Elgato EyeTV Diversity £96
10th Jan 2007 | 00:00
Recieve digital TV on your MacBook
You can watch, record and time-shift television on your Mac with any of the USB TV tuner sticks on the market from the likes of Terratec, Miglia or Elgato. While there's a bewildering array of hardware options on the market, they all come with the same EyeTV software from Elgato, who also makes this new EyeTV Diversity stick for receiving the Freeview digital TV signal.
On the software side everything works like a dream. While Apple prevents Elgato adding a TV option to Front Row proper, Elgato has hijacked the concept and created its own Front Row-like interface that can also be controlled with your Apple Remote. We still have an issue with some of the menu options being a little unintuitive, but overall it's an amazingly polished system.
The key thing about the new Diversity stick is that it has two tuners built in. This means you can set it up to watch one channel and record another, or use both tuners in tandem to improve your reception.
Elgato claims it can deliver a solid signal when travelling at 100 miles per hour - we didn't drive that fast up the M4 to London, but we did indeed manage to get reception as we pottered along in the slow lane. It did get lost a few times, but that's more to do with patchy digital TV signal strength than a product fault.
Having two aerials doesn't mean you can get digital TV reception in areas of the UK where it's not yet enabled. Our offices in Bath still couldn't get a signal, for example. Diversity mode can make a weak signal stronger, though, for better reception. Having said that, in an area of poor reception in Bristol, we had to rely on a roof-mounted TV aerial to receive the digital signal.
Elgato's Diversity stick and EyeTV software is a superb combination, but if you're going to rely on your rooftop aerial for reception anyway, then the cheaper EyeTV for DTT would save you a few pounds.