Elgato Eye TV Hybrid full review

Looking for all the world like a large cigarette lighter, the silvery plastic EyeTV Hybrid has a full-size RF socket at one end and a cap-covered USB plug at the other. Very simple, very neat. It’s a diminutive peripheral, but if bulk does pose a problem when plugging it in, a USB extension cable is bundled, although it’s rather short.

A weird-looking cable is also inside the box and totes sockets for S-Video, composite video and stereo audio in, all feeding into a small, mini-USB-style socket on the side of the tuner. This is an ugly input solution, flopping off the side of the hardware, but it’s hard to see how the socketry could have been built into the main unit. A digital antenna with magnetic base also features, along with a dire warning about placing it near a pacemaker.

Software-wise we have Elgato EyeTV 2 and an on-disc PDF manual. The real interest is in the capability of the software. It invites you to plug in the Hybrid and select auto-tune for analogue or digital to find whatever’s on the airwaves. Initial results are disappointing, but a rooftop aerial and booster perks things up for both analogue and digital reception. EyeTV Hybrid also comes with a break-out cable for composite video and S-Video, so it’s possible to connect a set-top box for premium channels, digital cable or satellite.

You can choose to display what’s on via a viewing window that can be set to a number of aspect ratios. If you prefer, the window will automatically resize itself to accommodate standard 4:3 TV, 16:9, or whatever you’re picking up. There’s also an on-screen remote, the operation of which is instantly familiar. The channels themselves show up in a separate window. They’re initially shown in frequency order but can be moved up and down and the analogue ones given names if names are not already assigned.

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