Mon, 08 Oct 2012 Belkin @TV Plus review
Slingbox alternative offers a way to view and record on your mobile devices
- Manufacturer: Belkin
- Pros: Good TV picture quality; works on a range of devices; streams signal from your digital TV service to up to 8 devices simultaneously; Wi-Fi enabled; built-in TV guide; attractive box; shows potential.
- Cons: Software needs improving; no built in Freeview or Freesat receiver; audio sync issues; record feature can only be used while on your home network; recordings limited by available free space; iPhone/iPod touch app costs extra; no HDMI-in port; faces competition from better established Slingbox.
- Min specs: Compatible with PC, Mac, Android, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
- Price: £149.99/€199.99; Belkin @TV for iPhone and iPod touch £8.99, Belkin @TV for iPad free.
- Star rating:
@TV Plus from Belkin is a device for watching your TV, satellite or cable set-top-box anywhere in the world via your iOS device, Android tablet, Mac or PC and a dedicated app or interface. If that sounds familiar it's because Slingbox have been offering similar solutions for sometime, and Belkin here are playing catch-up. That's not to say competition isn't welcome and @TV Plus on first impression is a stylish, neat black box that won't looks shabby next to your TV or computer. The box comes with a selection of cables and software to connect the device, although disappointingly the package lacks a built in Freeview or Freesat receiver.
Setting up @TV Plus is a fairly painless process although we can only hope Belkin improve the software, which makes the experience of watching TV less intuitive then we would like. That feeling extends to the onscreen remote, which sometimes is unresponsive or appears to lack a full range of controls. TV playback is good with good solid reception, although this will depend on your internet connection and choice of device for watching your favourite shows. Wi-Fi enabled for viewing around the house, @TV Plus comes with a SurfSwipe integrated channel guide so you’re not searching for TV listings when you could be surfing channels. Additionally, the device comes with a handy record feature, but this can only be used while on your home network and can easily fill any spare space you might have on your iOS or Android device.
Bizarrely, while the @TV Plus iPad app is free, the version for iPhone and iPod touch will set you back an additional £8.99. As well as Slingbox, @TV Plus faces competition from both Sky and Virgin, who both offer, or will offer the ability to watch TV on a variety of portable devices, although these are restricted to viewers within the UK and Republic of Ireland. The cheapest alternative meanwhile - TVCatchup - is free.