Hauppauge WinTV Nova-TD USB TV tuner
Digital telly on the move
If you're running Vista, though, you may want to hold off for a little while. A bug in the Vista driver code means that attempting to use the Nova-TD in dual-tuner mode won't work. Hauppauge is aware of this issue and is currently working on a fix.
The bundled application for switching between single- and dual-tuner modes, which is currently hidden away on the CD awaiting a manual installation, will also be installed along with the standard applications in the next software release, Hauppauge told me.
Like the EyeTV, the Nova-TD claims to be able to combine both tuners in low signal areas, boosting reception. While it's hard to quantify, using two aerials rather than one did seem to have an effect.
The bundled aerials aren't great for reception, but if you point them in the right direction then you can pick up a reasonable signal for some channels. During testing certain channels were not available whether using one or both aerials, but plugging in the second aerial on a channel with poor reception did result in a more stable image.
For best results, though, you're better off sticking to a roof-mounted aerial or decent indoor antenna. Signal levels in the UK won't be increased significantly until after analogue switch off - currently scheduled for between 2008 and 2012, depending on where you live.
The Nova-TD hardware is difficult to fault. It provides two digital tuners in a compact case, making it portable enough to carry around. The ability to combine the two signals could make the difference between a channel being watchable or not, though it doesn't guarantee perfect reception. The asking price of £80 in reasonable, and you might be able to find it for less if you trawl online.
The software, however, is a bit of a let down - it does the job, but it feels basic and a bit clunky. If you've got a copy of Media Center to play with, then you'll find that a much better way to choose your viewing.