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  • Much better than expected

    posted by nedproductions on 09/30/2011
    0 0

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 day to 1 week

    Pros:

    1. Surprisingly high build quality

    2. Tuner is surprisingly sensitive

    3. Well supported, standard Realtek 2832U chipset. DVB part works well in Windows 7 Media Center.

    4. Doesn't get worryingly hot during use

    5. Supplied aerial actually works (see note below)

    6. Supplied Presto PVR software isn't dreadful. Even comes with a free video format converter (Blaze) which is nice.

    7. Good value for money compared to similar items in similar price range. This one is very good against its similarly priced competitors

    Cons:

    1. FM tuner isn't recognised by Windows Media Center. This is a Realtek driver issue

    2. DAB tuner isn't supported by Windows 7. This might change in a future service pack I suppose

    3. h.264 codecs buiilt into the supplied software (Presto PVR) are too slow for an Intel Atom (the Windows 7 default h.264 codec runs fine, wish Presto would use that instead). DVBViewer (not supplied) lets you choose codec though, so use that instead.

    OtherThoughts:

    I have a few of these US$20 USB DVB-T tuner sticks. This one is the best I have owed so far amazingly enough. It's more sensitive than the Hauppauge DVB-T stick I own, and that's *impressive*.

    The key with the bundled aerial is to realise that the cable to the aerial is more effective than the aerial itself. Once you realise this, and mount it and the aerial as high as you can reach with a USB cable extension keeping everything *horizontally* (if that's how your DVB is transmitted) I get perfect glitch free reception with three walls of solid concrete between me and the mast. That's seriously impressive.

    Bottomline:

    It's a real shame that the FM radio tuner isn't recognised by Windows 7 media centre. That's Realtek's fault though, and if they ever release fixed drivers the FM radio works very well and again, is surprisingly sensitive for what it is.

    Of course, you can fire up Presto PVR just for FM radio. I'd use Windows Media Centre for TV watching though. It's faster, no lag, low CPU usage, in short great. If you're on Windows XP, DVBViewer also works great and is superior to Presto PVR.

    DAB radio I can barely pick up, but it works again in Presto PVR only. If I stand outside I get glitch free reception, indoors it's very glitchy. That could be DAB radio here in Cork, Ireland mind you. Luckily, here in Ireland everything on DAB is also on DVB-T and at higher quality, so it's no loss.

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