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.