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Having been established as recently as 2005, the UK based manufacturer August International is still young enough to be considered an emerging company in some quarters. However, August International was responsible for the first USB “Freeview” digital TV receiver in the UK as long ago as 2006 and its subsequent supply of portable TVs to the BBC and the Beijing Olympics, amongst others, bears testament to its ethos of quality, innovation and technical excellence. In fact, with the “Digital Switchover” in the UK already well underway, August International seems set to become a leading brand name in the market for Freeview portable TVs.
The August DA110BD, for example, is a portable TV/DVD player featuring an 11″, widescreen LCD screen with a native resolution of 800 x480 pixels, an analogue tuner for the five terrestrial channels available in the UK and a DVB-T (“Digital Video Broadcast – Terrestrial”) for the 30 or more free-to-air Freeview channels. The August DA110BD has received glowing praise from industry reviewers of portable TVs and from consumers alike. In fact, it received a star recommendation from the leading home entertainment magazine What HiFi? Sound and Vision in July last year, not to mention further acclaim from Channel 4, Channel 5 and various other trade magazines reviewing portable TVs.
What HiFi? particularly liked the build quality and ease of use of the August DA110BD and this has been backed up by reviews from consumers who, having bought the DA110BD as just a DVD player for in-car use, reported it being used by toddlers without difficulty or mishap. The flat design of the August DA110BD, of course, means that, unlike some other portable TVs, there are no parts which jut out into the passenger cabin of a car so it is less likely to suffer damage caused by flailing arms or legs. What HiFi? also liked the price of the August DA110BD, which includes not only a multi region DVD player, but also a remote control, a 12-volt in-car adaptor and support for VCD, SVCD, MPEG-4, MP3 and JPEG as well of course for DVD+/-R and DVD+/-RW media. USB, together with compatibility with Secure Digital, Memory Stick and Multimedia Cards and an optional battery pack, provide as much flexibility as you could probably ask for or find amongst the current range of portable TVs.
There must, almost inevitably, be a word or two of caution amongst all this fawning praise, but in the case of the August DA110BD it is only the same word of caution that applies to any portable device that attempts to deliver Freeview channels. Freeview reception via portable aerials is notoriously poor, so unless you live very close to a Freeview transmitter with few intervening obstructions, you’ll probably need to connect the August DA110BD to an external rooftop aerial. That said, the picture quality provided by the August DA110BD given a decent, clean feed from a rooftop aerial is reportedly excellent. All in all, with such a diverse feature set and a price tag under £185 at the time of writing, it is no real wonder that the August DA110BD has received such critical acclaim.