Feeds
75%

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus TV tuner with MPEG 2 encoder

The ideal DVR kit for low-horsepower Macs?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Review When we reviewed Elgato's EyeTV Hybrid almost a year ago, we found it a darn fine analogue and digital TV tuner. With its analogue input port, it's a pretty good way to digitise your old VHS tapes and feeds from set-top boxes. The company has now released the EyeTV 250 Plus, which replicates the Hybrid's feature set. Did it need to bother?

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus
Elgato's EyeTV 250 Plus: MPEG 2 encoding built in

We'll answer that question at the end of this review. Before then, let's see if there are any differences between the two products. Form-factor first: the Hybrid's a USB stick, while the 250 Plus is an external unit with an shiny white plastic and aluminium-look metal casing that's at home next to any modern Mac. Unlike the Hybrid, the 250 Plus isn't bus powered but needs its own AC adaptor.

The unit's front is home to an infrared receiver for the bundled remote control. It also has a port for the multi-format video input cable, which terminates in a pair of RCA stereo jacks, a yellow composite-video connector and an s-video plug. Turn the 250 Plus through 180° and you'll see a co-axial antenna socket and the unit's power feed.

The 250 Plus has its own power supply because - and here's the key difference between it and the Hybrid - it has on-board MPEG encoding hardware. Connect the Hybrid to your Mac and whenever you use the accompanying EyeTV software to record either an analogue TV broadcast or what's coming in on the analogue video port, it's your Mac that has to handle the encoding work, in real time.

Not so the 250 Plus. Converting the analogue signal into digital data is the job of the add-on, not the host. The upshot: your Mac doesn't have to work so hard, so its processing resources are freed for other tasks. And if you have a lesser CPU that might not be up to the challenge of encoding video at a given resolution, with the 250 Plus taking the strain, it might now be.

Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus
Elgato's EyeTV 250 Plus: the details

Fancy turning that old, unused last-but-two generations Mac to use? Want to use it as a DVR? The EyeTV 250 Plus might just be able to help.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page:
EyeTV: the software

elgato eyetv hybrid digital and analogue usb tv tunerElgato's EyeTV 2 software is, for now, the Mac-based DVR application to beat - and one that's rather better looking than a fair few Windows-only apps out there too. We looked at EyeTV 2 in detail when we reviewed the EyeTV Hybrid tuner, and we'd suggest you take a look at that review - here - if you want to know more.

For now, though, it's enough to say that EyeTV provides the full range of DVR features, from tuning through to setting up favourite channels lists, scheduling recordings based on electronic programme gudie - it comes with a year's subscription to a number of online EPGs - and the ability to pause live tv.

It also comes with handy export pre-sets for Apple's iPod and AppleTV devices, automatically adding video files to your iTunes library.

The version of EyeTV that comes with the 250 Plus is accomanied by a copy of Toast Basic, a cut-down version of the popular Mac DVD and CD burning tool, so it's ready for archiving content to disc.

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Chumps stump up $1 MEELLLION for watch that doesn't exist
By the way, I have a really nice bridge you might like...
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.