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12 Days of Gifts - Day 12

December 22, 2011 - Dave Hecei


Hi, my name is Dave and I am a TV junky. There I said it. I like a variety of programming, but I don’t like (i.e. hate) reality TV. This still leaves a lot of programs to watch on both network and cable channels. I used to record shows with a VCR, but then went to a DVD recorder. Now I use my Mac.

Elgato makes some of the best video devices out there, and they are all Mac based. They have small USB devices that either capture video, or have TV tuners. For a while now I have been using they amazing Elgato EyeTV 250 plus. This is a small external box that can connect to either video sources or to a cable/antenna. With it I can record TV shows to my Mac’s hard drive making it similar to a TiVo – basically a DVR box. The big difference is that I can edit out commercials and easily burn shows to a DVD.

Elgato has a new TV tuner in their lineup called the HDHomerun. Instead of connecting directly to a computer using USB, the HDHomerun connects to your home network.  This small box has only three ports – cable/antenna, Ethernet, and power. However, inside there are actually two tuners. Just install the EyeTV software on all your computers on your home network (Mac and Windows) and you can watch and record your favorite shows anywhere you are connected to you home network. It can even work with most 802.11n WiFi networks. Two tuners allow two computers to watch and record two different channels at the same time.

Recording shows can’t be any easier. The EyeTV 3 software includes one year of TVGuide online programming (after the first year it is a $19.95/yr subscription). To record a show just find it in the program guide and click the little dot, which turns red to indicate it will be recorded.

After you have recorded a show there is a basic, but decent, video editor that makes it simple to cut out the parts you don’t want, which of course could be the commercials. The EyeTV software also works seamlessly with Roxio Toast allowing you to easily archive your shows to DVD, or even Blu-Ray with the proper burning hardware.

As an added bonus, Elgato has an iOS App that allows you to watch either 'live TV' or shows you've recorded and converted. The iOS App is available from the App Store for $4.99.

If you love TV and have more than one computer in the house, the Elgato HDHomerun is a great gift. Street price is around $180.


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