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Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus Digital/Analog TV Receiver and Video Converter (10020780)

by Elgato

Available from these sellers.
  • Watch, pause, and rewind free over-the-air HDTV, Clear QAM or analog television on your Mac.
  • Record TV shows and export videos to your iPod, Apple TV, or iPhone.
  • iPod Assistant to convert analog video to iPod/iPhone/Apple TV formats
  • Records high quality video and frees up your processor for other activities.
1 new from $297.09 3 used from $80.00

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Technical Details

  • Brand Name: Elgato
  • Model: 10020780
  • Hardware Platform: Mac
  • Audio Output Mode: Stereo
  • Minimum system requirements: Mac OS X 10.4

Read about our customers' top-rated streaming media players on our Streaming Media Player Reviews page.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 2.5 x 7.8 inches ; 4.8 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0013PQ6P4
  • California residents: Click here for Proposition 65 warning.
  • Item model number: 10020780
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,943 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: August 22, 2003

Product Description

Product Description

EyeTV 250 Plus is a TV tuner and a powerful video converter in one device. Watch and pause live TV on your Mac. Record, subscribe to TV series, and create Smart Playlists. Edit out unwanted content and send your favorites to iTunes to sync automatically. Enjoy sharing EyeTV recordings over a local network with other Macs and accessing them on an iPod or iPhone via Wi-Fi. Store your collection on your Mac or external disc. EyeTV 250 Plus receives free over-the-air (OTA) HDTV, Clear QAM, and traditional analog TV, and comes with a composite video and S-Video break-out cable to connect a set-top box. EyeTV 250 Plus captures high quality video from analog sources such as a VCR or camcorder, comes with a VHS Assistant and iPod Assistant to guide you through the setup. EyeTV 250 Plus' built-in hardware encoder rapidly converts analog video to high quality digital video without using your Mac's processor.

From the Manufacturer

The Most Powerful TV Tuner for your Mac

Watch, record, edit and enjoy TV on the Mac with EyeTV 250 Plus, a hybrid Mac TV tuner with a powerful hardware encoder for higher quality recordings and smaller video files. EyeTV 250 Plus receives free-to-air digital TV, analog cable, and unencrypted digital cable.

In addition, with its composite and S-Video inputs and powerful MPEG encoding hardware, the EyeTV 250 Plus is a complete, high quality solution for transferring your old analog tapes into the Mac.


  • Powerful TV tuner and video converter
  • Receives digital TV with an antenna, basic analog cable TV, and unencrypted digital cable (Clear QAM)
  • Built-in MPEG compression hardware, making it the best choice for older, non-Intel Macs
  • State-of-the-art chip technology for world-class TV tuner performance
  • Includes award-winning EyeTV 3 software


Watch, pause, and rewind live television on your Mac at your desk or from the comfort of your couch.

Sit at your desk and navigate the resizable window with a mouse, or go full screen and stretch out on the couch with the included remote control. EyeTV’s gorgeous on-screen menus makes it easy to channel surf and move through the Program Guide and menus in the comfort of your living room.


EyeTV features a comprehensive built-in program guide, with detailed listings provided by TV Guide*.

You can easily record any show with one click. Even set up automatic schedules record your favorite series, or create Smart Schedules to record just the shows you like.

*includes one year of free service with optional renewal for only US $19.95 per year.


Use EyeTV’s built-in Editor to remove unwanted content from your recording, or to crop the beginning and end of the show. The Editor also enables you to create one or more short clips from a longer recording and save the clips individually as new EyeTV recordings.


With one click you can add your recordings to your iTunes library for syncing with your iPhone, iPod or Apple TV. Take your recordings wherever you go. Watch your recordings on your big-screen television with an Apple TV. Build up your iTunes library with all your favorites. EyeTV can even handle the exporting automatically when recordings finish, so it doesn't take any clicks at all.

EyeTV on your iPhone

The EyeTV 250 Plus also works with the new EyeTV app for the iPhone (optional; available at the iTunes App Store). With the EyeTV app, you can watch live TV wherever you have a WiFi connection; around the corner at the coffee shop or around the world.

System Requirements

  • Macintosh® computer with a PowerPC® G4,G5 or Intel Core® processor**
  • 512 MB of physical RAM
  • a built-in USB 2.0 port
  • Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later
  • Internet connection required to download Program Guide data

**720p or 1080i HD features require an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

Technical Specifications

  • Frequency Range: 48-862 MHz (VHF and UHF)
  • Analog TV Standards: NTSC
  • Digital TV Standards: ATSC, Clear QAM
Input and Output
  • USB 2.0
  • Antenna input: Standard F connector
  • S-Video (via break out cable, included)
  • Composite video (via break out cable, included)
  • Stereo audio (via break out cable, included)
  • IR remote control sensor

Video Encoding
  • High-quality real-time encoding
  • Supports MPEG-2 and MPEG-1
  • NTSC resolutions: up to 720x480, 30 fps
  • PAL resolutions: up to 720x576, 25 fps
  • SECAM resolutions: up to 720x576, 25 fps
  • Variable and constant bit rate up to 15-Mbit/sec
Audio Encoding
  • MPEG 1 Layer II
  • Sampling rates of 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz
  • Compressed bit rates up to 448 kbit/sec

Customer Reviews

The quality is crisp.
Having said this, the customer support is terrible.
Very easy to use and I am very happy I bought this.
D. La France

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Brian Wallace on May 25, 2008
The EyeTV 250 Plus is an external USB based tuner that supports NTSC (Analog Cable and Satellite), ATSC (Digital Satellite) and QAM (Digital Cable). (Not all the models available for sale on Amazon are the newer one that added QAM support, so be careful This one definitely has the QAM support). It also has an adapter that can accept Composite and S-Video inputs along with analog stereo audio. For my purposes I was most interested in the QAM capability since I am a cable subscriber. The biggest difference between the cheaper EyeTV Hybrid and the EyeTV 250 Plus is that the 250 has an external MPEG-2 (Video)/MPEG-1 (Audio) encoder (The Hybrid model relies on your CPU to convert the signal into digital format). The advantage here is that when you're recording or viewing something off of either analog TV or the analog inputs all the encoding happens outside of your computer, so all the computer has to do is decode and display the video. This takes a lot of load off your CPU so it becomes much easier to multi-task.

The tuner itself is great. The biggest plus (in my case) is the ability to pick up Clear QAM digital HD channels. This confines you to only the broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and PBS in my case). It does take quite a bit of CPU power to handle HD broadcasts however.

More important than the tuner is the included EyeTV 3 Software, which controls the tuner. EyeTV 3 is pretty slick. It includes a TitanTV subscription so you can access TV listings and even remotely schedule a recording to your Mac. The program also allows you set up favorite channels. It also keeps the list of all the channels you have access to, which is my case is 461.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By kompewterz on June 7, 2009
Verified Purchase
I bought this specifically to do VHS to DVD conversion. So my review will not cover a lot about the tuner functionality. What I can say about that - setup went quick, event free, and everything worked - all my channels including those fancy new digital ones (which look really nice on the computer screen). Once the guide downloaded - everything seemed ready to record just like a Tivo. The remote control requires you to be a bit of a sharpshooter, but it's not as bad as my Philips DVD Player.
The options for quality and recording length are limitless. There are four quality setups and then a custom one which you can tweak every setting. I believe recording length is limited to 12 hours per recording - which is no problem for me. Seamless integration with Toast (which also came with it) and a plethora of export options to keep anyone happy. The quality is crisp. People that complain of VHS conversion quality encoding have one of two problems 1) They don't remember how crappy VHS looks compared to digital 2) Their VCR is a piece of garbage. I'm using an $1800 professional Sony editing VCR as the playback device - it cleans up the quality and makes the tapes look as good as possible. Remember - The better the source, the better the quality. Don't expect this device to make your tapes look better, just the same. However, I was able to tweak some tapes that had poor color and sharpness from a crappy camcorder. It has those settings, too.
It's mac quality at its finest - I have transferred over 60 hours of video in my first week with it without ONE problem. No errors, glitches, encoding errors, anything - IT JUST WORKS.
There is a PC version made by Terratec, but it's kind of hard to find - I've read that it is almost as good as this for the PC.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Videonaut on October 6, 2008
Verified Purchase
It was a breeze to hook up and get running on my Mac: plug in the device, let the setup run to scan for channels, define the recording directory, etc. The software is mostly trouble-free, but has a few minor glitches that I've gotten used to.

One is a one-time annoyance: linking the channels to the TitanTV program guide. It's a little more tedious than it needs to be. The second problem is an ongoing thing: occasionally, when it wakes up to record a program it doesn't seem to "see" the signal from the antenna and i get a blank recording instead of a show. If you're "catch-up" watching (watching a show while you're recording it) it will yank you out of your show and into live tv when the recording finishes, and you have to go back and find your place to continue watching the recording. Finally, it seems to eat up more CPU time than it should, even while it's not (apparently) doing anything. However, El Gato seems to be very committed to software maintenance and enhancement, and the EyeTV software has improved even in the short time i've owned it!

All in all, though, it's easy to use, convenient and a great alternative to those all-in-one DVR boxes, since you have so much control over scheduling, editing and exporting for later iPod viewing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Cross on March 17, 2010
Verified Purchase
If you have cable and an iMac, and simply want to watch TV on your Mac then this is a great choice.

If you want to put HDTV in a sitting room or lounge, and want DVR capability, then you can't do much better than a 27" iMac and the EyeTV 250 Plus. I recommend an external 1TB (or bigger) FW800 drive, but it's not essential.

If you are looking for a high performance AV setup for your cutting-edge home theater, then you can do better, but the EyeTV 250 Plus and a Mac Mini is still an excellent cost-effective option for a DVR, especially if you want to avoid DRM plagued AppleTV and cable/satellite boxes and want the convenience of a turnkey system.

I recently upgraded from a four year old third party demodulator/encoder box to the EyeTV 250 Plus. This also allowed me to upgrade from EyeTV (software) version 2.4 to version 3.3.1. I'm pleased with both, but very happy with the hardware. The whole setup runs on a 20" iMac (mid-2007 2.0GHz Core2Duo, 128MB Radeon HD 2400 graphics with 1680x1050 resolution), also upgraded with an external 4TB RAID array.

My house receives "antenna service" on cable - an unfiltered clear QAM signal from my cable provider. This signal includes analog broadcast channels, most basic cable channels and many digital HDTV channels, both broadcast and cable. It appears to be the intended service for this device.

The EyeTV 250 Plus hardware does a very good job encoding all of these cable signals into streaming digital video. (The default settings for analog SD encoding are a little dark, but the software gives you control over this.) All encoding is done in hardware and provided to the computer's USB input.
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