BY SERENA LOW

Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Freeview. It’s a household name, but one which many might think had flown under the radar…until now.

Just before Christmas, Freeview launched two new products – the new Freeview Recorder and the SmartVU streaming device. These releases made quite a splash among TV bingers and tech heads alike, so I got my hands on them to find out what the hype is all about.

Last week I reviewed the new Recorder (check it out here), but here’s one for those still on that student budget or flatting in an antenna-free abode…

Affordably priced at RRP$139, Freeview’s latest innovation, the DishTV SmartVU is a small (as in, can literally fit in the palm of your hand small) device, allowing viewers to watch live TV through a broadband connection.

You might be thinking, “Ok, that’s cool, but why is this such a big deal?”

Well, it’s estimated that approximately 10 percent of households in New Zealand can’t watch live TV because they don’t have an aerial or satellite dish. And when you’re an avid follower of 7 Days, Married at First Sight, Border Patrol, or dare I say it… Shortland Street… being part of that 10 percent matters.

This device is a game changer – those without an antenna can now watch live TV just like everyone else, as well as access other entertainment options such as Netflix, YouTube, Lightbox and other apps through Google Play.

Honestly, the size-to-functionality ratio of this device is top notch! Photo supplied.

And according to Freeview, Stuff Pix and Freeview On Demand will be available later this year, with more content partnerships to be announced in the future.

But I’ve gotta talk about the product design for a bit… Not only is the remote conveniently developed – with shortcut buttons taking you directly to Netflix, YouTube and Freeview with just one touch – but the remote is pretty much all you’ll see out in the open.

Going one step beyond its keychain sized design, the widget has a magnet so you can simply attach it to the back of your TV, keeping the area clutter and cable-free – #MarieKondoApproved.

I even used this little widget at my friend’s house on the weekend so we could Chromecast from our phones to his TV – I pretty much took it straight from my handbag, and then five minutes later, we were ready to go.

PROS:

  • It’s super affordable – even for university students
  • No aerial or satellite dish needed – just a good internet connection
  • A whole bunch of apps preloaded and available for download through Google Play
  • Compact and easy to set up
  • Has Chromecast built in so you can stream directly from your phone or laptop

CONS:

  • Only the Live TV feature is currently available – BUT On Demand will become available later this year
  • If your internet cuts out, you won’t be able to watch anything
  • You still need to pay to watch content on Netflix etc.

 

At $139, this is the perfect little gift for those that are part of that 10 percent. Now you can treat yourself to some TV freedom like never before.

To find out more about this product, visit the website!

 

SERENA LOW is an International Business and Public Relations major who dreams of becoming a polyglot, loves making raw vegan durian cheesecakes and is an expert in staying up past her bedtime. You can find her on Instagram (@serenajlow) or check out her blog here.

 

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