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Review: Gainward's Hollywood@Home Roundup

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 2 January 2005, 00:00

Tags: Gainward

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Gainward Hollywood@Home TV2Go

The Hollywood@Home TV2Go is a compact USB2.0 TV tuner, powered entirely by the USB2.0 bus it's connected to, that supports TV tuning and capture, S-Video and composite video input, along with audio input and output via compact 3.5mm jacks.

It arrives in Gainward's usual gold and blue liveried box and given the unit's budget aspirations, is light on optional extras.

TV2Go

Aside from the TV tuner itself, more on which shortly, there's a large range of cables supplied to take avantage of the connectivity the unit affords.

TV2Go Cables

In no particular order, you get stereo phono to 3.5mm, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio, composite video extender, composite to S-Video input, S-Video extender and finally the USB data cable to connect it to the PC you're using it with. Inside the box you'll also find the software CD, manual and a handy carry pouch.

TV2Go Bundle

The TV2Go uses Intervideo's WinDVR software to make use of the hardware functionality. It's competent software that does the usual tuning, time-shifting, burn to DVD or CD, DVD playback and electronic programme guide tasks that you'd expect from today's TV-based PVR software suites. Fast TV, the EPG provider for Intervideo in Europe, seems to be woefully unreliable at the time of writing, so don't expect that part of the WinDVR package to work that well. Otherwise it's simple and easy to use. As you'd expect with a TV tuner on a PC, it's all controlled by a remote.

TV2Go Remote

The remote is thin, almost credit card like in dimensions, using a small watch battery for power. It interfaces with the infrared port on the TV tuner and seems to have a decent range, working from up to 20ft for me. The buttons are tactile and give good feedback that you've pressed them. It's uncluttered and all the functions are clearly marked. It's not the most ergonomic of remotes, but its small size means that it fits in the leather carry pouch, along with the TV tuner itself, and the USB data cable too.

The TV tuner itself is lightweight and compact with all the connectors at one end, the USB2.0 connector at the other. During use a blue LED shows you it's received adequate power from the bus.

TV2Go Tuner

It appears to use a Philips tuner internally, but I can't confirm without breaking the unit open. TV quality using the TV2Go and WinDVR over the USB2.0 bus was fine using an FX-53 downclocked to 1800MHz (just to simulate a lower speed CPU, such as that found in recent Athlon 64 mobile notebooks). No noticeable CPU spikes while changing channels (my pet hate with cheaper TV tuners on the PC), no horrid quality issues were encountered and it never dropped power.

It seems like a perfect little device for TV tuning on the move, with a portable aerial. Laptop users should be very interested.