Summary

Our Score

4/10

Review Price free/subscription

AVerMedia AVerTV Hybrid STB 1080i - AVerTV Hybrid STB 1080i

Naturally it's all very easy to set up, though you're left with quite a tangle of cables sprouting from both sides. The remote is usually responsive and has a decent range of at least ten metres. You can control most functions (indirectly) from the box itself, which is a blessing if you ever temporarily mislay the remote.

The AVerTV Hybrid STB works for monitors with DVI or VGA (through the supplied adapter), but cleverly, you don't have to sacrifice your computer's digital connection since the unit functions flawlessly as a DVI pass-through, meaning your desktop's but a button-press away at all times.

On first setup, you have to go through a minimal configuration process, where you choose regional settings (country, language and time zone), menu colour (I selected grey from a fairly wide range), menu transparency level (in 25 per cent increments) and menu border pattern (rounded or sharp). Another, rather counter-intuitive incident of bad translation into English is that ‘regional setting' can be found under ‘system settings', while ‘resolution' is found under ‘user settings'.

Just on a side note, there's more bad news in that the AVerTV Hybrid STB froze up during this setup process, and nothing short of disconnecting it from the mains would make it work again. This has only happened one other time since, and could be due to a faulty unit, but it is another blemish on a hardly spotless record.

Once I had everything set up, initially at 1,920 x 1,200, it became obvious that this is one of those rare cases where having a smaller, lower resolution monitor is actually better, unless your monitor is one of those even rarer cases featuring a decent scaler. And since the AverMedia STB is obviously not one of these cases, when running an SD (640 x 480) feed you'll want your screen as close as possible to the unit's minimum supported resolution of 1,024 x 768 (1,280 x 768 widescreen).

Not that watching TV at a 24in monitor's full resolution is unbearable, just that it's nowhere near as sharp as on your old CRT television. You can try improving things with the brightness, contrast, colour, tint and sharpness settings, but to be honest it's not going to have much of a (positive) effect.

Still, the STB works pretty much as advertised with analogue TV, finding, naming and arranging channels automatically, and providing an okay experience. However, though switching to digital immediately ups the picture quality, it also introduces artefacts. These range from the occasional bit of pixilation to, on rare occasions, an unwatchable picture, and I'm afraid this is completely down to the STB's poor digital tuner.

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