If you don’t live in Japan or in South Korea – where embedded TV services on smartphones is the norm – there is still not an easy way to get free TV reception on your Android device when you’re on-the-go. Apart from a few of the smaller Android device manufacturers in Southeast Asia, TV reception is still not a main feature of Android smartphones.
Android fans who want to be able to watch live digital TV on the go have a new option for tuning in to their favorite programs from D-Link. The company has a new digital TV tuner that is designed to connect to Android smartphones that feature micro-USB ports. The tuner is the D-Link DWM-T100 and it has an included antenna for picking up digital TV broadcasts.
Available for $49.95 from the D-Link online store plus $15 delivery, the DWM-T100 provides live Digital TV (DVB-T) on your Android device essentially anywhere you go, TV Signal permitting. The DSM-T100 antenna is currently slated for a release in Australia, but since it uses the DVB-T standard, it could also be used in most of Europe and Asia (bot not China, Japan, or Korea) and parts of Africa as well. The package consists of a tiny USB tuner (it looks kind of like those Micro-USB flash drive), a loop antenna, and a D-Link app for actually viewing live TV signals in a streaming video-style interface. Plug the antenna into the tuner, plug the tuner into your Android 4.0.3+ device, open the app, and enjoy your television. It even includes DVR functionality, though of course you'll have to leave the gadget plugged in during recording.
The provided app – D-Link TV Tuner – which is available free in Google Play, provides drivers for the device, as well as a host of features. The app allows you access to a full Electronic Program Guide, Time-Shift recording with the ability to pause and rewind live TV and record on a schedule or on-demand and Automatic TV Channel search.
There are just a couple of drawbacks to D-Link's design: one, your phone to has to support USB Host Mode in order for the DSM-T100 to work. (Many phones don't.) And two, the gadget hasn't actually been released yet, in Australia or elsewhere. It's a neat idea, but I think that the requirement for Host Mode really kills it - maybe a better solution would be a TV tuner that can connect to a mobile device via Wi-Fi and stream video over the connection, perhaps plugging in via Micro-USB just to get power. If you're wondering why the DSM-T100 isn't available in America and never will be, it's because our own mobile TV standard, ATSC-M, has basically flatlined under the tender care of our bumbling bureaucrats.
There is a minimum requirement for the TV-Tuner, with D-Link advising that a 1GHz Dual-Core processor with Android 4.0.3 or greater required to run it. If you’ve been looking for a way to watch the cricket or the football on your tablet or phone while on the go, or even the latest episode of Bold and the Beautiful, then this is a great idea. We’ve got a review sample on the way and we’ll be checking it out shortly.