Catching up on BBC iPlayer is all well and good, but what if you want to catch live Freeview on your computer? Your choices are one of the many USB stick solutions available – which only let you tune in on one computer – or the SiliconDust HDHomeRun, which can handily stream two live Freeview channels across a network.
This small and slightly ugly unit connects to your TV aerial and router, sharing the incoming Freeview broadcasts with any computer linked to your network. SiliconDust claims the HomeRun is ready for Freeview HD (1080i) when it becomes available in the UK.
There are two aerial sockets and twin tuners, so with the use of an RF splitter you can use a single computer to watch one channel while you record another, or watch different programmes on two computers at the same time.
When it comes to playback software, the HDHomeRun is highly flexible. You get a free download of Arcsoft’s TotalMedia software (which usually costs around £55), but it’ll also work with Windows Media Centre.
Picture quality largely depends on the quality of your computer and Wi-Fi signal, but in our tests pictures were natural and sharp, with decent motion and little noise.
We experienced very little signal drop-out, too, despite the super-thick walls of our listening rooms.
If you want to extend the number of rooms in your house that can get Freeview but don’t want to shell out for more TVs, the HDHomeRun makes a heck of a lot of sense.