AutumnWave OnAir GT USB2.0 HDTV ATSC Tuner Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone


At the time of writing (February) the transition from analog to digital should have already taken place.  Millions of older televisions should have already been converted to ATSC (the new digital standard) through use of converter boxes.  The American government had already given reminders of this date and provided applications to receive $40 coupons. None of this really mattered as people still were unaware of the change and money had supposedly run out for coupons.  As a result newly elected President Barack Obama pushed for extending the deadline for the analog to digital switch and has pumped more money for coupons.  The new date is set as June 12, 2009. 

As a Canadian, I wasn’t too affected by all of this as our digital switch date is in 2011 but I did notice some US networks I had been receiving in analog have been playing commercials reminding people of the transition much more so than previous and FOX 29 had already made the switch to digital (FOX 29).   

Today I will look at another solution for all you out there who haven’t made the switch, want to be able to watch digital television in the comfort of your computer and/or don’t want to spend big bucks on a new HDTV set just yet.  Previously we had taken a look ATSC cards from Pinnacle and AverMedia and today I will be reviewing the AutumnWave OnAir GT which looks to offer portability (USB2.0), video quality and just the overall total package more so than we’ve seen up to this point.  Read on to see how the OnAir GT performs and if it’s one of the solutions you need to weigh in your considerations.

About AutumnWave (pulled from their website)

“Established in 2005, AutumnWave specializes in innovative technologies which include, but are not limited to, Digital Television, Lithium Ion Polymer Batteries, and Intellectual Property Rights Management Systems. AutumnWave is dedicated to fostering new methods that enable man to move eco-boundaries in renewable and sustainable energy and energy conservation technologies.  The company is headquartered in Carlisle PA.”


HDTV (ATSC) / Analog TV (NTSC) / QAM Digital Cable Features

  • Supports HDTV resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 (ATSC)
  • Watch Digital (ATSC), Analog (NTSC) (Even if you are in an area where digital cable broadcasting is unavailable, you can still watch analog TV over-the-air (captured by antenna) and cable TV analog broadcasts.), or Digital Cable (unencrypted QAM) TV (The tuner processes unencrypted high resolution signals in both QAM64 and QAM 256.)
  • The 5th-generation LG Electronics tuner/demodulator offers unsurpassed metro and fringe area reception (The fifth generation VSB chip manufactured by LG has enhanced features that improve reception of digital TV signals even in fringe areas. It supports Terrestrial Digital TV (VSB: Vestigial Side Band) and Digital Cable TV (QAM: Quadrature Amplitude Modulation)) with virtually no multi-path problems.

Playback Features

  • Pause Live TV and Timeshift (Pause TV at your convenience, and press Play when you want to continue) using DVR features (Digital TV)
  • Playback HD stream files (ATSC) (Playback previously recorded material in original quality)
  • Select from six speeds for fast forwarding or rewinding through recorded files

Recording Features

  • Schedule to record (The Scheduled Recording function allows you to record your favorite shows in your absence. It is possible to set up a schedule to record programs on a daily, weekly, or special occasion basis. If the computer is in Standby or Hibernate, the computer will be automatically powered on to run your scheduled item.) up to 80 programs
  • Real-time (The instant record button allows you to save Over-The-Air (OTA) or Cable broadcasts to your hard disk in their native resolution for playback at a later time.) or Scheduled Recording on Digital / Analog TV
  • Still image capture (While watching TV, it is possible to capture and save your favorite scene easily in either BMP or JPEG format.) on Digital and Analog TV (JPEG or BMP format)
  • Time-shift support(Have you ever had to stop watching TV briefly to answer the phone, go to the door, or for other reasons? When enabled, simply click the Pause button, and the Timeshift function will automatically record up to 120 minutes of any TV program you are watching. Return within 120 minutes, and you can click Play to resume watching your show, without missing any program content.) (Digital TV)
  • Record while in time-shifting mode (Have you ever wished you could go back and record a great scene? Now you can! If timeshifting mode is enabled, simply rewind to the beginning of the scene and click the Record button.) (Digital TV)
  • Recording during playback (While playing back a file, clicking Record will save a clip to a separate file.) (allows editing / saving of previously recorded material)
  • D-VHS (You can use your D-VHS device to record Digital programming from the OnAir HDTV Program. You can also playback (and record) clips from your D-VHS device to your PC's hard drive.) HD Stream playback and recording (Windows XP only)
  • Connect your VCR or Camcorder (Simply connect your Camcorder, VCR, or gaming system to the Composite or S-Video input. Click the Record button to save it as an MPEG-2 file on your computer. You can use various 3rd party utilities to then burn this .MPG file to CD or DVD) to record your favorite tapes to PC
  • Connect your favorite gaming console to play and record games on your PC (Connect your favorite video game console to the tuner and use your PC monitor to play your game. Also, record your favorite game sessions so you can play them back for your friends. (Supports up to 720x480))

Audio and Video Features

  • Dolby Digital® 5.1 (Equipped with the most up-to-date HDTV decoding engine, you can experience 5.1 output if your sound card supports it. In addition, with an SPDIF port, you can pass the audio to an external sound system.) Channel support (Digital TV)
  • AC3 / AAC audio decoding
  • Stereo and multiplex sound support
  • SPDIF Output for Digital TV through an AAC compatible sound card (not included)

User-Friendly Features

  • GT easily fits into pocket, backpack or laptop case
  • USB Powered for maximum mobility
  • Remote control (The full featured remote control allows you to control the functions of the TV program from a distance. You can also set it up to control your other PC programs.)
  • Digital Signal Strength Display makes antenna pointing easy
  • Electronic Programming Guide (Electronic Program Guide data is received from Digital TV (OTA) broadcasts. For other sources, our program is compatible with TitanTV's website.) (EPG) (OTA Digital TV)
  • Sleep timer
  • Zoom Navigator (You can zoom in on a certain area of the screen while watching TV. The picture can be zoomed from the default (100%) to a maximum of five times of the current TV view (500%).) to select and enlarge the TV picture
  • Titan TV integration
  • Digital and Analog Closed Caption support
  • Wallpaper TV View (live video or captured images as your desktop background)
  • SPDIF Output for Digital TV through an AAC compatible sound card (not included)


Main Chipset

  • CX25843, CY68013A


  • LG ATSC / NTSC Tuner (LG TDVS-H062P) 5th Generation Chipset
  • 1 Antenna Input [Digital/Analog TV (OTA and Cable)]
  • ATSC / NTSC OTA Ch 2 - 69
  • Unencrypted ATSC / NTSC Cable Ch 2 - 125 & QAM


  • Digital TV AC3 & 5.1 Channel Decoding Support
  • Analog TV Stereo / Multi Lingual Support

Video Input

  • Composite Video / S-Video

RF Input

  • Over-The-Air and Cable TV


  • USB 2.0

Video Formats

  • Digital TV: MPEG-2 TS (up to 1920 x 1080 resolution)
  • Analog TV and Video Input:
    • MPEG-2 (720x480, 640x480, 480x480, 352x480) for SVCD or DVD
    • MPEG-1 (352x240) for VCD

The OnAir GT is sold through AutumnWave (and other retailers such as Amazon) for a price of $179. Initially you may think it’s pricey but for what you get, the price seems fair and possibly worth every penny? (Read on to see!)

After ordering the AutumnWave OnAir GT, it arrives to you in a compact but stylish corrugated box.  There is information regarding the product at the back of the box.  The box seems hefty and opening the packaging you’ll find these items with your purchase…


  • AutumnWave OnAir GT USB2.0 ATSC Tuner
  • Standard telescopic antenna
  • Full-size remote control
  • AAA batteries for remote control
  • A/V Adapter cable
  • USB cable
  • OnAir GT pouch
  • Driver CD with software and Nvidia decoder (latest drivers/software offered on AutumnWave site)

The AutumnWave OnAir GT includes an A/V adapter cable which allows you to connect to your PC devices that utilize the S-Video and composite RCA inputs.  So if you have a video camera, you can connect it to the OnAir GT and capture its video through the included software.

OnAir GT comes with a full-size remote and I have to say that it’s the best one I’ve used yet.  It offers total comfort, the rubber buttons are tactile and offer great feel.  There are a host of features this remote can perform such as power on/off, zoom, record, etc.  It has a bunch of empty function buttons that you can customize to your liking as well for more flexibility.

The added pouch is a bonus.  It is branded with the OnAir GT logo and the product fits perfectly snug.  The quality of the pouch is high and does not feel cheap.

Looking at the OnAir GT, it looks sleek and just a nice looking product being covered in gloss black plastic.  It comes wrapped in plastic film from the factory to be removed (if you like) upon usage.  LED’s are positioned at the front of the device and light blue and red when in use.  The rear of the unit is not too busy offering the antenna F-connector connection, A/V IN port and USB connection.

No manual comes with the unit but in reality you don’t really need a manual since the OnAir GT is straightforward to use.  It’s very easy and quick to get the unit up and running and all that is required is to install the software, Nvidia Purevideo decoder and connecting the unit for the first time.  Simple and very easy is the name of the game.

The included telescopic antenna is basic but for portability you can’t really get any better.  If you’re using the device in the home then obviously I will be recommending purchasing a better antenna for the unit unless you’re on the road, and in that case using the supplied antenna is fine.

Included Software

While the OnAir GT HDTV software isn’t the best looking program I’ve come across, it does the job and does it pretty darn well.  It’s easily the best software program I’ve tested so far for such a product.  The program is an all-in-one solution to watch and record television, playback what you’ve recorded at a later date, capture video sources through the A/V adapter cable, schedule and record multiple programs, enable closed captioning.  Everything that AutumnWave says can work with the program, actually works!

The program is quick, responsive and best of all stable.  Previous programs I’ve tested don’t come close to the one supplied with the OnAir GT, this one is tough like a rock and is just fully packaged. 
Scanning for over-the-air channels is super quick and I can get steadier signal strength with the LG tuner.  There is a nifty signal meter with the OnAir GT that shows the amount of gain in decibels for a specific channel and the option to sound (beep) accordingly to the strength.  For example, the more signal strength I have, the faster the beep sound is played.  This is great for antenna tweaking as it gives an audio indication.

Viewing Television

The OnAir GT’s video quality and performance is just exceptional and this can be attributed to the use of Nvidia’s Puredecoder allowing for great MPEG-2 video quality and great audio supporting even Dolby Digital 5.1.  The overall experience is boosted by how good the software is on its own. 

The program doesn’t seem to be a resource hog (15% CPU usage for me but I’m running a quad core Q6600), switching from digital channels takes about 2 seconds while analog channels change in a second, full screen mode makes use of the whole screen, you can record television so darn easily on the fly and make screen captures in either JPG or BMP format. Other things that are possible are adjustments to color, brightness, tint,

Great thing about the OnAir GT is that it lasts long.  I’ve been using this review unit for a long time now so I guess you can say I did a bit of long-term testing.  The product gets a little warm but never hot.  No problems to report for close to a year now.     


The AutumnWave OnAir GT is the best ATSC solution I’ve reviewed or come across at this point in time.  It is a full-fledged product with great video, great audio, low CPU utilization and offers an excellent performing HDTV program.  This is the one to get.

Pros and Cons

  • + LG tuner gives great reception
  • + Low CPU utilization
  • + Fine looking unit
  • + Remote control is very useful with function keys
  • + Nvidia Pure Decoder provides great image quality and audio
  • + Best HDTV program used thus far

Editors Choice


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