Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Phone companies maybe touting trials here and everywhere to allow you to watch television on the go, but what about the band of business road warriors with their trusty laptops. Pocket-lint looks at a solution that might just let you catch that cheeky episode of Neighbours when you're out and about.

Looking like a USB memory stick on steroids the Cinergy Hybrid T USB XS from Terratec is small, but packs a large punch.

Plug the device in to a spare USB2.0 port on your laptop or desktop computer, install the software and you've turned your computing joy into a television.

What's the catch? Well there is no audio-out socket for you to channel the sound to an external speaker system and hard of hearing customers will also be disappointed that there is no teletext subtitle support either. Those looking for encrypted or scrambled channels will also be disappointed as you won't be able to find them, but then you get the feeling this handy USB TV tuner isn't about that, it's about giving you television on the move as long as you can get a good reception.

Terratec seem to do everything they can to help you here by including a magnetised DVB-T compact antenna in the box and even a cable so you can plug in to a digital or analogue cable that can then in turn, be plugged into a standard socket in the wall.

Rather than come with a ropey bit of software from which to access the television from, Terratec has opted to team up with Cyberlink, the makers of PowerCinema 4. The software has a very Microsoft Windows Media Center approach to it and it's a doddle to use.

After an initial scan, we managed to pick up all five terrestrial channels in the UK via the included antenna and the software allows you to record them by a touch of a button either in the software or on the included rather large remote control.

Files are recorded in the MPEG2 format directly to your hard drive, and there is an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) for digital reception so you know what you are watching.

As long as there is plenty of space on your hard drive you can opt to use the Time Shifting function, and this works in the same way as any PVR, by allowing you to pause and then rewind live television. It's a good option, but one that does put a strain on your system.

Alongside the television functionality, the unit also supports input via a camcorder or video recorder should you wish to transfer your old collection to CD or DVD via the other included package MakeDVD 2.


We are amazed that a company has managed to make a television tuner this small. Better still, because it connects to the USB2.0 socket there is no need for a clunky power charger and that ultimately means you can throw this in your bag with out the worry of taking up loads of space.

For the on the road traveller it means you can catch a cheeky episode of Neighbours in the car. For those not so upwardly mobile, if you are short of space or just need to record television for screen grabs and the like, this is top notch.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 11 October 2005.