Rumours of a home entertainment device being unveiled at Macworld Expo San Fransisco were not completely unfounded. Elgato Systems has unveiled EyeHome – a device that lets users access the digital content (photos, video or music) stored on the Mac via the television or home entertainment system.
EyeHome also provides access to the Internet on the TV, and supports Safari bookmarks.
Elgato Systems’ CEO Freddie Geier said: "EyeHome integrates the Mac into the family’s home entertainment centre, ushering in the new era of convergence between the computer and consumer electronics devices. We’re thrilled to give Mac users the ability to expand the digital hub into the living room, where they can best share their photos, videos and music with family and friends."
Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, Ron Okamoto, said: "The Mac, with its incredible multimedia capabilities and iLife applications, is the centrepiece of your digital home. We’re pleased that Elgato is bringing a digital media player to the Mac and giving Mac users more ways to enjoy their iLife content even when they aren’t sitting in front of their Mac."
EyeHome content is organized on the TV as it is on the Mac. It is controlled via a remote and does not require additional software.
EyeHome connects to a home network router, hub or switch; an Airport Extreme network via an optional 802.11g Wireless Ethernet Adaptor; or directly to the Mac via an Ethernet crossover cable. It connects to the TV via standard video and audio connectors and supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and DivX, JPEG and PNG, and, MP3 and AAC formats.
The product is expected to be available in February for €299. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed.
Elgato has also launched the EyeTV 200 FireWire Digital Video Recorder. The latest version of the digital video recorder that allows users to watch, record, edit and archive high-quality, MPEG-2 encoded TV on the Mac.
Elgato Systems' founder and CTO Markus Fest said: "Using the MPEG-2 compression standard, which is also used on DVD, EyeTV 200 delivers remarkable picture and sound quality for an incredible new television experience on the Mac."
As well as MPEG-2 video encoding, the EyeTV 200 features a FireWire interface, offering high-speed data transfer and supplying power to the device.
With EyeTV, live TV can be paused, rewound and fast-forwarded, programmes can be archived on to DVD to be played on most standard DVD players, and a built-in editor allows users to edit out unwanted content – identifying where programs and scenes start and stop so that extraneous information can be deleted.
EyeTV also offers a simple way of converting old VHS tapes to DVD – VCR content can be captured through EyeTV and converting it to digital.
EyeTV 200 will be available for €399 including VAT. UK pricing is to be confirmed.