The snappily named Cinergy DT USB XS Diversity is one of a new breed of digital TV adaptors that use a pair of DVB-T tuners, each with its own antenna. The two signals can be processed independently as separate channels or combined to produce a single one with improved reception.
As well as the TV tuner and drivers, the package comes with a full software bundle and an infrared remote control. It's fully compatible with Windows XP Media Center Edition and Vista, and comes with Terratec's Home Cinema software. You also get Ulead's DVD MovieFactory 3.0, which allows you to edit and burn recordings to DVD.
The two antennae come with magnetic bases and suction cups for easy attachment. You get adaptors for standalone or rooftop aerials and a small USB extension cable.
Reception was generally good, even in single-tuner mode. The benefits of switching to Diversity mode (where the signals are combined) were difficult to quantify, especially with the tiny aerials provided. Finding the best position for one is tricky, but with two it's a nightmare.
We found that reception tended to be either excellent or unwatchable, and combining the signals seldom made a difference between the two. If you're watching on the move, however, Diversity mode is definitely the way to go.
Configuring Terratec Home Cinema is not quite as straightforward as using Windows XP Media Center Edition, but the technically minded will appreciate the extra options. You can select which decoders are used, and if you have an H.264 codec installed the software will pick up HD (high-definition) TV transmissions – although you should check that you're allowed to pick up these channels. You get a 12-month subscription to the tvtv electronic programme guide service, and an ad-skipping utility is also provided.