OnAir Solution GT USB HDTV Receiver/Recorder Reviewajmatson -
Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way, let's see how well the OnAir GT performs. Sure, everything looks good on paper, but I am the type of person who wants to see it first hand. Since this is the mobile edition, I will be testing it on a laptop to get the most versatility out of it. The box and paperwork did not specify whether it would work on Windows Vista, so I will be testing it on both Windows XP and Windows Vista, which is dual booted on the laptop, to see if it will work.
- Sony Vaio Laptop (Model # VGN-N250E)
- Intel Core Duo 1.8GHz
- 1536MB DDR2 Ram
- 120GB hard drive
- DVD-R/W drive
- Windows XP Pro w/SP2
- Windows Vista Home Premium w/SP1
- OnAir Solutions GT USB HDTV Receiver/Recorder
I will be testing the OnAir GT in four categories. First, I will be looking at how easy it is to use, second is for the functionality of the GT, third will be for the quality of the picture in both digital and analog modes, and finally for the impact on the system's resources.
Ease of Use:
I have been a user of Windows Media Center and a little bit of CyberLink's PowerCinema for a long time. The interface that the OnAir GT uses is archaic to me. There is no menu system. The options are brought up by right clicking on the video window. Programming channels takes some fiddling around with the interface. All around, it was not well thought out when the user interface was designed.
The functionality of the OnAir GT ties in with the ease of use. There is only basic functionality for the GT. You can watch digital or analog TV on it, you can record current and future shows, and you can take still images of the shows. For recording you have the option to record in MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 formats with different size and quality options. With the software, you cannot convert the media for portable devices like an iPod without third party software. One big feature I would like to point out is "Timeshift." This is a feature that allows you to pause, rewind and fast forward live TV using your computer's hard drive to store up two hours of video. This is great for those important episodes of "Lost" that you are watching when the dreaded phone call comes for you.
The picture quality of HDTV Digital broadcasts over-the-air are great. It is a shame that you cannot subscribe to more OTA HD channels. I watched the entire NY Giants game with no hiccups at all from inside a concrete building. Below are some of the screen shots for different resolutions.
Hi-Def 420i resolution
Hi-Def 720i Resolution
HD 1080i Resolution
Of course, analog signals can not compete with the quality of digital ones, but the OnAir Solutions GT will pick them up as well.
OnAir GT Analog
For this, I recorded what the task manager was reporting for CPU usage when in Digital HD and Analog modes.