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August DVB-T201 review

The reality can't quite live up to the promise

A handy USB device for getting a TV signal on your laptop

Our Verdict

It works well when it works, but too often it simply doesn't


  • Quick scanning

    Detailed EPG


  • Inconsistent signal

The theory behind August's USB Freeview TV receiver is an enticing one - TV on your laptop, wherever you are. Unfortunately, the reality is something of a disappointment.

Getting going is straightforward enough: a set-up disc is provided, although the installation didn't start straight away on our PC, meaning that we had to look through a few of the folders to fire it up.

After that the installation of the drivers and software (BlazeVideo HDTV Player) was simple, but we reached a bit of a dead-end when it came to scanning for channels. Despite several attempts to position the small aerial that's provided, the display still read 'No signal'. So, it seems that unless your Freeview signal is of a certain strength, it won't work.

After plugging the device into a rooftop aerial feed (rather than the supplied antenna), we got the chance to see how the DVB-T201 is supposed to work. It only took about a minute to scan through all of the available Freeview channels, including digital radio stations.

A detailed EPG lets you know what's on and set reminders or schedule a recording. You can also use the one-touch recording facility if you decide to record something at the last minute. Recorded material can then be browsed as a series of handy thumbnail images, and the software also lets you capture stills and store them on your computer.

Pictures are crisp and clear, although obviously this will be influenced by the quality of your computer monitor and the same must be said for the audio, which is only as good as your PC speakers.

Overall, the DVB-T201 works well when you can get a strong enough Freeview signal, otherwise you'll be left disappointed.