The AV700 portable media player has been available for some time, but this version has another trick up its sleeve: it's been fitted with a digital TV tuner.
In fact, the device has two separate tuners, which are designed to work in tandem to ensure that your Freeview picture remains crisp, clear and interference-free. (Unlike dual tuner PVRs, it won't allow you to record one channel whilst watching another). The aerials are built into a case which is opened out and connected to the AV 700 TV.
Because the tuners are digital, you get around 50 channels, plenty of programmes in widescreen and basic 'now and next' info via the EPG.
There's an auto-tuning option which quickly finds Freeview channels (although it sometimes misses the odd one, so you might need to repeat it to get the full line-up), and once they're stored you get an absolutely brilliant image.
There are some blocky MPEG artefacts in backgrounds and murky scenes, but it's forgivable given the small dimensions of the TFT panel. Other than that, the quality is fine: sharp detail, bright colours and reasonably smear-free movement.
But this is more than just a swanky mobile television. It's also the only device of its kind that can directly record television from its own tuner. Footage goes straight onto the 40GB hard drive, with enough space for 35hrs of programmes at original broadcast quality.
You can also record at near-DVD quality from a connected video source (adapters are supplied separately, though), or encode or download videos from the internet and move them on to the AV 700 TV via USB (as the video is encoded, you'll be able to fit a lot more than 35 hours on the hard drive - depending on the codec, it could be 160hrs).
It's compatible with a decent selection of popular video formats, as well as digital photos and MP3 music - although the size and weight of the player means it doesn't make the ideal replacement for your iPod.
Of course, you can also hook up the device to a larger screen, where the near-DVD quality stuff can really look good. It can also be used as a Freeview tuner for those with non-digital TVs.Of course, you can also hook up the device to a larger screen, where the near-DVD quality stuff can really look good. It can also be used as a Freeview tuner for those with non-digital TVs.
Everyone's a critic
Criticisms? Well, the user interface could be a little simpler: the menu screens are clear enough, but the buttons used to control them are muddled and take too much getting used to. The volume, both from the built-in stereo speakers and through headphones, is also too quiet.
The AV 700 TV is great but pricey: it's also the best mini television around, with awesome video playback too