Hauppauge PCTV nanoStick T2 review

Get Freeview HD for your PC - with a tiny dongle
Photo of Hauppauge PCTV nanoStick T2
£79.95

PC digital tuners for terrestrial TV services are two-a-penny, but what make’s PCTV nanoStick T2 USB tuner standout from the crowd is support for ‘DVB-T2′, or Freeview HD to you and me. Built into a wee USB 2.0 stick, the single-channel tuner is the first that supports both DVB-T and DVB-T2.

Small but perfectly formed
The PCTV nanoStick T2 really is tiny, measuring just 56mm long. It has a sliding mechanism to keep the USB connector safe when it’s not in use, and its gloss black finish matches any number of modern notebooks.

And talking of things small but perfectly formed, the supplied remote control measures just 98mm long by 30mm wide, too – with buttons so small that only those with delicate fingers will be able to press one button at a time. the rest of us sausage-fingered lot will be hard-pressed not to push half a dozen at once. Along with the dongle and remote control, you also get a tiny portable aerial (which is frankly best left in the box), an aerial adaptor to connect the nanoStick’s MCX socket with a rooftop aerial and a software CD.

Scan this!
The nanoStick’s bundled TV Center software is easy to install and well presented. Using the wizard we found it easy to scan and tune in to channels, but – and is a fairly substantial, even huge, but – the software can’t assign the proper numbers to each Freeview channel. What you get is a random list of channels and numbers, which is a bit at odds with the claim that the software fully supports Freeview.

No such problems occur when using Windows Media Center with the device, but you’ll need the Windows 7 version as this is the one that supports HD. Things appear a bit misleading at first, as Media Center recognises the T2 as a standard DVB-T tuner. Once it’s finished scanning, though, you’ll notice that it finds the four Freeview HD channels as well as everything else. It also comes with DistanTV, which allows current or recorded programmes to be streamed to another PC on your home network or to other devices such as iPhones and iPads.

Company: Hauppauge

Positives
  • Freeview HD on your PC/laptop.
Negative
  • Bundled TV watching software has problems.

Verdict

A neat solution to those wanting to watch Freeview HD, but the nanoStick is rather expensive for a single-channel tuner - and you really need the latest version of Media Center to get the best out of it.