The Tizi works by creating its own Wi-Fi hotspot. To connect to it from your phone, touch or iPad you first have to go into the settings menu, deselect your normal Wi-Fi connection and select the Tizi base station instead. The problem with this approach is that if you’re using a device like an iPad or iPod touch that doesn’t have 3G functionality you can’t connect to the Web while you’re using the Tizi, which is a bit of a pain. Another disappointment is that it can only handle a connection to a single device at a time. If there’s already one device using it and another tries to connect, the Tizi drops the stream to the first user to activate it for the second user.
Once you’ve selected the hotspot in the settings screen you then need to launch the free Tizi app. The first time you start it up, it takes a couple of minutes to tune all the channels, after that it usually starts in a matter of seconds.
With Tizi you get access to all the free-to-air standard definition TV channels on Freeview. It doesn’t support high definition and also doesn’t support H.264 video, so in countries such as Ireland and Scandinavia that transmit standard definition channels in h.264 it will show station names, but isn’t able to actually show video. As a result, it’s not quite as travel-friendly as it could be. Also, as there’s obviously no CAM slot you can’t use it to access paid-for services available on DTV in the UK such as the Sky Sports channels.
We tried the Tizi in East London and the reception was generally good, but if you use it on the go on a train, you’re likely to suffer from significant picture break-up and blocking. Nevertheless, the user interface for the Tizi app is pretty well designed. In portrait mode, it offers a small TV window with channel names and currently showing programmes listed below. Turn your device on its side and it automatically switches into a full, widescreen view.
Cleverly, the software also allows you to record a TV show to your device’s memory so you can watch it later. However, there’s only a single tuner so you can’t watch one channel while recording another and it’s a little bit limiting and annoying that you can’t schedule recordings of upcoming shows either. But at least if you do use it to record a show, you can watch it later without having to be connected to the Tizi.
Overall, the Tizi works fine, and if it was priced at an impulse buy level we could see it doing well. However, at £149.95 we think it’s very expensive for what it offers, especially as you can view most channels online with your iPhone or iPad for free. Furthermore, given the high asking price, we would have liked to be able to connect more than one device to it simultaneously, schedule recordings and be able to integrate Tizi into an existing Wi-Fi network.