KWorld PlusTV DVBT DualView 399U
Good dual tuner, but poor software.
- Dual digital TV tuner, tunes in to standard- and high-definition channels, USB 2.0-based
- HyperMedia software interface is poor
This is an external, USB 2.0-based dual digital TV tuner that performs well. Unfortunately, its software interface is very poor; use Windows Media Centre to get the most out of this device.
Price$ 154.95 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
It's easy to turn your PC or notebook into a TV with a USB-based digital TV tuner device, and KWorld's is special in that it is a dual-tuner device. It's compact and it doesn't get warm after prolonged periods of use. But it's severely let down by its bundled software.
Called HyperMedia, KWorld's software interface lacks basic features, is not intuitive, has an unattractive interface, and isn't altogether stable. It can be used either in windowed mode, or with a full, media centre–esque interface, and both modes are poorly implemented. When using the full screen, neither mode has an easily accessible control panel; neither mode has a 'favourites' channel list; neither mode allows you to change recording settings. These are major oversights and mean that you're better off not installing it and using your own software instead.
Luckily, the device does have a BDA driver available, so it can be used with Windows Media Centre; this is preferable if you have a copy of it in Vista or Windows XP. The device's actual performance was not bad. It picked up all of the stations in our area, and it played them back smoothly on our Intel Core 2 Duo E6700–based PC. High-definition channels consumed up to 24 per cent of the CPU, while standard-definition channels consumed up to 11 per cent. Channel changes in HyperMedia were slow — it took five seconds to switch — and channels can only be changed by right-clicking and selecting the 'previous' and 'next' menu items.
We were able to watch two channels simultaneously using HyperMedia, although the software interface doesn't really make this easy. In windowed mode, it's impossible to invoke the second tuner; it can only be done in full mode by pressing the 'Twin TV' option. To then be able to switch between the two tuners, you have to put HyperMedia into windowed mode. This lets you resize the windows, change channels and manipulate the volume. When watching or recording two channels, two instances of HyperMedia will run simultaneously.
HyperMedia has time-shifting, a built-in scheduler and electronic program guide (EPG). Its time-shifting feature stuttered when it was enabled, and it was also hard to navigate as there is no scrubber available, only forward and rewind buttons. The scheduler can only be accessed in the full mode, not in windowed mode, and it's not as easy to enter a channel, time and date as it should be. The EPG can be used to add programs to the recording scheduler, simply by selecting the program you want, and this works in full mode and in windowed mode. However, the EPG does not show information from all channels together. It will only show the program guide for the channel you are currently watching, which is inconvenient.
There are many other little things wrong with the software interface, but if you plan to use the USB tuner with Windows Media Centre, none of the problems we've mentioned will be a concern. We love the fact that only one antenna input is required for both tuners, and also that the unit doesn't get hot after prolonged periods of use. Consider this unit if you want an easy to install dual digital TV tuner for your PC or laptop. There is also a driver available that allows it to work on an Eee PC.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Stream 11 laptop
- 2 Acer Chromebook 11 (CB3-111)
- 3 Asus Zenbook UX303LN Ultrabook
- 4 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
- 5 Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro hybrid Ultrabook
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- IBM detects skin cancer more quickly with visual machine learning
- ICANN data compromised in spearphishing attack
- US agency sues Sprint for alleged unauthorized charges
- Top five smartphone disappointments of the year
- Microsoft helps crack developer problems with Bing-based tool
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.