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
One of the few reviews of the Apple OSX specific version of the ATI TVwonder VisionTek 650 Hybrid TV tuner box for Mac can be found over at www.ChipChick.com -- As with earlier incarnations of ATI's TV tuners for Mac - ATI opted to write their own "tvPortal" DVR/tuning software rather than license and get device support of EyeTV from ElGato or snuggle up to Equinux for support of it in THE TUBE software.
ChipChick's take: tvPortal is a servicable TV app for Mac - but lacks much of the functionality ATI provides with the bundled softwware of the Windows PC version. Once again, this points to a common truth: It's the software, silly! When you have rather generic OEM TV tuner hardware based around only a few of tuner/decoder chipsets being manufactured (i.e. TV cards based on BT8x8 chipset, Philips SAA713x chipset, Conexant CX2388x, and few others) what's under the hood matters less than the end-user experience. Sounds like ATI ain't delivering a superlative PVR experience for OSX, but hey, there's always hope in software updates...
As promised at MacWorld Expo 2009, ElGato's made the new 3.1 update download available for EyeTV customers.
Bug fixes focus mostly on various existing scheduling issues with the Electronic Program Guide - EPG functions. The new alliance with TV Guide now offers more advanced Genre, Ratings and Parental Controls additions to EyeTV's features.
On the hardware side, The new ElGato Systems 10020974 EyeTV Hybrid TV Tuner Stick for Analog, HDTV with FM Radio Reception - This North American EyeTV Hybrid 2009 model's FM radio tuning functions are now supported - as well as highly anticipated initial support for the Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder, a capture device with component video input and RCA analog and S/PDIF optical audio inputs.
This tidbit from ElGato's site implies some HD PVR caveats and gotcha's:
"This device requires a Macintosh computer with an Intel processor. The infrared remote receiver is not supported. The infrared remote blaster cannot legally be supported on the Macintosh. The minimum firmware supported is 1.15, and must be flashed on a PC using Hauppauge’s driver software."
I anticipate that further revisions to EyeTV 3.1 will likely be needed to properly refine functionality of the 1212 HD PVR - and am somewhat surprised the Hauppauge 1192 WinTV HVR-1950 hasn't yet been added to Eye TV's supported devices list. All in due time I suppose...
A great little Plug-In to integrate ElGato's EyeTV with Apple's FrontRow media software and Apple Remote - PYETV version 1.2 - was recently updated at the Google Code site. Version 1.2 is compatible only with Leopard OS X 10.5. (For those running 10.4 Tiger, an older version of the PyeTV Front Row plugin is still available.) Though many users are current and using EyeTV v3, this plug-in seems to work fine with Eye TV version 2x as well.
Combined with recent price-cuts to the TubeStick Hybrid TV Tuner for Mac and PC, Equinux is proving to be a worthy and aggressive competitor against ElGato and it's EyeTV line. And more choice for Mac TV lovers is a good thing. On Tues Dec 23 - an updated The Tube software v2.9.1 was released and is now available for download at http://www.equinux.com
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."
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?
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.
Finally... Equinux has announced a real solution to providing a Channel Guide in the USA for purchasers of it's TubeStick Hybrid+ and bundled TheTube v2.9 software. For those who buy a NEW Tube-Stick a FREE year's subscription will be bundled. But a $20 annual subscription renewal cost will eventually affect everyone. Earlier efforts by Equinux to support the XMLTV standard to access listings proved just TOO GEEKY for - well just about anyone who simply read what was involved. As such it was one step short to match features with ElGato's EyeTV - which includes the FREE Titan-TV channel guide simply as part of it's fabulous Eye TV software. But this new guide is a step in the right direction from Equinux - and ElGato needs a bit of competition to keep it on its toes...
Improved & Redesigned Editor - Yaaay!
Improvements To Update Scan : the ability to add channels without removing existing channels.
New TV Tuner Hardware Support for North America- specifically the new ultra tiny USB Pinnacle TV for Mac HD Mini Stick - 80e
Auto tuning ATSC channels and updating the ATSC program guide with HDHomeRun has been resolved.
A problem where EyeTV Hybrid (US 2008) would display no signal on the AV inputs when timeshifting was deactivated has been resolved.
A problem where EyeTV 250 Plus (2008) could not receive a signal after putting the Mac to sleep using the Apple Remote has been fixed.
Improved EyeTV's stability and performance.
A crash when manually adding channels has been eliminated.
Fixed problems with Smart Guides
Fixed missed Smart Playlist issues
Playback & Exporting
Improvements in the playback of H.264 broadcasts.Recordings made with EyeTV 3.0.3 and the original EyeTV USB no longer display a speaker icon overlay.
Problems with exports to Apple TV that repeated multiple frames have been resolved.
Equinux followed up with another quick .1 update to TheTube Macintosh DVR software for the TubeStick Hybrid TV Tuner compatible with both Apple's Mac OS X and Windows Media Center Edition PCs. Now at version 2.8.1 - they did a few recording and audio issue fixes. Good to see Equinux really keeping up and trying -- slugging it out in the Apple tuner market with EyeTV is a tough arena to compete in, doncha know...
TubeStick Hybrid Tuner for Mac and PC Hardware Issues:
• Boosted the digital reception quality, a new channel search is required for digital signals
• A crash while switching channels on the same transponder has been fixed
• Problems while switching channels with OSX 10.4 have been resolved
• The on-screen display now shows the channel number correctly
Software Improvements In The Tube 2.8:
• The Tube is now available in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish
• The Tube is fully compatible with MobileMe
• Shared data streams are detected and displayed much more reliably. This especially improves reception of local channels
• Added a confirmation dialog to prevent accidentially deleting channels
• New locations are now immediately active and selected
• Jumping in timeshift and recording with shift-left/right and option-shift-left/right cursor keys has been improved
• The EPG import performance and stability has been improved
• The XMLTV EPG importer now handles IceTV XMLTV feeds correctly
• Fixed an issue which caused EPG entries being displayed multiple times
• Assigning DVB-T EPG service to channels works more reliably now
• An issue where the EPG information in the channel list and the on-screen display was out of sync has been fixed
• The EPG header translations have been fixed for non-English languages
• The TV-Movie EPG works correctly on 10.4 again
• Assigning different EPG services now updates the channel list correctly
• The timeshift controller works much more reliably now
• An Aqua-style scroll bar has been replaced in the TubeTalk sign-in panel