Terratec has updated its Cinergy USB TV tuner, adding an FM tuner to the existing digital and analogue TV programmes users can enjoy. Costing £60 including VAT, the Terratec Hybrid T USB XS FM provides an easy and inexpensive way to add TV viewing to the capabilities of a laptop or PC.

For many of us, PCs and laptops are as much about entertainment as they are about business productivity. According to the Mobile Data Association, a quarter of us are now using our mobile phones to get online. But it’s not all work, work, work. We’re even more likely to be listening to an iPod on the way to work or catching up on the latest cricket scores as we are to be checking emails on a BlackBerry between meetings or surfing the web while on the train.

Terratec caught on to the idea of TV and radio on the move some time ago and competes with Pinnacle and Freecom for dominance of the USB TV tuner market. Designed to plug in to a laptop, such devices typically have a separate or integrated antenna to pick up programmes and are controlled via on an onscreen EPG (electronic programme guide) and/or a small remote control.

In the case of the Terratec Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS FM ultra-portable TV Tuner, a USB 2.0 port is required. Once installed and the tuner has scanned the airwaves for radio stations and TV channels. A remote control is supplied as part of the package, making it easier to flick through channels, whether free-to-air digital channels, analogue broadcasts or radio stations.

Time-delayed TV – pausing a programme currently being broadcast and resuming viewing from the same point later on – is supported, as is recording complete programmes. It’s possible to manually set up recordings or to use a mobile phone and the web to set up a recording remotely.

Terratec includes a copy of Magix Software’s Movies on CD & DVD software which can be used to remove adverts from recorded programmes and to burn recordings to CD or DVD.

The Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS FM is available from www.terratec.co.uk

Pinnacle’s similar PCTV USB Stick is another USB 2.0 device capable of receiving digital terrestrial TV. In common with the Terratec tuner, it and comes with a mini remote control and has a separate rod antenna. Available from http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/uk/Home, it costs £27.

A further option is Freecom’s DVB-T USB Stick which costs £23.

Technical specification of Terratec Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS FM
• Digital and analogue TV tuner for notebooks and PCs
• Scheduled recordings and time shifting
• Electronic programme guide
• FM edio tuner
• USB 2.0
• Infrared remote control

Terratec Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS FM

Listen to radio stations as well as accessing TV programmes on your laptop using the Terratec USB 2.0 tuner