The box connects to your iOS device (the fourth-generation iPod touch is supported as well as the iPhone and iPad) via Wi-Fi, and it’s simply a case of downloading the free Tivizen app, connecting to the device’s Wi-Fi network, launching the app and then watching TV.
Initial setup is straightforward and a wizard guides you through searching for channels. The interface is well designed and the main screen provides four options: live TV, recordings, TV guide and settings.
The live TV interface allows you to swipe left or right to switch to the next or previous channel, or you can tap the channel name at the top to display a scrollable list of channels for fast switching. A status bar tells you what’s on now and next, the battery level and Wi-Fi signal strength.
Playback controls are displayed above this – a slider allows you to rewind through the timeshift buffer, even if you’ve switched channels. Unlike Hauppage’s myTV 2GO, the Tivizen constantly buffers so you can always rewind. With the myTV 2GO, you have to tap the pause button to begin timeshifting.
You can set the size of the buffer in the settings – the default is 100MB which is enough for around three minutes. You can increase it to 2GB, which provides well over an hour of buffering. The options also allow you to set a password for the device’s Wi-Fi connection but, more usefully, you can enable Home Network mode which forces the Tivizen to connect to your wireless router when you’re at home. This means you don’t have to sacrifice internet access when you’re watching TV.
Again, unlike the myTV 2GO, the Tivizen allows background recording so you can use other apps on your device while recording a show. You have to leave the audio playing – if you disable background audio, you can’t record while running other apps.
Elgato’s TV guide is also better than Hauppauge’s. It looks a lot like the one in TVGuide.co.uk’s app and – on the iPad – shows 11 channels at once with over three hours on the horizontal timeline. Handy buttons let you skip to the next few days, as well as jumping back to the current time. You can email, tweet or print listing details, as well as switching to the live broadcast on a particular channel. You can’t schedule recordings.
As it uses a standard Nokia-style BL-5C battery, replacements are cheap and freely available for extending watching time.