I just recently purchased the Elgato EyeTV 250. I was looking for a piece of hardware that would let me easily get my VHS tapes onto my computer so that I could spruce them up a little and also burn them to DVDs. The EyeTV 250 does exactly this and then some. The unit itself is about the size of 2-3 iPod stacked on-top of each other, nice and small! It comes with some great software that makes the whole process very easy. I used the VHS Assistant and within a few hours I had all my VHS home videos in a digital format! I used an external firewire Lacie hard drive. Each 120 minute VHS took up about 3.5 to 4GBs of hard drive space. Of course after converting them to H.264 they were significantly smaller. I brought them into iMovie (which takes some time since it has to convert them into an iMovie format), make them look nice, added some titles and captions and then put them into iDVD and burned a DVD! It sure looks great! I am still keeping the digital formats just incase I need to make extra copies.
The EyeTV 250 also has this game mode that lets you connect your video game systems and basically lets you use your computer monitor instead of a TV monitor. You do ned to have USB 2.0 on your computer to take advantage of that feature though. I also noticed that it doesn’t really look that great, I tried xBox 360 and Playstation 2. I would have to say the Playstation graphics looked a lot better, the xBox 360 is a higher end system and using the composite cable isn’t such a good idea. It’s to bad it didn’t have a component input.
Another feature that I just barely setup this morning is the ability to watch TV using this device! You obviously need cable service. I simply connected the EyeTV to my MacMini, installed the software, connect the coaxial cable from the wall to the EyeTV and started up the software. I then went through the little wizard and within minutes I was watching Animal Planet on my MacMini!!
Originally I had the MacMini connected to the TV via a VGA cable so I could use FrontRow to watch my many movies. I had the normal coaxial cable that come out of the wall connected to the TV so I could watch normal TV. You might ask, well what’s the point of sticking the MacMini in between? The EyeTV software not only lets you watch TV on your computer, BUT it also let’s you RECORD!! It’s like I have my own DVR! I can set it to record when I want and I can export the videos to basically any format that I want, I will stick with H.264 for now though! It’s a really nice gadget! I do wish I had set it up a couple weeks ago because I missed the Equestrian Championships on Animal Planet, it would have been a great way to test the recording functionality. I’ll just have to find something else to record now.
The EyeTV 250 also seems to out perform my TV in that it shows me what the channel is playing (the name of the show) how long it’s going to run for, and the show that will be playing next. It also shows the name of the channel, not just the number which is nice.
The EyeTV 250 was completely worth it, hopefully I’ll be able to test out the TV recording feature soon. If you’re looking for an easy to use solution that will enable you to watch TV on your Mac or if you want a gadget to record your favorite shows then EyeTV is just the thing for you. You can even export the recordings you make to an AppleTV or iPod ready format!
Check out the Elgato EyeTV 250!