In setting out to review this software, it first needs to be said that while it will run with a variety of hardware devices: Miglia, Plextor — both of which I own — and, of course, all Elgato devices, I feel that it’s important to research the devices and find the merits of each piece of hardware before making your purchase.
The Plextor ConvertX PVR, and the Miglia TECH Evolution TV, and the more pricey Elgato devices, do all of the encoding/compressing/formatting externally before it reaches your Mac thanks to the hardware’s built-in video compression. The less expensive “stick” types let your Mac do all of this “heavy lifting”, thus your computer takes a rather large hit when it comes to performance. This is really no big deal if you have a faster, newer Mac, but if you are like many folks you may not, and the performance hit will be very noticeable.
So, keeping that in mind, onto the review!
What can I say: I’m absolutely loving this software! So much, that I’ve sold my living room-hogging home theater, bought a 30″ monitor and some great 5.1 speakers, and use my Mac for all of my media … music, movies, and TV!
In the preferences you are walked through the setup process, and it is fairly painless and surprisingly quick.
There is a setup assistant that will do most of this for you, but you may prefer to tweak the generic settings to your liking. You can do this after the initial setup, or at any time.
EyeTV 2 works very much like a TiVo for your Mac. You can time-shift, pause and rewind live TV, watch a previously recorded program while recording another, and schedule future recordings. It allows you to browse a clearly laid-out program guide that works via a free subscription through TitanTV. You can program a single recording, daily, weekly, weekdays, or custom schedule.
In the preferences you can start/end recordings from between 1-30 minutes before/after a scheduled recording, so as not to miss any of the program.
Once a program is recorded, you can then edit-out commercials, export your program or clip in a variety of formats including, .mp4, QuickTime, DivX, .avi, or Windows Media. This can be a bit slow depending on your Mac and if you’ve chosen to reformat/compress/resize the export. I usually end up doing all three, and export the clip encoded with DivX (personally I feel that the size-to-quality ratio is best for me, but you may want to play), but you can export a recording without doing any reformatting, and the export is very fast. You can also burn directly to Toast onto a Video CD or DVD. There’s a Toast icon in the “recorded” area for this. While I don’t personally do this often, I have, and the quality’s quite good. There is also an iPod export, as well as an Apple TV, neither of which I have used, but I think it safe to say that these are probably equal to the other features.
The only gripe that I have is with the on-screen controller — it’s large, clunky, and pretty much useless (in my humble opinion), and when it’s sent away, it keeps reappearing. But if that’s really my only gripe, there’s not much to complain about here.
Sad to say I’ve heard rumors that sometime in 2008 the U.S. will be converting to full digital (finally!), requiring that a set top converter be used, and the online TV guide that’s so useful in programming recordings in EyeTV will no longer function. But be of good cheer, EyeTV can work with set-top boxes, DVRs, and TiVo with the use of a remote control “blaster.” Further, there’s a setup in EyeTV for set-tops that will supposedly allow for accessing an online guide. I will be setting EyeTV up with this in the future, so I’ll keep you posted.
All–in-all, this is one of the best, most problem-free pieces of software/hardware that I’ve used in a very long time.
EyeTV is a Universal application. It requires a Macintosh computer with PowerPC G4 (500MHz or faster), PowerPC G5 or Intel Core processor, and Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. We recommend Mac OS X 10.4.6 with all software and security updates installed.