Review Price free/subscription
AVerMedia AVerTV Hybrid STB 1080i - AVerTV Hybrid STB 1080i
The AVerTV sports a feature called ‘video pause', but don't be fooled by the erroneous name - this unit has no memory, you won't be able to pause and resume live TV, meaning that if you ‘freeze' a frame, when resuming you'll have missed part of the broadcast. Still, it's handy to have in there for many situations, including checking the small text or phone number in an offer/add, or studying weather charts - I just wish AverMedia would use less misleading names for ‘features' on both its website and packaging.
Furthermore there are the usual ‘parental lock' and PiP (picture-in-picture) features, and a preview window which lets you see 13 (analogue) TV channels simultaneously (nine for digital). The only niggle here is that the channels take a while before loading. Then we have some DigitalTV-exclusive functions, like a clear and well-presented EPG (Electronic Program Guide). The subtitle mode, however, is another thing that seems to be fatally flawed. First I couldn't get them to turn on, then I couldn't get them off. Sometimes, the ‘off' function actually turned them on. It works, but not smoothly by any stretch.
Which brings us to what is probably the single biggest disappointment about the AVerTV Hybrid STB, especially for console enthusiasts. When I first hooked up an Xbox 360 through the component adapter, I thought there must be some badly-configured settings. But no, the cable was set to HD, the monitor (a Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP) on 1:1 pixel mapping, and the Xbox at 1080i. All of which made it rather worrying that I was getting a fully-stretched image (there should have been black bars at the top and bottom since I was running on a 16:10 screen), and images looked like I was using a poor-quality composite cable. Frankly, if you had been hoping to use the AVerTV STB 1080i to connect a Wii or other device to your PC monitor over component, don't - it really is that bad.
If you want to be able to use component connections on a display that doesn't feature that input, there are various adapters available, while pairing a TV tuner to your PC will give you many more features than the £130 AVerTV Hybrid STB 1080i, including live pause and record. If you have a laptop, AverMedia's own AVerTV DVB-T Express is a compelling alternative option.
AverMedia's seriously flawed AVerTV Hybrid STB 1080i doesn't do anything well enough to be able to recommend it - except perhaps the ability to watch terrestrial analogue TV on your monitor without needing a PC, but then there are better and far cheaper ways to achieve this.
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