Elgato EyeTV Diversity dual-tuner DVB-T stick

You've got your computer in your office, but fancy watching more than just the iPlayer or a live feed of the BBC channels. In steps the Elgato EyeTV Diversity Dual-Tuner DVB-T Stick hoping to turn your humble Mac into a fully-fledged personal video recorder.

About twice the width of a mobile broadband dongle, the Elgato EyeTV Diversity Dual-Tuner DVB-T stick is simple in its design and offering. You get a USB connector at one end, two TV aerial connections at the other. There is a status light for good measure, but that's it. The rest is either on the accompanying remote control or built-in to the software.

Like many such USB devices, if your USB sockets are close together, you’ll find that the Diversity blocks access. Luckily there is a USB cable supplied in the box that neatly steps around this problem.

With little to the hardware the main focus is in the software. Like other Elgato products, the EyeTV Diversity uses the EyeTV 3.0, here, however, you get the power of two tuners to play with. The result is that you can record one channel and watch another at the same time. Nice.

It might come with portable aerials in the box, but to be honest you might as well throw them in the bin. They really are no good unless you live in an area with a strong digital signal.

We tried in a number of locations around the UK and failed every time. The biggest problem with digital signals is that, unlike analogue, if you don't have a signal you get nothing at all.

Luckily unlike the DTT Deluxe this isn't designed to be an ultra-portable offering so the fact that it won't work on the road isn't such an issue but is something to bear in mind. This won't for example be your entertainment saver on that caravan or camping trip.

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 program. 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 available, however this 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

If you're planning on using your computer to record TV shows and then load on to your iPod or MP3 player then this is a great way to do it. The software is easy to use and offers plenty of features for those looking to get their favourite shows without the expense. Like other products from the company this isn't however suitable for travelling with.

You really do need that big aerial on the roof to make it work unless you live in a strong digital area.


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