As our lives becomes more mobile, technology is evolving in the sense that it is empowering us to do things we would normally need to do at the comfort of our home, on the move with no issues. Entertainment is key for commuters and that can go from playing games, reading books to watching your favorite TV show on the move, however as some of those entertainment options require data for them to be functional, what are the alternatives? We take a look at TVman mobility, a portable TV set top box that allows you to watch TV on the move thanks to its extensive antenna that is retractable, and its ability to use a memory card and charge your device, and should it run out of charge. It works with smart phones using its free app available in the app store and laptops or pcs.
TVman Mobility Video
As the name suggests, the TVman is designed to be as portable as possible. It has a dimension of 61 x 97 x 11 mm and weighs next to nothing so you can easily put it in your pocket, ready for any journey ahead. It connects using WiFi 802.11b/g/n and during test, it was very stable and easy to connect to all platforms I used it with, varying from Android, iOS, Windows/Mac desktop and laptops. You can insert a micro SD card inside TVman mobility gadget which also allows you to record onto it for later viewing, just as you would on your Sky + set top box.
Serving as its own Wi-Fi hotspot, TVman Mobility lets you connect wirelessly without the need for a separate router; once you download the free companion app for your iOS, Android, Windows and Mac device, it is very easy to pair up and begin to watch your favorite TV shows on the move. The telescopic retractable antenna can be used for better signal and since it’s portable and doesn’t need to be near the device (around 20m max for best quality), you can move it around your location to receive the best reception.
Whether you are indoors or outdoors, it picks up reception very well, although it might sometimes depend on the area you are located in. Just like any TV set top box, it sometimes finds it difficult to pick up stations and some stations that works well at home, may struggle to even show up at a location with bad reception. One bonus point top mention here in regards to when you have poor reception at home, you can connect the supplied adaptor to connect an external television aerial, although this would defeat the purpose of it being a portable device as when at home, most people would have their normal TV with better reception or even a subscription service.
However, the TVman outdoors was significantly better when used outdoors, where it picked up every available channel and displayed four to five bars of reception. Image quality was much improved and is similar to that of the BBC iPlayer app when you’re streaming video over a mobile data connection. As with other similar devices, there are a lot of factors that can determine what level of reception you’ll receive such as the distance from the broadcast antenna and any surrounding buildings, so your experience with the TVman Mobility may be different. When moving away from he unit, you also have the option of connecting the TVman to your home Wi-Fi to boost the range of the TVman Mobility depending on the quality of your router. You may have already questioned its usefulness, as you can download a free TV catch-up application; however that relies heavily on data and whether you have 3G, 4G or poorer connectivity options for the most optimal video streaming quality.
One added benefit as mentioned before is the option to record your favourite TV show in order to watch later is also available; you can record MPEG2 video format straight to the microSD card, which is not included with the package. Providing that you have TVman connected to a power source, you can also schedule your TV recording just like you can on a PVR. TVman is equipped with some great added value features that means you can fully use it as a source of entertain, whether you are a commuter, need something to take away on a camping trip or just don’t want to spend money on a TV to watch movies or TV shows. One of the things to bear in mind is that TVman will only support one device at a time, but if optimised in the future to allow for multiple devices, it can become an entertainment hub for family and friends.
TVman has other use cases beyond just TV streaming, you can also use it for file sharing, using some of the file exploring applications available and just like any Wi-Fi device, has its own IP address for connecting or setting up a file sharing system. You can also stream music from it with other devices. The TVman’s battery will last just over 3 hours before it needs to be recharged, however if you use it to charge your smartphone, that will rapidly reduce to nothing.
TVman is a great piece of kit, but it still feels like the first generation of its kind in some ways. The negative side of it heavily depends on location and how good the reception, however if you are in a good location, this will be very useful. I like the phone charging aspect of it, but a bigger battery will need to be included to make this worthwhile, but can be a live saver in emergencies. TVman is very easy to install and get started; it is easy to use and portable.