ElGato Abandons The TV Tuner For Mac Market

Recently, changes in the Apple compatible computer accessory market haven't been good for the Mac TV tuner hardware scene.

There's a massive shift towards handheld tablets like the Apple iPad and cell-phones like the iPhone utterly taking over the traditional computing model. Desktop computing is under tremendous pressure for relevance in the consumer PC space in particular, and even portable computers like the Apple MacBook Pro and Air are being supplanted by iPad usage by millions upon millions of users. This shift away from desktop and laptop computing is putting the screws to many PC and Mac peripheral makers as they struggle for relevance and profitability as the technology landscape evolves.

The way in which we obtain TV shows and movies has also undergone a huge transition. The growing number of subscription, downloadable and streaming content acquisition methods has led direct video capture and conversion a marketplace that ever-fewer users engage in. The interest and market for Mac TV tuners hasn't vanished - but it's shrunk to the point where the consumer market may no longer be financially big enough to continue to pursue.

Recently I visited ElGato's website only to find that the best-selling #1 TV tuner for Mac - the EyeTV Hybrid isn't even listed on their main product page and no longer available for purchase in their online store! The same can be said for the EyeTV One which was a great Mac TV watching solution for those who receive HD Digital television over an antenna. The bundle of the rebranded Dual-Tuner HDHomeRun from SiliconDust that came with EyeTV3 software is also unavailable. The remaining HDDVR product isn't technically a tuner at all, but sits inbetween your Mac and TV to capture content. In short: ElGato has almost completely abandoned the Mac TV tuner hardware market -- but continues to sell EyeTV DVR software.

On you'll find pictures of TV tuner sticks and boxes from ElGato and other 3rd Parties that are supported by EyeTV 3 software. With a bit of research and determination, you can still find compatible tuner hardware and purchase a rather pricey $79 license for EyeTV3 to cobble together your own solution to watch, record, edit and export TV on your Mac.

The closest replacement for the best-selling EyeTV Hybrid is Hauppauge's HVR-950Q Hybrid Analog/NTSC and ATSC/QAM Digital Tuner (based on the same OEM hardware chipset as the EyeTV Hybrid.) It's still widely available and perhaps the best choice

The other possible alternative is Silicon Dust's HDHomeRun - a Digital Dual ATSC/QAM Cable box that connects to your ethernet network and allows two users to simultaneously watch Clear QAM (Digital Cable) and/or Antenna-Based ATSC over-the-air reception.

For some, scouring eBay for RECENT tuner hardware compatible with modern TV signals and the Mac is possible. Some of these may include a CD with EyeTV v2 or 3, or EyeTV Lite

Other 3rd-Party Tuners For Mac OSX

Sadly, it isn't just ElGato that's abandoning the Mac TV scene. Pinnacle Micro (which was acquired by Hauppague a few years back) no longer sells a Mac version of their PCTV tuners that were once bundled with EyeTV Lite.

Even Hauppauge no longer bundles a special Mac version of their HVR800 or 900 series USB tuners with EyeTV Lite either.

And unfortunately Equinux - which used to offer the USB TubeStick Hybrid as a reasonable alternative to ElGato's tuners - has abandoned the Apple TV tuner hardware market as well.

With both the MAJOR and MINOR players bailing out, 2013 has been a sad, sad year for those of us who want to watch and directly acquire TV shows and movies onto our MacBooks or Mac desktops.

Without hardware sales to support it's Software Development efforts and expenses - the fate of ElGato's world-class DVR software for OSX is dubious as well. While still available, EyeTV version 3x is likely to languish in short order. It's unknown if the recently released OSX Mavericks is fully compatible with the latest (and last?) version of EyeTV3 or not.

Having owned an EyeTV unit since ElGato's very first USB 1.1 TV tuning device was released - I'm sitting here 20 years later utterly dumbfounded that an entire CATEGORY of computer peripheral is vanishing on the Mac platform. Companies and products may come and go - but for a category of computer accessories to die this rapidly is unusual.

For an affiliate marketing whore like me, there's few products left to recommend other than those linked above. A market that I once passionately researched, blogged and wrote about has headed the way of the dinosaur it seems.

Updated EyeTV Tuner for Mac and Windows 8

ElGato's updated their tuner line in 2010: Dropping the FM radio functions of the 2009 model - and in a slimmer case - the EyeTV Hybrid is now also being actively marketed as a cross-platform HD computer TV tuner for Windows Media Center PC market as well.

ElGato EyeTV Hybrid 2012

For Mac Lion Leopard & Windows

This special EyeTV bundle above also features a 2 year Program Guide subscription to TVGuide - adding value to the #1 selling TV tuner for Macintosh.
Updated EyeTV HD Tuner for Intel Macs and PCs

Of note: EyTV is getting more realistic in it's System Requirements : HD content really demands a dual Intel Core processor on either platform - and now lists OSX Leopard 10.5.8 as the minimal ideal OS.

Antenna Reception ONLY - ElGato EyeTV One HD Tuner

Antenna TV Tuner for Mac and PC
JUST THE BASICS : ElGato announced a new lower-cost budget TV tuner for Mac (or Windows PC) that is strictly for Over-The-Air HD antenna based reception - the Elgato EyeTV One PC and Apple Compatible TV Tuner.

Lacking Analog video capture functions and QAM decoding for Digital Cable reception, this $100 tuner may be right for those of use who don't and won't pay for cable TV month after month - and are more than content with our locally available stations from an indoor or outdoor antenna. But frankly it's somewhat of a 1-trick pony. Most people interested in a tuner should look for a QAM enabled or Hybrid Analog and Digital model for the most flexibility now - and in the future.

Snow Leopoard Users : Update to ElGato's EyeTV v3.1.2

EyeTV 3.1.2 Mac PVR Software Update
Check out the rather long laundry list of bug fixes and enhancements for the latest EyeTV 3.2.1 Update from ElGato. Those who've upgraded to Apple's Snow Leopard 10.6 need to get and stay current to avoid some of the issues earlier versions of EyeTV has with OS X 10.6

Spotty DTV Reception? Try An Antenna PRE-Amplifier

Frustrated by your outdoor TV antenna reception after the Digital TV switchover? Intermittent, sorta - kinda - maybe reception on some chanels driving you crazy? It may be that your existing outdoor antenna is 'OK' - but some degree of signal loss through your household wiring may be sub-optimal. A television PRE-amplifier will boost the signal _at its source_ and will likely improve your current channel reception - as well as possibly bring in stations you're missing.

20db UHF-VHF Pre Amp

Alternately; consider the
Channel Master 7777 High-gain mast-mount antenna preamplifier

Note these are multi-piece units: A PRE-amp that attaches directly on your antenna outside - and the actual amplifier which is a small box with built-in wall AC transformer. Once connected, you may want to verify your existing station and reception quality - then do a RE-SCAN of all available channels.

For those with multiple cable runs indoors and throughout the house - a different type of indoor sigal amplifier is needed. This can apply to both those using antennas or those with cable television access. A passive splitter may be fine to branch off to 2 sets - but with more cable runs than that you really do want an amplified splitter to minimize signal degredation.

Motorola Amplifier - Splitter

In short - before you blame your tuner - or its source. Ponder everything in between. Its often the weakest link, and proper amplfication at the right points in your wiring runs can make all the difference in the world.

Power Q Power HD-100 Antenna Gets Rave Reviews

An innovative little portable tv anntenna: The PowerHD 100 is generating alot of interest - and garnering absolutely rave reviews at Amazon.com. This tiny HD antenna isn't just an interesting option for Laptop computer TV tuners. Folks with 52" wide-screen home theater systems seem to think well of this amplified flip-up antenna box that you can hold in the palm of your hand:
Power Q 100 palm-size amplified indoor HDTV reception
Amplified antennas can often mean the difference between a marginal analog or HD digital signal becoming crystal clear - or simply receiving stations you otherwise couldn't scan for and lock in. The PowerQ POWERHD-100 Indoor Portable Pop-Up Digital HDTV Antenna offers THREE power options for it's amp: USB bus-power from a laptop or desktop computer, AA batteries for on the go, and an AC power adapter for home use. Pretty versatile!

The compact size of this mobile UHF-VHF combo antenna is somewhat surprising - at least for optimal VHF reception where you normally have long rods. But less technical folk should know UHF waves travel in a VERY SHORT oscillating waveform only about 6" wide. So whether it's a indoor LOOP antenna, a BOW-TIE antenna, or a stubby little flip-up antenna like the POWERQ has - they all are *OPTIMIZED* for UHF Channels 13-on-up anyways. At $50 this little box ain't cheap - but those who bought one seem quite impressed. Sometimes big things really do come in small packages.