Installation was simple – insert CD, go through the menus, plug in the USB tuner when prompted, then restart.
The Cyberlink software is fairly nice. It looks good on a TV, easy to read and using the menus is reasonably intuitive. It could be better, but not a great deal. There are features like Time-delay, which allows pausing, and a handy recording feature using MPEG2 encoding. This is the only encoding scheme available, and while there is an option to record in different quality levels, I was never able to use anything less than High Quality – the options simply weren’t there.
As you can see above, the picture is paused, and it gives you as much time depending on how much you set in the options, depending on disk space of course.When you change location, quite often you have to re-scan for channels in the PowerCinema software, which takes up to five minutes.
So how does the unit perform? Well, the idea behind the 2 portable antennas is either to use on the run or to use on a laptop in different locations – waiting in an airport, or at work (that’s for the managers only, by the way…), etc.
In areas of strong signal, the small antennas did a great job of receiving the digital terrestrial channels available – I was genuinely surprised that when I plugged it in at work (during my lunch break) that I received about 30 channels all nice and crisp. However in areas of poor signal strength (like in my house), only a loop TV antenna through the adapter was enough to get any channels, and then not all of them. This would not be good enough for use with a laptop, and if you are unlucky enough to stay or live somewhere with poor reception, you had better find a permanent antenna to use with the adapter.
The recording is a piece of cake. Literally go into the channel, look at the programs for the next week, choose one and set it to record! And then it will be recorded as an MPEG file on your PC, ready to watch, and skip the ads, when you get in. I found the playback to be as good as the original, and could find no fault when recording in high quality. Of course this is more taxing on the CPU, so don’t expect to record on a laptop and have a lot of battery life.
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