Now the software supplied with a TV card gives us a little more to talk about, rather than the quite plain looking card. This, arguably, can be the making or breaking of a TV card. As poor software can lead to a ruined experience while trying to watch your favourite program. Or lead to you missing a crucial episode in a series because it failed to record it properly, if at all. So lets take a look at the bundle that comes with the ES2-750. It contains the programs you can see on the screen shot below:
Popping in the install disk it gives you the option to install only specific components, or hit one button and have it install the lot. trying to aim for the average users experience I opted for the latter of these options to start, and let it plow through and install everything automatically. After a few installers had run them self the software launched and presented us with a rather pleasant, simple blue screen that proceeded to start scanning for freeview channels. A few minutes later it had finished and with a click of the save button was ready for use.
Now I don't want to go into too much detail over using the software, or I won't have much to say on the next page! But I will show you screen shots of the most important pages of the software and describe what they do, and the logical place to start then is the Home page. From here, as you'd expect, you can chose to watch live tv, listen to the radio, watch some recorded TV, view the picture collection and access the settings menu. Pretty much what you'd expect from the home page.
The next shot is of the TV page, arguably the most important page. A few options down the side allowing you to control and schedule what you want to watch, with the channel your currently watching occupying the majority of the screen (the black box in the picture as windows didn't like print screening the live TV). At the bottom a array of information letting you know what your watching, along with a signal strength indicator. To the left of the TV screen is the 'EPG' (Electronic Program Guide). It pretty much serves it's purpose as it's name suggests, The left panel going through channels and the right shows whats on and what will be shown.
The next two screens are two more offshoots of the TV screen. First off, the left, is the Channel page. Another fairly self explanatory sceen which lists the channels the software has found and lets you choose one to watch. To the right of that sits the RecordedTV page. This displays the videos that the programs recorded.
The next three screen shots we'll see are subsidiaries of the home page again, rather than the TV page. They are also quite self explanatory. The first is the Picture screen. It allows you to browse through the screen shots that you can take off either live or recorded video. The second shows the (untuned) radio page. From here you can tune in to any FM station available in your area. Lastly we see the video screen. Looks familiar? It's pretty much a clone of the recorded TV page we saw above. A quick link from the home page is quite welcome however, as if you record something you can access it faster to view later.
All in all the software looks pretty simple. Rather reminiscent of the firmware installed on normal TV's today which cant be a bad thing as I bet no enthusiast has problems operating them. Next up we'll see how the card & its partnered software performs.