OK! I am in trial with the newest Phonak TV Connector. I already own and use two of the older model TV Connector, so I wanted to see if the new one was any better or different? Turns out - NOT REALLY!
NOTE: The TV Connectors I’m comparing are NOT the ComPilot series of streamers, which is an entirely different device requiring a necklace-worn controller in addition to a base unit.
In terms of looks, they are almost identical. The old model is a slim, black unit; the new model is the exact same size, but it has a volume UP/DOWN and POWER switch on it. And come to think of it, I think that may be the only difference?!
Upon opening the box (and here, picture a Youtube video of me doing that), the products come with the same exact hardware: 1. base unit, 2. power cable (USB-A to USB-micro), 3. 5mm analog audio cable, 4. Toslink to mini digital optical S/PDIF audio cable, and 5. USB-A power adapter. With these cables, you should be able to connect to a laptop or any decent TV with digital optical audio connection. NOTE: my old TV Connectors came with a very detailed user manual and top-level brochure; the new TV Connector came with only the top-level brochure, which was NOT very helpful in how to use the device (maybe my audi accidentally left it out when he got the unit?!).
Next, I swapped in the NEW TV Connector for the old one in first my Macbook Pro laptop, and then with the Samsung TV we have at home. The sound quality was virtually THE SAME - yay! I guess I can coast with my two older streamers for now.
The only visible difference I could detect is that the NEW TV Connector has the volume UP/DOWN and power ON/OFF right on top of the base unit. How is that going to make my life better? No idea! When at my laptop, I use the laptop volume UP or DOWN when streaming; when I’m in the living room watching TV, I’m sure as heck not going to cross the room and hit the volume UP/DOWN. Instead, I’m going to raise or lower the volume right on my hearing aids. How easy is that? I see absolutely NO benefit to the new TV Connector having the volume UP/DOWN and power switch on the base unit.
The Phonak website is pretty sparse in describing how the newer model is any better than the old one. I did see a line item saying that “Multiple listeners” can use the TV Connector. Since I’m the only one in my household to use a TV streamer, I can’t put that to the test, nor can I even tell if my older model allows more than one user to stream at a time.
I’m going to return this TV Connector feeling pretty good about the 2 older models I currently use at home. I don’t think there’s any compelling reason at all to buy the new streamer. I DO have to put in a good word, tho, if you don’t currently own a TV streamer and use Phonak aids. Being able to stream audio from my laptop or the TV has been a fabulous improvement over jacking up the volume and punishing everyone else in the room to that volume!
If anyone out here has an additional insight, please share it.