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August DVB500 review - Android-powered Freeview HD

Richard Easton
10 Feb 2016
August DVB500 lead
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
55
inc VAT

Page 1 of 2August DVB500 review - Android-powered Freeview HD

The August DVB500 is a cheap Freeview HD box but it's frustrating to use and the version of Android doesn't work well on a TV

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Specifications

Tuners: 1x DVB-T2, Dimensions (WxDxH): 170x140x30mm, Networking: Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Internal disk capacity: None, Warranty: One year RTB, Details: www.augustint.com, Part code: DVB500

The August DVB500 is, on paper, an interesting device as it brings both Android and a Freeview HD tuner to your television. For anyone wanting to add both to an older television, it’s a compelling prospect. Especially when you consider its low price.

Android and televisions isn’t exactly a new union. There have been other Android-based media streamers and set-top boxes in the past that brought the operating system to the big screen, including the Nexus Player and Nvidia Shield TV. That’s also ignoring certain smart televisions that have Android built-in. These of course run the Android TV operating system, a specially modified version that is easier to navigate and operate from a remote control on a larger interface.

However, the DVB500’s immediate limitation is the fact that it runs Android 4.4.2, not only an older version of Android, but one that’s not particularly well suited to a television, or for navigation through a remote control, but we’ll come to this later.

Design and Freeview

The box itself is pleasingly well-designed as far as set-top boxes go and especially considering its low price. It's glossy black with nicely rounded, pebble-esque edges. It’s inconspicuous and won’t take up much space. There’s just a solitary blue indicator LED on its front, so it won’t prove too distracting, either.

August DVB500 ports

On its rear you have HDMI and composite outputs for connecting to your television and optical S/PDIF for audio. You also have an Ethernet jack for a wired network connection as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 built in. To make use of the Freeview HD tuner, there is a coaxial RF input connection as well as an output. There are also three USB ports on the side and a MicroSD slot for adding storage.

August DVB500 EPG

These can be used to record television. As there’s only one tuner, you can only record the programme you’re currently watching, however, which will limit its functionality. It’s not a particular elegant recording method, either, as you need to manually set an amount of time to record, rather than choosing to record a certain programme and having the time set automatically.

August DVB500 record

Recordings are saved to external storage in a .ts container and can be easily coopied to other devices. Annoyingly, file names are just the channel name and date, rather than programme name, which will make it difficult to find the right recording if you record a lot. The EPG while watching Freeview is also incredibly sparse and plain with programme descriptions often abruptly cut short.

Page 1 of 2August DVB500 review - Android-powered Freeview HD

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