For those times when you don't want to miss live sporting events but can't get to a TV, the Tivizen lets you catch the action on your iPhone or iPad - no internet connection required.

 The Tivizen receiver is small enough to carry in your pocket, lasts around 3.5 hours between charges and has a tiny built-in aerial which picks up Freeview channels in strong signal areas (check coverage in your area to find out if the Tivizen is likely to work for you).

Elgato Tivizen

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.

Elgato Tivizen live TV

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 Tivizen TV guide

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.

Next page: verdict

Follow Jim Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

Tivizen: Specs

  • DVB-T Freeview TV tuner
  • 50x90x13mm
  • 70g
  • 3.5-hour battery life
  • Requires iOS 4 or later
  • DVB-T Freeview TV tuner
  • 50x90x13mm
  • 70g
  • 3.5-hour battery life
  • Requires iOS 4 or later

OUR VERDICT

With apps such as the free TVCatchup, products such as Elgato's Tivizen are only useful if you want or need to watch TV without an internet connection. It's handy to be able to record shows for watching later, and we like the timeshifting capabilities. Since you can't attach a bigger aerial, it will only work reliably in areas with a strong Freeview signal, but given that it cost the same as the Hauppauge myTV 2GO and has markedly better software, it's the one to choose.

Find the best price