PCTV NanoStick T2 USB TV tuner
Freeview HD telly on the move
Review Ten years ago, investing in a PC TV tuner seemed a neat way of watching while you work – integrating the gogglebox with laptop or desktop duties. Today, the idea is more questionable given access to on-line video streaming and download services from the likes of YouTube and the BBC iPlayer respectively.
PCTV's Nanostick T2: for those with an HD habit
So why should you fork out £80 PCTV Systems' NanoStick T2 USB tuner when your web browser gets more channels? One good reason is that if you're on the move and you miss your telly, then using a dedicated tuner, rather than streaming, isn't going to cost you dearly for mobile data usage. Another plus point is that the Nanostick is a rather rare beast among portable tuners, as it is capabable of receving Freeview HD channels.
Hardware setup is easy; just plug the flash drive-style device into a USB 2.0 port and connect it to either the included antenna or your home aerial system. If you’re at home, stick with the manual’s recommendation to avoid using the tiny magnetic antenna. I gave it a shot though and testing in Surrey resulted in the ability to receive Top Gear repeats on Dave and not much else. However, using a proper aerial I was able to receive a full compliment of SD and HD channels.
The Now and Next EPG shows other channels, but could be more intuitive
The NanoStick T2 includes a copy of PCTV System’s TVCenter which is does a fine job of receiving, displaying and recording your favourite shows, but I didn’t really like the interface. The whole system feels rather unintuitive and basic functions are not immediately obvious – this is not TV for TV people.
Windows Media Centre EPG integration
The included IR remote does help ease the system back into the realms of familiarity, but ultimately viewing shows by channel or listing for time period, rather than a segmented EPG timetable of multiple stations, is TVCenter’s undoing. There are workarounds though. For those of you running higher-end versions of Windows 7 or, dare I say it, Vista with Windows Media Center the NanoStick T2 can be used as an integrated tuner.
Next page: HD ready
Did you try this on Linux?
because it seems that most of the magic is in the software.
The only time you'd want to use this...
...might be the only time *you'd* want to use it, but it's not the only time others would want to use it.
Streaming live/recorded TV is all well and good if you've got a decent broadband connection, but isn't much good for people with ropey connections or no connections at all, and might not be much good for people with fast enough connections hobbled by download limits.
Then, as you say, *nearly* all Freeview channels can be viewed online. So anyone who wants to watch one of the other channels is going to be stuck no matter how good their network connection is.
At home I've got a broadband connection easily good enough to stream HD content all day long without any fuss, but my mediacentre PC still has a dual DVB-T tuner card fitted (and will be getting a HD upgrade at some point) because it's more convenient for me - if I want to watch something I don't have to think to myself "hmm, which website do I need to visit to stream this show", or be faced with a "sorry, this programme isn't available online" message. Also, since I tend to catch up on some shows on the bus/train/etc, having them recorded in a form which is easy to convert into something my Desire S can play is also rather handy.
Nag, nag, nag, bloody titles. Nag. If I'm replying shouldn't it do it for me?
I was gonna say exactly the same thing, but it looks like people are - even though its not perfect. Take a look at: