There are already many ways to watch TV on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. You can use online streaming services, or even devices like the Slingbox Pro or Elgato EyeTV. However, Equinox has added another option to that list: the Tizi. It’s a portable TV tuner that runs on its own battery and sends live TV over Wi-Fi to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The advantage of this approach is that you don’t need a fast data connection to the web to be able to watch TV - instead you just need to be in an area that has reasonably good digital TV reception.
The Tizi is about two-thirds the size of an iPhone measuring roughly 12 x 92 x 52 mm. It’s finished primarily in glossy black to match the current iPhone 4, but also has a chrome band running around the outer edge. It’s a pretty inconspicuous looking device and its small size does make it highly portable.
At the top of the Tizi you’ll find the small, telescopic aerial. Rather weirdly, when you pull it out you’ll find that it’s thinner towards the base than it is towards the top – so the exact opposite of most telescopic aerials you get on portable FM radios. It looks rather odd and feels very flimsy, but it’s made out of exceptionally bendy metal. In fact, Equinux says that you can bend it through 180 degrees without breaking. Certainly, it’s very flexible, although we didn’t want to push our luck by bending it as much as Equinux demonstrates in its promo photos.
If you slide off the cover on the rear of the device, you’ll find a removable battery inside. Equinux reckons this lasts for up to three and a half hours, but during our test period we found that we got closer to three hours before it needed to be recharged. To charge the battery you use the standard mini-USB port that’s found on the bottom of the Tizi. Unfortunately, no charger is included, so you’ll need to charge it from a laptop or a PC using the bundled USB cable or alternatively your iPhone’s charger.
When it comes to control, there’s only really a single button on the case. This is used for turning it on and off. However, there is a reset pinhole that you can use to reboot the Tizi if everything goes a bit pear-shaped. However, we never had to use this during our test period.
The Tizi works with iPhones, iPod touches and iPads that are running iOS 3.2 and above, so that’s all models bar the first and second generation iPhone and first and second generation iPod touches. Before you can use it, you first need to download the free Tizi app from the App store. Once installed, you start up the Tizi by holding down its power button for a few seconds. A dedicated power indictor LED shows when it’s on and there are two other LEDs to show when it’s connected to your phone and when data transfers are taking place.