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Equinux tizi March 2011
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n www.tizi.tv n £150
Equinux tizi Tizi delivers mobile reception and recording of Freeview channels to your iPhone or iPad but is not without its limits
Features Apple devices supported: iPad, iPhone 4/3GS, iPod Touch 4th Gen. Wireless connectivity: 802.11g/b Common interface: No Freeview HD: No MHEG-5: No Teletext: No EPG support: DVB now-and-next Recording: Yes AV outputs: None Battery life: 3.5 hours
n Portable Freeview TV tuner n Wi-Fi connectivity n Recording
n Can’t connect to an existing Wi-Fi network n Doesn’t take an
external aerial feed Build Ease of use Performance Features Value
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Tizi is described as a ‘mobile TV hotspot’. In some ways it’s a conventional DVB-T tuner, capable of receiving standard-definition Freeview TV channels and radio stations. But, instead of connecting to a USB port on a computer, the Tizi uses Wi-Fi to transmit audio and video directly to your iPad or iPhone. There’s also a Tizi app that you need to download from Apple’s online App Store, which allows you to watch and record. The Tizi is larger than a conventional computer TV tuner. It can’t draw power from a computer’s USB port, so it is bulked up by the addition of an internal rechargeable battery, which should let you watch TV for about 3.5 hours. Even so, it only measures about 90mm long, 50mm wide and 15mm thick, so it’s still small and light enough to slip into a pocket or backpack. The built-in extendable aerial looks flimsy, but Equinux says it’s made out of a special lightweight alloy that allows you to bend and twist the aerial without breaking it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get off to a great start with the Tizi. I live in a fairly built-up area in central London, and the small aerial on the Tizi simply couldn’t pick up the Freeview signal from inside my flat at all. My first thought was to head over to the aerial socket wired into the wall in my front room – which feeds a perfectly good Freeview signal to the Mac Mini that I use as a media centre – only to find that the Tizi doesn’t have a connector for an external aerial. That’s a major oversight, and will limit the Tizi’s usefulness for many people.
Tizi on the move However, Equinux do call it a ‘mobile TV hotspot’ so I headed out onto the freezing cold streets in order to test the Tizi on the move. Thankfully, it was able to pick up a signal once I got outdoors, and also inside the coffee shop on Brick Lane, where I took refuge from the cold. And, once you’ve got a decent signal, the free Tizi app for
the iPad or iPhone does work well. You can start off holding the iPad or iPhone in the upright position, and the Tizi app will display TV in the top half of the screen, with a list of channels in the lower half accompanied by now-and-next programme information for each. Once you’ve selected a channel you can flip the screen sideways and the TV image will expand to fill the entire screen. One nice touch is that the full-screen mode allows you to flick to the next/previous channel simply by flicking your finger across the screen. You can record by tapping the ‘Rec’ button on the screen but only the channel you’re watching as there’s one tuner onboard. Recordings are stored in the native MPEG-2 TS format and, when your iPhone or iPad is connected to your computer, can be exported to iTunes and viewed using applications including MPlayer for Macs and VLC for PCs. You can even switch out of the Tizi app, leaving the audio to play in the background while you do something else. The only problem here is that the Tizi creates its own Wi-Fi network rather than connecting to your existing home or office network. This means that your iPad or iPhone can’t to use your normal Wi-Fi network for web browsing or checking e-mails while you’re using the Tizi (though 3G internet use is still possible) n Cliff Joseph
Verdict The self-contained nature of the Tizi is useful when you’re on the move, as it means you don’t have to rely on a Wi-Fi or 3G network to watch TV. However, the fact that the Tizi can’t connect to an external aerial is disappointing and will mean that many people simply can’t use the box at home or in their office, even when they know they can get good Freeview reception through an existing aerial.