- Created on 24 February 2009
Using a PC (or Mac) to watch TV is becoming increasingly popular for home users (and business users who spend time regularly away from home). Various TV adaptors are available on the market in the form of PCI, PCI-E, PCMCIA and USB adaptors, but by far the easiest way of upgrading any PC, whether a desktop or laptop, to allow it to receive TV is using a USB TV adaptor.
Terratec have expanded their range with the Cinergy T XXS USB television adaptor. As the name suggests, the device operates via a USB interface, meaning a very simple and fast installation process, making it ideal for use with laptops or desktops. Additionally, the USB dongle is incredibly small, smaller than most USB memory sticks. The dongle comes bundled with a mini-aerial for indoor use and a MCX to IEC adaptor, which allows the use of a standard roof aerial with a standard coaxial connector and also a remote capable of controlling every capability of the dongle and software.
As with the Terratec Cinergy S2 PCI HD we previously reviewed, the decoding and other functions are handled by the proprietary "Terratec Home Cinema" software. To use the device once drivers and software are installed is simply a case of scanning for channels through the Terratec Home Cinema software and selecting the channel desired. The software also provides an EPG, Picture-in-picture facility, full recording capabilities and teletext all of which can be controlled via the included remote control.
Terratec Home Cinema software is rather unwieldy and is certainly not as intuitive as as Microsoft Media Center. That is not to say it is impossible to use, however we saw significant improvements in picture quality using Microsoft codecs. Using the included mini-antenna we were impressed with the number of channels we could pick up, especially since we are in a relatively low signal area, although, using the roof top aerial significantly expanded this range of channels available.
The Cinergy T XXS USB television adaptor would make an excellent addition to any PC system providing an easy and quick installation to expand the capability of the system to be able to decode the DVB-T signal through an aerial. The included mini-aerial provided us an acceptable number of channels, but we would definitely recommend using a rooftop aerial to get the best of the adaptor in low signal areas.
Amazon: Terratec Cinergy T USB XXS Portable External DVB-T Digital TV Stick