Elgato TV-on-Mac box tunes into hardware encoding
Hardware for the MPEG compression
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'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'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.
el gato still has an inchoate product line that confuses & disappoints
no mpeg4 (only archaic mpeg2) encoding for the analog tuner!
what on earth were these guys thinking?!
the baroque array of multiple products (and over-lapping product names) from el gato is one of the main reasons many people have long given up in despair from hoping that el gato would (finally) somehow do the obvious - which is provide a one gizmo does all, GLOBAL product.
the reason for this enduring inertia/indifference at elgato is - think - obvious: they have been content to be passive users of oem chipsets, too lazy to become a value-added ODM partner, in order to push along the integration of the silicon that is actually required to get the job done.
in any case, the El Reg capsule review is silent about an important issue with regard to tv tuner/capture function: namely closed captions, and multiple subtitles + aux audio dubs (also broadcast data services like vbi/smoc are probably a total non-starter).
if the pitiful example of their h264 'turbo' product is any indication of the granularity of their driver (which i guess is aimed at dvd applications rather than tv applications?), then we shouldnt hold our breath!
el gato has already amply demonstrated their contempt for the integrity of their customer's source data, so i dont expect much in the future.
note to EL REG: it would be nice if you made a more clear distinction as between 'europe' and 'north america' ... alot of travelers will not be exactly familiar with the broadcast system of each country they visit (so an explanatory link would have been nice, as well as an explicit mention of the status for asia. Also, some brief mention on the clear qam (is that the same everywhere?) issue for digital would have been appreciated - especially in light of the impending 'cable card' (catv) situation in america.
it is mind-boggling that el gato seriously expect people to purchase three separate adapters just because they cant get their act together!