TODO alt text

Elgato EyeTV DTT deluxe review

Do good things always come in small packages? Elgato thinks so...

Jump to Section:

Our Verdict

A great evolution to the EyeTV DTT, but you may not get a signal with the supplied aerial

For

  • Very compact
  • doesn't block ports
  • Excellent software
  • Smart Guides scheduling
  • Remote
  • also works with Apple remote

Against

  • Supplied aerials need strong signal
  • £20 premium for size

There are essentially two ways to review Elgato's latest TV tuner; let's start with the positive spin.

The EyeTV DTT deluxe is tiny; plug this into your MacBook or Mac mini and you won't block ports on either side.

And while this is welcome news for everyone, MacBook Air owners will be particularly delighted to note that this little guy slots into the Air's single, slightly recessed USB port without any fuss.

Pause and rewind TV

The accompanying software, as we've said in the past, is excellent. It lets you watch TV, pause and rewind live broadcasts, and schedule programmes for recording. It's this scheduling which is Elgato's unique strength.

You get a year's subscription to www.tvtv.co.uk, an online electronic programme guide that features programme details for roughly the next fortnight, and you can schedule recordings manually either from your Mac or by visiting the tvtv website on any computer or mobile phone.

Best of all, though, is that you can schedule repeat recordings based on either the usual rules or by defining Smart Guides. With these, you can tell the system to record based on certain criteria: every programme that has 'Doctor Who' in the title except those on BBC Three, for example. If only Elgato could implement a Tivo-like recommendation engine too.

Recordings can be exported to iTunes, converted for portable devices such as the iPod, and passed to Roxio Toast (£70, www.roxio.co.uk) to be burned onto DVD.

Signal struggles

In essence, Elgato has taken everything that's great about the original EyeTV DTT, made it smaller, and slapped on a £20 premium. And that would be fine, if the implication wasn't that you could use this without having to tether yourself to a ruddy great aerial.

In our testing, we couldn't get a signal using either of the supplied mini aerials, and while we don't doubt that you would receive TV in areas with a very strong signal, we had to plug it into a roof-mounted aerial before we could tune it in.