Review: EyeTV for iPad

Easy TV viewing on your iPad, or any other iOS Apple device. (August 31st, 2010)

If you want to watch television anywhere in your house on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, EyeTV won’t disappoint you. You can stream live and recorded TV over Wi-Fi or over 3G. Simple menus let you choose what you want to view, save programs to your Library, or convert them.

Electronista Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Elgato Systems GmbH

Price: $4.99 US

The Good

  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Smooth and stutter free viewing.
  • Simple to schedule, record, and export video for streaming or offline viewing.

The Bad

  • The additional $99 cost of the Elgato Turbo.264 HD encoder recommended for an optimal 3G streaming experience.

What could be more convenient than watching television anywhere in your house on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch? If want to stream live and recorded TV over Wi-Fi, the $4.99 EyeTV app by Elgato makes the dream a reality. The EyeTV app accesses EyeTV running on your Mac at home to deliver a smooth and stutter free viewing experience, while you get even more out of your iOS device.

You may not be familiar with Elgato's range of USB TV Tuner adapters, but they offer quite a few. For this test, I used the new Elgato EyeTV Netstream DTT Network Dual Tuner wirelessly connected to an iMac. With regard to the Elgato Netstream tuner, the iPad and iPhone EyeTV apps are not standalone and depend upon you having the Elgato EyeTV 3.4 software installed on your Mac, as well as an Elgato TV Tuner, or other compatible tuner. The iPad app extends the functionality of this Elgato software and hardware pairing on your Mac and allows you to watch TV anywhere in the house on your iPad or iPhone.

EyeTV Still Image on iPad

EyeTV Still Image on iPad


If you use an USB TV Tuner, you may have experienced buffering issues, especially when they first came to market. I wondered if this new app would have the same problems. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the app delivers what it promises.

It is very simple to watch live TV on your iPad, you just launch the app and connect to your Mac over your local Wi-Fi network. Once connected, you see two panes. The four principal navigation options are on the left pane: Live TV, Recordings, Schedules, and Guide. These typical functions are what you expect on any Personal Video Recorder (PVR), and they work just as well in this context.

EyeTVGuide

EyeTV Guide


When you tap on Live TV, you select from the range of digital channels offered in your region from the right pane. Programs take a moment to buffer before they start streaming. In a few short minutes, you can watch your favorite programs.

EyeTV  Schedules

EyeTV Program Schedules


The Eye TV Library holds previously recorded programs stored on you Mac ready to be streamed or exported for offline viewing (more on this later). The Exporting option lists programs that you have previously recorded, but are being prepared for later viewing. You can update the recording schedules on your Mac remotely on the iPad, or on your Mac.

EyeTV Recordings Library

EyeTV Recordings Library


The app works best over a Wi-Fi 802.11n network, but offers users the ability to adjust the settings if they happen to experience any lag issues. During my tests, it worked flawlessly. The excellent video quality looked fantastic on the gorgeous iPad IPS display.

An interesting feature that Elgato offers in addition to Wi-Fi streaming is the ability to stream over 3G. This is accomplished via the Live3G free web app. accessed via your browser. I am not sure how many users will use this feature given the costs associated with streaming over 3G, but it allows you to set up a schedule and record programs while on the road.

EyeTV Preferences

EyeTV Preferences


Elgato recommends using their Turbo.264 HD USB Encoder in order to optimize live video streaming over 3G. They recently cut the price from $150 down to $99. It is a very useful device for any Mac user as it also significantly reduces export or conversion times when encoding any H.264 video on your Mac.

If you want to watch your recordings offline on your iPad, the Turbo.264 HD device speeds up the process of converting the EyeTV file into an H.264 file. You sync these files to your iPad through iTunes.

The previously reviewed EyeTV iPhone app has been available for some time, but this recent iPad optimized version really takes the portable TV viewing experience to another level. I am very happy with EyeTV and recommend it with no reservations.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Sanjiv Sathiah


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