Introduction and Techy StuffIntroduction and Techy StuffGIGABYTE is well know for manufacturing a wide range of computer accessories such as motherboards, graphics cards and cases, not to forget that it also manufactures notebooks and mobile phones.However, it's not so well know for making other computer peripherals and today TweakTown is taking a closer look at one of its first USB TV tuners, the GT-U8000-RH, or simply the U8000 for our purposes.
In the BoxIn the BoxGIGABYTE has done a great job with the packaging - it looks very professional and it's something you'd easily spot if it was on a shop shelf.In the box you'll find apart form the USB TV dongle, an antenna, two antenna adaptors, a remote, a small USB extension cable, a quick install manual and a drivers CD which also comes with CyberLink PowerCinema, as an added bonus.
Software and UsageSoftware and UsageWell, we're not going to describe how to use CyberLink PowerCinema here, as it's a fairly standard app and it looks similar to Windows Media Center Edition. It's not the full on version, as if you want to watch DVD's, then you have to upgrade.The supplied version only allows for TV, Radio and recorded video content to be watched but that is fine for what the U8000 was designed for. This is quite understandable, as there are licence fees to be paid for the extra features.In general PowerCinema is a pretty straight forward to use package, although we're not sure if it was because of the tuner or the software, but changing channels felt really slow, especially on DVB-T.Tuning is done automatically, but we had major problems getting digital reception in the area were we where at the time of testing, although placing the antenna horizontally seemed to fix the problem oddly enough. Your mileage will vary but of course you would want to make sure you are using this device in an area with good TV reception or you may not have much luck.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsAs a first product, GIGABYTE has done a pretty good job with the U8000 and if you're not interested in analogue TV, then the U7000 is a cheaper alternative. It lacks some features such as video capture, but it keeps down the cost and reduces the clutter and the otherwise clumsy dongles you get with USB TV tuners.The whole package is nicely put together and at around $90 AUD (the U7000 is even cheaper at around $66 AUD) it's not a bad price either for what you get. There are some other limitations such as line of sight for the remote control and we're not huge fans of the little plastic nipple type remotes, but we're not really going to complain, as most cheap USB TV tuners don't come with a remote at all.If you're already running Windows MCE, you'll be happy to know that GIGABYTE supplies compatible drivers in the box as well, but these are only for the XP version. There's really is very little to complain about here for the price and hopefully GIGABYTE will continue to produce equally impressive peripherals in the future.It gets our recommendation if you're looking at adding TV to your PC or notebook, no problems at all!- ProsGreat pricingEase of installation and useHeatsink inside to control thermal issuesBundle including PowerCinema and remote controlWorks in the car up to 100km/hDriver support for Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) - ConsSlightly difficult to get good reception (could be our test location)A little slow when changing channelsLacks video inputsRating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Value Award!
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