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.

AverMedia Mac Volar USB Digital TV Stick For USA

3/12/2009 - AVerMedia Technologies, Inc., announced the (long delayed...) release of the AVerTV Volar MAX for Mac, a compact USB TV stick for US - North America. This Digital ONLY computer HDTV tuner supports ATSC antenna recption + Digital QAM cable at a new low-price point for Apple computers

AVerTV HD Volar MAX USB Tuner
Aver Media USB TV Tuner for PC and Mac
For Intel Macintosh Computers



System Requirements for the Volar M are:
- Macintosh® computer with a Intel Core® processor - 512MB RAM or above - 300MB of available hard-disk space - USB 2.0 port - CD or DVD drive - Mac OS X v10.4 or later

With AVerTV for Mac’s DVR software app, you get an iPhone-like on-screen menu for channel switching, program recording, and EPG for upcoming programs, etc. The key functions of AVerTV for Mac are supported by an Apple Remote. Designed for Apple OS X, AVerTV Volar M also comes with AVer TV 6 Media Center for PC, benefitting Dual-OS users who run OS X and Windows on their Mac.
Cheap Mac TV Tuner : AverTV For Mac OSX

The final Street Price of this Digital ATSC + QAM unit makes it the new price leader for affordable Mac computerTV watching.

Cheap TV tuner stick for Mac

The Aver Volar Max ~$49

Cheap-er Prices on Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Mini Stick


Pinnacle System's ultra compact QAM USB Digital-ONLY Tuner - the Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Mini Stick (Model # 82301003001) is now hitting a street-price near $70, making it one of the most affordable HDTV on a Mac options.

A strictly Digital tuner - this USB television stick is right for those using HD ATSC antenna reception or who have Digital QAM cable -- and don't want or need the Analog capabilities of a Hybrid TV tuner to hook up to SD - Standard Definition Cable, VHS VCR's, aging Camcorders and whatnot. Noted for it's ultra-compact size and signal-boosting technology for better reception - It comes bundled with remote control, EyeTV Lite 1.1 - and a better portable antenna than most - a high-gain telescopic antenna that extends up taller for enhanced reception. For mobile OTA - Over-The-Air television with a laptop Mac, this is a great choice. Also includes TVCenter Pro 5 and VideoSpin software for PC.


2009 EyeTV Mac Hybrid Tuner With FM Radio


Following ElGato Systems MacWorld 2009 Expo introduction of the revised 2009 Model 10020974 EyeTV Hybrid TV Tuner Stick for Analog, HDTV and FM Radio Reception were initially ONLY available at ElGato's Online Store. But within a few weeks, Amazon now lists this TV tuner for Apple Mac OSX. The best HD computer TV tuner for Mac just got better - and cheaper.

CHOOSE CAREFULLY: There's now 3 different EyeTV Hybrid's floating around in inventory: 1. The ORIGINAL (discontinued) EyeTV Hybrid which is an affordable choice for Antenna using people that had 2 rows of horizontal air slots for cooling. 2. The JUST REPLACED EyeTV Hybrid 2008 Model with Clear QAM Digital Cable support that had vent slots on just ONE SIDE of the USB TV stick case, and now 3: The 2009 Hybrid Tuner in a sleeker, smoother, apparently non-vented silver casing.

FM Radio In New EyeTV Hybrid 2009 Model

The best gets better: On the eve of MacWorld Expo ElGato has announced a sleeker, slightly redesigned Model 10020974 EyeTV Hybrid 2009 TV Tuner Stick w/ FM Radio
Analog + Digital ATSC/QAM television USB tuner- Now with FM Radio tuning functionality. Prior to this, Apple Macintosh owners basically only had Griffin Technology 's RadioShark AM / FM Desktop Radio with Time-Shift Recording to provide radio broadcast reception on their Mac. Coinciding with this new Mac tuner's 'immediate' release is a new version of EyeTV 3.1 PVR software. This version with FM support added will be available to existing Eye TV v3 owners later this month.
new-elgato-fm-tv-tuner
The new packaging and case modifications will be helpful in identifying this new tuner stick. Last time around - when Digital Clear QAM support was added to the renamed '2008' Hybrid model - there was no easy way to visually distinguish the changes made to the internal circuitry. One last item of note: As with Pinnacle's latest HD TVmini stick, they too are touting "better reception" meaning enhanced signal sensitivity - likely from the latest improvements to the internal OEM decoder/tuning chipsets in these new models.

Firmware Updates For HDHomeRun

HomeRunHD owners: SiliconDust's forum links to current and beta Firmware updates and downloads for the ethernet connected HDHR-US HD HomeRun dual-digital ATSC-QAM tuner box.

Hauppauge's Latest DVR Lineup Needs Mac Support

happauge PVR
Model 1212

HAUPPAUGE HD PVR


PC using HTPC enthusiasts are finding Hauppauge's long-awaited Model1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder to be a godsend for connecting to and capturing content from their Set-Top box. For cable users on PC's it was the MISSING PIECE they were waiting for. For Mac users - the real question is If/When/Ever EyeTV or other's might be able to support the HDPVR's functionality in OS X.

"HD PVR is the world’s first High-Definition video recorder for making real-time H.264 compressed recordings at resolutions up to 1080i.  HD-PVR records component video (YCrCb) from cable TV and satellite set top boxes, with a built-in IR blaster to automatically change TV channels for scheduled recordings. Audio is recorded using AAC or Dolby Digital. The recording format is AVCHDr. The HD PVRs amazing recording quality allows personal archival of your favorite high definition TV programs from any component video HD set top box. The HD PVR also has standard definition composite and S-Video inputs so you can record your old home video tapes into an AVCHD format for creating Blu-ray DVD recordings."

hauppauge winTV 1080i PVR
Around the same time, Hauppage also introduced a new box: the Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1950 External USB HDTV Tuner/Video Recorder Model 1192. (Somewhat like an Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus Digital/Analog TV Receiver and Video Converter - but with IR Blaster) I predict we'll see support for the HVR-1950 in a future revision of EyeTV 3 soon. But the HD PVR is a totally different beast - and perhaps more challenging for ElGato to support. Time will tell - perhaps at MacWorld Expo 2009 ElGato will reveal what's up their sleeve? Hmmm?

ElGato Site Drops HD HomeRun

dual ATSC QAM Ethernet TV for Mac
Interesting change recently as ElGato's North American website: They dropped the rebranded Dual Digital/ATSC HomeRunHD ethernet networked based OEM tuner made by SiliconDust from their current products page. ElGato's US-North American site now lists only the EyeTV Hybrid and the 250+ models.

For a time, El Gato repackaged and sold the SiliconDust HDHR-US HDHomeRun Networked Digital TV Tuner. They added support for the unique, Dual ATSC and QAM digital device in later versions of EyeTV 2 - and continue support in the updated EyeTV 3. So perhaps ElGato is simply focusing on profitably selling EyeTV3 software at full $79.95 retail to HomeRun purchasers. Bundled or not -- It's a winning combination allowing multiple Macs to view and record TV - or to watch one station while recording another.

In a way the unbundling doesn't matter since ElGato is ultimately a World-Class software company with an award-winning TV application. What hardware it runs on is somewhat secondary. And the HomeRun is readily available elsewhere - and enjoys wide support on both the Mac and Windows PC platforms:

The HDHomeRun works with the following Software:
Windows Media Center:
MCE 2005 32-bit
MCE 2005 64-bit
Vista MCE 32-bit
Vista MCE 64-bit
SageTV - HTPC software for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Home Server, Mac & Linux
SnapStream BeyondTV - DVR for Windows
Elgato EyeTV - DVR for Mac
MythTV - DVR for Linux
MediaPortal - DVR for Windows
GB-PVR - DVR for Windows
VLC - Multi-platform media viewer
TSReader - MPEG-2 transport stream analysis

Consolidaton in PC and Mac TV Tuner Market

Caught this recent press-release a month late: But it's important - affecting two of the largest 3rd-party television tuner suppliers for the Apple OS X DVR marketplace. (Both of whom are allied with ElGato and provide EyeTV Lite with their Mac-specific tuner bundles.)

"October 27th, 2008
Hauppauge Digital Inc. announced it has agreed, through a subsidiary, to purchase the Pinnacle PCTV product line and related assets from Avid Technology and certain affiliates.


“Avid’s PCTV products have become one of the most popular TV tuner consumer product lines throughout the world,” said Ken Plotkin, President and CEO of Hauppauge. “With both the Hauppauge WinTV and Avid PCTV product families, Hauppauge will now be able to offer our customers an expanded set of TV products for personal computers, from entry level TV tuner products for laptop computers to high end embedded TV receivers used by leading PC OEMs.”

Hauppauge intends to work closely with Avid during the 2008 Holiday season to ensure a smooth transition of the Pinnacle Windows PC and Apple Macintosh TV product line for Avid’s distribution partners and consumers. Following the closing of the transaction, Hauppauge expects to continue developing and supporting both the PC-Mac TV and WinTV product lines.

Hauppauge Digital, Inc. is a leading developer of analog and digital TV receiver products for the personal computer market. Through its Hauppauge Computer Works, Inc. and Hauppauge Digital Europe Sarl subsidiaries, the Company designs and develops analog and digital TV receivers that allow PC users to watch television on their computer screen in a resizable window and enable the recording of TV shows to a hard disk, digital video editing, video conferencing, receiving of digital TV transmissions, and the display of digital media stored on a computer to a TV set via a home network."

EyeTV vs TubeStick vs Hauppauge vs ElGato vs Pinnacle vs Equinux

With the transition towards All-Digital television reception, choosing the right TV tuner for your Apple OSX setup isn't easy. Over the air Analog antenna reception has a clear Feb. 2009 cutoff date. But it's Cable and Satellite that may stay SD-Standard Definition Analog for a few more years - and may NOT be switching to All-Digital depending on each providers rollout plans and if and what you're willing to pay for HD Digital signals or not.

For the majority receiving cable: Clearly a Hybrid Clear QAM Enabled Digital Tuner is the only smart choice to at least receive whatever unencrypted HD content your provider may be sending. No PC/Mac tuners can support a given providers Encrypted/Pay-For Premium Channels - that's all handled by your Set-Top box - and whether that allows pass-through or downsampled lower-quality signals to be sent to a computer tuner stick depends on the box.

For HTPC enthusiasts, the ethernet based HomeRun HD connected to your router/hub allows 2 users on the network to watch whatever Digital content they want. The dual-QAM TV-tuners inside the HomeRun also allow a single viewer to enjoy PIP - Picture In A Picture, or two-channel viewing/recording in EyeTV 3. This flexibility appeals most to those looking for an All-Digital, high-end Mac TV watching solution.

For those strictly expecting ATSC antenna reception: ANY tuner with Digital capabilities, even last-year's or a non-QAM discontinued model can serve them well for years to come - since Clear QAM only applies to Cable (and rarely) Satellite reception.

Pinnacle's New Digital Mac HDTV mini Tuner Stick

pinnacle HD stick for Apple Mac
Finally, Pinnacle Micro’s ultra-compact all-digital TV for Mac HD Mini Stick has become available at Amazon.com - boasting the smallest form factor of any USB computer television tuner card to date, special signal-boosting technology, and bundled with the latest version of EyeTV Light v1.1 from ElGato. A new generation of OSX TV hardware - with the best DVR viewing and recording software out there. Looks like a winning combination!

Amazon.com Now Accepting Converter Box Coupons



Well, Amazon.com is FINALLY on track with the Government’s $40 Analog to Digital coupon eligible TV converter box program. They’ve recently implemented an online coupon redemption process and stock a handful of worthy ATSC converter boxes ranging in price from $50 on up retail (before coupon credit). So there’s hope for those old Analog TV sets you may have - or an Analog-Only Mac TV tuner you may want to continue using on the cheap - before you pony up for a new Macintosh Digital TV tuner.

Pinnacle Micro's New QAM Mac TV Tuner


Pinnacle will ship in late September a new UTRA-SLIM & COMPACT USB ALL-DIGITAL TV tuner for Apple’s Mac OS X : The Pinnacle Micro ultra-compact all-digital TV for Mac HD Mini Stick model 80e - includes EyeTV Lite Personal Video Recorder (PVR) software from ElGato for Apple’s Macintosh OSX, a high-gain telescopic TV antenna, mini remote and travel bag. Pinnacle claims the device can pick up digital TV signals even where signals are weak thanks to integrated signal booster technology. Designed to receive over-the-air digital TV (ATSC) signals and unencrypted digital cable TV — ClearQAM for both Standard Definition (SD) and HDTV, with resolution support up to 1080. Remember kids: For these high resolutions - HD TV viewing and capture are demanding on a computer’s resources: And so Minimum Stated System requirements say: DUAL G5 processor minimum or Intel Core Dual CPU.

Smart HD TV Antenna Design

High Definition television reception demands even stronger TV antenna signal strength as we make this transition from Analog to Digital. Those buying a new ATSC Digital tuner television set or hooking up a new TV converter box may be dismayed to find their current antenna just isn’t good enough for Digital - though it may have been for Analog reception. Digital breakup and blockiness on-screen is your first clue, and the dreaded ‘NO SIGNAL!’ makes it clear: YOU WILL NEED A BETTER ANTENNA FOR HD RECEPTION.

The laws of physics and electronics haven’t changed the parameters of television antenna construction much over the years - but more sophisticated test equipment is helping with developing more effective innovative antenna designs. Case in point: the WINEGARD HD-1080 HDTV HIGH BAND COMBO ANTENNA which looks somewhat like a grid and bow-tie Ch. 13-69 UHF antenna - but it’s uniquely designed back grid of up to 42” rabbit-ear dipole-like horizontal rods help pull in upper VHF channels 7-12.

For most, after the Feb 2009 switch-over MOST TV stations will broadcast digitally in the UHF range. But depending on where you live - and your final channel assignments -- a COMBO UHF/VHF antenna might be needed to insure you can get ALL the stations in your area. Wineguard now delivers a flat-style directional antenna more easily installed in attic spaces or against a wall to deliver high-gain performance comparable to much larger, wider outdoor UHF-VHF roof-top designs. For some this might be the best $50 investment you can make.

Supported Devices In ElGato's EyeTV v3

EyeTV 3 Compatible Devices List
(Most Of Those Listed Are NTSC ATSC Tuners For North American Markets. This is only a partial list since this site doesn’t intend to address International markets nor TV standards/tuners for those markets)

ELGATO:
EyeTV USB EyeTV 200 EyeTV 250 EyeTV 250 Plus EyeTV 300/310 EyeTV 400/410 EyeTV 500 EyeTV 610 EyeTV Diversity EyeTV EZ EyeTV Wonder USB 2.0 EyeTV Hybrid HD HomeRun

HAUPPAUGE:
WinTV-HVR-900 WinTV-HVR-950

MIGLIA:
Evolution TV TVBook Pro TVDuo TVMax TVMicro TVMini TVMini HD

ATI:
ATI Wonder USB 2.0

PINNACLE:
* USB HD mini Stick 80e (Still in progress: a v3.0.x BETA is available, see below) TV for Mac HD Stick 800e TV for Mac Hybrid Stick 330e PCTV Hybrid Pro Stick PCTV Hybrid Pro Stick 330e PCTV USB Stick PCTV HD Pro Stick 800e

PLEXTOR: PX-402U

SILICON DUST: HDHomeRun * The latest version of the full EyeTV software is 3.0.3 and does not yet have support for the Pinnacle TV for Mac HD mini stick (80e). Such support is coming in the next EyeTV release. If you already own this Pinnacle device, and you have EyeTV 3.0.3, then please use the following link to upgrade to a beta version of EyeTV that will support this stick. While EyeTV 3 is running, you can enter this URL into a web browser, that will force EyeTV to download this specific version: eyetv://checkforupdates?build=4241
This link will not work with EyeTV Lite. Requires the FULL version of EyeTV 3.

Equinux TubeStick For Mac... Or PC

Equinux, software writers of THE TUBE 2.0 TV-tuning software announced at MacWorld Expo they'd be shipping thier own Hybrid USB stick tuner - The TubeStick - for the US NTSC market. It’s compact, slimmed-down design is more friendly to crowded USB ports than many other bulkier stick-style tuners from ElGato and other 3rd parties. The Tube Stick is bundled with BOTH Mac software and Windows Media Center software drivers. TheTube software (now at version 2.7.4) is good, but not GREAT like EyeTV unfortunately. Still, Equinux has been keeping the updates coming, and offers unique and innovative program sharing features to give El Gato a good bit of competition.