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I sure love it when it works!
on October 13, 2010
This is an amazing product. Using my over-powered iMac as a DVR and to watch live over-the-air TV content FOR FREE--now that's the kind of thing all this technology was supposed to do for us!
EyeTV's software is very, very user-friendly. After picking up a $40 UHF/VHF antennae I set it up, opened the EyeTV box, screwed the cable adapter into the EyeTV, connected it to the antenna cable, plugged the EyeTV into my iMac, opened the software, and in a few minutes it had found about 35 over-the-air stations. It took only a few minutes to schedule my first recording.
Then I opened the live stream of a football game, so I tuned my old TV to the other game of the afternoon and checked scores for both games at once during breaks in my chore routine. Then I remembered that I could pause and record the live stream on my iMac, so I that game later.
The hiccups caused by my slow internet connection are gone in recordings (of course EyeTV can't fix my DSL), so I tend to use the live recording function to watch live TV without buffering. In order to watch it all from the couch instead of at my desk I'm going to spring for an HDTV to connect to the computer. I have yet to use the remote for the EyeTV or my Apple remote, but I'm confident they'll work just fine.
Still, the antenna gives me about 80% of the programming I want and almost all the cable-only content is online for free. I'm looking into software that can capture all streaming online video; then my joy will be complete.
I hear that the biggest challenge with EyeTV is when your over-the-air reception is dicey. If you're worried that you won't get enough channels you can buy an antenna from an electronics store and connect it to your TV to check your reception before you spring for the EyeTV. I live in a city, so I picked a multidirectional antenna, but a unidirectional antennas could be better for more distant signals.
UPDATE ON CUSTOMER SERVICE: The EyeTV died on me last month after 8 months of use. That's completely OK because after a few attempts at getting it working again Elgato's customer service replaced it immediately and had me send the the old one back.
After several more months of use I find the software to be a little buggy. I may be the settings. It's not as user-friendly as an Apple product, so it's disconcerting to have to re-boot the device so frequently. I do still love what it does even if it's just pretty reliably.
UPDATE 7/9/11: I'm changing my review title from "Slick solution!" to "I sure love it when it works!" I'm getting tired of having to re-boot the Hybrid after discovering that it failed to record a couple of my favorite shows. This seems to happen about once every two weeks. I had planned to fast forward through flat parts of mountain stages of the Tour de France, but by the time I discovered that the Hybrid wasn't recording, most of the mountain stages were over. Same with the episodes of new seasons of summer TV shows. Grrr.
Then, this week I moved to a new apartment, set up the Hybrid exactly as it was before, and now get an error on my iMac saying a USB device is drawing too much power and the hub is being disconnected. All other USB devices, including my USB-powered external hard drive, work fine. I've tried unplugging everything except the Hybrid and my wired keyboard/mouse, and then tried plugging it into my powered USB hub, but kept getting the same error message. I had both the Hybrid and my iMac packed and carried carefully during the move, but perhaps it got jostled.
Maybe the device failures and the power problem are related, and I'll put a ticket in with Elgato, but this is a lot of trouble for any techy product. As I said, I do love it when it works, but I am frustrated with its unreliability.