The Elgato Tivizen, in contrast, is primarily designed for use with Apple’s iPhone and iPad – neither of which has a USB socket.
Instead, the device picks up the Freeview digital TV signal through its 6in retractable aerial, and then uses its built-in wireless networking features to transmit that signal to the iPad or iPhone over a private wireless network it creates.
The Tivizen can also be used with any Mac or PC that connects wirelessly, although for those it’s a lot more expensive than a conventional USB tuner.
Watching programmes on the iPad or iPhone was very straightforward – the free Tivizen app provides simple controls for playing or recording programmes.
What are the best features of this TV Tuner?
It can ‘time-shift’ programmes too, pausing a live broadcast for a few minutes and then continuing from where you left off so that you don’t miss anything.
It’s an ingenious idea and worked very well – as long as you’re in an area that has good Freeview reception.
The Tivizen’s matchbox dimensions mean that it was easy to carry around, and its over-three-hour battery life was enough for an afternoon’s TV watching.
However, the small aerial didn’t provide good reception when we were indoors in built-up areas, and unlike most conventional TV tuners, it doesn’t allow the user to plug in a larger indoor aerial in order to improve reception.
That means that the Tivizen really works best outdoors, or where you can sit next to a window to pick up the signal more clearly.
The fact that it uses a wireless connection also means you can’t connect to the internet when the iPad or iPhone is connected to the Tivizen.
We certainly admire the ingenuity of the Tivizen and its easy-to-use app, but the device’s high-price and the restricted reception provided by the too-small aerial mean that it’s probably limited to people who have the time to spend their days hopping from one coffee shop to another.