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Gigabyte TV Tuner Dongle U8300

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      07.10.2011 16:38
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      A fairly cheap TV dongle set but with a good performance

      As I am often on the go and although I do not watch a lot of television this was something I could not resist in the store. One of the reasons I could not resist it was the price - it was on sale for Euro40 (regular price being around Euro10 more). I often spend money on foolish stuff so buying something that can actually be used for something.... Now I know most people are not interested in review of the box but here it is anyway. I do not like it! It might look good with its transparent part but once you open it and put the stuff out it will become pretty much useless since there will be a big hole in it. I like my boxes to be there if I want to store my devices back in them - this one is not the most practice one - the box also contains a lot of information about the product on it so it could be useful if it were more well useful. Box contains a USB TV dongle, antenna, remote control (with batteries), USB extension cord, a/v adapter cable, software CD and a manual. Putting the device together and connecting it to the TV is easy - peasy (there is also a how to in the manual) ***Manual*** Manual is really short but contains all the information (software and hardware) one needs to operate this. I like how the instructions are written - they are in "step-by-step" form and most of the steps have pictures by them - really easy to follow and understand. This was one of the rare devices I had to open the instructions manual in order too use them - I encountered a "problem" (not exactly a problem but more of a "I do not know what to do next since I am getting a bit out of touch with technology" kind of problem) when configuring the software and I really appreciated the easy and fast instructions in the manual. Verdict: 10/10 ***Software CD*** You get a CD which installs the VivoTV software on your computer - making it possible to watch television on your computer. Installation was pretty much straight forward and I had no problems there. I had some problems with searching the TV channels - I could not find any and I was sure there were some. A peek in the instruction manual (we shall not mention this to my partner to whom I always explain I am a tech person) showed I had to first configure a few settings for my region before I can actually watch the TV - after reading these few things in the manual the software was operational in a matter of seconds. The program is really nice looking and when you get to know it (or read the instructions manual) it is really easy to operate - basically the same way as if you would your TV. You can switch channels, change volume, record, adjust colour settings (all via remote or with a mouse). There is one fault of the program though, I do not find it annoying as much as I find it to be strange and silly - you can start up the VivoTV software from a remote control, the software starts but you can not turn on the television with the remote, you need to use the mouse... Funny... After you turn on the TV in the software you can operate it with the remote normally and you can turn it off with the remote. Verdict 9/10 ***USB TV dongle & extension cord*** It is a bit bulky and if you do not have a lot of space around your computer you will need an USB extension cord - it is quite handy that they decided to include it in the package although it would be better if it were a bit longer (it is around 15-20 cm long). It's bulky nature is a bit "problematic" if you use it on a laptop - it will stick out quite a lot. You plug in the antenna jack directly into this device - there is no need for a TV card or something on your computer. Verdict 8/10 ***Antenna*** It is quite small, easy for travel - which is the intent of this device anyway - it does look a bit fragile but it feels sturdy enough - but I would not experiment how durable it is. It will survive drooping on the floor and won't bend easily. The reception of this antenna is not the best - if you are in an area where a "normal" TV antenna has troubles getting reception this one won't get it - but if the coverage is good the reception will be good too. You can't expect too much from an antenna so small. Still most of the time I travelled with this one I was satisfied with the reception, all bigger cities have a good signal strength and coverage anyway. I use this when I travel only. If I am at home and wish to watch television I plug in a regular big boy room antenna in the TV dongle. Taking in mind that this one's main intent is to be a handy travel antenna I have to say it is great and offers as much as it can. Verdict 9/10 ***Remote control*** I love it. I mean who would not? Not only you can watch the TV on your computer but you can also operate it from you bed (or couch or wherever you watch it from). It has many functions - basically you can use all the functions (except starting the TV) that the VivoTV software offers. It has all the functions your normal TV remote control has - 0-9 buttons, on/off, volume, channel +/-, mute, TTX, colour adjustment, sleep and many more. Not exactly something that you would take with you when you travel but a great addition to this device especially if you use it at home. The remote control is extremely responsive and does not get disturbed by objects blocking it - you won't have to wave it around in the air to change a channel. The fact that batteries (it needs 2AAA batteries) are already included is another plus. Verdict 10/10 ***a/v adapter cable*** Haven't used this one much, you can plug in another a/v device through it. It is a bit short though. Verdict 9/10 ***Final verdict*** I think this one is certainly worth the money, I personally am very satisfied with it - I use it on the go and in my uni apartment (TV died, let it rest in peace) and only have good experience (well with the exception of a few bumps that I mentioned in the review) with it, software never crashed and hardware never overheated or malfunctioned in any manner. I do not regret I bought it. In overall this one would get a 9/10 from me.

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