Elgato EyeTV DTT Deluxe TV tuner

Work, work, work, that's probably all you do on your MacBook. Well Elgato want you to have some downtime with a tiny TV tuner that you can plug into a spare USB socket, allowing you to kick off your shoes and relax. But does it work? We get watching to find out.

As the MacBook doesn't, like some PC laptops, have a TV tuner built-in, Elgato has stepped into the breach with the DTT Deluxe, a reworking of its DTT model just considerably smaller.

Instead of the big hunks of plastic you got at the turn of the century, the EyeTV DTT Deluxe TV tuner micro-stick is the size of a small USB drive no bigger than your thumb. With a device that small, understandably features on the hardware are kept to a minimum. There is an aerial out to fit one of three options in the box (small, large and house) and a light so you can see what is going on and that's it.

Plug it in, install the software and away you go. Well that's what is supposed to happen. In reality you're unlikely to get a signal unless you plug it into a house aerial that sits high in the sky.

We've tried to test the Elgato EyeTV DTT Deluxe in a number of places around the UK and without a house aerial, failed every time to get a signal using the remote aerial options.

Clearly someone believes you can connect out and about - it's small remember - but we've been unable to get it to work making the need for it to be small somewhat pointless.

Get past the fact that it's useless in all areas without a really strong digital signal - that's unlikely to be on the train then - and the actual application and interface of the software is very good.

The software allows you to obviously watch television, but beyond general viewing you get Sky+ features like pause, rewind and fast forward. Furthermore you can set the software to record your favourite programme. Like standard PVRs you can also automatically set the pre- and post- record lengths so you never miss the start or finish to your programme. Everything is controlled via the software interface or for those who really are too lazy to click a mouse button a standard looking TV remote that’s bundled in the box

To help you work out what's on when there is an EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) available however this does only last for a year before costing you £15.

We especially like the export to iPod mode, which will export the recording to an iPod friendly format leaving you with the task of having to transfer it to your iPod and little else.

Better still the software also allows you to stream recordings via the software to the Safari browser on an iPod touch, iPhone or other Mac via your local wireless network.

It's a great feature for those of you wanting to watch stuff in bed away from your computer in another room, and turns the software into much more than just another TV tuner with recording function.

Verdict

When you do get a signal the Elgato EyeTV DTT Deluxe will have you transfixed on your laptop watching television. The problem is that unless you can get a signal you're left with no image.

While the software works, and works well, the problem is that the hardware, probably through no fault of Elgato, isn't good enough to work on the go, and seeing as that is the main selling point, unless you can guarantee a strong signal, going small just doesn't seem to justify the extra cost.