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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Computer Accessories

I spy with my little EyeTV, something beginning at 3

You're out on the town, there's a broken vodka bottle in your hand, and an overwhelming feeling that you did a bad thing earlier. Even worse: you missed Planet Earth. Need help?

The onslaught of modern life means that few of us have any time to watch television programmes when they're scheduled. Skulking in at 3am, your head spinning with caffeine-induced hallucinations of the FTSE100 trading data singing pantomime favourites, you're unlikely to locate anything of value on the box. How will you calm your nerves? There's one way to make sure your entertainment needs are satisified, and that's a personal video recorder (PVR).

The Elgato EyeTV2 software with Terratec tuner (pictured) is such a device, but it's Mac-only. Recently there's been a lot of speculation over whether the Mac Mini can be used as a PVR. We're running an ongoing competition between Microsoft Media Center and Apple's offerings. This isn't part of the series, but this is the tuner we're going to be using in the next instalment.

The Elgato EyeTV for DTT (£99) can tune into all UK digital TV stations and display them on your Mac. The package includes a year's subscription to tvtv, an online electronic programme guide (EPG). This provides an exhaustive virtual wall-planner of what's on TV over the coming weeks. If there's a show you'd like to watch, you can click the little red button next to its listing and EyeTV will automatically record it when it's broadcast.

You'll have to wait for the full update on our Mac Mini PVR trial to find out exactly how good this is, but suffice to say Microsoft should keep its eyes peeled for the little guy with the blade who's broken into its monastery. -CS