If I was betting, I'd bet most of you now watch TV through your Mac or PC .. sometime in the day, am I right?
Well, set aside that rather expensive computer of yours, and instead pull out that rather expensive phone of yours. How would you like to watch live TV on your iPhone (or iPod touch) instead? Your frantically nodding your head, aren't you? Since Apple introduced the SDK which has gradually been getting more feature-full as the months have gone on, we've seen an influx of applications from companies promising us our live TV fix, on the move. Ed Lea's Live TV for example.
Elgato is also one of those companies. Most known worldwide for it's easy to use and accessible Mac based software, EyeTV. The software allows you to schedule, record, watch and rewind live TV. Not only that, but the software will also convert this recorded content into .MP4, and import them into iTunes if you so choose. This is partly why the software is so popular among the iPod crowd. It is worth noting though, that in order for any of this to work you will need to invest in one of the company's many 'Freeview' USB sticks, available here.
I've been using their Mac software for quite some time now. It's like having TV on demand. So, when this tweet shot across Elgato's Twitter stream, as you can imagine - I was very, very excited.
EyeTV for iPhone is pretty much the Mac software, just condensed. As with the Mac version though you will need Wi-Fi activated, and EyeTV will also need to be running on the host Mac, in order for the app to function.
Just to recap: Elgato USB stick, EyeTV 3.2 for Mac, EyeTV for iPhone and a Wi-Fi connection.
Still with me? Okay, once you've got all of that sorted, you're ready to experience live TV. Opening the app you'll be presented with a list of host Macs which are currently running EyeTV. From this screen you can add and delete machines as you please.
Tapping a host machine from this list will then launch you into the heart of EyeTV.
There are four options within the app including:
The live TV tab is just as it sounds. If you have EyeTV running on your host Mac, you'll be able to stream live TV to your iPhone. The stream will need to buffer for about 5 seconds, but after that you're good to go. One caveat of this of course is your Mac needs to stay on, in order for the stream to stay active. SD channels seem to stream fine, however HD channels did tend to stutter occasionally.
The records tab shows you all the recordings on EyeTV for Mac. These are broke down into four categories: Library, Exporting, Recording Now and Past week. From here you can manage what records are currently recording, which are being exported for iPhone, and relive recordings you've created from the past week.
The schedules tab is a simple section in EyeTV for iPhone which shows you what shows you have scheduled to record. If you happen you have scheduled shows, you can go into them and preview what the show will be about, as well as choose whether or not you want to remove it from your schedule, for recording.
The guide is probably the main part of this app. Quite simply, if you still have your 'TvTv' account you should have been asked to setup when you purchased EyeTV for Mac, this tab allows you to see the TV guide schedule for all the channels yours EyeTV tuner found for you. Just like on your Mac you're then able to go into the channel and show you wish to record, and choose whether to record it or not. Not only that, but hitting 'Watch Now' will throw you into the live stream of that channel. Cool eh?
It's worth noting that TV shows recorded with EyeTV for IPhone won't be recorded to your iPhone. As you tap to record, the EyeTV app will send a 'record' command to your Mac software, asking it to record that specific programme for you.
And that is basically EyeTV for iPhone in a nutshell. This app isn't perfect. In fact, far from it. For one, the app will only work over a Wi-Fi connection. I see why they did this, they need to ensure the Live TV stream is the best quality it can be, but it'd be really great to have the option to use the app over 3G.
The other thing I found strange was there's also no option to take any of your 'recordings' offline. Currently, if your not connected to Wi-Fi, or your Mac is switched off, you can't access your TV recordings from the app. I find this disappointing on Elgato's part, and really hope they can offer offline recordings in the future.
That said, if you're one of these people who leave their Mac on all the time, and just looking to have Live TV with remote recording functionality in your pocket, EyeTV for iPhone is probably the app for you. EyeTV lives up to the name Elgato has made so popular, and I can only see the application getting better.