EyeTV DTT Deluxe review

With traditional analogue signals being turned off across the UK over the next two years, there’s never been a better time to switch to digital. The EyeTV DTT Deluxe is the latest digital terrestrial television, or Freeview, solution from Elgato. Restyled and miniaturised, it’s now billed as the smallest, full-featured DVB-T stick available anywhere.

In the box, the stick is wrapped in foam, so you don’t mistake it for an accessory during unpacking. The tiny unit is dwarfed by a remote control, which itself is hardly big and bulky. You also get a choice of aerials, including the option to connect to a rooftop aerial in weaker signal areas.

The DVB-T stick is bundled with Elgato’s excellent EyeTV 3 software, which makes setup a fairly fast and painless experience. Once tuned you will only need to retune when new channels become available.

The software allows users to watch, pause, and rewind live television and record, archive, edit and export recordings to iPod, iPhone and, with Roxio Toast, to disc. An Elgato EyeTV iPhone app adds the ability to watch recordings anywhere via WiFi. Recordings are lossless and can be shared over a local network.

In central London the picture quality was solid and sharp via both the antenna and telescopic aerial supplied, with the exception of an extremely stormy weekend. Outdoor viewing, in a park, required the telescopic aerial to maintain a watchable picture, which wasn’t reliable enough for recording or archiving.

While the DVB-T stick is discreet, its diminutive size is unlikely to escape the attention of TV Licensing. Unlike online TV catch-up services, such as the BBC’s iPlayer, you will still need a TV licence for the Elgato service even if your old TV has been dumped. If you find yourself struggling to tell Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole apart due to a weak signal you will also need to budget for a new aerial. The 720p or 1080i HD features will require an Intel Core 2 Duo processor when Freeview HD becomes available next year.

OUR VERDICT

The Elgato EyeTV DTT Deluxe is the perfect blend of hardware and software that turns your computer into an excellent Freeview recorder with the ability to edit and archive favourite shows. Under ideal conditions, with a rooftop aerial, picture and sound quality is perfect.

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