Test the two latest Elgato products to watch, record, organize digital and analog TV on your Mac.
Elgato is certainly a familiar name to all Mac users, its solutions both in the Hardware and Software field with the award-winning EyeTv, also used by other companies competing with Elgato itself such as Miles and Terratec, are certainly among the most appreciated for receiving the Both digital and analogue TV.
With the two new USB Sticks "Hybrid" and "Diversity" Elgato once again confirms itself as the undisputed queen of the sector, managing to combine extreme portability with exceptional quality.
Elgato Hybrid is the solution designed by Elgato to offer both digital terrestrial and analogue TV in a single product.
Inside the box we will find, of course, the small USB 2.0 stick, the Eyetv remote control, the EyeTv software and a usb / composite connection cable plus an rca / jack adapter.
The little tuner does its job very well: good analog reception with the supplied antenna, exceptional with an external or powered antenna. As for the reception of digital terrestrial channels, it would be better to use a naturally self-powered external antenna after checking that your area is covered by the signal.
The supplied remote control has all the necessary commands to better control your receiver, its dimensions are perhaps a little too generous and the buttons too numerous and without sufficiently clear indications, so much so that the first few times it will be quite difficult to find your way around. the myriad of features.
Unlike what happens with other competing products such as the Miglia TvMini, the functionality of the remote control is not affected by the fact that on the new iMac the stick must be connected on the back, indeed as you move away the signal is getting stronger. In any case, the main EyeTv commands: channel advancement, volume and menu can also be used with the Apple remote supplied with all new Apple computers and can also be purchased separately.
One of the most interesting features of Hybrid is that it can also connect a game console, a sat decoder, a video recorder, in short, any device that uses a composite or s-video signal to the small pen. Thanks to the supplied cable, the signal will be switched directly on the screen of your Mac allowing you, for example, to digitally pass an old videotape, a feature for which without the hybrid you would have had to buy an analog / digital encoder separately.
Diversity is a USB 2.0 stick with dual DTT (Digital terrestrial television) and DVB-T digital decoders.
The device, which is absolutely identical in shape and size to its brother Hybrid, however, is equipped with the “Diversity” technology which guarantees higher quality in reception indoors as well as outdoors even in critical conditions, for example on the move (up to 160km / h). In fact, in Diversity mode the two tuners and the two antennas included in the box, work on the same frequency and thanks to the DSP processor (Digital Signal Processor) that decodes and combines the information coming from both tuners, it is able to guarantee the best possible visual experience making Diversity the forced choice for those who live in places where the digital signal is not strong enough.
When the two tuners are not used in Diversity mode, you can also take advantage of the convenient PiP (Picture in Picture) function which allows you to view one program while recording another or simply watch two programs at the same time. Speaking of recording, the Diversity stick allows you to record in Lossless mode so as to make your digital recordings absolutely perfect.
The only complaint we can make to this fabulous product is the lack of an aux input like on the Hybrid.
EyeTv2: the added value of Elgato products
However, the real added value of the entire Elgato offer is represented by EyeTv, now in version 2.3.3 Universal binary. The software that has received numerous awards is certainly the most complete and versatile of this type available for the Mac platform, so much so that as we said at the beginning, the vast majority of competitors have decided to adopt it.
The features of EyeTv are so many that it would be impossible to describe them all in detail, but we will try to provide you with an overview of the most interesting:
Full screen menu: with EyeTv2 you can access almost all the main functions in full screen and using the remote control, both the supplied one and the Apple Remote.
Apple Remote Support
HDTV support: Computers equipped with Core duo or Core 2 duo processor will be able to display HD 720p and 1080i (Full Hd) format in full screen
Scheduled recordings and online EPG guide: Thanks to EyeTv it will be possible to check the Epg guide offered by tvtv and schedule a recording directly from the guide by selecting the desired program. With the new archiving methods it will then be possible to organize your recording library, export it to iPod or simply “Toast it”.
Live Tv: With EyeTv you will never lose a moment of your favorite show again, just press pause on the remote control or on the oncreen control, to make EyeTv freak the frame, start recording until the moment you decide to resume from where you were left or switch to live broadcast
Editing: EyeTv2 also has numerous editing tools that are very useful for example to eliminate advertisements within a recording or to export with a single click to the right format for your PSP, your iPod or whatever.
Conclusions and judgment
At the end of this test we can only confirm that the two new Elgato products represent a must have for those who do not want to compromise in terms of portability, versatility and quality.
However, always keep in mind that with both Hybrid and Diverisity the recording takes place via software so you will need a slightly more performing mac. From our tests, a Powerbook G4 1.67 with two GB of ram was found to be powerful enough to guarantee smooth recording. Highly recommended a G5 or new Intel Core duo and Core 2 duo processors.
In addition, EyeTv, the included software for viewing, controlling, recording and managing movies, is the best you can find around: the ideal companion for your Hybrid or Diversity.
Both Hybrid and Diversity with EyeTv2 supplied, are on sale at a price of 149.95 euros