Let's say you travel a lot and you'd quite like a way of whiling away the hours. You could load up your laptop bag with a stack of DVDs, or you could buy Terratec's Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS and watch some TV.

Despite its mouthful of a moniker, the Cinergy is actually a deceptively simple product. It'll have you tuning into the telly in no time, and it doesn't just do bog-standard channels 1 to 5, either. The Hybrid part of its name derives from the fact that it's both an analogue and DVB-T digital tuner.

The hardest part of setting it up is the rigmarole of installing the software elements; then you simply plug in the Cinergy via a free USB 2.0 port and use Cyberlink's PowerCinema 4.0 to scan for channels. We found it took a few attempts before the software ‘took' and we could begin this.

As well as providing you with an EPG (electronic programme guide) to preview programs while in DVB mode, the software enables you to scroll through music, DVDs, photos and TV shows. Cyberlink's Make DVD 1.0 app is also supplied so you can burn programs as Mpeg2 files to disc.

You can, of course, use the Cynergy on a PC just as easily as on a laptop - you simply need to specify your AV setup accordingly. You can specify whether you'll be viewing on a standard or widescreen monitor and how many speakers you've got. Headphones are an option for discreet enjoyment. If you're not using a fixed aerial, Terratec supplies a cabled antenna that attaches via a hole on the end of the Cinergy dongle.

Terratec Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS: Specs

  • USB 2.0 analogue and DVB-T digital radio and TV tuner
  • antenna for mobile TV viewing
  • EPG and multimedia menu
  • remote control (comes with 2x AA batteries)
  • Mpeg2 support
  • composite and S-Video
  • DVD burning software
  • 80x30x15mm
  • USB 2.0 analogue and DVB-T digital radio and TV tuner
  • antenna for mobile TV viewing
  • EPG and multimedia menu
  • remote control (comes with 2x AA batteries)
  • Mpeg2 support
  • composite and S-Video
  • DVD burning software
  • 80x30x15mm

OUR VERDICT

We're great fans of products that just work and this one is easy-peasy to set up. The jury's still out on the vibrant orange buttons for the remote control Terratec throws in, but we do like being entertained while on the move - and the ability to watch Freeview stations is a boon.

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