I've been a dedicated user of EyeTV for almost two years, to the point that I no longer watch TV on the big screen in the living room. Instead, I watch almost exclusively on my iBook. Back in May 2006, I wrote a post about EyeTV 2.2 and its shortcomings. Today, Elgato have released EyeTV 3.
I haven't posted on my blog for a few months now, as my spare time has been tied up on a super-secret project involving Flash (well, Flex), Papervision3D, Box2D and what for me is some really heavy duty math. However, after what I found to be a particularly disappointing MWSF 2008 keynote, I noticed EyeTV 3 appear, and I must say, it's worth a mention. Slamming down £30 was a no-brainer... far more palatable than the £60 they charged for the EyeTV 1 to 2 upgrade.
I also noticed while writing this review that Elgato's 404 page gives out a 10% discount code... Nifty. Only wish I'd found it a couple of hours ago.
In short, there are things I still don't like about EyeTV, and things I haven't really tried yet. On the other hand, there are a few features in V.3 that make up for all of that. In fact, a good chunk of the wishlist in my previous post is now done:
- "Smart Playlists" and "Smart Recording Schedules". I can now set up automated record lists based on complex criteria.
- A smarter search engine. Done. They've got a full set of criteria there, with an all/any system.
- Tuner and recording sharing over Bonjour. Shared Libraries appear on the sidebar, and the system seems to work well. I can easily watch recordings on my Mac Mini from my Laptop with little or no delay. It even works when EyeTV.app isn't running on the serving machine, thanks to a background daemon. Of course, it'd be far nicer if both machines' tuners could be fully and automatically scheduled and controlled from a single interface, but hey, you can't have everything.
While they've given EyeTV a patchy makeover and added some other minor features, these three alone justify the upgrade for me.
Unfortunately, the other features on my wishlist don't seem to be there yet. PDC, in particular, would be nice. Apparently, the Freeview Playback standard supports something similar to PDC, but I see no evidence of it in EyeTV. This really would have come in handy a couple of days ago, as the popular and eagerly-awaited new Louis Theroux documentary started 15 minutes late thanks to a bunch of fat "sportsmen" throwing darts about.
The other one I'd still really like is a "close" button on the pop-up controller. It's still far too enthusiastic, popping up at the slightest provocation, and assuming any accidental keypress is a request to change channel randomly.
Anyway, I'm off to play with it some more now, but in the meantime, check out the comparison chart between 2 and 3. It's quite impressive.