Elgato EyeTV Hybrid Unboxing

Since I’m notoriously slow writing up reviews, I’m harnessing the power of my still unreviewed yet highly relied upon Eye-Fi with the quirky but efficient WordPress 2.5 image gallery functionality to at least get some photos up of my latest goody…

I’ve been contemplating replacing one of my TiVo units with an HTPC. And I’m not very familiar with the EyeTV DVR software package, so Ben put me in touch with Elgato to learn more. I had planned to test the software using my Pinnacle USB HD stick, though they suggested pairing the app with their most current tuner. The primary drawback in using the Mac platform to power a HTPC is being locked out of Microsoft’s protection scheme — which would hurt most in giving up Netflix Watch Now. (Until they offer a cross-platform Silverlight client?) I suppose I could always console myself with Hulu. But I’ll have a better idea what I want to do after I get EyeTV installed and running on my MacBook Pro for a few weeks.

7 thoughts on “Elgato EyeTV Hybrid Unboxing”

  1. “..I¬íve been contemplating replacing one of my TiVo units with an HTPC…”

    Hmmm, that’s gonna be a hotly contested thing, everyone would kill to have Dave as a user of their HTPC. May I recommend some kind of contest or cage match played out here on ZNF? Would like to see a level playing field on which Dave and ZNF readers can watch the big commercial solutions battle it out with the smaller, and frequently Open Source ones…

    …you never know what heretofore unknown hardware and software solutions would mysteriously appear for a chance to be Dave’s blessed HTPC solution. ;)

  2. Over the years I’ve used quite a few of them, including BeyondTV and Vista Media Center (both currently installed) plus Sage, Myth, and Meedio. Back in my projector days, before setting up a dedicated HD tuner and upscaling DVD player LG STB, I used plain vanilla XP installs with Dscaler – no DVR capabilities. Since it was on the big screen (10′ wide), the gear was mainly only for watching sports and DVDs. (Plus some Xbox or Dreamcast.) If anyone remembers Active Desktop, I built my own Flash-widget interface to run within/on the desktop (calling various playlists or programs like Dscaler, WinDVD, WMP, etc). Also dabbled with the same items using IE in kiosk mode.

    Vista is currently the easy and economical answer for most folks on modern hardware – media center functionality is included for free and is very usable. It’s also the only platform that will support anyone in search of CableCARDs, though that’s not a driving factor for me.

    If the Mac Mini had a dedicated graphics card, I’d pull the trigger now and figure out the details later (such as which OS to run, or which OS for which function). The form factor is right and the price is reasonable. But the graphics issue also has me looking at a slimline HP. A product I could also have a Blu-ray drive added to. Though I wonder if I’m going straight from DVD to digital and skipping high def discs altogether. (Other than my few months with a HD DVD player.) We shall see…!

  3. I would think Elgato’s EyeTV 250 Plus would be better than their hybrid tuner since the 250 Plus has hardware encoding, meaning it does the encoding on the device and does not rely on the power of your computer (i.e. – you can do stuff on your computer while a recording is going on).

  4. So your HTPC requirements are ( guessing ):

    Basic PVR functions for Web programming
    Basic PVR from CableCARD 2.0
    Plays Blu-Ray discs
    1080p HDMI out(s)
    Support for Netflicks
    Support for YouTube
    Support for video Podcasts
    Local channel guide ( Washington D.C.? )
    Tivo-esque Remote control

  5. The thought is we have the TiVo Series3 in the bedroom and maybe something new and different in the living room.

    Basic DVR functionality (ATSC and clear QAM)
    Guide for DC suburb
    Netflix Watch Now and Hulu highly desirable and possibly driving this whole project
    Blu-ray is a possibility, but not a requirement
    Intended HDTV is 720p
    Prefer HDMI -> HDMI (with audio) or possibly DVI -> HDMI (and without the Mac Mini overscan issues I’m reading about)
    Support for video podcasts, no interest in YouTube
    Remote

    I’ve been leaning in the direction of Vista Media Center. However, most of the form factors turn me off (wish Mac Mini had dedicated graphics!) and the expense of a dedicated HTPC could easily be used to cover tons of movie rentals via existing boxes. Though, if I am recording on a computer an easy (preferably automated) way of crunching programs to take with me on my iPhone or whatever mobile device I happen to be using.

    I’m sure I’ll have more to blog on this in the coming weeks.

  6. By the way, back to your original post, I got one of those Pinnacle HD Pro sticks for $10 when Best Buy was clearing them out, and it works fine with EyeTV 2.5 on my iMac. Haven’t gone crazy, but did make a number of successful recordings from OTA local HD broadcasts and the relatively small antenna Pinnacle supplied.

    –JV

  7. Is that the small antenna with a weighted and/or magnetic base? I use that thing all over the place here! In fact, it’s feeding the Elgato tuner now and I used it with the Series3 for OTA while we were without cable for a week.

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