Eye TV – An in-depth look

I received my EyeTV 250 in the mail yesterday. Elgato included the latest version of their EyeTV software, EyeTV 3. I did not have the advantage of using any previous EyeTV Software, so at first the interface confused me. I am a Windows MCE owner, so I guess I expected something similar. After the initial setup, which lasted at least 20 minutes because of the channel scan, I figured out the setup and quickly grew fond of it. Unlike Windows Media Center, EyeTV is only for recording and watching Television, so all the menus cater towards that end. EyeTV has a menu for managing channels and recordings. Unfortunately for me, TitanTV, the guide provider for EyeTV, had my channels mixed up. [Update: My line-up has been fixed] My cable provider had just switched the channels, so the guide and channels were wrong. My testing involved running the cable straight from the wall to the EyeTV 250 without ever going through a cable box. With this setup I was able to pickup all the analog cable channels, as well as all the HD channels. The EyeTV can only pickup unencrypted digital channels, so unfortunately, all of the non-local digital channels were out.

As for the EyeTV 3 Software I found it very feature-rich, but a bit buggy. I had trouble with the remote record option from TitanTV.com When I clicked record now, the software would indeed begin recording, but not the program selected. Instead, it started recording from the last channel I watched. Also, I noticed that the guide would lose its scroller at times, leaving me unable to reach any channel below the first 20. After a bit of clicking around the window, I could get it to come back, but this is a definite bug. See my pictures: No scrollbar, The Scrollbar Returns.

Some of the cool things you can do with the Software is enable automatic exporting for ipod/iphone and appleTV. You can also view the recordings straight from your ipod/iphone, though with a television or a decent monitor, I have no idea why anyone would use this feature. You can also setup favorite channels and “smart guides” that show only a specific show, host, director, genre, etc. I found the guide a bit odd at first, because I could not see beyond a 24-hour window, but when you search for something, the results extend around a week in advance. The software also came with an editor that makes removing commercials really easy, although I wish it could be automated.

 Last thoughts: The EyeTV 250 plus also included a copy of Toast 8 Basic, which is a nice bonus, but it wasn’t obvious to find. It was on the included CD under extras, although there was no indication in the documentation where it was. 

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