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Elgato eyeTV Mobile review

This tiny plug-in device turns your iPad 2 into a television

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Our Verdict

For

  • Compact and convenient
  • Good picture quality

Against

  • Signal can be problematic
  • iPhone/iPod touch – Japan only

Elgato's eyeTV Mobile is yet another way to watch TV on your iPad 2 while you're on the go. It's a tiny little DVB-T Freeview tuner that plugs into the iPad's Dock connector, picking up a signal over the air so it won't touch your mobile data allowance.

It comes with two relatively small aerials that connect directly to the unit. Alternatively, you can attach any other antenna via a coaxial lead, though you'll need a £5 adapter from Elgato's online store to do this. But the fact that you can connect an external antenna is a blessing, because the included antennae may not be enough to get a decent signal.

And just like with Elgato's wireless tuners, the tivizen and the equinux tizi, there's no real way of knowing until you try. In our office, the smaller antenna couldn't pick up anything, while the larger one had to remain right by the window. Which meant, of course, that the iPad 2 did as well.

Even walking round town with the smaller antenna, signal was intermittent. When we got a signal, the picture quality was excellent, though.

The electronic programme guide is simple to find your way around, and it's easy to record shows (though you can't program it to record later – it's instant-on). It's also worth noting that the eyeTV Mobile is iPad 2-only, though apparently it works on the iPhone 4 or 4th-generation iPod touch in Japan.

If you want to watch TV on your iPad 2 without touching your monthly 3G data allowance, or somewhere where there isn't Wi-Fi internet access, this is worth a look. It's more versatile than the tizi or tivizen in that you can connect an external antenna, and you may well have to.

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