Elgato EyeTV 3.0 Review

Elgato’s EyeTV program is included with all of its EyeTV range of TV tuners for the Mac, and like any other company it occasionally releases free software updates that can be downloaded to fix various minor problems.

However, EyeTV 3.0 is more than just a minor update – it’s a fairly major upgrade that adds a number of new features to the program. It’s not free either. Existing EyeTV owners have to pay £29.95 to get the upgrade (or £59.95 if you want to buy a full copy for use with tuners from rival manufacturers).

That may seem rather a lot but, to be fair, there are a number of very worthwhile new features in EyeTV 3.0.

The most obvious is that the program’s interface has been given a Leopard-like overhaul. It now works with Leopard’s Cover Flow feature to provide a scrolling preview of all the programmes you’ve recorded – rather like the cover art feature in iTunes.

The main program window includes a ‘sidebar’ similar to that in Leopard’s Finder windows. It lists all your TV recordings, programme schedules and playlists, as well as another new feature called ‘Smart Guides’.

A Smart Guide allows you to search for programmes using a wide range of criteria, such as the name of an actor or director, or whether the programme is an episode of a TV series or a full-length film. You can even specify that you only want to record programmes broadcast in HD (high definition) format.

However, the features that we like best are the options for sharing your recordings, some of which actually slipped into EyeTV 2.5 last autumn.

You can now share your EyeTV library on your home network (in the same way you can share your iTunes library) and Elgato has improved the options for sharing over a wireless network too.

It’s possible to view your EyeTV recordings simply by typing a web address into the browser on their computer – or on a portable device, such as the iPhone, that also has a browser.

This means that you can use an iPhone or iPod touch to watch any of the TV recordings stored on your Mac’s hard disk, without clogging up the portable device’s limited disk space with video files.

OUR VERDICT

We wouldn’t go so far as to describe EyeTV 3.0 as a ‘must-have’ upgrade for all existing EyeTV owners. However the improved sharing and WiFi features work really well, and will definitely be worth paying for if you like to use your iPhone or iPod touch for watching TV and video when you’re on the move.

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