Belkin @TV Plus
Good TV picture quality; works on a range of devices; streams signal from your digital TV service to up to 8 devices simultaneously; Wi-Fi enabled; built-in TV guide; attractive box; shows potential.
Software needs improving; no built in Freeview or receiver; audio sync issues; record feature can only be used while on your home network; recordings limited by available free space; iPhone/iPod touch app costs extra; no HDMI-in port; faces competition from better established Slingbox.
Belkin’s @TV Plus is a device for watching your TV, satellite or cable set-top-box anywhere in the world via your iOS device, Android tablet, Mac or PC and a dedicated app or interface. If that sounds familiar it’s because Slingbox have been offering similar solutions for sometime, and Belkin here are playing catch-up. That’s not to say competition isn’t welcome and @TV Plus on first impression is a stylish, neat black box that won’t looks shabby next to your TV or computer. The box comes with a selection of cables and software to connect the device,although disappointingly the package lacks a built in Freeview receiver.
Setting up @TV Plus is a fairly painless process although we can only hope Belkin improve the software, which makes the experience of watching TV less intuitive then we would like. That feeling extends to the onscreen remote, which sometimes is unresponsive or appears to lack a full range of controls. TV playback is good with good solid reception, although this will depend on your internet connection and choice of device for watching your favourite shows. Wi-Fi enabled for viewing around the house, @TV Plus comes with a SurfSwipe integrated channel guide so you’re not searching for TV listings when you could be surfing channels. Additionally, the device comes with a handy record feature, but this can only be used while on your home network and can easily fill any spare space you might have on your iOS or Android device.
Bizarrely, while the @TV Plus iPad app is free, the version for iPhone and iPod touch will set you back an additional $13.99. According to a BelkinAU tweet in August, the @TV Plus is available in Australia via eStore.com.au.
Macworld Australia‘s buying advice
While Belkin should be applauded for entering a market dominated by Slingbox, @TV Plus feels very much like a work in progress, a promising start that still has some way to go. If Belkin can build on this fairly solid if a little shaky foundation they should have a hit on their hands.