I connected the OnAir GT to the cable in the living room. I opened the channel manager and scanned for analog cable signals. The channel manager then went to work and scanned through all of the channels, doing so very quickly. Once it was done, I was all set. I flipped through all of the channels several times and was impressed by how clear the picture was. I even connected a Playstation 2 using the S-Video adapter and was playing NCAA 08 in no time. This would be a great idea to keep the kids occupied on a long road trip.
Here we see the two LEDs in the front of the device. The blue LED indicates power while the red LED indicates a low signal.
I also tried the OnAir GT on my main computer, which uses a Hauppauge TV Tuner Card. I found the picture quality to be pretty much identical to that of the Hauppauge card. The one thing I did notice was an improvement in was lag, or lack of. I have a TV as well as the Hauppauge card in my bedroom and there is about a 2-second delay when using the tuner card. With the OnAir GT, there was virtually no delay. I am not sure if this lag difference is due to the hardware or the software (SageTV) used on the Hauppauge, but I wanted to make a note of it.
Next, I tried the OnAir GT at my friend Adam's house. He lives just a few miles outside of Memphis, TN, so I fully expected to be able to pick up HD signals from his place. I was able to pick up on about 5-6 HD channels with mixed results. When testing on the bottom floor of the house, the Signal to Noise Ratio would hover around 14 dB. If I touched the top of the antenna, the signal strength would jump to around 20-21 dB. I found that, in order to get a smooth stream, I needed at least 20 dB. Anything less than that would result in lag or the picture freezing altogether.
When testing upstairs, the signal hovered around 20 dB without touching the antenna and around 23 dB when I was touching it. I did not have access to a digital cable line at Adam's house.
The final test was at my friend Josh's house, who lives about five minutes away from Adam. The OTA HD signal was a little stronger here, hovering around 23 dB without touching the antenna. All of the channels looked great, but I was really blown away by the stations broadcasting in 1080i (1920 x 1080 resolution). We watched some golf... yes, I know, boring, but the greens looked sooo pretty! We then switched over to the Super Bowl Pre-Game show, which looked equally as beautiful. I could only imagine what this would have looked like on my 22" widescreen at home.
I then connected the cable line to the OnAir GT and was able to test the unit using this method. The cable provided a steady signal of 33 dB, so there was absolutely no lag here. There was a good amount of HD channels to choose from, based on his cable package.
As for the PVR features, I was disappointed to learn that the timeshift function only works with digital signals. I was not aware of this until after I returned home so I was unable to test this feature. I was, however, able to test the regular recording feature, which worked without issue.
Something else I want to touch on is the remote control, which worked perfectly, even at a good distance away (10+ feet). I was even able to control the tuner program (SageTV) on my main computer that uses the Hauppauge card as well as Winamp.
Continue ahead as we wrap things up with a conclusion...