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Elgato EyeTV Netstream DTT July 2010

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Test freeview

n www.elgato.com n 0800 039 1010 n £230 (iTunes store)

Elgato EyeTV Netstream DTT The Netstream can stream two independent Freeview channels to two computers at once via a home network

Features EPG support: DVB 8-day/14-day tvtv Software: Terratec Home Cinema (PC), Elgato EyeTV 3 (Mac) Minimum specification: Macintosh: Intel Core CPU, Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later PC: Windows 7, 2.0 GHz Intel/AMD CPU or Intel Atom CPU 1 GB RAM

Ratings PLUS

n Twin tuners n EyeTV software n Hassle-free setup

Minus

n Expensive n No Freeview HD n PC software not as good as Mac

Build Setup Searching Performance Features Value

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82%

Elgato’s latest Mac/PC friendly Freeview receiver comes with the benefit of networkable TV reception. It has two tuners onboard (limited sadly to reception of standard-definition channels only in the UK) which allows you to watch one channel while recording another on one computer or for the signal from each to be piped independently to two different networked machines allowing each user to watch and record a different channel. This very Apple-esque looking unit is rather heavy and looks more like a slimline portable hard drive than a device for TV reception. A single indicator on the front glows green when active. The rear houses connectors for the 5V power supply, Ethernet and an aerial input and there’s a reset button if you run into difficulties. You can use the supplied basic portable antenna (which proved ineffectual for us) or connect the Netstream to a rooftop aerial. For networking the Netstream connects to your router via Ethernet from which signals can be sent wirelessly or again via Ethernet (including using Powerline adapters) to connected computers. Mac users get the best software deal with the inclusion of Elgato’s own elegantly presented EyeTV software. There’s support for the standard eight-day Freeview guide or 14 days’ worth of data can be obtained from tvtv’s subscription service for which a 12-month trial is included. Recordings can be scheduled, stored in a library and edited while Roxio’s Toast application is included for burning them to disc. There’s also integrated support for Apple’s ubiquitous devices. You can convert and export recordings to iTunes

for transfer to an iPod, iPhone or Apple TV. You can also stream recordings to an iPhone (for which you’ll need a £2.99 app from the iTunes store) or certain other smart phones, via 3G or WiFi. On our 2.66GHz iMac i5 running OS X, Apple’s Bonjour networking program made the business of automatically finding the device on our iMac simple. Picture quality was as good as we’d expect from a Freeview adapter with no noticeable loss of fidelity when streaming wirelessly from another floor in the house. For PC use, the Netstream works with Windows 7’s version of Media Center and Terratec’s Home Cinema software is included in the box. Terratec’s app doesn’t have the finesse or feature set of EyeTV3 but it managed to easily locate the Netstream using the uPnP method and picture quality was also equally as faithful to the source. It also comes with a tvtv trial and support for the DVB EPG and can be used for timeshifting and recording (in native MPEG-2 format) including scheduling recordings n Grant Rennell

Verdict Although the Terratec software is adequate for PC users, it’s arguably Apple acolytes who get the better deal here. However, the Netstream performs very well used with both. Whichever you use, £230 (some dealers are selling it for about £40 less) is still a lot to pay to stream Freeview channels to two places at once so is perhaps best suited to homes where multi-room Freeview reception is currently not an option.


Elgato EyeTV Netstream DTT