Elgato EyeTV Mobile – Review
As more and more people use video streaming sites to watch their favorite TV content via their personal computers, the need for a traditional television set is declining. Elgato noticed this trend and responded by launching a line of products that transform mobile electronics into TV viewing platforms. One of these devices, the EyeTV Mobile, allows iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad owners to watch live local TV on their devices.
The EyeTV Mobile is a small dongle that fits devices with the 30-pin docking connector. It requires an adapter to work with newer Apple devices equipped with the new Lighting port.
The dongle provides two antenna options. A portable antenna is intended for use on the go while a more sensitive antenna can be used in a more permanent installation. The latter utilizes a six-foot cable for ease in positioning and a magnetic docking station for the antenna that may be mounted via a suction cup to a window or other smooth surface.
The device can be charged via its micro-USB port to supply its own power, or it can draw from the power source of the Apple device. On its own power, Elgato claims that users can experience up to 9 hours of live TV viewing.
SETTING UP THE EYETV MOBILE
The setup process could not be simpler. Connect either antenna and plug the dongle into the Apple device which will prompt the user to download a free app that is required to watch live television.
Upon installation, the app will scan for available channels. The catch is that Elgato’s EyeTV products don’t actually tune in the over-the-air channels in your area. They instead retrieve data from Dyle Mobile TV’s database of channels, which unfortunately is far from all inclusive. Here in New York City, for example, the dongle picked up Fox and NBC but not CBS, ABC or PBS. The service is currently free, although it may become subscription based in the future.
USING THE EYETV MOBILE
The user interface of the app is clean and simple. The home menu offers three options: Live TV, to see available channels and start watching, Guide, to view any information included in the broadcast about upcoming programs, and Settings, to change channel, app and device settings or scan for additional stations.
Watching live television on my iPod Touch was an easy and enjoyable experience. While the device and app don’t allow for the recording of live TV, they do support pausing and rewinding. During fast-paced scenes with a lot of motion, the screen became moderately pixelated, but beyond this exception the quality was clear and consistent.
I was pleased (but not surprised) to find that I could watch live TV with my device in airplane mode. Neither the EyeTV nor my iPod Touch requires an active Internet connection, which is good news for iPhone users watching their data consumption and others who want to save precious battery life.
Elgato’s EyeTV Mobile accomplishes one task fairly well, and that is delivering hassle-free live, local television to portable Apple media devices. It’s not without drawbacks, however, such as being compatible (out of the box) with only older models of Apple’s mobile lineup as well as delivering just a handful of broadcast stations. $83.98 at amazon.com.
(Photos: Accura Media Group)