Incidentally, while the DTT-1000 picks up mostly free to air channels, I did find it will detect, but not show, scrambled subscription channels such as E4 and Sky Sports which sit frustratingly in your listings unless you manually remove them. Now with so many channels at your disposal the usual up and down buttons are a bit redundant so Chaintech has introduced a second pop out panel to its player which flips between television and radio modes and allows you to move up and down the listings with a scroll bar. It also shows each channel’s allocated channel number, should you have a good memory and want to type them in manually with the remote.
Speaking of which, the remote was a real unexpected pleasure. It has a shape and style similar to the Sky+ remote control, is comfortable in hand and has an extensive button listing which lets you perform every single function without having to resort to your mouse. This is a far more impressive offering than the typical cut down remotes that appear with the majority of the market’s TV tuners. Signal strength is also the best I have seen, with the Infrared receiver detecting button depressions even when I pointed the remote in the opposite direction.
So now I was armed with full control of the system but once again the software came up a little short. While the EPG impressively grabs full seven day listings at a time, complete with programme descriptions, it crashed the software on more than one occasion and I experienced some further crashes during general use. I expect this will be corrected with future software updates but stability should be better out of the box. Likewise the picture snapshot function, though straightforward, only saves to the cumbersome bitmap format and doesn’t really do justice to the vibrancy of the channels.
Time shifting is a neat feature however and the ability to pause, rewind and then fast forward through something like Sky News does momentarily create a beautiful mirage of the expensive Sky+ system. Video clips can also be recorded - you can record for as as long as your free hard disk space allows - and recordings can also be scheduled from the EPG. During all of this, CPU usage runs at quite a high 30 to 40 per cent so while you will be free to perform regular tasks like surfing the Internet, more intensive applications will suffer. Still, how many particularly intensive operations you want to perform while watching television is open to debate.
Ultimately, despite some of its software shortcomings I was greatly impressed with the DTT-1000 due to its fabulous picture quality, user friendly channel selection system and fantastic remote. All the issues listed above can and no doubt be fixed by software and driver updates – so let’s hope that Chaintech gets on the case.
If you fancy the idea of watching TV on your PC the DTT-1000 will prove a very astute purchase. The picture quality and user interface are both excellent, and apart from a few small niggles, this is a great PC TV solution.