PCTV Broadway 2T network Freeview tuner
Live TV anywhere on Android and iOS
Review The marketing for the new Broadway 2T very much focuses on the iPhone and iPad, yet this network TV tuner chooses to omit some pretty obvious features when it comes to the iOS side of things.
Global vision: PCTV's Broadway 2T
The Broadway is similar to Elgato’s Netstream DTT, in that it houses a pair of standard-definition Freeview TV tuners along with an Ethernet interface that allows it to stream the TV signal around your home network. You can even view content remotely over the internet, but more on this feature later.
But, unlike the Netstream, it also provides 802.11n wireless networking and additional inputs for both composite- and s-video. There are USB ports on the front and back too, although these are simply labelled for unspecified ‘future use’.
The USB ports have yet to be implemented, but the IR Blaster port has come alive in the latest firmware update
Setting the Broadway 2T up for the first time was pleasantly straightforward. You just need to plug in the mains power supply and TV aerial, and then – just for the initial set-up only – use an Ethernet cable to connect it to your network.
Despite the emphasis on iOS, the Broadway is actually platform-agnostic. It streams the TV signal through a web browser – there’s no iOS app at all – so you can just as easily use it with a Mac or PC instead. There’s even limited Android support, provided you're running Android 2.2 Froyo or higher and your device browser supports Flash.
The web browser interface is tidy and efficient, and within ten minutes of opening the box I had BBC One playing on my front room TV, BBC Two on my iPad and BBC Three on my laptop PC – all running off a single aerial. Even though its only delivered at 480 x 320 resolution, the video quality was reasonably good, aided by the Broadway 2T’s on-the-fly H.264 conversion. When blown up full screen it can be a bit VHS, with fuzzy idents showing at times, but it's OK on the whole.
Indeed, the video ran smoothly over both wired and wireless connections, with no stutters or dropped frames even when I was streaming two different channels to my laptop and my iPad. You can also connect the Broadway to a Sky+ satellite or cable box, although you’ll need to use one of its analogue inputs and provide your own adaptor cable for that.
Next page: Map quest
Knobbled for Home Use again
It annoys me that when I can send 1080p+ signals down a gigabit connection, that for some reason when a clever consumer product like this, is restricted to 480p for Anti-piracy reasons. The unit is capable of 1080i with the DVB-t2 channels but we not allowed to stream those, so here's a unit with composite and low res output streaming. No wonder its targeted at IOS, problem is IOS just went 1080+ video capable with the 4s and ipad2.....
Knobbled Knobbled Knobbed and a total waste of money. We want 1080i/p streaming. Not this sh*t!
Or for approximately £160 less
VDR and Streamdev-server
You can do the same with VDR and the streamdev-server plugin. Plus you have a video disk recorder and can even export the EPG.
Ohh and it can either scale down the video, or stream the original video stream. Even HDTV in case you wonder.
Power consumption varies depending on wired vs wirelss, the quality profile used, bitrate of the channel, but for typical use while streaming it's significantly below 10w.
Benefit of not having PC on
PCTV also have DistanTV Mobile for those who do have a dedicated Home Theatre PC setup (that has enough CPU power to support transcoding of MPEG-2 -> H.264 in real time), however the Broadway has the benefit of not needing to have your PC turned on all the time, you can just plug the unit in and leave it.