Avermedia AVerTV A820 £50

14th Aug 2010 | 09:00

Avermedia AVerTV A820

Avermedia's new dongle goes for the simplified approach

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Like:

Runs cooler than most tuners; Solid signal strength; HD compatible H.264 tuner

Dislike:

Probably not that portable

Simplicity is not to be sniffed at. Too many TV cards come with too many options. They're unnecessarily complicated. AVerMedia's A820 Plug & Watch is not. It's easy.

Plug it in to a USB port, run a single package (stored on a sliver of integrated USB storage) to install all the drivers and software, and you're away without so much as a reboot.

The included software is as simple as it could be, putting standard DVR features at your fingertips, and the option to export recordings to Toast or directly to your iPhone is only a couple of clicks away. Of course, your experience with any TV device will be tempered by the available signal in your area.

Signal quality

We tested the Plug & Watch on the top of a hill in lovely Bristol. When using the included high-gain antenna (a tiny bunny-ears type device with the option of a clip or a sucker for optimal placement) the experience isn't exactly perfect.

We inconsistently picked up a selection of channels, sometimes brilliantly, sometimes with sporadic signal, depending on where our test machine was placed in the house. Disappointing perhaps, but picking up any channels at all on a portable aerial puts the Plug & Watch ahead of many units we've seen in the past.

With a roof-mounted aerial its signal quality was flawless: glitch free, quick to display channels, and just about as efficient as you'd find a standard set top box.

The Plug & Go has compatibility with HD Freeview broadcasts too; it has the necessary H.264 tuner, but such signals were unavailable in our test area. Still, it's a great future-proof purchase.

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