Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Should You Watch TV on Your PC?

A while ago I decided that it would be cool to be able to watch free to air TV on my PC, I've since decided that it really is a silly idea. By the way don't be scared off thinking this is a technical review, it isn't, I promise.

Review: Compro VideoMate T750

This review is a few years old now, in fact I don't think this model is available anymore but I think it's still valid given these pop up on ebay from time to time. Call it a community service if you like.

Let me start by saying that I was very excited to receive this little piece of electronic wizardry in the post. It certainly looked the goods, well as much as a circuit board with some plugs on it could. My hopes were high.  Installation was quite painless, chuck it in the PC, install the software and away you go.  Plus I was going to be able to switch my PC on via remote control!  Groovy but essentially useless.

The manual claimed that setting your channels was a simple procedure and for the most part it was, except I had to do it a few times but I'm not going to be picky about that. Once the channels were in the picture from the digital broadcast looked simply stunning. I kept annoying Pinky saying "Look at this! But LOOK!!! It's so clear!" It was certainly feature rich, time shifting, Picture in Picture, Picture Out of Picture (whatever that is), scheduled recording etc so at that point I was rather happy with my purchase.

Unfortunately, that was where the good bits ended.

The easiest way to watch TV, using a TV

It became apparent I would never again be allowed to turn off my PC, for if I did the Videomate would helpfully forget it was installed. Every. Single. Time. Now I'm a patient man, actually I'm not really but I tolerated this the first half dozen times. Becoming slightly perturbed I went through the troubleshooting steps and put it down to a hiccup. The picture was finally back.

Next day arrives and BAM! Same routine, it needs MORE drivers so I let it go again but now I can't scan for any channels!  After much fiddling and muttering I came to the conclusion of a bad install so I started again. Repeatedly.  The next three days was a battle royale and eventually an email was fired off to support. When I finally got a reply it was as helpful as a punch to the groin. Did they read my email at all?  Another email was sent worded slightly more tersely but in painstaking detail. Again, I get a cryptic reply which basically suggested I reinstall the drivers. Bravo.

He's got that cranky look about him
Fighting the rising rage and trying not to traumatize Celine (our Mini Foxie), I pulled it all out and started again only to get the same results, it kept insisting there was no card installed. On the rare occasions I could get it to work I was too afraid to touch anything because even changing channels was enough to make it have a conniption.

I spent the better part of a week trying to sort this rubbish out but in the end I did what I felt was the best option at the time. I ripped it out of my PC and hurled it into the river. I admit that may have been a slightly hasty and poorly planned course of action but what can you do?

Ross River
It's a lovely river for throwing things in

In hindsight my card may have been faulty and perhaps I should have returned it but you live and learn don't you?  Rating: 1 Egg.

Share your hasty overreactions!