It's an age-old problem - you desperately want to watch LK Today and Jeremy Kyle every morning but the inconsiderate schedulers at ITV1 only show them when you're on the train to work. Well despair no longer, because you can now get your fix of makeovers and jewellery-clad chavs on the move thanks to the DTV350C, a portable multimedia player with a built-in Freeview tuner.
Made by UK-based company August, the DTV350C is a light, compact unit measuring just 105 x 75 x 18mm (w x h x d), which makes it one of the world's smallest integrated digital TVs. On the front it sports a 3.5in LCD screen with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, but with a 4:3 aspect ratio it's not ideally suited to Freeview broadcasts, many of which are widescreen. Fans of facts and figures note that the screen's brightness and contrast ratio are quoted as 250 cd/m² and 300:1 respectively.
The main body of the DTV350C feels fairly well-built and the black finish is fetching, but it does bear some cheap ‘n' cheerful hallmarks, such as the flimsy pull-out stand on the back and the stiff, clunky buttons on the front.
Set into the sides of the unit is a small selection of sockets. On the left is a mini USB port, which houses the AC power adaptor for charging the battery or running off the mains, or the supplied USB cable when playing back media from a memory device. It's joined by a headphone socket that doubles up as an AV output, should you want to pipe composite video and stereo audio to your TV. On the bottom side is a flap that hides an SD/MMC card slot, which accepts cards with capacities up to 8GB, on the right is an input for the supplied portable antenna and along the top, the unit sports a telescopic radio antenna and the power switch.
Alongside the USB cable, power adapter and portable antenna in the box is a pair of earphones and an aerial adapter, which allows you to plug in your rooftop aerial when watching indoors.
It's worth pointing out that unlike media players from the likes of Archos, there's no hard-disk on board, so any media you want to play must be fed in from an SD/MMC card or USB device. But after loading up a USB stick crammed with a variety of media files, it's disappointing to discover that the unit supports a fairly limited range of formats. It won't play DivX, WMV or WMA, which is a blow considering how common these formats are, and although it lists AVI support on the spec sheet it played back our files with sound but no pictures. It does, however, support MPEG-1/2/4, MP3, WAV and JPEG.