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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2010
We bought this device as a replacement for TiVo once we upgraded to HD and our old Series 2 wouldn't support HD. We are very pleased with how this device has met our needs for personal recordings. This is definitely something we would recommend to others.

I read complaints about the subscription cost for the TV-Guide information. $20/year is very low, especially compared to TiVo's $13/month. Besides, this information is just a convenience. You may choose not to maintain this subscription and schedule all manual recordings. But to me, the low annual cost is well worth the convenience of scheduling a season recording.

Some reviews comment that recordings are pixelated or lagging. I personally haven't seen it lag at all. I have seen it pixelated, but this wasn't the fault of the software. Instead, it was related to my placement of the rabbit ears. The software can't record better than the signal it is receiving. Once I moved my rabbit ears to a better position, I haven't had one bit of trouble with pixelation.

There are other complaints that the file sizes are huge. Of course they are, you are recording HD video. The product is doing what it is supposed to do. We are using a Mac mini to serve as our DVR box, so we have 1TB of space to work with. We upgraded to this model so that space would not be a concern. This should be plenty as long as you are keeping up with watching and deleting your recordings. The Mac mini also comes with a Mini Display to HDMI adapter, so I can hook it up to my existing home theater configuration with little work. The picture is great!

We have used this configuration to record many shows that broadcast when we were not home and had not been home for hours. The computer has woken up on time for every recording. We haven't missed one! Keep in mind too, that the Mac mini has been praised for it's low energy use, so you can have confidence that you aren't throwing money away by leaving this device in standby.

One complaint I have about this software is that the schedule files and the recording files are stored in the same folder on the computer. This does not appear to be configurable. I can change where I save them, but cannot have the schedules in a different folder than the recording files. This would be a nice upgrade to the software. This poses a problem to me when running Time Machine to back up this computer. Time Machine allows me to exclude folders or specific files, but not to exclude file types. This would also be a nice upgrade to Time Machine. Since I have seen this EyeTV software crash once and delete all recordings that were scheduled in that session, this is somewhat of a concern for me. I was able to get around this by writing an AppleScript to create a second folder that synchronizes all the schedule files. Then Time Machine automatically backs up this synchronized folder.

The Elgato EyeTV Hybrid comes with a remote, and they claim the IR receiver is housed within the black strip of the device. I cannot get the remote to work, even from inches away, so I have just given up on that. However, Elgato has done a great job of working with Apple so that the software works beautifully with the Apple Remote. We have one that is ~4 years old (the old white one) and it works flawlessly with our brand new Mac mini. The IR receiver is clearly visible on the front of the computer and the remote works great for volume, playback control, and even navigating through the on-screen menus.

Another added feature of this device is the iPad app that they offer. The app does cost to download, but it gives you the ability to watch recordings on the iPad from anywhere in the house. This works nicely for a kids show while the adults are using the TV, or some similar scenario. We don't have AppleTV now, but I can see how this can work great with AppleTV to allow us to be in the bedroom watching a show that was recorded in the living room. In short, the way Apple products network so well together has given this solution extra flexibility and value.

Primarily we use this to record programs broadcast over the air through our rabbit ears and the HD is beautiful. However, we also have the ability to hook this device up with our DirecTV though S-Video or composite (RCA). Now, it's not HD, but the picture isn't terrible either. Besides, it's nice to have the ability to record something that is not over the air if we want. This device does not interact with the DirecTV box, but if we use the Auto-Tune feature of DirecTV and schedule a manual recording on EyeTV, we don't have to miss that football game that is only broadcast on the BigTen Network.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2010
This is an amazing product. Using my over-powered iMac as a DVR and to watch live over-the-air TV content FOR FREE--now that's the kind of thing all this technology was supposed to do for us!
EyeTV's software is very, very user-friendly. After picking up a $40 UHF/VHF antennae I set it up, opened the EyeTV box, screwed the cable adapter into the EyeTV, connected it to the antenna cable, plugged the EyeTV into my iMac, opened the software, and in a few minutes it had found about 35 over-the-air stations. It took only a few minutes to schedule my first recording.

Then I opened the live stream of a football game, so I tuned my old TV to the other game of the afternoon and checked scores for both games at once during breaks in my chore routine. Then I remembered that I could pause and record the live stream on my iMac, so I that game later.

The hiccups caused by my slow internet connection are gone in recordings (of course EyeTV can't fix my DSL), so I tend to use the live recording function to watch live TV without buffering. In order to watch it all from the couch instead of at my desk I'm going to spring for an HDTV to connect to the computer. I have yet to use the remote for the EyeTV or my Apple remote, but I'm confident they'll work just fine.

Still, the antenna gives me about 80% of the programming I want and almost all the cable-only content is online for free. I'm looking into software that can capture all streaming online video; then my joy will be complete.

I hear that the biggest challenge with EyeTV is when your over-the-air reception is dicey. If you're worried that you won't get enough channels you can buy an antenna from an electronics store and connect it to your TV to check your reception before you spring for the EyeTV. I live in a city, so I picked a multidirectional antenna, but a unidirectional antennas could be better for more distant signals.

UPDATE ON CUSTOMER SERVICE: The EyeTV died on me last month after 8 months of use. That's completely OK because after a few attempts at getting it working again Elgato's customer service replaced it immediately and had me send the the old one back.

After several more months of use I find the software to be a little buggy. I may be the settings. It's not as user-friendly as an Apple product, so it's disconcerting to have to re-boot the device so frequently. I do still love what it does even if it's just pretty reliably.

UPDATE 7/9/11: I'm changing my review title from "Slick solution!" to "I sure love it when it works!" I'm getting tired of having to re-boot the Hybrid after discovering that it failed to record a couple of my favorite shows. This seems to happen about once every two weeks. I had planned to fast forward through flat parts of mountain stages of the Tour de France, but by the time I discovered that the Hybrid wasn't recording, most of the mountain stages were over. Same with the episodes of new seasons of summer TV shows. Grrr.

Then, this week I moved to a new apartment, set up the Hybrid exactly as it was before, and now get an error on my iMac saying a USB device is drawing too much power and the hub is being disconnected. All other USB devices, including my USB-powered external hard drive, work fine. I've tried unplugging everything except the Hybrid and my wired keyboard/mouse, and then tried plugging it into my powered USB hub, but kept getting the same error message. I had both the Hybrid and my iMac packed and carried carefully during the move, but perhaps it got jostled.

Maybe the device failures and the power problem are related, and I'll put a ticket in with Elgato, but this is a lot of trouble for any techy product. As I said, I do love it when it works, but I am frustrated with its unreliability.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2010
I bought a second Elgato EyeTV Hybrid to see if I could operate 2 tuners at the same time (i.e., record two programs at the same time or watch one, record another). Works like a charm. EyeTV3 software recognizes both tuners and programs appropriately.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2012
The good side of the Elgato Hybrid is that it's compact, easy to set up and the perfect way to watch TV on your Mac . . . when it works. The bad side is that it's fairly expensive and much too cheaply made for the price. I purchased one that worked great for a few weeks, then simply stopped functioning. I received TWO further replacements within the warranty period, and both of them stopped working after a few weeks. The last replacement, although only 4 weeks old, was out of the original warranty time. The unit gets very hot while operating and my guess is that the circuits melt. In any case, the fact that you'll need to be replacing the unit every 6 to 8 weeks absolutely negates any pros. I think most online reviews failed to test the units over a reasonable period of time. Out of the box,the Hybrid is great. Six weeks later it's pretty much trash. Elgato needs to raise their production quality standards and build a functional, durable unit for the price. There's a lot of potential in the Hybrid - it's a shame.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
I join the many others who like the product until it died--13 months after purchase (the warranty is a 12 month warranty). It's a flimsy product, so I treated it with delicate hands and only I handled it, but still it failed.

Service through El Gato is ridiculously complex. After creating a service ticket, I was asked to do hours of PRAM reset, system profiles, etc, then resetting of my iMac's systems, all for a little gnat of a device that should be built well enough to deliver more than a year of service. Service and support failed.

My advice is that you don't waste your money. Perhaps El Gato will come out with a sturdier product in the future.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2011
I've tried two different models of the EyeTV Hybrid tuners and they just don't work as reliably as my old Miglia TVMax. The Miglia had build in memory buffer so you would not loose program segments if your computer became busy for a moment. None of the new EyeTV digital tuners have buffer memory (told to me by Elgato support). You won't realize you have a bad recording until you watch it. The program will play along just fine, then skip a few seconds. That's caused by the computer becoming busy for some reason during the recording and it could not keep up capturing the data stream, so some seconds get lost. It's very annoying. I've become so frustrated with this that I have gone back to analog recording using my old Miglia TVmax which has built in buffer memory, but only records analog channels (my cable provider still transmits basic channels in analog).
Also, like another review mentioned, the tuner will stop working and miss recordings until you unplug it from the USB port and plug it back in. You won't know anything went wrong until you notice your scheduled recordings are only 3 seconds of blank nothing. Hopefully you don't miss something you really wanted to see.

Elgato needs to come out with more reliable tuners that have built in data buffers.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
This tuner works fine with my Mac. I connected to cable and it works well with both analog and digital HD channels. the software works great with Apple remote control. The package comes with remote which is useless. It's not reliable and sometimes works sometimes does not. This why I gave this product 4 stars. This tuner is great to turn your mac to TV.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2010
This was great for a couple of weeks. Did exactly what I needed it too. Then it just started working intermittently. Even though cable was working fine, the signal wasn't making it to my computer. My best guess is that it was a loose connection as wiggling it around sometimes made the signal come back. Good idea, but definitely poorly made. Don't waste your money.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2011
As many others have already addressed, this device will stop working within two months of use due to it's cheap design. The software will fail to recognize the device and you are left with a useless piece of plastic.

I contacted Elgato and went through their warranty department, only to be told that mine wouldn't be covered because I did not buy my product from an "authorized" reseller. Even though I purchased my product new in box (still sealed), they said they can't "guarantee the quality of the product" otherwise. Excuse me? Did you catch the fact that it was NEW IN BOX? Elgato is the company responsible for packing these devices, so if the quality wasn't there to begin with, it's nobody else's fault but Elgato's.

Most companies don't care where you purchased their products, they still stand behind them, but apparently Elgato sees it differently.

Do yourself a favor and instead of buying this piece of crap, do what I did and get yourself a Monsoon Vulkano Flow (also sold on Amazon). It's much cheaper, works MUCH better with higher resolutions, offers you access to all of your channels AND recorded DVR content either locally or from anywhere in the world where you have a network connection, and most importantly they stand behind their products! Pretty soon Elgato will be out of business thanks to the Vulkano, and in my opinion, that can't happen soon enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
This product does seem to operate at a rather high temperature. It is very, very warm to the touch. Almost hot!!

Many cable companies have rebuilt their cable systems to 870 MHz (EIA Channel 135). The newest cable systems are more than likely constructed to 1000 MHz (EIA Channel 158). This product only scans for Clear QAM services to EIA Channel 125. If your cable operator has Clear QAM channels above EIA 125 you will not be to pick them up with this product. The product description does state this but I did miss it when I ordered it. 1000 MHz cable systems have been built since roughly the year 2005 so this product does seem a little out of date.

The cable company that I work for has Clear QAM channels in the EIA 126 to 130 range so I can not pick them up.

Other than that, this product does seem to work very well on my MacBook Pro and everything else works great! I did email the support group at Elgato about this channel limitation so I will see what happens.

I gave it (3) stars because of this video limitation and the fact that the product does operate at a high temperature. Once again, the description does state the Clear QAM tuner range, which I missed, but this does seem outdated.
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