The Adaptec GameBridgeTV pulls double duty as a USB TV tuner and a bridge between your game console and PC. It's also the smallest external TV-tuner device we've seen, measuring about 2.6 inches long by 1.7 inches wide and only 0.75 inch thick. Clearly intended more for gamers than DVR users, the GameBridge delivers uninspiring TV signal quality and offers only the most basic features, but its pocket-friendly size and $99 price tag make it a good choice for laptop users on a budget.
The GameBridgeTV has a mini-USB port on one end and composite A/V and coaxial cable ports on the other. It comes with a USB cable, an A/V dongle with S-Video, composite-video, and stereo-audio ports, and an RF coaxial cable for connecting to a TV source (cable or antenna). You also get a credit-card-size remote that works with bundled software to let you change channels, adjust the volume, and fast-forward, rewind, and record. The GameBridgeTV uses InterVideo's Home Theater software for DVR chores. If you have a game console connected, it can also record gameplay videos and screenshots--handy for impressing friends with your greatest Halo 2 rampages.
The GameBridgeTV installs in a matter of minutes. After connecting the cable for the TV signal and plugging the device into one of our PC's USB ports, we loaded the setup disc to install the drivers and the InterVideo software.
As a DVR application, Home Theater is easy enough to use, but it can be painfully slow, especially when you're using the channel-surfing and recorded-TV menu options. You can schedule TV recordings from the main TV menu or use the Web-based TitanTV electronic program guide, which is free of charge but requires registration. A Create Disc option lets you choose a recorded program or video and burn it to a VCD, an SVCD, or a DVD.
The GameBridgeTV proved inconsistent at best on our performance tests. In addition to the clunky software, the tuner produced significant signal noise on many channels, and in some cases moderate ghosting and blurring. These issues were not universal, however, and some channels came in clearly. If the incoming signal was clean, recorded TV looked nearly indistinguishable from the original broadcast. If you don't need to connect to a game console and are solely looking for an easy way to add DVR functionality to your PC, we recommend spending a little more on the .