Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus

The EyeTV 250 connects via USB to bring standard and high-def TV to your Mac.

 

At its couch-potato simplest, the EyeTV 250 Plus brings TV to your Mac. This USB box tunes TV channels from cable, over-the-air analog TV (NTSC), and even over-the-air digital TV (ATSC). But the EyeTV 2 software makes a Mac more than just a TV. It also pauses live broadcasts, schedules and records shows, and otherwise acts as a digital video recorder (DVR). It lacks a few features and an intuitive interface, but the combo is still a good way to capture video and watch TV.

 

We recorded perfect digital shows after plugging in an antenna (that we had to provide, as will you). The EyeTV 250 Plus even captured HDTV this way, although it can’t record a high-resolution signal from a cable box. Analog TV shows also looked good, but your reception for either will ultimately depend on your location. The EyeTV box includes ports for coaxial, S-Video, and composite video inputs, along with RCA audio plugs, which work great for digitizing video footage from an old camcorder.

 

While the hardware is strong, the software is just adequate. We easily recorded single episodes of shows, but more complicated requests, such as recording regular episodes of a series, require extra steps. And the onscreen remote is a confusing mess of icons. It’s possible trim the commercials from a recording, provided you have the patience to deal with the slow, unintuitive timeline.

 

The bottom line. A few thoughtful features, like the ability to automatically reformat newly recorded videos for the iPod and export them, make up for many of the interface misses. The EyeTV 2 software is merely OK as a DVR, but the package’s strong hardware functions great as a TV tuner.

 

COMPANY: Elgato Systems
CONTACT: www.elgato.com
PRICE: $199.95

REQUIREMENTS: G4 or later or Intel processor (HDTV requires G5 or Intel), Mac OS 10.4 or later, 256MB RAM, USB
Tunes over-the-air analog and digital channels. HDTV looks great onscreen. Automated export options. DVR records shows. Includes limited version of Toast 8 for basic DVD archiving. Includes IR remote.
Software interface sometimes confusing due to poor design. Powerful features take extra steps. Tunes only one channel at a time.

 

 

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suaili

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Mark T.

How would I decide between the EyeTV 250 and the EyeTV Hybrid? Is one better than the other? If so, for what functions?

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Roberto Baldwin

The EyeTV250 uses hardware encoding, which means it encodes the video on the fly without taxing your computer. The EyeTV Hybrid uses your computer to encode your video.

 

You can check the differences here:

 

http://www.elgato.com/matrix/index.php?matrixcountry=us

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Mark T. (West Hartford, CT)

Thanks, Robby. It sounds like the 250 incorporates the hardware encoding that is in the Elgato turbo.264, so I guess it's two products in one. Sounds like a good deal.

BTW, I love the podcast and listen to every one. And I don't mind the length. The purpose is not just to get quick tips. That's what reading is for. The Podcast/listening experience is just to enjoy the shmooze ... Roman can translate that word if you need a translation :-)

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Anonymous

The Turbo.264 has a H.264 encoder chip, USB powered, that is all it does.

The Eye 250 has a MPEG-2 hardware encoder and records natively to MPEG-2, at a bitrate you specify, so the files can be used without reencoding in Toast.

If you have a 250 and a Turbo.264 then you can use the latter to export to H.264 from the MPEG-2 native format.

The hybrid is flimsy (mine broke the first day) and uses a ton of CPU cycles to do anything so it is a miss.

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Bit

I agree the UI could be a bit better. But I quickly got used to it.

This thing is great. Easy to set-up and great quality viewing and exporting. I'm going to the the EyeTV turbo now... for around $80 it offloads the exporting for my Apple TV.

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Mymac4ever

I'm using the previous model. It's great and easy to use but as u say it's only posible to record one program at a time. I also have some problems that I don't know if they are due to Eyetv or my Mac's sleepdisorder. Since I can't get my Mac to go to sleep when idle I've set it to sleep at a certain time each day and sometimes the eyetv-software doesn't wake my Mac from that sleep to record an event that occurs every weekday. It's really weird 'cause it can record that event two days in a row but skip the third. At first I though it was that the app somehow couldnt tell time so I got that EPG-subscription at tvtv but I still get the same error sometimes so heck I dont know what the problem is.

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