The box itself is quite small--about the size of a pack of cigarettes--with just a power light at the front and an Ethernet port and RF cable connector for the antenna on the back.
The HDHomeRun has no wireless capability, so it needs to be put someplace that has access both to an Ethernet cable (for your home network) and an antenna or cable TV connection, as well as an AC power source. That said, it doesn't have to be near your TV or computer at all--it could be set up in a spare bedroom, an attic, or anyplace else, so long it has access to those three key connections.
As mentioned, the Elgato HDHomeRun ships with drivers and a copy of EyeTV for Mac users. The program includes an electronic program guide that's free for the first year of use. After that, you'll need to shell out $20 per year for the guide data.
For a more detailed description of the EyeTV software--and the EyeTV iOS app--check out the.
If you want to know how the HDHomeRun experience was on a Windows machine, check out the review of the of the product.
Setting up the HDHomeRun on the Mac was a little more involved, as the software wouldn't detect the box, but I was presented with a drop-down box and selected it from the menu. The feed was much better, and I could easily watch SD programs without them stuttering, even when watchingthrough the same router.
Only during HD programming did the feed stutter and hang, and a wired connection helped here as well. The EyeTV software is a little quirky in that you can only watch or record one channel in a window. You need to open a second window to utilize the second tuner, and instead of prompting you to open a new window if you're recording something, it suggests you stop it to change channels. The picture wasn't as clean as on a PC, with slight ghosting and compression artifacts.
Using the EyeTV app on the iPhone worked fine, but it's a little tricky to change channels--you have to jump back to the main menu. Unlike the desktop versions, you can also tweak the quality settings for slower connections.
If you have a good signal to your router, then the HDHomeRun could be a good option for PC users, with a high-quality picture and ease of use. For Mac users, the enhanced speed on wireless connections is an acceptable trade-off for the reduction in picture quality, but we'd still recommend wired if you want to stream HD or more than one channel.