would have expected therefore it lacks in certain areas such as there are two lists which you have to setup one for the daytime and one for the evening. The timeshift feature is not fast, it does take a few seconds to activate.
When you are recording videos onto your hard drive you only have the option of mpeg, which is an uncompressed format and it takes a lot of hard drive space.
Whenever you are watching something on TV and you want to record it; you just have to hit the record button and instantly, just like that, it will begin recording onto your hard drive!
A really good device which you cant complain about for £19.99 !