After launching earlier this month, my new EyeTv for DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) has just turned up and it's nothing short of revolutionary. About the size of a lighter, it slots into a USB port on my iMac to receive digital TV, which can then be recorded on the hard drive. An electronic program guide is included to make life even easier.
Those already with a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) like a Tivo or Sky+ in the UK, as well as owners of tricked-out PCs, may well be thinking "So what?" about now, but this Eye TV is worth noting for three reasons. As I mentioned, the size is astonishing, and the EyeTV is barely noticeable once plugged in, making it great for MacBooks too. Despite having a miniature antenna, it's capable of receiving a DTT signal, such as Freeview in the UK, delivering a spotless picture to the screen.
Secondly, its integration with other software, and also the Mac remote, is seamless. Apple's Front Row is transformed from being a pretty curio I never use, to a practical, attractive hub to watch, record and timeshift TV. The EyeTV also works well with disc-writing software like Roxio's Toast, so any shows you record can be stripped of ads and archived onto a DVD. Having recordings stored on the iMac also means they can be swiftly manipulated and used in iMovie or Final Cut Pro, and converted for use on a video iPod or PSP.
Finally, the price. When I was looking at PVRs with a built-in hard drive to go under my TV, I was looking at spending around Â£150, at least. The EyeTV takes advantage of the iMac's 250gig drive instead, and so costs less than half, going for â¬100 or Â£70 and is available in Europe direct from makers Elgato or from Apple.