Promising to be a digital media Swiss Army knife, the TVMan possibly bites off a little more than it can chew.
The TVman does several things that existing gadgets on the market can already do, but is the first to my knowledge that combines them all into one fairly streamlined bundle. It can streaming live TV, record live TV, act as a media centre hub and charge your phone. Roughly the size of the average wallet and very lightweight it’s a painless addition to your digital go-bag. But is it worthy of a place?
The headline feature is the ability to stream DTB TV channels to your smartphone for free. I struggled to get a reception from inside my house through the built-in antenna although the situation was much better when I went outside. If you watch a lot of TV in the field you’re going to love TVman. perhaps Anticipating indoor reception issues, TVman comes with an adaptor that enables you to plug it into a standard TV aerial, which I found useful when visiting friends that didn’t own TVs. Playback is highly dependent on reception – which is obvious. In areas of low reception the TVMan was borderline unusable, with lots of image artefacts and buffering issues. However, even in areas of decent reception image quality was only ever decent, and not sparkling.
A really cool feature was the ability to record direct to a micro SD card. If there’s an unmissable piece of live TV and you’re out and about, you can stream it to the SD and watch it back later. This has a fantastic “living in the future” feel to it.
You can go one step further and just playback any content you have stored on the SD card. Standard definition content worked just fine, but getting HD content to playback was less lush than we would have liked.
We liked a lot of what the TVMan did. We just wished it did it better. But it’s hard to complain when it does so much a the “good enough” level. If you what just one of these functions, pick a specialist. Otherwise it’s probably a good bet.