If you were one of the early adopters when it comes to TV on your Mac, you’ll almost certainly be using Elgato’s EyeTV software. Elgato has been working to improve the software, and now version 2 is out. It’s available as a free upgrade to anybody who bought a product with EyeTV after December 1 2005. Those who bought it before that will have to pay for the new version.
The original version of EyeTV used tvtv.co.uk to provide remote access to recording and scheduling. The new version does the same, but integrates it within the application. This makes for a cleaner interface and pulls the pieces together in a more logical way. Now you need only launch EyeTV to find out what’s on TV, set recording schedules and watch recorded shows. But that’s not all it does.
If you own an iPod with video, EyeTV can record TV and automatically output the right file type for your iPod. For many, this will be the missing link to getting the most from the new iPods. In the absence of any TV programming available on iTunes (unlike the US), you can now view your own episodes of Lost or Desperate Housewives for free.
Even if you don’t have an iPod, the TV you record is much more versatile. In the old version video was hidden away in an odd format that could be difficult and confusing to deal with. Now files are wrapped up in a .eyetv file. To burn TV files to a disc you’ll still need a copy of Toast, but there is now a single button to bring the TV files into Toast where you can decide whether to record a Video CD or DVD Video.
Having attempted to create a DVD of recorded EyeTV content in the past and been defeated, this is a welcome new feature. It can also keep your hard drive free of old shows: it’s so easy to save them to DVD you can just keep DVDs instead of a library on your hard drive.
Some may balk at having to pay for a new version, but the features are so useful that it is money well spent, especially for iPod owners. Also the integration with Toast makes it even more appealing, though a Toast purchase may be necessary.