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CNET First Look
Elgato EyeTV HybridLooking to turn your Mac into a TV/DVR? We go hands-on with the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid and its iOS app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Hi, I'm Scott Stein and this is the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid, so why is there an iPad in this shot? Well, in the ever growing world of iPad apps that stream video, here's one you may not have thought of. How about taking a live TV signal and streaming it onto your iPad? It sounds great, right? Well, there is a catch. The EyeTV does it by streaming to a computer first and then establishing a link to the EyeTV app that's available on the app store to an iPhone or an iPad. When it works, it's nice and plus you could pause live TV which is one of the cool features of it if you wanna watch a sporting event, let's say. Also, you can watch your recorded shows back on your computer on the app. Now, this device is a TV tuner. You've probably seen a lot of these before. It's USB connectible. Here's where you plug in your coax cable and it also has IR around the edges that works with a remote that comes packaged with the Elgato Hybrid. The EyeTV Hybrid also comes packaged with S-video and composite video in that plugs into a small jack on the side which means you can also record video inputs from those sources, but, sorry, not HD sources. Now, the price is over $100. It may be a little pricey compared to other USB tuners. If you're using a Windows computer, this will be compatible with Windows Media Center. Now, the included software, the EyeTV 3 software, is only for Macs so you're losing some of the value equation. Really, this is sort of only perfect for people who have Macs, in our opinion, because you can probably get a more affordable TV tuner elsewhere but if you're going with the Mac approach, EyeTV 3 is a really nice DVR package. It also has a TV guide functionality that comes free for the first year but costs $20 a year after that. When you connect this, you'll be able to record shows. We tried it on laptops and it-- the connection gets a little bit wobbly, this feels best if you have a Mac Mini, let's say, connected to your TV or if you have an iMac that you wanna turn into a television, you plug this in the back but you gotta have a coax cable nearby. Now, if you happen to have an antenna for over-the-air broadcast, you can port that thing around anywhere and make it your TV wherever you might wanna go but be forewarned, you've gotta have good signal so you may wanna put it in your window. Overall, it's an interesting application but, you know, with so many streaming video apps that are available nowadays, including apps that cable networks are launching for the iPad, this sort of feels a little bit wonky compared to what's out there, but for some people, it could be a really nice and less expensive solution. I'm Scott Stein and this is the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid.