Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: iview Air Stick ATSC Digital TV Tuner / HDTV Receiver

It works!
A few days ago I ordered an iview Air Stick, a device that claimed to turn Android phones and tablets into over-the-air (OTA) TV receivers. I wanted a way to catch the local news while camping or when the power goes out, a common occurrence in the rural area where I live.

I had been looking for a low powered, portable OTA solution and this seemed like it might be just the thing. Prices for this type of gadget start at less than 20 dollars and go up from there. I selected a mid priced model (less than $30), made sure it was designed for the North American ATSC Standard and the limited reviews were pretty good. My iview Air Stick arrived today. I'm happy to report that IT WORKS!
Contents of the box

The box contains the Air Stick, which only measures about 1 inch by 1.5 inches, a 12" telescoping, magnetic antenna with 6 foot cord, wrist antenna and instruction booklet.

I tested it first on an older tablet running Android 4.4. I expected trouble with this device as it is older and rather under-powered but it effortlessly discovered all my local stations, in HD and with closed captioning!

Local stations and settings menu
Next, I tested and confirmed it works with Android 7.0 and 7.1 and plays nice with a usb-c type connector with a usb-c to mini usb adapter. (You must use an adapter that supports OTG technology. You can get one here.)

The iview Air Stick found the same number of stations that we get on our Over-the-Air Home TV with a basic antenna. Set up was easy peasy:

Plug the Air Stick into your device.
Download the ATSC Player by Cidana Corp from Google Play.
Open the ATSC Player.
Click 'Yes' to launch this software whenever this device is plugged in.
Pick your country. (USA is default)
It will scan for channels then list the choices.
Electronic Program Guide
Click on the one you want to play. Thats it.

Settings are limited, but there's an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that provides the programming schedule and touching the screen while the TV is running provides more options, including the ability to record the show and save it to your device for later viewing.

This gadget has proven to work as I had hoped and I can't wait to try it while camping. 

Check out the iview Air Stick on Amazon, $27.47.