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If you are looking for a TV turner device but TV box is not suitable then you may consider USB TV turner which has greater portability due to its much smaller size. AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is one of the latest products from AVerMedia which supports WW analog TV, Digital TV and FM Radio. Other great features are HDTV 1080i/720p, H.264 format, Vista MCE supported and so on.
AVerMedia Technologies is a global player in the design and manufacture of presentation and multimedia products. Founded in 1990, AVerMedia's ideology has remained consistent - to turn advanced technology into innovative commercial products at affordable prices for consumers worldwide. In 1997, we were proud to become a public listed company in Taiwan.
We are committed to enriching entertainment experience and promoting effective communication among people. At the same time, we strive to be a responsible corporate citizen worldwide by practicing these commitments.
-Worldwide analog TV Access, DVB-T, and FM Radio
-Worldwide Stereo sound
-Composite (RCA) Input Support
-Software encode allows watching both analog TV and Digital TV on XP / Vista MCE platforms
-Vista Video Gaming Plug-in
-Vista Video Quality Enhancement Plug-in
-Support HDTV up to 1080i / 720p
-HDTV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 & MPEG-2) ready
-Recording Video in H.264 format & Playing on iPod and PSP
-Low Power Consumption
-Vista 32-64 bit support
-Credit card sized remote control Included
-High-gain TV antenna included
-75 ohm TV Antenna Input
-FM Radio Antenna Input
For TimeShift and Record in MPEG-2
-Pentium 4 2.4GHz (Hyper-Threading)
-AMD AthlonXPÒ 2400+
-Pentium Mobile 1.73GHz
For HDTV (H.264) Previewing
-Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or equivalent
For H.264 Recording ( For Analog/ SDTV only)
-Pentium Mobile 2.0 GHz or Dual-Core 1.6GHz or equivalent
-Pentium 4 3.0GHz (Hyper-Threading) or equivalent
512 MB RAM or above
VGA card supports DirectX 9.0c Sound card
USB 2.0 Port
Windows XP / XP MCE / Vista / Vista MCE
Package & Contents
AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX comes with a pretty standard and colorful packaging box; neither too big nor too small. As usual there is plenty of information written at the back of the packaging box; it is even better if some interesting diagrams can be added since it will get more attention from potential customers.
Here are all the accessories that are bundled together with AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX. Besides AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX USB dongle, there are quick installation guide, installation CD, remote control with 2xAAA batteries, AVerMedia sticker, FM radio antenna, S-video/Composite 2-in-1 cable, and a high gain TV antenna.
AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX
AVerMedia has quite number of USB TV turner devices and AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is one of them under Hybrid DVB-T series. There rests of the USB TV turner series are Analog (only for analog TV), DVB-T (Digital broadcasting), Hybrid DVB-S (Analog + Digital Broadcasting - Satellite), ATSC (North America Digital terrestrial/cable standard) and DMB-TH (Chinese Digital terrestrial/handheld standard). Choosing a suitable TV turner device is important as it may not suitable for your region if you choose a wrong one but Hybrid DVB-T is one of the most standard/common TV turner standards; can switch between analog and digital format.
Most of the USB TV turners are almost having same features and specifications but we will highlight some unique and great features of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX here. Hybrid TV turner is an analog + digital TV turner which is good since both of the formats can be supported especially those countries that are having both of these format broadcasting. Besides that AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX can be played on Window Media Center Edition (MCE) system which is ideal for home theatre setup. Some other important features of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX are HDTV H.264/MPEG-2 format supported up to 1080i/720p, low power consumption, recording video in H.264 format and so on.
The dimension and weight of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX are around 102.5 x 30.5 x 11.0 mm (L x W x H) and 25grams which are pretty standard for a USB TV turner dongle; great for those are looking for great portability since it just a bit bigger than a USB flash drive and it can be kept easily. AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX comes with black dongle housing and there isn't any air vent for heat dissipation; we will verify whether this device will have any heat dissipation problem or not in later testing chapter.
Besides the USB and antenna connectors, there is one more connector; AV/S-Video input which is used with the incoming S-Video / Composite 2 in 1 cable for home theatre or TV multimedia devices such as DVD, VCD, VHS player, Xbox, PS3 and so on. Such single cable (combination of S-Video & Composite) is convenience as that it can be kept easily; more cables will result in higher chance of losing them.
Same with other USB TV turners, AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX also come with remote control; 27-key full size remote control. This remote control is a bit bulky since it is powered by two AAA batteries; would prefer replace it with 3V lithium battery remote control. However based on AVerMedia website, a 18-key slim remote control should be bundled in AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX but it depends on the regional requirement; our remote control that is bundled is Model 5 remote control (total 6 models remote control are available). The button functionality is described as above which is pretty straightforward.
During the previous AVerTV BoxW7 Lite review, we have mentioned that missing TV antenna is a disadvantage but this will not happen again on AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX because a high gain TV antenna is included; this antenna seems should be able to perform well at first glance and we will verify its reception quality later. Besides that thanks to AVerMedia as this antenna comes with two stands; one rubber vacuum stand and one clip stand which is perfect for notebook users.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Hardware setup of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is simple, just connects the USB dongle to system USB connector and the antenna; either bundled antenna or those powerful outdoor aerial. If the mini antenna is used then try 180° first and follow by 45° until the reception is clear. However if this mini antenna can't get the clear signals at your area then an outdoor aerial is required. That is for the hardware setup and let us proceed with software configuration.
Software installation isn't that complicated as well since only one software needs to be installed which is AVerTV6 and the installation process will take quite some time; around 5-10 minutes. Once the software and hardware installations are completed then it's time to fine tune its configuration which will take some time to understand and master it. Let us go through one by one for those important setup.
Once the software installation is completed, there will be two programs located at Window Program menu; AVerTV6 and AVerQuick. AVerQuick allows user to set the desired default application; either AVerTV 6 or AVer MediaCenter while AverTV6 is the core software of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX which is used to configure how this device is going to work.
There are total six sections of AVerTV 6 software; Personalize, Snapshot, Storage, Miscellaneous, Teletext, and AVerMedia A827 USB. The Personalize section allows users to configure the "Curtain Effect", "LCD Speed", "Skins", "Preferred Video Penderer" and "Minimize to tray". The Sub section; OSD is for displaying the information on the screen such as sound, channel, volume and so on; the color of text, edge and background can be customized as well.
For the snapshot, it allows users to configure the integrated snapshot function; "Number of Pictures" (how many pictures to be captured), "Interval Time" (how often to capture the picture), "Storage Format" (what kind of file type to be saved), "Save Path" (where to save the file), "Filename Format" (how to name the recorded file), and "Resolution Save Size (resolution of the image cpatured)". For the storage section, it is used for time shift features and recording; "Filename Format" (how to name the recorded file), "Duration" (recording period), "Split file size" (separate the file into smaller files) and "Save Path" (where to save the file).
Next will be the Miscellaneous for controlling its sleep mode, standby/hibernate support and sleep function. Teletext is only available for certain of the countries and if it is not supported then this section can't be modified. For the AVerMedia A827 USB section, there is plenty of thing need to be configured in order to ensure AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX can be worked correctly. Under this section, there are four more sub sections; Digital TV, Analog TV, AM/FM Radio as well as Sound Mixer. Right country/region needs to be selected before choosing the supported signal (TV for air channels while CATV for cable channels) and scanning.
For better understanding of the AVerTV6 with its functionality and how it works, the button/function is explained with the table above. Everything is very simple but sometime too many buttons and selections will confuse the users hence we hope AVerTV6 can be further simplified for both configuration section and the toolbar of the AVerTV6; or maybe a very brief/simple toolbar as an alternative choice besides the original complicated toolbar; on-the-fly setup.
Notebook: Dell Inspiron E1720
Processor: Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T7500
Memory: Kingston 4GB HyperX 666MHz DDR2
Hard Drive: 120GB 2.5" 5400RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS
Optical Drive: DVD RW
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Operating System: Microsoft Window XP SP2
Benchmark Software: HDTech, CrystalDiskMark
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
Last but not least, let us talk about its performance before we end our review today on AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX. For the program scanning during our testing, both of the quick and complete frequencies scanning are able to detect the channels correctly however the full frequency scanning took really a long time; about 15 minutes. The overall reception quality of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is quite good but not as good as AVerTV Box W7 Lite since AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is just a small device. Anyway it is still good enough for such USB TV turner. We found that the whole dongle of AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX was heated up quite much and would prefer AVerMedia to have some air vents around the dongle housing so that it can have better heat ventilation. Besides that the bundled high gain antenna is able to outperform the rest of the bundled antenna for TV turner; Thanks to AVerMedia for delivering such great antenna without impacting the product cost.
Thanks to AVerMedia folks for remaining us to test out the AVer MediaCenter which is nicer GUI software that we felt. Such interface software is quite popular for a TV turner today since it is clearer, cleaner and quite similar with what we have been using on media center system. For function wise, Aver MediaCenter has additional functionality over AVerTV6 as photo, video, music can be played by this software as well; very complete media center software. Both AVerTV6 (traditional interface) and AVer MediaCenter (modern interface) have their own advantages as well as disadvantages just depends which way you prefer to work with it. AVer MediaCenter can be downloaded from here and hopefully it will be added into the software CD in next CD respin. Besides that AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX also supports Linux (exclusively AVerMedia) and Windows 7. AVerMedia Online Support is available if you still have any doubt or thing that need to be clarified - email@example.com
AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is another great product from AVerMedia; a Hybrid USB TV turner which is most suitable for portable users. Such device can be used in anywhere as long as it still can receive the transmission for Air TV and ideal for office users for listening radio or watching some light TV program such as latest news and so on during break/rest time. Besides that AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX also comes with other great features which are enhancement for a USB TV turner. For a 70USD TV turner, AVerTV Hybrid Volar HX is quite reasonable furthermore it is still cheaper than other similar USB TV turner device but ensure your area is having strong transmission signals else a better electrical indoor antenna or outdoor aerials is required for prefect reception.
* Value for such Hybrid USB TV turner device
* Hybrid TV Turner (support Digital & Analog TV)
* Workable on MCE system
* Support HDTV up to 1080i / 720p
* HDTV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 & MPEG-2) ready
* Comes with high gain antenna
* AVerTV6 & AVer MediaCenter are supported
* Support Linux & Window 7 as well
* AVer MediaCenter is not included
Thanks to AVerMedia & LinkCraft for providing this sample for us to review.
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