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Elgato TV-on-Mac box tunes into hardware encoding

Hardware for the MPEG compression

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TV-on-a-Mac specialist Elgato has released its first USB-connected tuner that also takes the heavy work of encoding analogue video away from the host computer.

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus
Elgato's EyeTV 250 Plus: MPEG encoding hardware built in

The EyeTV 250 Plus incorporates two tuners: a digital one that's compatible with Freeview and other DVB-T servies - even HDTV broadcasts, where available - and an analogue pick-up for folk in Freeview-unfriendly locations.

Analogue TV signals need to be digitised for storage on a computer but unlike Elgato's past analogue tuner-equipped products, such as the EyeTV Hybrid - reviewed here - the 250 Plus doesn't rely on software to do the encoding, it has dedicated MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 hardware for the task

You'll note that it doesn't do H.264 encoding - for that you'll have to cough up for Elgato's Turbo.264 accelerator

The compact unit connects via a USB cable and has both an aerial port and an input port allowing Mac owners to use the box to encode old analogue material on tape. The input port connects to a bundled adaptor cable the terminates in s-video, composite-video and RCA stereo audio ports.

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus
Elgato's EyeTV 250 Plus: digitise old tapes

The 250 Plus also ships with a remote control, a mini antenna and Elgato's bundling a cut-down version of Roxio's Toast 8 CD and DVD burning software. The top-notch EyeTV 2 DVR software is also part of the package.

EyeTV 250 Plus is available immediately for £140/€200. A North American version is also available, for $200.

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