August DA900c LCD IDTV £174.99
21st Oct 2009 | 09:30
This portable IDTV with a 9" screen doubles as a PVR and PMP
The August DA900c 12V portable IDTV combines a 9in widescreen LCD display with built-in analogue and digital terrestrial tuners. You can also record TV to USB drives and play media from the latter, SD cards and memory sticks.
Resting against a detachable stand, its black and silver frame looks cheap close up. It's reasonably thin with operating buttons running down both sides. A basic flat remote is supplied.
You can use the portable (with a magnetised base) or telescopic antenna provided or plug in a rooftop aerial.
While the portable option suffered, the telescopic antenna proved surprisingly effective in our third-floor Central London office, although it still managed to find only half the Freeview channels available (and no analogue ones).
Freeview channels can be sorted into eight groups including news and science or added to a favourites list. The seven-day EPG has two modes – daily and weekly. 'Daily' presents a list of upcoming programmes alongside the selected channel. 'Weekly' shows a grid of data skippable day by day but slow to populate.
You can record by pressing 'record' or with the eight-event timer. But once it's recording you can't browse the EPG or menus or play back a file.
Recordings are in MPEG-2 format and the quality is as good as the source. But it failed to play our MPEG-4 files and it's a shame there's no playlist option.
The screen is poor with faint horizontal lines visible even from a distance and a slightly smeary looking picture regardless of the video quality.
A single AV connector delivers visuals as soft as you'd expect from a composite connection.
Audio quality is acceptable at close range from the built-in speakers, but the included earphones sound tinny. An ambitious product, then, but lacking in finesse where it counts.
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