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If you were one of the Lost faithful that missed the series finale because of a scheduling faux pas--yes, we’re still mad about that--you’ll be glad to hear that Elgato’s EyeTV One can keep you on track with your favorite shows. This simple digital TV tuner can transform your Mac into a TV, and best of all, the included EyeTV 3 software schedules and records shows for later viewing.
Out of the box, EyeTV One is incredibly user-friendly. Setup amounts to little more than plugging in a coaxial DTV antenna--which you’ll need to purchase separately--and plugging the EyeTV One into a USB port. From there, the EyeTV 3 software is the real brains behind the operation: an Auto-Tune option retrieves a list of channels available in your area, while the program guide--provided free for the first year from TV Guide, then for $19.95 a year after that--lets you know what’s on.
With EyeTV One, you don't need a TV--or even an internet connection--to catch up on all of your favorite shows.
In our testing, the EyeTV picked up about 30 different channels in a residential San Francisco neighborhood. At the Mac|Life office, located in an office park farther away from “civilization,” we got half as many channels, so the usefulness of the EyeTV depends largely on your location and the reception of your antenna. Using a simple 12-inch antenna placed near a window, we got HD feeds of network affiliates and lower-powered local stations.
While you can use the EyeTV to watch live TV from your Mac, the best features are its recording and exporting abilities, giving your Mac DVR (digital video recorder) superpowers. We manually recorded individual shows and set the EyeTV software to automatically pick up episodes of our favorites using the Smart Guide feature. And if there are reruns to avoid, you can manually select showings to skip.
But don’t throw out your dedicated TiVo box just yet. The EyeTV One is a single-tuner affair. You can’t flip channels when you have a recording in progress, and you can’t record two shows simultaneously. But recordings can be converted for Apple TV or your iOS device, shared with other computers in your network, or burned to a DVD with Toast or another external app for archiving. There’s also a nifty, easy-to-use iPhone app to help you schedule and stream recordings while you’re away from your home computer, though that’ll cost you $4.99.
Follow this article's author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.
Coupled with the EyeTV 3 software, EyeTV One is a simple, portable way to pipe digital broadcasts into your Mac.
REQUIREMENTS: Intel processor, Mac OS 10.5.8 or later, your own antenna
Free, over-the-air high-definition television. Powerful recording tools.
You’ll have to pay for TV Guide service after the first year. No bundled antenna. Only one tuner.