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EyeTV 3 Review

EyeTV 3 Review

For the last number of years we have been using EyeTV to record films and TV from our UK digital television channels. Initially the recordings were syncronised with an iPod that was then, in turn connected to the TV but last year things became considerably easier when the fantastic AppleTV arrived.

Now we record with EyeTV export to AppleTV (this can also be automated, I don’t auto export as EyeTV also has the power to remove the Advertisement breaks !) the process could not be easier. Obviously there are a large number of you out there with Mac Minis attached to your TV and you use EyeTV to watch, record and pause live TV but clearly this demonstrates the diversity of the EyeTV software.

Well like Apple Elgato also announced a significant update to their software in the form of EyeTV 3.0 and we couldn’t wait to get out hands on the software.

Installing :
einst.pngThe first thing you notice when you install EyeTV3 is that Elgato have updated the imagery and icons. The installation process is very simple. Each window prompts the user with an installation option, simply click next, enter the all important license code and EyeTV 3.0 does all the rest. EyeTV devices come with a years subscription to the TVTV (UK) listings service. This service powers the EPG and recording scheduling on EyeTV .

The good news is even at full price the TVTV service only costs ?6 per annum so it is not going to break the ban even when the year expires. Users should also note that if they leave their computer on they can actually schedule recordings remotely via the TVTV website, you can set EyeTV to periodically check for remotely added scheduled recordings. This is definitely a handy option when you are away from home.
Elgato have totally refreshed the user interface of EyeTV 3. Like Leopard users can opt to view their recorded TV via coverflow. On review this worked very well with the coverflow icon being the point at which you last viewed the programme.

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The Programme Guide (EPG) is the same familiar presentation with each genre of programme being colour coded. We had to make a few regional related tweaks to attach the TVTV listings to one or two channels but this is simply updated in the Channels Tab.

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EyeTV was such a great application to begin with version 3 really is a refining and perfecting process. I am sure we are not even scratching the surface of the improvements in this post. The more we play with the software the more subtle new features are discovered. A new option has been added to the (right click) menu when viewing a programme, you can opt to record the currently viewing TV programme or the ‘Next Show’ just one of a host of minor improvements.

These are small updates but they definitely add value to the application. This option alone removes the need to visit the main EyeTV screen to find out the next show or control the recording options.

The user interface has a few bonus features. Change the preferences for iPod export to iPhone and EyeTV automatically refreshes the tool bar.

iPod Default :
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iPhone Default :
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The on-screen menus have also been given an overhaul. A slightly more Web 2.0 look and the menus are definitely easier to use. This software really looks like it belongs in the living room on full screen. If AppleTV was able to integrate with EyeTv 3.0 it would be hard to see a need for any other PVR device!

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e36.pngSmart Guides
Automated recordings using the built-in electronic program guide (EPG) have been extended exhaustively: A new, intelligent search function lets EyeTV 3 users combine multiple search criteria for refined EPG searches. Searches can be saved as Smart Guides.

These show up in the programs window sidebar and update on-the-fly, like a Saved Search in Mac OS X 10.5. Search results can optionally be recorded automatically. Users can also specify how many of these recordings they want to keep in their EyeTV Archives, similar to Podcast subscriptions in iTunes.

This is a great feature not only for recording entire series of programmes but we have set a smart guide to record anything featuring a favourite rock band and discovered they were appearing on Jules Holland ! The system really works.

Editing programmes to remove ads etc is now even easier on EyeTV 3.0 The video editor has been integrated into the player
window as an overlay, no longer requiring users to exit the player window to cut and crop recordings.

Improved Wifi Sharing
EyeTV 3 network features have also been improved and extended: EyeTVArchives can now be shared with other users in your local network just like iTunes and iPhoto libraries.

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Wi-Fi Access, which enables watching recorded TV shows via wireless network on iPhone or iPod Touch, now supports additional smart-phones from several vendors. It also offers the option of lower resolution for lower-bandwidth video connections. Password protection has been added too. The web sharing offers the same new interface look as the on screen guide.

VHS & Camcorder on your iPod ?
One of the big problems software developers face is the balance between a large number of export formats but at the same time making the software easy for new users to actually work. Elgato have addressed this in the form of an excellent iPod Assistant.

The assistant is based on their popular VHS Assistant, the new iPod Assistant in EyeTV 3 guides users through the steps needed to capture analog sources like VHS cassettes and camcorder tapes and prepare them for iPod use. The Assistant guides you at every step so even beginners can get the best possible quality the first time (requires hardware with hardware encoding).

In Conclusion
EyeTV 3.0 really is a refined and perfected version of 2.5. I think it is easy to say if you own an Elgato device and are using a previous version of EyeTV you really shouldn’t hesitate in upgrading to version 3. If you own a Mac and don’t have a TV device as yet then this software should make the decision of what software to use easy ! I am struggling to find a single negative with the upgrade. To see the full list of updates and improvements click here (Elgato).

Price & Availability
EyeTV 3 is available immediately from Elgato’s Online Shop (www.elgato.com) at a price of ?59.95. Users of EyeTV 2 who obtained their software license separately or in combination with a hardware product on or after December 1st, 2007, are eligible for a free update. Users of EyeTV 2 who obtained their license before this time can upgrade to EyeTV 3 at the reduced price of ?39.95.

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