Anybody who's read our Apple TV review knows that one of our major issues with the device is the hassle of converting video into the iPod/Apple TV format. Not that there's anything wrong Apple's H.264 video codec (it's actually pretty good), but it's a time-consuming hassle.
elgato came to visit us today, and showed me its new device aimed at easing that particular burdon. The elgato turbo.264 Video Encoder Hardware is a small USB dongle that aims to massively increase the speed that Macs convert video into iPod and Apple TV friendly formats. Judging by the demonstration that elgato gave me, it works too.
I'd guess it was speeding up the test MacBook Pro by around four to five times, which when converting a 1 hour movie will make a huge difference. According to elgato it also works exponentially the older the Mac is: so an old G4 will run up to 20x faster. Hot stuff indeed.
The turbo.264 will cost £59.99. I'll be taking it home tonight for a proper road test with the Apple TV. Will give you all an update soon.