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EyeTV Owner Reports and TipsReturn to News Page

EyeTV Owner Comments and Tips
Owner Reports and Tips last Updated: 10/1/2007 (EyeTV 2.5 feedback)
Software Updates: EyeTV 2: v2.5 (9/24/2007), Orig. EyeTV: v1.8.5 (2/2006)


EyeTV 2 v2.5 (9/24/2007) It's available at ElGato's EyeTV 2 updates page

"Free EyeTV 2.5 Update Includes Wi-Fi Access for iPhone and iPod touch, Record From Live Buffer, Freebox IPTV Support, One-Click iPhone Export, and More
EyeTV 2.5, a free update to the award-winning EyeTV 2 television software, includes many new features for viewing on the Mac, the iPhone, and iPod touch. With Wi-Fi Access, recorded television shows can be accessed for playback from an iPhone and iPod touch in a local Wi-Fi network. Many EyeTV users have requested the ability to record content that has been temporarily stored via timeshifting. To create a new recording after watching a live television show for a while, simply navigate to the beginning of the show, and click the record button... EyeTV 2.5 offers a one-click button for easy export of recordings for Apple's mobile telephone as well as iPod Touch. In France, EyeTV 2.5 supports IPTV for Freebox.

  • Wi-Fi Access
  • Record from Live Buffer
  • IPTV Support for Freebox
  • One-Click-Export for iPhone and iPod Touch
  • Float-on-top
  • More New Functionality

In addition to the features highlighted above, the update contains many new enhancements. EyeTV 2.5 improves H.264 HDTV playback performance. H.264 HDTV playback remains quite CPU intensive and requires at least an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. EyeTV 2.5 now supports timeshifting functionality for analog TV tuners without built-in hardware compression, such as EyeTV Hybrid. "

EyeTV 1.8.5 Update: (Feb. 2006) ElGato has posted EyeTV 1.8.5 Update. Here's the change info from the readme:

    EyeTV 1.8.5 supports the hardware devices listed below, all other devices require EyeTV 2.0 and Mac OS 10.4 or later.
    EyeTV USB, EyeTV 200, EyeTV 300/310, EyeTV 400/410, EyeTV 500, EyeTV 610, EyeTV Wonder USB 2.0, EyeTV EZ USB 2.0
    Plextor PX-TV402U, Satelco EasyWatch, SCM CardBus DVB-T, Miglia EvolutionTV, Miglia TVMini, Terratec Cinergy T2, Terratec Cinergy 400/450, TwinhanDTV Alpha DVB-T

    System Requirements: EyeTV 1.8.5 requires a G4 with a speed of at least 500 MHz or a G5 Power Macintosh, or an iMac with Intel Core Duo processor, and Mac OS X 10.3.9 (Panther) or later. We recommend Mac OS X 10.4.4 with all software and security updates installed. EyeTV 1.8.5 runs in the Rosetta environment on Intel Macintosh computers.

    DivX users please note: EyeTV 1.8.5 is not compatible with the DivX 6 codec, please install DivX 5.2.1. If DivX 6 is installed we recommend exporting to DV first and then using the DivX software.

    What's new in EyeTV 1.8.5?
    Support for iDVD 6: The Export to iDVD preset now supports iDVD 6.

    Bug Fixes in EyeTV 1.8.5
    The TerraTec Cinergy T2 and the EyeTV for DTT now operate reliably after waking the Macintosh.

    EyeTV no longer continues to capture when the live window is closed with the Plextor PX-TV402U and Miglia EvolutionTV.

    EyeTV works around a FireWire problem in the Rosetta environment that caused problems with EyeTV 200.

    The audio volume on the tuner input of the Plextor PX-TV402U has been increased.

    Exports to QuickTime now have previews available.


El Gato Troubleshooting Tips: (old post but perhaps still useful)
See below for link to previous troubleshooting Tips from EL Gato tech support on applying software updates.


This page has reader/owner comments on the ElGato EyeTV for Mac. I've not used one personally but welcome other EyeTV owner comments about their experience with it. (Include your system info, OS X and driver version details in reports.)

Latest Owner Reports: (most recent first)
(I welcome EyeTV owner comments - include system/OS/EyeTV software version details. Thanks.)

First Feedback on EyeTV 2.5
If you're running EyeTV v2.5 let me know of any pros/cons you've seen.

(added 10/1/2007)
"I didn't have to put in my serial number, as Bill S. reported. The Keep Player Window on Top feature is nice. You have to shut this off if you want to edit, though.
Being able to capture from the live buffer is nice. Once you do it, the buffer is cleared. So you can't grab more than one clip from the buffer at a time.
-John C."


(9/27/2007 - updated 10/1/2007)
"The thing I really hate about all the eyetv updates is the fact you have to input your serial number everytime a major update comes out. (NOTE: several other readers said they -did not- have to re-enter S/Ns.-Mike) Even if you cancel the update, it's still stuck on the serial number input. This time I couldn't find my original packaging and had to re-purchase the software to record an important show.
(Nobody else mentioned this so I asked for more info, previous version used, etc.)
I was running 2.4.1 I think. When I upgraded to 2.4 I contacted ElGato to retrieve my serial number, but they wouldn't reissue it without my original packaging (or proof of purchase).
    (copy of elgato support mail)
    "We would be happy to issue you a new activation key. All we ask is that you provide some proof or documentation verifying your purchase. An example of this might be a scanned receipt, PDF invoice, or email confirmation.
    Unfortunately, we are unable to recover key information from previous EyeTV installations, hardware serial numbers, or product registration. I am sorry for this inconvenience. Thank you for contacting Elgato."

This time I couldn't wait and re-purchased the product.
(I asked if he could contact ElGato and perhaps get a refund on the 2nd purchase-Mike)
Boy was i wrong. Kathleen from ElGato refunded my full purchase price for the upgrade that I had to pay for. That's really nice of them.
-Bill S."


(9/26/2007)
"Eye TV 2.5
I had a few problems initially where I had to stop and start the EyeTV WiFi before I could load the web page on my iPhone but it seems to have settled down and now works fine.

I have to say being able to stream all of your recorded TV by browsing a web menu on your iphone is a great idea. I have read a lot of different companies version of streaming to remote devices but this seems to be the first truly useful one I have come across. All your TV shows in the lounge on Apple TV or anywhere in the home on your Iphone .. it's slowly all starting to fall in place with Apples whole entertainment hub thing.
-Russell B."


(9/26/2007)
"Just to let you know that with the new update installed, connection with my Apple remote, for use with full screen mode, no longer works.
Holding down the menu button would previously bring up the full screen menu, it now does not.

In fact no input from the remote with eyetv works (play,pause,skip etc) my remote still works fine with Front Row so it is an application specific problem.
Its running on a 1.66 Core Duo MacMini with 2gb Ram and the latest OS updates.
(I asked if he'd tried trashing the prefs)
After trashing the prefs (as per your advice) and repairing permissions, all now works fine. Thanks for your help.

PS. Would have been nice if their useful new feature of skipping back to record the beginning of the program you were watching, was accessible from an easy link from the full screen menu. One to mention to them I think.
Regards, Ian K.
LaserLines
www.laserlines.com "

Other replies to Ian's initial remote problem:

(9/26/2007)
" EyeTV (2.5) and Apple Remote
MacBook Pro 15.4in 2.33GHz 10.4.10, EyeTV 2.5 (3011)
Volume Up/Down: OK
Channel Up/Down: OK
Start/Stop: OK -- Hold Down to Sleep Mac
Menu Button: OK -- Press for Front Row, Press and Hold for EyeTV Menu
Too many inputs to fast can cause EyeTV to get confused and require restart to resume operation.
-James C. "

(9/26/2007)
"I have EyeTV 2.5 running on 3 machines and all remotes work.
the machines are :
1 Mac Pro with EyeTV 500
1 Mac Mini Core Duo with EyeTV 200
1 Mac Mini G4 with EyeTV 200
-Rodolphe P.
RTI-Zone
http://www.rti-zone.org/
Robotics / Unix / Mac OS X / Astronomy"


Tips for EyeTV 2.4 scheduled recordings with cable box using IR blaster

(4/26/2007)
"Thought I'd pass this on and see if others have experienced the same bug with the newly released EyeTV 2.4 and its cable-box/IR blaster feature. Because of this newly promoted feature, I purchased a ZephIR IR blaster and moved my digital cable box to my computer/EyeTV setup. I have nothing but praise for the ZephIR product itself and its customer service. The device works as promised.
However, while EyeTV 2.4 ably activates the ZephIR and changes my cable box channel during manual tuning, the EyeTV software does not activate the IR blaster function for scheduled recordings. Since scheduling EyeTV to record programs when you're not around to manually change channels on the cable box is the whole point of the ZephIR, this is a rather significant bug for Elgato to have missed.

When I contacted the Zephir developer, John Sims, he confirmed the problem with his own rig and said Elgato is now aware of the bug. I suspect that additional contacts from EyeTV users might help speed the fix along.

(Update - he later sent info on a workaround)
Followup on EyeTV 2.4 problems:
Elgato Tech Support has a workaround fix for the EyeTV/ZephIR issues: after configuring EyeTV for use with a cable box, go back to your regular cable and antenna channel lineups and uncheck (one by one -- there' s no way to do all of them at once) every channel in those line-ups to render them inactive. That's 100+ clicks of the mouse.
(Note - see below for El Gato info on workaround - no 100 clicks required - instead, just Select All, and choose Disable Selected Channels.-Mike)
Then return to your cable box channel lineup, where everything should still be checked.
Now scheduled EyeTV programs should cause the ZephIR to do it's thing and change your cable box. Unchecking those channels also seems to resolve an issue with the built-in program guide.
-Ed "

El Gato's Tech Support manager spotted this post and sent better info on the workaround:

" In reference to the exchange posted earlier today, here is our latest FAQ article.
Note that one doesn't have to perform "100+ clicks", instead, just Select All, and choose Disable Selected Channels.
*******
(http://faq.elgato.com/index.php/faq/more/518/)
[EyeTV 2] Some channels won't control the Set Top Box via IR when recording

EyeTV 2.4 adds the ability to download channel lineups for a cable box or satellite receiver.
Instructions for setting this up are here: http://faq.elgato.com/index.php/faq/more/508/

If you already have analog (basic) cable channels listed in EyeTV, then the new Set Top Box (cable or satellite) listings may conflict with the older channels. These channels can cause problems when you try to record - EyeTV may attempt to use the old analog cable or antenna channels via the tuner, when it should be using the composite or S-Video input from your cable box or satellite receiver.
The solution would be to turn off the unwanted analog channels, that also can be accessed via the cable box or satellite receiver.

    1) Open the EyeTV Programs Window
    2) In the Channels section, show your Analog - Cable channels.
    3) Press Command-A, or choose Select All from the Edit menu
    4) Choose Disable Selected Channels from the Action menu (it looks like a gear or wheel, next to the "EyeTV" logo).
    5) Update the Program Guide again

If you are using a satellite service with local channels, then you also may need to perform the same steps, for Analog - Antenna, or Analog - Cable.

In short, turn off your existing channels that may overlap those that can be accessed by your Set Top Box. This should allow the proper listings to appear in the Program Guide, and those listings to work with your IR Blaster (if being used).
-Nick F.
Technical Support Manager
Elgato Systems LLC"


Notes on Cinergy T USB XE and EyeTV 2.4 Just a FYI to anyone else that may have an older USB Cinergy T:

(4/19/2007)
"I have a question - last Winter I bought a Terratec Cinergy T USB XE (Digital TV tuner stick) and also bought EyeTV.
This pair does not work- then I noticed the announcement of EyeTV Lite incl the Cinergy T USB XE Stick in a special pack... So I asked if EyeTV will support my Stick - Yes it will, was the answer from Elgato - and I also received a Beta of EyeTV 2.4 - but no, the Stick is there to choose but will not work. Elgato responsed that the driver is not working but will be in the Final EyeTV 2.4. (released yesterday)
And now surprise - the stick still does not work. Could you please make a request if there is anyone out with an XE Stick? (working with EyeTV 2.4)
I'm using a Mac Pro 2.66 ... also no luck on a G4 Powebook.
Thanks in advance and regards,
-Nils "

I wrote a contact at ElGato about this last night and received this reply:

" TerraTec shipped some older hardware labelled as "Cinergy T USB XE" with a USB 1.1 chip that is not compatible with the Macintosh. Only the later, USB 2.0 models of this DVB-T stick are supported by EyeTV 2.4. These later models are what TerraTec is now bundling with EyeTV Lite.

Please tell this customer to contact EyeTV sales and their purchase of EyeTV will be refunded.
Thanks, Adam
ElGato "

If I were him I'd also ask Terratec if they'd replace his Cinergy T with a current model.


EyeTV 2.3.3 User Switching Problems See the Jan 12th, 2007 news page for notes on EyeTV 2.3.3 User Switching Problems (and a fix) - until there's an update from Elgato, the 2.33b30 version seems to fix this. (Download link in that news page)


(from Dec. 27th, 2006 mail - updated Dec. 28th)
"I purchased the eyetv hybrid with EyeTV2 and Toast Titanium about 2 weeks ago. According to what I have read Eyetv is supposed to be pretty good. The only problem I am having is that I don't seem to be able to get the setup assistant to accept the activation key supplied. I have tried on numerous occasions to get help from technical support on the Elgato site but have been totally ignored. If I can't get the software to work the hardware is useless. I might as well pack everything up and send it back. Needless to say this has been a very disappointing experience.
(I searched ElGato's support/FAQ for "key" to see if they had any info on this but the closest match I saw was related to a Miglia product activation key problem. Some of ElGato's staff may currently be in process of going to MWSF, but someone should still be available for support.-Mike)
Thank you for your assistance. I finally heard from Technical Support late last night and they issued me a new Activation Key and we are now up and running with EyeTV 2.3.3.
I guess they did not come back from their Holiday until yesterday.
Thank you!
-Peter M. "


EyeTV USB:

(from Dec. 13th, 2006 mail)
"I bought a new EYETV USB from Elgato. The thing lasted only about two years before it started giving me problems.
I had to keep replugging the usb cable to get it to come on then the picture got fuzzy with lots of audio static. I contacted elgato and told them the problem. Since the unit worked in video mode I asked them if I could get a small TV and use the AV cables to input the signal to eyetv. They suggested a cheap VCR. I bought a $10.00 Emerson VCR from the pawn shop and wired it in. IT WORKED PERFECTLY and now I had a remote control to change channels. I was happy again, that is until eyetv stopped working entirely.
Eyetv ain't cheap and I fully expected it to last much much longer. I'm just going to go back to an old TV / VCR setup because it's much cheaper in the long run. The eyetv folks are nice but their product kinda sux. No more eyetv products for me.
-Tim"

Even a lot of home electronics now only have a 90 day (labor) warranty, although some have 1 year. (The last home DVD player I bought had a 1 year parts, 90 day labor warranty.) If it lasts 2 years of use I'll feel lucky...


Problems with EyeTV 2 v2.3.2 Update: (Hopefully the EyeTV 2.3.3 update addresses these problems.)

(added 10/20/2006)
" After updating to EyeTV v2.3.2, the video of my Playstation 2 console setup started skipping every few seconds. It got really annoying, so I redownloaded 2.3.1 and all is well again. I checked the download URL for the 2.3.2, replaced "232" with "231" and linked correctly (http://www.elgato.com/downloads/eyetv231update.dmg) to the older version.
-Ben R.
PB G4 1.25GHz - Tiger"


Sound Problems with EyeTV 2 v2.3.2 Update:

(added 10/19/2006)
"The EyeTV 2 v2.3.2 Update Thrashed the sound on my G5 2x. As long as EyeTV 2 v2.3.2 is open, I get no sound and my digital out is also toast.
Called tech support and was told they're working on it. Said they'll have a fix soon.
-Benny "

(EyeTV 2.3.3 update released Dec. 20th says it fixes digital audio issues - hopefully it does.) Another reader (below) with a G5 tower using EyeTV 2 v2.3.1 said he had intermittent audio problems also.


Intermittent Audio Problems w/EyeTV 2 v2.3.1 (G5 Tower)

(added 10/19/2006)
"Hi, I was using Eye TV 2.3.1, not upgraded to the latest one yet but one problem I had was that periodically the sound would disappear completely and could only be restored by changing channel, or quitting the application. Hope the latest one fixes that.
My Mac is one of the early G5 1.8DP models, 1gig of RAM, no PCI cards installed.
-Dwight G."


Notes on EyeTV 200 Failures:

(added 8/15/2006)
"I got an EyeTV 200 tuner for use with a Mac, originally OS 10.3, about 18 months ago. The first one they sent didn't work, so I lost a lot of time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Finally, they replaced it.

The second one worked for about 18 months. Then, it died. I contacted Elgato to ask where I could get it repaired. The response: "We don't repair them".

So, these seem to be rather pricey disposable TV tuners. Don't think I can spend $200-300 a year on them rather than just breaking down and buying an old-fashioned, reliable, repairable TV set.
-David M. "

I have a friend in California that has an EyeTV for at least a couple years (and uses it often) - he's not had a failure yet, but some other owners have mentioned problems in the past.


EyeTV 250 Review: (7/14/2006) Gene sent a EyeTV 250 review including feature comparisons to EyeTV 200 and performance tests on a Dual 1.8GHz G5 and iBook G4/933.

(reports below are -Not- on EyeTV version 2)

EyeTV 1.85 Feedback: (I sent a copy of this to an ElGato contact to see if he has any info)

(added 3/29/2006)
" I have a consistent problem that is just annoying. this is on EyeTV 1.85 with EyeTV 200 and Panther on a PowerMac G4. I have a Video Stuttering problem that's only identified when the recording is played back on the DVD player. It is caused, I believe, because Device Settings often switches to PAL settings.

1) In Device Settings, I still see PAL settings, 720x576 and 25fps, but my Cable is NTSC and the Stream Info is NTSC (it should be 720x480). I don't know why it continues to switch to PAL.

Here's some info on the BEHAVIOR of the settings and Actual Usage and what I think cures it:

When I see the PAL settings on, say, DVD Standard, and then toggle to DVD High, it becomes DVD High PAL. And any other settings I choose becomes PAL as well. To get it back to NTSC, I have to actually open up the video playback, get the software to "recognize" that we're dealing with NTSC, and then I go back to Device Settings, and if it is DVD Standard then I choose the setting again, and then it reverts to the proper NTSC. This doesn't happen if I DON'T open up the video playback. It won't change by itself. It needs a Live TV playback to remember this. Stream Info is ALWAYS NTSC, I never see the PAL settings there, naturally, as it cannot since as my Cable is NTSC and because I'm in Canada.

My stuttering recordings, in my opinion is because when I'm recording in the NTSC, the Device Settings are set at PAL and that creates a conflict. To save the recordings, I can use a video converter to re-encode it to DVD MPEG-2 again, and it "smoothes out" the playback but I lose the Closed Captions in the process and depending on the nature of the program I'm recording I WANT my CC!

I find deleting the EyeTV Helper via Activity Monitor is effective. But I've just done a 2nd recording after having done that, and the stuttering still continues.

As a test, I recorded 2 1/2 minutes, one with the Device Settings clearly set at PAL and it stuttered, and a 2nd recording of the same length AFTER I did the procedure I described above, and when Device Settings were NTSC, it still stuttered. And then, as a further test, I recorded 30 mins after deleting EyeTV Helper via Activity Monitor, and relaunched the application and that has also stuttered.

The cure to this, and why the above didn't work, albiet for a while, is when I delete EyeTV Helper, **Repair Permissions** and then Reboot. The next recording that is made works well. But I've just completed a second recording after this procedure and it's still stuttering. I've had GOOD performance and many good recordings with EyeTV but I've also missed quite a few programs as bad recording because of the stuttering and that's frustrating.

I'm getting very tired of troubleshooting this repeatedly. I may have be forced to move up to Tiger and EyeTV 2.0 and hope that fixes all. I really don't want to trash this product.

Does anyone relate to this? (I HAVE deleted all the prefs and "started over" 2 or 3 times already but I'm tired of resetting the Cable Channels...) I may have to do this again.
Thanks, Frank G. "


Feedback on EyeTV 1.8.4 (notes on 2 channel limits)

(added 12/7/2005)
" After reading the post under the topic "First feedback on EyeTV 1.8.4 (notes on watching 2 channel limits)" (see yesterday's report below) It prompted be to write my brief experience with the new version of the EyeTV software.
I also found that recording over the air broadcasts gave only the multiple programs from the same stations. I found quite a different result when tuning in cable digital channels. I found the local cable company has NBC and ABC on one frequency as well as some other digital programming and Fox with CBS and an independent channel on another frequency. This would allow me to record two football games in HD, a NFC game and a AFC, while watching other programming.
I have a Dual 2.5 and was able to record four channels at once without problems.
-ALR "

(added 12/6/2005)
" Regarding the (1.8.4) upgrade feature note (from the readme file - see above for more info on the 1.8.4 update and download-Mike):

    Watch two or more channels at the same time
    With digital television products (EyeTV 300/310, 400/410, 500, 610, EyeTV for DTT, Miglia TVMini)
    EyeTV 1.8.4 can play and record two or more TV channels that
    reside on the same transponder/multiplex simultaneously.
    To open an additional live TV window, hold down the Control key
    while selecting "Open Live TV Window" from the File menu."

I was jumping over tall buildings when I read this, but it just applies to stations that have multiple channels split out on their frequency. I was thinking I can watch ABC, CBS, FOX... all at the same time. An example of how this does work though is, ABC in the Philadelphia area has channels 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3. You can open and watch all three of those channels at the same time. You can not open channel 6 and 10 at the same time. I can open channel 3 (NBC), which only has one channel, and now I can open another, or duplicate channel 3. I would do this because I have two monitors, one facing me, and the other above and to the left of me. When I leave the computer, I can still watch the tv that is on the other monitor.

My setup is, a Dual 2ghz Powermac, 3gb ram, 2 internal 400gb Hitachi hard drives and various external FW hard drives. I use a 20 inch Apple Cinema display, and a HP 17 inch FP monitor. I have the setup since June 05. I use a refurbished eyeTV 500 with a Radio Shack internal antenna. I get the following channels in the Phila. suburbs: CBS x2, NBC, ABC x3, FOX, UPN,WB,WYBE, 2 Spanish channels, and 4 faith and worship channels. About 3 weeks ago I bought a internal tv tuner, the AlchemyTV DVR for the MAC. I will write a comparison on the two someday, but for now, the eyeTV rates about 9.5, and the other internal tuner about a 5 or less. I really isn't fair to compare them, the picture quality, and ease of use and setup goes to the eyeTV 500. The other tuner is to record or watch another channel like when the Amazing Race, Biggest Loser, Bones were all on at the same time. I think that was the lineup, and I do have a regular tv too. I have not used anything other than indoor or outdoor antenna's yet. The picture quality on the eyeTV is such that, I started watching programs like Bones and Criminal Minds, just because they are broadcast in Hi-Def, and now I like them, and record them.

Only issues with the eyeTV so far, is every now and then the program crashes when I try to move a live tv window across dual monitors, usually after it has been open for a few hours. Also my ram usually slowly ticks down to about 35mb when recording or watching a recording, but that generally comes back up later on, but I haven't figured out how or why. And overlapping or using a Safari window on top of a live tv window, Safari will be very slow, slow response time. Move it off the live tv window, and no problem.
-J Messick "


EyeTV 200 Signal Dropouts:

(added 10/18/2005)
"I have an eyetv 200 (firewire). I'm running the latest software from eyetv. The signal drops intermittently - approx every 10-15 minutes. "Sleep" is not an issue.
This same device worked for several months before this started happening. I had returned a previous box for doing the same thing. Their support is difficult to work with other than having them send you a boilerplate "swap the cables" help email. Lack of a discussion group doesn't help.
When its working I love it.. but the device is not ready for consumers.
-Gary

Description: System events log
Last Modified: 10/17/05 11:45 AM
Location: /var/log/system.log
Recent Contents:
Oct 17 03:14:56 Connie cp: error processing extended attributes: Operation not permitted
Oct 17 11:38:16 Connie kernel[0]: FireWire (OHCI) Apple ID 52 built-in: 79 bus resets in last minute.
Oct 17 11:41:28 Connie kernel[0]: FireWire (OHCI) Apple ID 52 built-in: 76 bus resets in last minute.
Oct 17 11:45:12 Connie kernel[0]: Write for 0x5148e00 done, status e00002d6
Oct 17 11:45:13 Connie kernel[0]: Write for 0x5148e00 done, status e00002d6
Oct 17 11:45:14 Connie kernel[0]: Command for device 0x4bf4400 that's gone away
Oct 17 11:45:14 Connie kernel[0]: Write for 0x4d01880 done, status e00002d7
Oct 17 11:45:14 Connie kernel[0]: Command for device 0x4bf4400 that's gone away
Oct 17 11:45:14 Connie kernel[0]: Write for 0x4d01880 done, status e00002d7
(the above 2 messages repeated over and over - clipped here to save space-Mike) "

I've had some other reports like these (thought to be a 'bad batch' of units, or overheating related) although not everyone has had the problem. (I have a friend with an early EyeTV 200 that has used it for over a year and as far as I know is still happy with it overall.) But that's little consolation for someone with problems....


(added 9/8/2005)
"I'm sitting here in my dorm room in college with an eyeTV 500 and unable to receive any signal. The signal strength is reporting 20% - 40% with the cable plugged directly into the wall jack. The dorms here have Dish Network satellite distributed to each room without a set-top box. I guess it just acts as normal cable for regular TVs, I don't know though since I don't have a TV in my room aside from the eyeTV. I was hoping the wall jack would work, but nothing beyond 20% - 40% signal strength.

So I bought an indoor HDTV antenna with amplification to use with the eyeTV. The same thing is happening with the antenna though, nothing beyond 40% signal strength and never any signal quality.

I tried using older versions of the eyeTV software and nothing works. I know the eyeTV unit works though, I was playing around with it at home before I came back to school this weekend.

I'm using a PowerMac G5 dual 2.0, 1GB ram etc.. it meets the requirements, and it even worked with my PowerBook... so it has to be something with that signal.
Any help would be appreciated, I don't know if anyone has reported similar issues in a similar setting.
--Brian B. "

I forwarded the above mail to an ElGato contact to see if they could help.


EyeTV 1.8.2 White Screen bug and v1.83beta test version (See above for a later 1.83 software update that may help.)

(added 9/2/2005)
" Subject: EyeTV bug causes screen to go white
In response to my complaint, I received this response from Elgato Sep. 1:

    " Update for Case #14355 - "Screen goes to white"
    Nicolas,
    EyeTV 1.8.2 has an issue, where occasionally a white screen can appear. This is usually associated with a temporary drop in the signal. This is an issue with the display engine, and will be fixed in a future update. Until then, you can try this test version to see if it helps:
    http://www.elgato.com/downloads/eyetv183b17.zip
    Nick Freeman
    Customer Support
    Elgato Systems LLC"

I don't know about a signal drop being the problem. It happens when I record live cable via coax input and from VHS tape via composite input.
Nicolas M. "

I asked if he tried the beta version yet and if it helped and he said no (but it's been updated again to 1.8.3 non-beta).


EyeTV 200 User praise for Audio Hijack Pro Equalizer

(added 8/15/2005)
" EyeTV Feedback - Fixing poor sound quality
I have an EyeTV 200 running on an eMac 1ghz with OS X 10.4.2. The sound was muddy, vocals were buried in the background, even running the volume wide open...which was barely loud enough.

I bought Audio Hijack Pro and installed it. Bingo! Using their equalizer, I can now blow the windows out of my room and adjust the output sound so I can understand voices when I'm watching programs on EyeTV. Very cool!
Plus, when I had a question about using Hijack Pro, Customer Service answered my email within one hour.
-Troy "


EyeTV 1.8.2 Feedback:

(added 8/1/2005 - in reply to earlier report today)
"Just wanted to let you know that I have also been experiencing sluggish menus with EyeTV 1.8.2. I've only noticed the problem when watching stations broadcasting in true HD (the menu isn't sluggish when watching regular DTV stations). EyeTV 1.8.1 and earlier did not have this problem.
EyeTV 500/EyeTV 1.8.2/PMG5 Dual 2.0GHz/1.5GB RAM/Mac OS X 10.4.2
James"


(added 8/1/2005)
" I found after installing version 1.8.2 my drop down menu's become sluggish, after reinstalling version 1.8 (1.8.1) the problem went away. I currenty running 10.4.2 on the following machine.
Machine Name: Power Mac G5
Machine Model: PowerMac7,3
CPU Type: PowerPC G5 (3.0)
Number Of CPUs: 2
CPU Speed: 2 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 1 GHz
Boot ROM Version: 5.1.8f7
-Robert"

I didn't know if this is common (don't have an EyeTV) but after getting 2 reports on it I'd write ElGato tech support.


(added 7/28/2005 - updated 8/1/2005)
"I recently installed EyeTV 1.8.2 on my G5 dual 2.0GHz machine. I leave it running all the time to capture shows off an antenna or digital cable. I finally read the documentation on my EyeTV 500 and connected the digital cable input to the "Output" connector on my EyeTV 500 which allows me to get both input sources.

The EyeTV is fairly sensitive to signal strength and I was getting a few dropouts on some channels. Adding a $20, 10db RF amplifier from Radio Shack boosted the signal level from 70-75% as reported by the EyeTV to 85-90% which now provides a near constant flawless pictures.

I have had great luck capturing shows and get excellent quality DVDs from the EyeTV 500. While it is not inexpensive, once it is set up, it runs great. I am running 10.4.2 and have no problems with the EyeTV with 1.8.2.
-Rick B.
(a reader asked about A/V sync, which has been an issue in the past (see below for tips).-Mike)
Interesting. I have been collecting shows that just happen to be in 1080i mostly from PBS they run 29 minutes so I may have not noticed the issue. I have a 20 minute 1280x720 show saved that I didn't burn so I'll try it and see if I can duplicate the problem. I am just using iDVD 5... nothing special. More after I run the test.

OK I didn't have a 1 hour show to test with, but I had a 30 minute show which is about 20 without commercials. So I burned that. I played the end of the DVD a couple of times to see if there was any indication that the audio was starting to loose sync with the video. There was no detectable problem. However, I did notice that the DVD from a 1280x720 source wasn't as good as the 1080i source. The DVD is 480p so I assumed that the 1080i and 720p would be closer in video quality.

I do not use the Burn DVD... menu item in EyeTV. I export the video to dv format then use iDVD 5 to burn the DVD. I put several shows on a single DVD so I wanted a way to put a menu on the disk and to select which show I want to watch. iDVD makes it easy to put the menu in place...
Hope that helps, Rick B."


(added 7/20/2005)
"I forgot to send an email, but the previous update to EyeTV (1.8.1) includes an export format for the Sony Playstation Portable. An hour of standard quality recording takes about 300 Megs in PSP format, so if you have a 1 GB stick, you can take three hours of TV with you to go.
El Gato keeps making their product better and better. I’m very impressed.
-Eric "


Reader Feedback/Tips for Dolby Digital/AC-3: (in reply to a previous EyeTV/Tiger user request for help w/Dolby Digital:

(added 7/6/2005)
" I do not have an EyeTV, but I have been fooling around with Dolby passthrough in other applications (successfully with DVD Player, unsucessfully with QT Player and VLC). In the Utilities folder, there is an application called Audio MIDI Setup. Under Audio Output, there should be an "Encoded Audio Passthrough" selection. Selecting this works great under Apple's DVD Player, and may work with EyeTV.
-David B. "

Another reader wrote:

(added 7/6/2005)
" Saw this AC3 codec on VersionTracker last night. Read what they have to say about a bug in "Apple's software" (QT 7?):

    "Apple's AC-3 AudioFile component has a bug which makes it unable to detect LFE channels, so applications will need to provide their own stream loading services for full decoding. The media-encoding application 3ivx Crush utilizes this component fully to successfully decode full 5.1 channel data."

http://shep.thefridgeowl.com/files/A52Codec.zip
This *might* be the solution. I wish they gave more detailed info about this.
-Terry B.
"The Mac Doctor" "


Tip for EyeTV and iSight users (disconnecting iSight helped)

(added 7/5/2005)
"Just a quick comment - I'm runnng a 1.25GHz flat panel G4 iMac, and EyeTV 410. When I first plugged it in, the software would work fine and then give me "No Signal" afer 7-8 minutes, and I could only get the TV window back by unplugging the eyeTV box.
However, there was an iSight camera plugged into the other firewire port. I unplugged the iSight camera, and since then I've had perfect operation.
All freeview channels come in fine. Now it's working properly, as it has done now since removing the iSight camera, it's wonderful! Picture is great, TiVo functionality is very good - my first attempt at recording was 9 hours worth of Live 8 this weekend, and it worked perfectly. I'm impressed with the whole package
-Bill
(I asked Bill if the iSight had the latest firmware update for it (although it still may impact performance of some other FW devices) and just for the record, his EyeTV software version and OS X version.-Mike)
Yes, checked at home last night. iSight is 1.0.3. Also tried running the Eyetv with an external hard disk (powered exernally) plugged into the adjacent socket and I didn't get the problem - no problems at all in this case. EyeTV Software version is 1.8.1, and my system is Tiger, 10.4.1 "

Another reader replied to the post on EyeTV/iSight:

" I have an EyeTV 500 and also had problems with using my iSight and the EyeTV at the same time. I ended up getting rid of my iSight and just using my camcorder for iChat.

This could be how the EyeTV device or Apple handles the Firewire bus. (The iSight since early on has often had some performance impact on other devices on the FW bus. Firmware updates were supposed to help that IIRC, but apparently it's still an issue in some cases-Mike)
On my DP G5/2GHz, I have my EyeTV plugged into the rear Firewire port, but if I plug my Powerbook (Aluminum G4/1.2GHz) into the front Firewire port (which also has the EyeTV software installed), I can use the EyeTV device on my Powerbook! Weird, huh?
-Aaron "

Interesting (firewire networking?)


Request for help w/Dolby Digital: (see later posts above for replies to this post.)

(added 7/5/2005)
" I own an EyeTV 300, and I tune to the mostly German Astra Sattelites. Mac OS is 10.4.1, EyeTV Sovtware 1.8, latest m-audio transit USB driver 1.6.1. (see previous page here of M-Audio (USB) Transit Feedback/Tips) Sound is decoded and amplified by Logitech's Z 5500

Everything works fine, exept I'm not able to get DolbyDigital. It worked with Panther, DolbyDigital passthrough worked perfectly. The Z-5500 displays the sound format (DD digital), so I'm very sure about that.

After upgrading to Tiger, EyeTV 1.8 and m-audio driver 1.6.1 (now works fine with DVD Player, DolbyDigital works) there is no way to get DolbyDigital from EyeTV. There is a menu item "digital output device", selecting it just gives me silence (Z5500: "no digital data"), no matter if I select the normal stereo track or the Dolby track from the EyeTV-recording. In Panther this would give me the DolbyDigital sound selecting that track, or silence selecting the normal soundtrack.

I asked Elgato's support, the gave me the following recommendation:

    " EyeTV should be set to use System Sound (from the Audio menu), and OS X to use the Digital output (in the System Preferences). Do not set EyeTV to use Digital output directly, or you could have problems (it can grab the output and hide it from other applications).

    Thus, set EyeTV to System Sound, quit it, restart your Mac, and see if that solved the problem."

Now I do have sound for both selecting the stereo or the DolbyDigital track - but the DolbyDigital track is mixed down to simple Stereo (Z 5500 display: "Dolby PL II", means ProLogic, thats the old surround format extracted from stereo.)

In addition, exporting a recording to programm stream, the DolbyDigital track disappears. This can be verified using the information window from VLC 0.8.2 test1. The original EyeTV recording does have the Dolby track. So burning EyeTV recordings to DVD results in loosing the DolbyDigital sound. This also was in former EyeTV versions.

Are there other users having problems with DolbyDigital sound? Or does nobody use it? Or do most people not notice that there is no DolbyDigital but just Stereo sound.
Regards, Matthias
(he later wrote)
We are now on EyeTV 1.8.1, still no AC-3 passthrough.
Elgato-support recommended not to use the digital output option but the system sound output, using the Transit USB as system sound output. Transit USB is working well for other apps (VLC, DVD player)"

I don't own an EyeTV personally but if any reader has a suggestion let me know.


First feedback on EyeTV 1.7.1 (from EyeTV 500 user) Here's the first feedback on the EyeTV 1.7.1 Update. He also includes comments on the question posed earlier on using an ATI TV Wonder w/ElGato's EyeTV Wonder software.

" Mike, if the ATI USB All in Wonder Box is anything like the Plextor USB box that El Gato markets as well, in order for the EyeTV software to work with a "PC" version of the ATI box it will require a serial number to be input. This is presumably so that people won't do expressly what you mentioned and just buy the PC version for cheap, and download the EyeTV software and use it for free. The problem with this, is that you know within a short time, a serial number is bound to start floating around on the internet and make this a moot point.

Anyway, on to my experiences with the 1.7.1 update... With the 1.7 release, I was unable export clips from recordings with the EyeTV 500. The editing process worked as normal, but attempting an export (usually to MPEG-2 Program Stream) was noticeably slower than it was with 1.6.7. Plus, when the status indicator reached the end of the export process, it would just "hang" and never complete. This left an incomplete movie as well, and the only way to stop the hang was to force quit the software. So, I have been using 1.6.7 to export, until now. With 1.7.1, it appears exporting speed and reliability have returned, as I did not have any problems with my testing last night.

Also, it appears the MPEG-4 component that is installed with 1.7.1 fixes the bug the component had with the version from 1.7. With the version from 1.7, MPEG-4 part 2 movies started with a green screen when played back from QT, and most often would not recover, resulting in very distorted video. With the 1.7.1 version, MPEG-4 movies play fine. I did try the Export to iMovie HD option as well last night, and unfortunately I experienced the same "hanging" problem as mentioned above with exporting MPEG-2 Program Streams in 1.7. Oh well, maybe in the next release. This will be a nice feature though when it works properly (if it is indeed intended for the EyeTV 500).
-CS "


More EyeTV 500/HDTV Feedback: (see below for previous reports)

(added 1/20/2005)
"Hardware: EyeTV 500
App: EyeTV 1.7 (firmware update to unit)
CPU: G4 Cube 800 Mhz (Powerlogix upgrade)
GPU: GForce 3, Memory: 896MB
HD: Maxtor 5400rpm 100GB
OS: MacOSX 10.3.7
Location: Santa Cruz CA ( 1 mi. N. UCSC campus )
Signal: Over the air ATSC
Antenna: Radio Shack VU-120XR (red antenna zone rated)
Ant. mount: Top second story roof
Path: some oak trees in line of sight to broadcast tower ( about 10 degree above antenna horizon)
Lead in: RG6/QS 50 ft.

Summary:
Pros: Good looking standard def video, at times somewhat choppy with dropped frames.

Cons: Tuning problems - a) channels sometimes fail to appear after auto tuning b) channel has 75-85% signal strength but shows as 'no signal' in viewing window c) channel has 65-75% signal strength then 0% signal strength with rapid (every 2 seconds) oscillation between two signal strength readings with start, stop video.

Details: Looking at http://www.antennaweb.org shows 5 HDTV over the air digital stations should be available, 1 with 'yellow' range antenna and 4 with 'red' range antenna. I'm aiming the antenna for the four 'red' range stations. Three of the stations are on the same transmitter ( same heading and distance 103 degree 36.2 miles ). Antenna heading is optimized for these stations. Of these three, two are vhf channels 10 & 13 and one is uhf channel 58. The uhf channel 58 is the problematic one with the oscillating signal strength reading. Other three stations channels 10, 13, 32 get 85-90% readings and good video. The 32 channel is 24 degrees off from other stations but still has good signal video ( actually best of all ). I probably need a little more CPU horsepower to get smooth standard def video. HDTV will have to wait for a dual G5.

Seems to me that digital tuning is tricky and the EyeTV 500 software still has a way to go in dealing gracefully with varying signal strength.
Terry "


2nd report on EyeHome/MPEG-4 playback problems w/EyeTV 1.7 recordings (updated - see below this report for ElGato's comments on an EyeHome update coming to fix this.)

(added 1/20/2005)
"Regarding the newest EyeTV software (version 1.7) and EyeTV 200 unit, I am also having problems getting MPEG-4 recordings to play over to my EyeHome unit. It just shows a blank screen on my TV like David stated on 1/17/2005. It even locks up my EyeHome software on the Apple and cranks the CPU usage to 80%. I must quit and restart the EyeHome software before CPU usage returns to normal. I can view the recorded MPEG-4 video on my iMac just fine with my EyeTV software.
I have sent a note to tech support and will follow up with more details if I get them.
Michael T.
Visual Cafe Inc. "

One of the owners affected by this sent a follow-up with El Gato's comments on an EyeHome update needed to fix this problem:

(added 1/21/2005)
" David,
Thank you for contacting Elgato Systems.

Currently, EyeHome can't directly view video made by EyeTV in the MPEG-4 format. That update will come soon.

So, for recordings that you want to view in EyeHome, continue to use the MPEG-2 codec until we fix things. Or, continue to export to another format like DIVX, and then place the files in your Movies folder.
I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
Nick Freeman
Customer Support
Elgato Systems LLC "


Reader Tip for "No Signal" problem: Although this could be hardware related, a reader sent a tip in reply to one of yesterday's reports on no signal with a new EyeTV:

(added 1/18/2005)
"Please pass this on to the person who reported "no signal" with his EyeTV 500... this suggestion may not solve his problem but his no signal problem seems to similar to the one I had when I first got my EyeTV 200... connecting to cable yielded no signal until I proceeded to auto-tune the source using the preferences... after that, things were great... instructions seemed to make no mention of this requirement, as far as I could tell...
Hope this helps. -Justin"

I mailed this to the reader (Larry) to see if he could try that but haven't gotten a reply yet.


More EyeTV 500/HDTV Feedback:

(added 1/18/2005)
"mike,
mdd dual 1.25, 1.25GB ram, 10.3.7, eyetv 500 1.7
i just recieved my eyetv 500 from el gato today. works great (except the remote...haven't got that working yet...left the manual and disc at my mom's) previously used eyetv usb (ver. 1.7 downloaded during macworld before it was pulled) great while it lasted, but now it's hdtv all the way.
here in socal i have cox so i was a little skeptical about having my signal blocked or encrypted. but after i unboxed it and plugged it in, it automatically applied the firmware which was cool. ran the auto tune and surprisingly picked up 57 channels, but only 12 channels actually had a signal.
the local dtv channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS) and a couple of indemand and espn pay-per-view full court. the latter with no programming. i'm stoked because i really only wanted FOX so i could get The O.C. (i know it's bad, but i love the show) and football. the only problem i can find is when the stations switch back and forth from commercials to programming and back there is a sound pop. i'm sure it can be eliminated with editing.

i also picked up an antenna just in case i didn't get anything. that's going back to amazon. now hopefully toast steps it up so i can start burning hd dvd's and i need to start increasing my hard disk space with some ext. firewire drives for all this content i'm recording. credit card bill might be seeing an hd monitor soon also.

this thing is well worth it so far, but i need to do some more tests to really disrupt my work with hdtv watching.
thanks, Rigmas
(he later wrote)
i forgot to mention that i'm running off a splitter and never tried a direct connection. the other feed is my high speed internet. with no noticeable latency. "


(added 1/18/2005)
"This page has been very useful in learning about the different issues related to EYE TV. I read many other sites before coming to this one (unfortunately after just purchasing the EYE TV 500 at Macworld) and decided the promised features were better than Tivo (mainly for the burning to cd/dvd capabilities). I'm on a Powerbook G4 with the 1.7 upgrade and the whole set up went very smoothly (10 minutes) and I now have access to about 20-25 digital and HD channels in the SF Bay area on Comcast. The HD reception is surprising to me because they told me at Macworld that the 500 would not be able to get HD, only unscrambled digital which I was expecting, so HD is a BIG bonus in my opinion (curious why this is not mentioned...because it can't be promised, or will be taken away by Comcast if known about?). Also, I saw here that if you're not getting digital channels it might be due to the cable company's splitter...not sure if that is applicable if I'm already getting a bunch of channels (not all) but curious if someone knows if you can get even more if you get to the cable before it has been split. (see previous comments on splitters - they reduce signal power by 1/2 basically unless there's an amplifier used)

Anyway, my dream is to network a new dedicated mini mac with Eye Home and be able to store and retrieve all the photos, movies, and music from any audio/monitor source in the house. Seems alot of people are thinking this way and it would be a natural to have a write up as to the simplest way to do this...anyone know a good source for this info? At the moment I'm just learning the program and trying to export a 2 hour movie to iDVD in MPEG 4 to Quicktime took about 2 hours--and now it tells me there isn't sufficient space on a DVD to store it in best quality. I'm sure there's an easier way...any suggestions appreciated!
-GA "

I think the limit in iDVD (v4 and before at least) was originally 1 hour on a (single layer) DVD-R (up to 1.5hrs I think depending on quality/compression used). A dual layer disc (w/compatible burner and burning software) is one (expensive) option but off the top of my head I'd try a different compression/quality setting if you have to fit the entire movie on a SL disc using the software you have. There's also DVD compression programs like Roxio's Popcorn, DVD2one, etc. I've also used toast to burn DVDs although it doesn't have the nice menu features of iDVD. (if anyone has other suggestions let me know.)


(added 1/17/2005)
"I purchased an EyeTV 500 and am very disappointed in the product and the lack of service I have received from Elgato. As I write this, they have yet to respond to my technical help request. It has been 3 days since the request was made.

What I am getting is a message that says "no signal." The obvious choice would be that my cable is not working. But, when a TV is plugged into the cable, it works fine.

I have downloaded version 1.7 from Elgato and that did not help. If anyone has a tip or can help, please respond to lhilty@yahoo.com.
Thank you.
Larry "

(update - reader sent a tip that may be of help - see later post above.) I don't normally include email addresses but since he included it in the report I left it there (hoping someone from ElGato will reply back to him asap.) There were some similar reports in the past (suspect build of eyetv hardware.)
I forwarded Larry's mail to ElGato and got a reply within hours:

" Mike, Thank you for forwarding this, we'll look into it. Bear in mind it's been a strenuous week of Macworld for us, so the backlog of support cases is somewhat greater than usual.
Best regards, Adam
(Elgato) "


(added 1/17/2005)
"Just wanted to add to a previous post someone put up about not using a cable connection off of a splitter to feed the Eye TV. A splitter for digital cable just splits the signal in two, does not modify it in any way. If you split the cable and certain station stop working it is probably because the signal levels were not high enough to withstand splitting. (rule of thumb for typical splitters (w/o amps) is they reduce signal strength usually by 3db (half power)-Mike). A Hi-Def cable box such as the motorola 6200 requires about -10dBmv coming in to correctly display a picture. The digital channels are on the upper end of the bandwith of the cable (at least with Comcast where I work) so signal level will fall off faster with the distance traveled over the cable the higher you go. Out of the tap in the street, the high end of the spectrum is typically amplified more than the low end so that the levels will flatten out by the time it reaches your TV. You can use a splitter, just make sure you have enough signal and that it is a full spectrum splitter (5-1000Mhz). You can use an amp, but it should be certified to have a 'return path' and placed where the cable comes into the house BEFORE it is split off to the individual outlets. Remember, it is possible to amplify too much and possibly hurt your equipment over time, and an amplifier will always raise the noise floor along with the signal, so you could still have good signal levels but your signal to noise ratio could be low enough to prevent getting a reliable picture. Most people don't realize that the cable splitters split the signal in half, even if nothing is attached to one of the ports, de-activate any unused outlets in your house by removing unnecessary splitters.
Andy R. "


MPEG-4 Playback issue w/EyeHome:

(added 1/17/2005)
"With the new version 1.7 of EyeTV and MPEG-4 Video my EyeHome can no longer play EyeTV recordings. I can export them with DIVX or Apple's MPEG-4 and they'll play (the export is not fast), but even if I export with Elgato's new special AVI format, I get nothing in EyeHome, just a black screen... I'm using the latest EyeHome 1.5.2 software. If I change the settings back to MPEG-2 EyeHome will work just as before. I can't find any reference to this problem anywhere else and have emailed Elgato about the issue.
-David "

I don't own either of these but maybe there's an update needed for EyeHome. (Another EyeHome/EyeTV 1.7 user reported the same problem - see 1/20/2005 report above.)


More EyeTV 500/HDTV reports:

(added 1/17/2005)
"Just wanted to report on my EyeTV 500 experiences.
System specs: PowerMac G5 Dual 2ghz, 2 gig RAM, 10.3.7

I live in Boston, and I have Comcast digital cable. I applied the EyeTV 1.7 update, but unfortunately I get no channels at all via the EyeTV 500. I have my cable connected directly from the wall into the "video out" coax port on back of the EyeTV 500 (as per the read me file) but auto-tune fails to find any channels. I'm thinking that Comcast in Boston does not support the Clear QAM required by EyeTV. Bummer.

Adding to my sadness, my apartment is located right in the city (Back Bay) so a regular HDTV antenna (I've tried two) only manages to get one station - WB56 broadcasting digitally on UHF 41. I brought my EyeTV to my office in South Boston, where there are fewer buildings, and I received more stations - the local PBS digital stations, plus ABC5, NBC7, and FOX25. But ironically, I could no longer receive WB56. So now I plan to bring the EyeTV back and forth depending on what I want to record that night. Luckily I have a G5 Mac in both places.

I'd love to hear from any other Boston EyeTV 500 owners, to see if they've had any better luck than me.
Lee S "


(added 1/14/2005)
" Mike:
Just like to add to the EyeTV 1.7 update.
My specs are G4 MDD Dual 867mhz, Mac OS X 10.3.7
Location: San Francisco
Cable: Comcast
Bought the EyeTV 500 the first day it was offered from El Gato on July 2004.

Currently getting HDTV through Comcast/Motorola set-top box, along with extended basic cable. Installed the update after attending macworld and plugged in the cable.

Make sure that you connect a DIRECT cable connection (cable installers usually install connectors into the house and most people split off of that (this will mess up receiving all of the stations), not one that has been split - this is the only way that you can get all of the HDTV digital cable stations. Got them all except the current Showtime HDTV 2 month trial run that Comcast is conducting at the present time. (note: splitters reduce signal strength usually by 3db (half power)-Mike)

Got ESPN-HD; CBS-HD; ABC-HD; NBC-HD; INHD; INHD2; DISC-HD; KQED-HD plus a number of other miscellaneous digital stations and almost all of the music stations. Not bad.

Before through the ATSC tuner and a terk indoor antenna, reception was spotty although I did get all of the available stations except for NBC-HD which is broadcasting from San Jose. Good thing about the ATSC tuner is that I receive FOX-HD; WB-HD and UPN-HD. Comcast does not offer these stations. I heard that they are having a dispute with Fox which explains its absence. WB and UPN doesn't have much HD programming so they aren't missed.

Haven't tried exporting through this update but my experience from past updates is that I have NEVER been able to export to iDVD or Toast. They always crash. Tech support had blamed Toast. I never confirmed it because I was never happy with the reception before, so I have been patiently waiting for the software update. Now that I have digital cable and can finally use the "tivo" features, I may push them further.
Hope this helps.
James "


(added 1/14/2005)
" Hi again mike,
I have the eyeTV 500 which I bought as soon as it came out, as I couldn't resist the idea of free over the air HD... It didn't disappoint me either.

I took it over to another house here (seattle, wa) that has comcast cable service and hooked up the second port (marked antenna out) which provides the digital cable in for QAM.

I see 68 channels on this system starting at number 100 and going to 168. It looks like about 30+ of these are music of various kinds which display a cheezy graphic for a company called musicchoice (http://www.musicchoice.com/). The rest are most of the local channels some of which are HD, and some of which are digital but still mostly poor resolution.

For the most part this looks amazing as it seems to provide several movie channels as well, and ESPN and probably other stuff too that I couldn't spend too much time looking through. I don't know if this circumvent the comcast tiered service, but it certainly looks to provide a few bonuses.

Personally I think the most amazing channel I get here is the over the air (atsc) broadcast KCTS-HD channel, which not only has the really high quality picture, but also the programs that show it off.

All in all this device really works well and has the nicest TV picture I have seen. It plays back fine on an 800Mhz G4 iMac 17" (512M 10.3.7) as well as my powerbook G4 867 (tibook 512M 10.3.7). Some of the higher quality stations do look a bit notchy on the powerbook, but not so bad as to be unwatchable, for the most part.

This device isn't cheap, but seems to be easily worth it in my opinion. Thanks again for all your efforts.
Marty
PS El Gato has proven at this point that they come up with the software to make there products work, unlike many other vendors. "


A follow-up mail from an EyeTV 500 user that includes some comments on issues others reported recently (previous reports below) as well as some HDTV info:

(added 1/14/2005)
" Mike, I saw the issues that have been reported on your site since my mailing (on the 12th) ... The firmware listed on my EyeTV 500 device is 1.0.3. It is odd that ElGato states 1.0.2 in the docs as the supposed listed version, because with the original beta 1.6.5 release that included the firmware update to enable QAM functionality, the docs correctly listed the firmware version as being 1.0.3. I emailed ElGato about this yesterday (1/12), but they seem rather busy w/ MWSF and didn't get around to addressing it in the short reply I received.

As far as issues with MPEG-4 movies, I too noticed this last night while playing an .mp4 from the hard drive. All I saw was a green screen for a few seconds and then everything played fine. Don't know if the green screen would correct itself on a MPEG-4 stream like the keynote though. FYI, 1.7 adds hardware MPEG-4 encoding for the EyeTV 200. This QT component is likely the result of that, and also why the update was pulled. (I was curious as to why that happened, initially I thought it was just a corrupted movie somehow, but this makes more sense.)

Per the user commenting about a G4 being enough to play back 1080i when the specs state a G5 is required... I am on a dual 1.25GHz G4 with 1.75GB RAM and a 128MB nVidia GeForce4 Ti connected to a 1280x1080 LCD and a 1920x1200 CRT. I think being able to playback 1080i has less to do with the actual processor required (although a somewhat speedy one is necessary) than with the graphics card you have. From the reports I have seen, if you have a graphics card that has at least 128MB RAM, then you should have no issue on a dual G4. I have seen dropped frames on 64MB cards though, even when scaling 1080i down. The only time I ever see dropped frames on my system is when I am playing a live stream and editing a recorded stream at the same time. Even then, it is not too bad.

BTW, my cable company is Cox. As I stated previously, I receive all of the local network HDTV channels that they carry for digital STB only, but I do not receive any of the paid or premium HD channels via QAM. I receive a few SD digital cable channels, and in fact this may be because they appear to be broadcasted in different format than the rest of the digital cable channels.
For instance, the majority of Cox Digital Cable is sent out as MPEG-2 528x480, these channels that I receive with the EyeTV 500 are sent out at MPEG-2 720x480. For a good resource to find out if your local cable provider is sending out QAM capability, I suggest looking at the threads in this forum: http://www.avsforum.com There are some pretty comprehensive listings of HD channels for particular areas as reported by members.

Also, it should be noted that if a provider is broadcasting QAM signals, then at the very least, the local network HD channels should NOT, and NEVER, be encrypted to prevent viewing. This summer, broadcast flags will start however, so it is rather murky on how that will effect recording with a device like the EyeTV 500. My guess is that it won't. Mainly because recording as well as time-shifting HD with a STB like the one I have from my provider (Moto DCT-6412) is a major selling point for generating extra revenue. I am fairly confident that the cable lobbyists will make sure we have the right to record network programming for a long time to come.

Finally, the recording issues the user is reporting do indeed sound like a weak signal issue. If the user is only using antenna, then it should be stated that many local stations that broadcast HD these days are multicasting, eg. more than one signal at the same frequency. This in turn delivers a weaker overall signal that the EyeTV or any ATSC OTA tuner can receive, thus forcing more dropped frames and digital miscues. Most cable companies forego the secondary multicast channels, and therefore only feed one HD channel per frequency, increasing stability.
-CS "


EyeTV 200 w/1.7 Update:

(added 1/14/2005)
" Hi Mike,
EyeTV 200, Dual G4/1.25GHz FW800 MacOS 10.3.7, EyeTV 1.7
I got my new EyeTV from ElGato (replacing the first one I had which started buzzing after about a week-- see my previous report). As promised, they sent the new one by air mail before I even sent the old one back to them.
So far so good - I have taped about 10 hours of content with no problems. I updated to 1.7, and have not experienced any problems with that. As a matter of fact, 1.7 seems to have fixed a problem I forgot to mention with 1.6.7, where connecting a DV device would sometimes make the EyeTV lose its connection to the LiveTV window, necessitating a reboot.

One fun test I ran - I had Final Cut Pro do a looped Print To Video, and had Safari load a folder of a dozen web pages all at once, all while recording an EyeTV program - no hiccups on the recorded program.

Only minor issue I've experienced is that sometimes when I boot up, the EyeTV has reverted to Antenna rather than Cable, which makes it look like I've lost the connection until I go reset it in the preferences. However, I lose preferences all the time in other apps, so I think it may be related to a problem in my system. Something fishy happened when I updated to 10.3.7 (possibly because I updated a Firewire boot drive without using the "cloning" method some have suggested), and I haven't had time to get to the bottom of the problem.
Hope this helps. If you don't hear back from me, it means the EyeTV is working beautifully.
Thanks, Graham J. "


(added 1/14/2005)
" Hi, I bought an Eye TV 200 for my iMac 1.25mhz. When I set it up using a co-ax cable from my cable inlet (with an inline booster) I was disappointed with the result. It could only tune in seven channels, from 15 with poor reception. I moved my Mac over beside the TV and took a line straight in from the cable supplier junction box.
I improved and tuned in a couple more channels on the detailed scan. However, after reading all the reviews that boasted 'dvd' quality pictures, I am somewhat disappointed by the quality of the image. I switched over to an a/v connection direct from my video and using the video remote, I now have all the channels with a reasonable quality picture. Is there any suggustions for improving the picture using co-ax that might make this product worth having? Its an awful lot of money to spend on a DVD recorder/TV which gives such an average picture.
Declan W.
(I asked what software version he was using)
I've downloaded the update 1.6.7 "


More on EyeTV 1.7/QT issue: (followup to earlier report)

(added 1/14/2005)
" Hello, EyeTV 1.7 may have been pulled because of a QuickTime conflict with DivX I noticed yesterday.
While I didn't spend an abundant amount of time on it, I discovered removing the DivX QuickTime extension from "/Library/QuickTime/" prevented a "green screen" issue with mp4 movies. Several QuickTime encoded mepg 4 clips would show only a chromeakey like green, rather that any video. Launching QT Player with/without the DivX extension showed it was repeatable.
FWIW, the only other QT extensions I have are from Final Cut Pro HD 4.5.
Rob K. "


(added 1/14/2005)
" I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before but I just learned that version 1.7 will now import transport streams (.ts, .m2t, .tp, and probably others) from other sources other than the EyeTV 500.

All you have to do is press "CTRL+File Menu+Open QuickTime Movie" and you will get an open menu that will open almost any HD Mpeg2 transport stream. Although this key combo works, the combo of "CTRL+CMD+O" (CMD+O is the the shortcut for "Open QuickTime" does NOT.

I did notice that there is a problem with audio as it will not recognize certain PID's and will not play the sound. But I did find that about 25-40% of files play fine. I have yet to figure out which PID's will work but I will try to figure it out by this weekend.

I also noticed that the EyeTV does not recognize any secondary audio output sources such as the Revolution 7.1 PCI card as that option is not-highlighted in the audio option.
Carlos "


Request for EyeTV 500/Digital Cable Provider Feedback (from a reader mail)

(added 1/13/2005)
" Hey Mike, Could you please put something on the Eye TV page requesting reports about Digital Cable compatibility? I'm sure a lot of people would like to know if the EyeTV 500 is compatible with their Cable provider before they buy one. This is because some Cable providers, such as Time Warner (mine) may use encryption, or might (not) allow HDTV channels to be accessed when using the 500's Digital Cable "QAM" port that was enabled in the 1.7 update.
Scott "

As of today (Jan 13th) the EyeTV 1.7 update has been pulled but hopefully will be available soon (perhaps pulled due to some issues - see below for 3 more reports on it, 2 noting problems.) EyeTV 500 users can send me feedback on this for posting here. (Yesterday's update below had comments from an EyeTV 500 user on v1.7 update and QAM/HDTV.)


Initial EyeTV 1.7 Update Feedback:

(added 1/13/2005)
"Just thought I'd chime in that the 1.7 update on my EyeTV 500 is working great on my dual 1.42 GHz G4 system. I'm running OS X 10.3.7, and the system has a retail ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (128 MB) video card driving an Apple 23" HD Cinema Display.

The new firmware for the EyeTV 500 included with version 1.7 updates the EyeTV unit to 1.0.3, even though the docs say 1.0.2. I don't have the capability to test the Clear QAM cable input, but the update is running well for off the air digital broadcasts.

Just a note about HD playback on my Cinema Display: the specs from El Gato say you need a G5 for full screen 1920x1080 playback (1080i), but my dual 1.42 GHz G4 handles it just fine with no visible dropped frames. I do have 2 GB of RAM in the system and I keep my drive regularly defragged. Not sure if that makes a difference or not.

So far I've been very happy with the Elgato EyeTV 500. It's an excellent addition to my system that I'd enthusiastically recommend to anybody.
- Fourth Horseman - "

A recent EyeTV 500 review said they needed a dual G5 for best HDTV playback.


(added 1/13/2005)
"The 'First EyeTV 1.7' email (1/12/2005 report below) is quite different from what I am experienceing. I've had problems from day one recording shows--I think it may have been signal strength, but, now all kinds of problems. One thing I'd be interested in is what firmware the emailer is using. I also got some 1.6.5 betas and, I seem to be a firmware update ahead of the 'QAM' update. But, just checked the elgate update and 1.7 has been pulled, so...
erik g.
(I asked erik what eyetv model he had, etc.)
using a EyeTV 500 with my Dual 1.25GHz G4 MDD--much of my early problems were due to signal strength issues. So from 10.3.4 on to 10.3.7 I've had problems--they seemed to become more frequent from eyetv version 1.6 on. Things tend to run a little smoother on my G4 PowerBook (800MHz), but, haven't tested it too much. "

(the v1.7 update when I checked today (Jan 13th) is listed as 'temporarily unavailable' - I could not reach their site yesterday.) One EyeTV 500 owner (above) said there was a 1.0.3 firmware in the 1.7 update although the readme he said mentioned 1.0.2.


This reader also reported a problem with the 1.7 update:

(added 1/13/2005)
"Hi Mike,
after installing the 1.7 update, a MPEG-2 QuickTime extension is installed in /Library/Quicktime! I've downloaded the Macworld Keynote and am not able to play it with Quicktime - got a green video (allthough it plays fine in finder's list-view) - sound was good.
After replacing the extension, QT was able to play the file perfect. Some other users confirmed the problem. Every time you start 1.7 again, the extension will install also again - so that is a no-go. Had to switch back to 1.6.5... I'm using a 1.8 G5 Single - X 10.3.7 - EyeTV USB.
Best wishes from germany, macmercy "


(added 1/12/2005)
" Mike, don't know if you noticed it or not with all of the MWSF announcements of late, but ElGato released version 1.7 of their EyeTV software this week. (ElGato's EyeTV updates page isn't loading right now but this VT page lists it, released yesterday.-Mike). An important note of this software is that it officially adds the capability for EyeTV 500 users to record from the "hidden" QAM tuner on the box. The tuner labeled "antenna out" is actually a QAM tuner, and once you apply this update and the required firmware update for the 500, you are then able to plug the 500 directly into a standard cable outlet, and if you subscribe to at least the analog services of your cable provider, then you will most likely start receiving HDTV. Being that it is a stable connection and not affected by weather, this is sure to be a much better solution than terrestrial antenna for most. Plus, you should be able to receive at least a few digital cable channels as well.

With antenna, the best I could do was receive 6 channels at the same time. And three of those were from multicast channels, so technically, all I was picking up was 3 stations. Now, with using the QAM tuner, I get anywhere from 58 to 63 channels, depending on when I auto-tune and if my cable company has left any channels "open" for that week. I receive all of my local HDTV channels, plus 5 digital cable channels, with all of the Music Choice channels. At times, I can receive additional channels as well if the cable company is offering a free test of a particular package.

I have beta tested the QAM functionality since version 1.6.5, and have to give a lot of credit to ElGato for fixing all of the errors and bugs I reported (around 10). The release is very stable, and the refined interface of 1.7 is more useful and friendly. The only issue I still have is that TitanTV scheduling downloads do not automatically associate the correct channel in the EyeTV programs list (I have followed their instructions that are supposed to make it functional, but no go unfortunately). Its not a total loss however, as it does schedule the right time and info from Titan TV downloads into the programs list, so all I have to do is manually adjust the channel number to have the recording work as I wish. The builtin editor works quite well also, and I have had no trouble whatsoever in exporting clips from EyeTV into other formats.

A nice boon about this box is the stability of it. I also have a HD DVR STB (Motorola DCT-6412) from my cable company, and there are a number of issues related to it that are software related. With ElGato, based on track records, you are likely to see a software update every month or so. My cable company however, they have said the updates to fix some of the issues I and many others have apparently been having will not be fixed for quite a few months. Plus, with the 500, I can create the best looking DVDs I have ever seen by using Sorenson Squeeze 4 in scaling the HD MPEG2 to SD MPEG2. It's not particularly speedy, but it does the job quite well. (I can't wait to see how the soon-to-come Toast support is going to work out though, in terms of speed and quality.) Also, another must have application for any EyeTV MPEG2 owner is MPEGStreamClip. I find it demuxes AC-3 tracks to AIFF slightly truer than EyeTV or mAC3dec does. This is good for if you wish to take your recording and back it up to something other than DVD, as in Quicktime or such.
-CS "


(Note - reports below were from before v1.7 software was released)

(added 1/4/2005)
" Part 2: response from Elgato regarding the buzzing problem with my EyeTV 200 (see 1/3/2005 dated report below)

    "Thank you for contacting Elgato Systems.
    The problems that you're facing with EyeTV 200 are rare, but known. A few units have these symptoms, and the solution is to replace them with a new one. So, let me know your mailing address and phone number, and we'll get you a new EyeTV 200 via exchange.
    Thank you for your patience while we get EyeTV working for you. "

I'll keep you posted on how things go with the exchange and new unit.
So far I'm impressed with Elgato's response (first day back from the holiday, immediate offer of replacement unit).
Thanks, Graham J. "


(added 1/3/2005)
" EyeTV 200, Dual G4/1.25GHz FW800 MacOS 10.3.7
I love the EyeTV 200, and am very impressed with its multitasking ability --I taped 26 hours of TV in 27 hours (a Stargate marathon) and was able to edit out the commercials from one show while the next episode was taping. Quality is excellent -- far superior to taping to miniDV to edit out the commercials and then re-compressing to Mpeg2, though my JVC SR-MV30U DVD recorder is the winner for pure Mpeg2 quality (I can easily record 4 hours onto one DVD with the MV30U, where to get the same quality with the EyeTV I could only fit 2 1/2 to 3 hours).

However, within about a week I started to experience a buzzing sound in the audio signal when recording from the A/V inputs. I find it very interesting that the same weird buzzing also emanates from the box itself. This is only when recording or playing from the A/V inputs--- as soon as I switch to the tuner it stops. At first I could get a couple of hours of recording before it started, but it has quickly been getting progressively worse. Now the noise starts within 20 minutes.

I am convinced it is a hardware problem, not software related. The Elgato site mentions some people experience buzzing when they have grounding or other power problems, but I don't believe this is the case with me. It is an intermittent problem, where a ground problem would be consistent.

I have reported this by email to Elgato, and I hope to get a good response from their service department. I am not eager to spend on international shipping to send it to them, but I am eager to get a working unit back as soon as possible, because it sure is a handy unit when it works!

I should mention that I have also had issues of "No Signal," even after a reboot, especially after the audio buzzing starts. This did NOT happen before the buzzing started happening--- as I mentioned, I was able to tape 26 hours straight before this. Other users have mentioned how hot the EyeTV gets... I wouldn't be at all surprised if the heat has something to do with both these problems.
Thanks,
Graham J. (different Graham than the last EyeTV report)"


First feedback on v1.6.7 software

(added 12/22/2004)
"I have loaded it (1.6.7) on my system (1 GHz 17" powerbook and EyeTV 200). Operation seems normal so far. I'll update you after using it for a few days.
Graham"


(added 10/6/2004)
"here are some comments on the Eye TV 400 with the (1.6.3) drivers
I just bought the Eye TV 400 in the UK for use with a flat-screen 800mhz Imac running Panther 10.3.5. I installed the new 1.63 drivers from Elgato's website. I must say the device works as advertised--including TIVO-like tricks like pausing and rewinding live broadcasts. The main thing is to make sure you have good reception for Freeview channels. In my case, I live in a top-floor flat in northwest London with excellent digital audio radio reception, but I still needed to put an extension cable on the Eye TV's antenna and place it on the top of a bookcase. But once there, I was able to pick up around two dozen TV channels which come in crystal clear and look great on the Imac.

The program can tax the microprocessor when recording, but works great when simply viewing, especially in a half-size window. A guy at the shop who sold it said he had to use an antenna booster from Argos (cost f9.99) to get the best reception. Again, the trick is having good Freeview reception. You may need an aerial antenna if you don't.

The device also is self-powered from the firewire connection and can link up to an external firewire hard drive for storage. And the free one-year subscription to tvtv worked as well--you click on which programs you want to record on the website and the information is sent (via the Internet) to the Eye TV box.
(name withheld by request)"


Transcoder Tip:

(added 11/1/2004 from Oct. 21st email)
"If your looking to burn DVD's from Eyetv400 or other using Eyetv 1.6.3 update . Try using Transcoder 1.1b3
http://www.hillmanminx.net/transcoder/index.html
It's a fast way to burn 16x9 digital TV to DVD
I export the video from Eyetv using MPEG Elementary Streams, then use Transcoder 1.1b3 to get a DVD image to burn in Toast.
The picture quality is very good and it's fast on my G4-667

I've tried using iDVD but It's very slow and hangs and the picture is better with Transcoder..
Peter S."


(Note: reports below were from before EyeTV 1.6 was released.)

The EyeTV USB owner that posted the problem report below 8/31/2004 dated) sent a followup:

(added 10/6/2004)
"I'm the guy from Switzerland who complained about EyeTV USB some weeks ago. No signal all the time; completely unreliable I wrote. Well, there's a happy end. After reading this thread again I had the idea my EyeTV had a heat problem too - and so it was. Elgato Germany replaced the unit, which was extremely generous, because I bought the device in a Ebay auction and guarentee was over. Thanks, guys.

How does it work? Just great! Almost every night it records a show when I'm sleeping. EyeTV wakes up from sleep mode, records the show, no problem. I hated the thing in the beginning - now I really love it! Switching channels - no problem. No signal? Never had it with the new unit. You know it's not even necessary to open a TV window to record something. It just works like a video recorder in the background. Wonderful. Well I take back everything I said in the first post. Great product, no problems at all. I really can recommend it now.
Rolf P."

thanks for the follow-up and glad it worked out.


This is the first USB EyeTV report I've had for many months (there are many USB model reports much farther down the page though)

(added 8/31/2004)
" EyeTV USB
Absolutely unreliable
Made the mistake to buy an EyeTV USB some weeks ago and tried hard to make it work. Got "No Signal" all the time. Downloaded half a dozen software versions from the Elgato website, nothing worked. Elgatos email support is nice, fast and useless. EyeTVs USB driven tv tuner simply seems to be garbage. My cable signal is great (I had it tested), but the software is absolutely unreliable. The device sometimes works great for an hour and then dies again. You record a show, burn it on cd, and everything is great, and the next moment, the whole thing crashes and it takes you a day to make it work again. You know, like the first automobiles, 120 years ago. Maybe it works, maybe not.

The set up is a joke - EyeTV sometimes finds all the channels; the next day it finds no channels or just a few channels. Did you know it's a german product? Forget everything you ever heard about german quality. Man, I've never seen something so terrible on a Mac. My second Mac was a Performa 5200 with built-in tv tuner. Worked great, and that was eight years ago. Right now, I'm working with a 12" PB 1 GHz and external monitor, OS 10.2.8. TV on my Mac? Forget it! Best regards from good ol' Europe.
Rolf P.
Zurich, Switzerland "

If nothing helps I'd ask ElGato for a replacement or a refund. (Update - see his later report above dated 10/6/2004.)


(added 8/20/2004)
" - iMac G4 800Mhz, 356MB Ram
- OSX 10.35
- eyeTV 200, vers 1.5
- formac FW ext drive 250 GB (for recording)
- Grundig GV 470 S S-VHS video recorder attached to eyeTV via S-VHS and audio cinch cables

Hi Mike, in addition to my earlier reports on eyeTV 200 I performed more tests, again only transferring VHS tapes to mpeg2. I did not record any live TV, neither did I use the programming features for TV shows. Alas, the results of my testings were again sobering.

My findings are as follows:

Converting 1st generation VHS (good to perfect quality) was not working flawlessly. In half of my recordings heavy block artefacts would occur on any given moment, which would last for minutes if left unstopped. Most of the time this only happened in recording mode.
On 2nd generation VHS (ie, copies from VHS to VHS) the results were almost always wasted due to artifacts.

It seems that eyeTV needs very bright and sharp feeds to render correctly. Since I was converting my music video collection lightning conditions were admittedly extreme: dark spots on stage, brightly lit artists, camera flashlights etc.
BTW: Research in discussion groups on the internet revealed that direct-to-mepg2 video rendering applications in the PC world are sensitive to this problem as well. Only digital video (DV) feeds seem to bring good quality results. Big drawback is the time needed to render DV to mpeg2 for burning DVDs. Here PCs (and probably G5s) are in advantage of my (slow) G4 system. I never tested Miglia or Formac products which offer analogue video to DV rendering, neither do I own a digital video cam to verify rendering time. But since I don't have to edit a lot in my recordings (titles, cuts, advertisements etc)--which is the DV advantage over mpeg2 video--this option never interested me anyway.

- on your site elgato suggested solutions to this problem due to new functions built into vers 1.5. (see ElGato tips below) I tried recording with 'device settings: custom: I, P frames' or only: 'I frames'. The artifacts did disappear completely only w/ 'I frames' option on, w/ 'I, P frames' activated (and with a heavy glitch as a trigger) artifacts did appear but vanished quickly.
Great. But... due to the new settings the video quality went down the drain, details and sharpening lost, rendering the recordings not worth keeping.

For visual judgement I compared raw eyeTV recordings on the computer screen and watched rendered/burned DVDs on TV. No difference in quality.

BTW: The pdf help files/manuals on CD and on elgato.com were for version 1.3, not mentioning the new features. I mailed elagto on August 11 describing my problems, as of August 19 no answer yet. What about elgato customers not familiar w/your site? Customer support non-existing. Bad.

- if conversion finally worked w/o a hitch, I still found the encoding quality mediocre to bad. It definitely went down compared to vers 1.35. I kept some old recordings from April 04 and compared them to new ones. Contours in 1.5 are blurred, details in the background are difficult to distinguish, movements are not fluid enough to be convincing in standard DVD quality. Even in high quality or custom: 15 bps (6+ GB p/h) results don't really get better.

I compared my eyeTV recordings with recordings of identical material made with my cheap (+/- $250,-) standalone DVD recorder. Surprisingly, these recordings were much better quality: fluid movements, no artifacts, nice depth, almost identical to the original VHS material (standard DVD quality, 2 GB per hour).

In closing, eyeTV 1.5 regretfully did not bring any improvements over 1.35 and as a result it isn't a tool for satisfactory transfer of VHS to mpeg. The dropped frame problem disappeared, and the live TV window worked flawlessly, great. But other problems appeared on the horizon.

I returned the unit to the store already, considering buying a DVD recorder w/ harddisk for converting instead. Praise again to all the effort you put in your site and the time you invest to keep it running,
cheerio, Christian"

Thanks for the follow-up.


ElGato Tips for EyeTV 200 VHS Encoding Problems: (Late posting this tip from Elgato, it got lost in the flood of mail the last few days)

(added 8/12/2004)
"This is in response to 8/9 postings about problems with EyeTV. (earlier reports with that date below)

To fix the VHS encoding problems with EyeTV 200:

1) Using EyeTV 1.5, go to EyeTV > Preferences > Devices... > Encoding > Custom > Edit...

2) Change GOP Structure to "I, P Frames" or "I Frames Only"

This should minimize or completely remove such encoding problems, by allow EyeTV to recover from glitches in the signal gracefully.

By the way, "I Frames Only" allows for frame-by-frame editing, a much requested feature.

To fix MPEG-1 DVD encoding time with Toast 6 Titanium
1) Upgrade to Toast 6.0.7
2) See if the time improves

This problem should have been directly addressed by recent updates to Toast.

As for the post on 8/6, "Randy S." should contact Elgato Support for a potential replacement of his unit, which sounds defective.

Thanks again for offering a forum for user reports such as these. Look for more changes to EyeTV and EyeHome soon.
Nick F.
Technical Support Specialist "


(added 8/12/2004)
"Mike, I sent you a question about the EyeTV and Toast burning times a few days ago. I have an answer from Elgato Systems, see below. BTW, my system is as follows: 733MHz G4 Quicksilver with 256KB L2 cache, 1GB RAM, 220GB HD, Mac OS 10.3.5, Toast 6.0.7, EyeTV 1.3.1.

I also have investigated some TV set DVD recorders and found that the DVDs created are not readable by Quicktime, but are playable using the OS X DVD player App. I was hoping to be able to edit the MPEG2 video using QT (I bought the MPEG2 extension from Apple for this purpose), but no go. Any ideas on editing these files after I create them, one way or another? (If any readers have a suggestion for Dan, let me know)
Dan
President of the Wausau Area Apple Users Group

(copy of Elgato mail to Dan follows)
----------
Daniel,
Thank you for contacting Elgato Systems.
EyeTV 200 can produce "DVD standard" video that doesn't need to be re-encoded. That would mean the process would only take slightly longer than the burn rate of the DVD. There is no specific process-and-burn times that I have available to share.

You can now encode either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 with EyeTV 200, meaning that it would be a full replacement for EyeTV USB, also offering many more hardware features.

The EyeTV USB records at 352 by 240 resolution, in MPEG-1. That's roughly equivalent to VHS.

The EyeTV 200 records at many resolutions, all the way up to 720 by 480, using MPEG-2 (and a FireWire connection). That's the same size and quality as a DVD. You can adjust the sound and video recording rates to meet your needs.

Both products use the same software. EyeTV 200 has an S-Video port that the EyeTV USB lacks, and the EyeTV 200 also comes with a built-in remote.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
Nick F.
Elgato Systems Customer Support "


(added 8/9/2004)
- iMac G4 800Mhz, 356MB Ram, 10.3.4
formac FW ext drive 250 GB (for recording), eyeTV 200, vers 1.5

Hi Mike, in addition to my earlier reports on eyeTV 200 I just wanted to comment that after returning eyeTV 200 in april this year I just re-bought the unit to see if vers 1.5 did bring on any improvements.
Up till now I recorded ca. 5 shows w/ my video recorder hooked up via s-video connector; my 1st impression is a mixed bag; the loss of frames disappeared (I used the same video material which failed in april)--good.
But the artifacts which disappeared in vers 1.35 now re-appear and wreck onewhole recording. Strange: before the artifacts appear I see a short flash of light (possibly flashlight of a photo camera, I record jazz shows to DVD, remember?). Sometimes eyeTV gets everything right, sometimes artifacts appear, unfortunately always in recording mode. I tried approx. 20 times toget it right before canceling my attempts.

So far so good, probs only on one show. I think I'll keep eyeTV this time, there is simply no other tool to trust at this moment. And Elgato is trying hard to improve their software. I'll post a more in-depth report when more data is available.
Cheers, Christian "


(added 8/9/2004)
"I have an EyeTV USB that is working well, although on rare occasions I get the black screen mentioned by some of the others. If this happens when I am recording something the recorded file is still OK, even though I cannot see it live. I simply wait until the end of the recording and then quit and relaunch the EyeTV application to make everything visible again. I also (again on rare occasions) end up with a recording of 0 seconds in length. For some reason, the EyeTV hardware simply does 'turn on' when the software asks it to activate. Because these are both rare, I put up with them and enjoy the product a great deal.

One beef I have is with the Toast integration. I use the HQ setting in EyeTV USB which will give me about 40 minutes of video on a VCD, and 4 hours on a DVD disc. The problem is that when burning to a DVD, Toast re-encodes all of the files. On my 733MHz G4 it takes about 2 hours before Toast will start to burn after I click the burn button. This delay does not happen using Video CD mode. I note with irony that even in the Toast window the text says that MPEG files will not be changed, yet they certainly must be since it takes about 2 hours to start burning.

One area I am looking for help with is I would like to convert a rather large collection of old VHS camcorder tapes to DVD. I tried it with the EyeTV USB, but even on HQ setting, I lose some detail in the images. With normal TV shows and movies I don't even notice, but with priceless home movies, I don't want to give up any detail if I can help it.

My question for EyeTV 200 users is this: Do you have a re-encoding time with Toast like I do when I try to burn my MPEG1 files to a DVD? If not, I might be tempted to upgrade, although the cost of the EyeTV 200 is slightly more then a stand alone DVD recorder for the living room TV. Any recommendations?
Thanks, Daniel S "

Can't remember if any past reports here mentioned that. If any EyeTV 200 owners can reply to this question - let me know (thanks). In the meantime I'd write ElGato to see what they say also. (Update - see elgato's reply and notes dated 8/12/2004 above)


(added 8/6/2004)
"Just bought a eyetv 200. Hooked it up. It appears to work fine except when its hot the lower end channels from live TV break up or I get a black screen indicating no signal. Another problem encountered is that when I feed DVD signal in from a DVD player that it only comes through in black and white.
Ticked
Randy S. "

There were some earlier reports of temperature problems that were said to be due to a bad batch/production build.


An EyeTV 500 owner wrote regarding problems burning HDTV content using Toast 6.0.5:

(added 7/22/2004)
"Hi Mike, I just received an update to my recent post regarding not being unable to archive from the EyeTV 500 to DVD. ElGato support just sent me the following:

    "Currently, Toast 6 (currently v6.0.5) has a bug where it cannot handle HD content from any source for DVD encoding.

    This will be fixed with an upcoming version of Toast 6, so look out for updates soon.

    Until then, you can burn your MPEG-2 files from EyeTV 500 to a data DVD in Toast. That will allow you to back up your recordings until you can encode them into a DVD at a later date (when Toast is updated).

    To do this, use the Save as QuickTime Movie option for your EyeTV recordings, and then drag that .mpg file to Toast's Data window for burning. Such a disk will be readable in a computer, but probably not in a DVD player."

Well that is a bummer, especially considering that without re-encoding a two-hour program would take 4 DVDs to archive as data since it would be approaching 20GB...
Brian D."

Toast 6's next update was promised to add dual layer DVD Burner support also (promised in June, but still not released as of July 22nd.)

EyeTV 1.5 Update Feedback:

(added 7/14/2004)
"i've just downloaded the new eyeTV software 1.5 for my EyeTv 300. I am now able to watch the HDTV channels euro1080 and Astra HD in exellent quality on my PowerMac Dual 867 MHz MDD, Radeon 9000 with 1600x1200 resolution. There is no need for a G5 to watch HDTV anymore - it's simply great!
Greetings, Henner
(Germany) "


First EyeTV 500 (HDTV model) Feedback:

(added 7/2/2004)
"Mike, Just received my EyeTV 500 (HDTV model) from Elgato. (I took advantage of the $50 debut discount.) ($299 intro price until July 5th, mentioned in Monday's news page) Anyway, the setup is simple and the tuning box is almost tiny. But the reception performance is excellent. I got at least 18 ATSC (digital) channels here in Washington, D.C. A couple of my other ATSC tuners (attached to some very expensive HDTV equipment) can do no better. I should mention that I use an antenna feed that is high quality.

The recording process works well. The recorded images appear artifact free and definitely hi-def (when so broadcast, of course). There is no method I know of to transfer the full high-def images to digital monitors other than my Mac, however, so in a way, it is a closed system. Also, my attempts at editing were tentative at first because there is no real manual for the 500 model, though info on Elgato's site finally got me editing my recorded shows.

I hope to transfer some programs to DVD (with reduced resolution no doubt), but for now I do have one problem to discuss with Elgato. All my conversions from saved programs to Quicktime movies transferred without sound. So, either I'm doing something wrong or there is at least one glitch.

Otherwise, though, this is a fine product. Easy to use and (at least with a good antenna feed) able to tune in a multitude of digital channels.
Thanks BTW for your site. It's a continual lifesaver.
-Bill K."


(added 7/2/2004)
"We have had an EyeTV 400 here in Perth, Australia for a number of months. We're very happy with it.
EyeTV 1.3.7
PowerMac G4 500MHz
RAM 256MB extra 30GB HD for recordings
Mac OS X 10.3.4
Using new roof-top antennae and re-cabled with new digital-ready RG6 cable. Prior to that the EyeTV had problems with signal strengths of most channels - not surprising considering the old antennae was so rusted only one of the cable pairs was making contact! Our TV was snow-city. :)

Plugged with VGA into a data projector in our living room.

Receives all free-to-air digital channels 2, 7, 9, 10 and SBS here in Perth. Won't of course capture Channel 31 which doesn't broadcast digital.

Because of only having 256MB of RAM on the Mac we're amazed it works at all, but it does nicely. Only starts dropping frames when launching other apps at same time. Also gets sluggish when the 30GB HD hits 0k free(!) but still keeps playing.

Works even better when plugged into my 15" 1.25GHz PowerBook 2GB RAM, 10.3.4 where it will play live TV in one window while playing 2 other recordings in their own respective windows. Running video in the background while doing other work on this Mac is perfectly smooth without dropped frames.

Just need to buy a bigger HD and RAM for the G4 now. And a hook-up to the equivalent of TitanTV here in Australia would be great for quicker programming of recordings.

I highly recommend this box to anyone who wants the joys of pausing live TV and recording all the shows each week you want to watch while cutting out all the garbage.
-Martin H.
Digital Media Specialist"


(added 7/1/2004)
"The most current version of EyeTV is 1.3.7 and is available on their website. (see link/note above from June 15th) With this release, I have pretty good stability on my upgraded Cube.
Even as late as v1.3.6, I would get occasional freezes when connecting another firewire device, such as my iPod. Those problems seem to be better. On the rare occasions that I do get freezes because of Firewire or USB devices (the Cube uses USB audio exclusively), simply quitting and restarting the EyeTV program reboots it so that you don't have the LiveTV Window hangs.
Benjamin I. "


(added 7/1/2004)
"I just got an EyeTV USB yesterday. (most recent reports here are from the later Firewire models)
I'm using it to record television (eventually) but also to archive movies recorded off television. I store the movies as 320 x 240 mpeg-4 files so I wasn't too worried about quality. I want something watchable, not block-people (which is why I don't use Apple's MPEG-4 encoder), and not too big. The resulting files from the EyeTV are smaller than regular VideoCD mpegs and better quality.

So far, I'm very happy with the EyeTV USB, so much I'm thinking about getting an EyeTV 200 for importing laserdiscs...
Andrew W. "


(added 7/1/2004)
"Bought EyeTV 400 for UK use, went through 3 machines, all of them always only came up with "No Signal". Tried v1.3.6 and v1.3.7 on G4 1GHz DP 1.5GB, latest DP G5, both running on 10.3.4, signal feed works fine, as we tried it with two other DVB units on TV. A complete waste of effort and time. Do not buy Elgato products.
HLFC "

I wonder if he got one from the batch that was said to have a mfg problem. (Some past reports below on this and the no signal issue.)


(added 5/3/2004)
Mike, I recently bought an EyeTV 400 for use in Sydney, Australia. I have been using it for 3 days and am very happy with it.
Installation was quick and easy - the device connects to the computer via Firewire 400 and there's no separate power connection. For the antenna connection I decided to use an outside aerial instead of the included rabbit ears.

The software is a standard drag and drop to the Applications folder, though when you run it first time it adds a helper app to your Startup Items. Tuning happens via a Wizard, and in my experience it found 5 of 6 available channels.

On my dual 2.0 G5/2G RAM/Rad 9800/10.3, CPU usage runs at about 30% (of one CPU) when watching Standard Definition digital TV and 60% when watching High Definition. This is using EyeTV software 1.3.5. (see above for 1.3.6beta update released last week)

I have had no heat problems with this unit, it runs cooler than the DSL modem beside it. The only time I get the "No signal" message that others have mentioned is when I try to use an iSight camera at the same time as the EyeTV (EyeTV in rear FW port, iSight in front). First the iChat feed from the Camera goes jerky (updating every few seconds only) and then the EyeTV will lose signal. Perhaps the I/O is getting saturated. Anyway in my experience when it is the only FW device, it is trouble free.

I have put up some captures for anyone interested (they are mpeg2 files so need VLC or the QT mpeg2 plugin to view)
http://homepage.mac.com/ian.campbell/
Regards, Ian "


(added 4/6/2004)
"I've been watching the EyeTV developments with interest. I purchased an EyeTV400 for watching digital terrestrial in the UK about a month ago, but I haven't had it working properly yet. A brief summary of problems:

1) Packaging fiasco meant various models shipped in wrong boxes
2) The model I received had old drivers which wouldn't work with OS10.3.3
3) The serial numbers for TVTV didn't work.
4) The new drivers (1.3.3) had a lip-sync problem, which made watching TV impossible.
5) Elgato respond to my third email letting me know that salvation was nigh - in the form of version 1.3.5
6) I waited for the official release version, rather than the betas, only to find installing it causes a decoding error on four channels and messes up the playback of some previously recorded footage.

... So I'm stuck once more.

It's pretty annoying (especially as I moved away from an old Formac ProTV card due to lack of support).

On the positive side, the glimpses of a working device I occasionally get are very promising and when my emails are answered, they are concise and polite.
If I resolve these issues, I'll keep you posted.
Regards, Richard H.
My system details:
OS 10.3.3, Dual 800Mhz QuickSilver, 1Gb RAM, NVIDIA Geforce2 TwinView, PCI ATI7000. Great site... keep it up!"


EyeTV 200 Owner Comments: (There's a 1.35 non-beta version available at El Gato's Support page but initial feedback notes there are still owners seeing problems.)

Follow-up on EyeTV 200 Heat Issue (From a reader's mail, he had previously reported his EyeTV 200 problems were heat related.)

(added 4/16/2004)
This is the latest email from Elgato. Feel free to paraphrase and post however you wish.
-Sean

(ElGato's reply follows)

" Hello Sean, Thank you for your message.
My supervisors told me was that a unit exhibiting behavior like yours is in the process of dying. The fan (used for cooling) is only slowing down the process, unfortunately.

I believe that you received, for some reason, another unit that is just not up to specifications. We apologize. This is apparently due to the manufacturer who needed to ‘debug' the manufacturing process. The new units are not exhibiting such defects. Also, it seems that few units have that same problem in the first place.

So, I would like to propose an exchange to you. We would send you another unit (tested by our staff but new), send you a return shipping label for your current one, and wait for your signal after you've tried this new one.

Please let me know if that would be an appropriate course of action and one that would satisfy you as a customer.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Best regards, Nicolas. "


Here's the first EyeTV 200 owner reporting no problems:

(added 4/12/2004)
"My mail might not help the rest who has all those issues, but I just wanted to let you know there are other EyeTV 200 users who are satisfied with the device.

I am among the first batch who has an EyeTV 200, and is using it on PAL/Singapore. The initial EyeTV 1.3.4 build seems to have some problems detecting my signal. The later beta release of 1.3.5 solved my problems. And if I do a quick scan, some TV channels are not detected, but doing detail scan all TV channels are now detected.

I have an eMac 800/128MB RAM (I'd want more than 128MB RAM for OS X) - eyeTV 200 will hang if I keep the default setting, until I switch it to SVCD setting. Everything is good except the sound is a little broken on my eMac build in speaker on base. I later test it on custom setting, makes the sound quality better and higher encoding rate, and it works even better!

I am now using EyeTV 200 with 1.3.5 and the performance is flawless. The picture quality is much better than the old USB EyeTV, and it has not given me any issues, and I am using it as a TV replacement now.
TC "


Possible Heat Issue? (Also see Sean's later report w/comments from El Gato above)

(added 4/8/2004)
"I sent you an email before about the wrong product in the box... Well, after immediately ordering the EyeTV 200 when it was announced back in January, then receiving a phone call towards the end of February from Elgato letting me know that there was a snag in production and I wouldn't be receiving it until the beginning March.

In the second week in March I emailed them about the status of it and was told that they just started shipping. I finally received it on March 23rd. Or so I thought. After opening the box, I found to my shock, that I had received an EyeHome in the EyeTV 200 box!!!
I immediately tried to contact Elgato by phone and via email. Calling them only got me stuck in a voice mail trap. My first email went unanswered for one day. So I wrote a follow up email. This too went unanswered and I wrote yet another flaming email. This was finally answered on March 26. I was told that another EyeTV 200 was being sent out on Monday, March 29.

Well, April 5th arrived and I still hadn't gotten my replacement. So out went another infuriated email. I received an apology email the next day with a tracking number of the package (that was forgotten to be sent out the week before.) It arrived today. April 7.
That was part one of the nightmare.

Part 2: It doesn't work. I first tried the plug-n-play FireWire idea. Nothing. Then I tried loosely following the instructions. Still nothing. Then I followed the instruction exactly. Nothing. I then tried it step by step on another 'never had an Elgato product in it' computer. Nothing. I was fed up and went out to dinner.

When I returned, I tried it again on the 2nd computer. It worked. (?) then I tried it on the main computer. It worked. (?)
So, I decided to start from scratch and see where I went wrong. I erased every Elgato/EyeTV item in the comp, restarted and hooked everything up as instructed. Nothing.
I started to suspect something though. Heat.

I let the unit cool. Hooked it up. It worked. I was able to record and select channels...until it heated up.
I let it cool again. And it works like a charm. When it gets hot, it loses it's connection with the computer and the computer doesn't see it.

I have an iBreeze that I use for my laptop, so I put that under the EyeTV 200. It's been 30 minutes and it still functions correctly. Before this It would heat up and start having problems with in 2-5 minutes.

Now to let Elgato know about this heat problem and see what they have to say about this...
Sean "

If any other EyeTV 200 owners think their past problems (even w/1.3.5 software) is heat related - let me know.>


(added 4/6/2004)
"Hi Mike, in addition to my earlier report on the eyeTV 200 I have some recent additions to make, after exhausting testing.

- (vers 1.34) after recording 12 hour-long jazz concert shows (source: VCR, using the s-video/audio cinch inputs) I noticed heavy block artifacts on a couple of shows appearing always at the same spots--I re-recorded to make sure. Strange. These artifacts lasted from a couple of seconds to approx. 10 minutes a piece. (seemed to have improved w/ vers 1.35 final release)

- (vers 1.34) as other users reported earlier I also suffered from short drop-outs during recording process (the recording window of the eyeTV gets black and says 'no input or encrypted') and later during playback of the recording. Upon noticing the input failure I stoped recording and checked. Strangely enough also always at the same spot of the video tape.
BTW: I double checked on TV screen also; the VCR produces pictures w/o any drop-outs or artifacts. Maybe an internal adjustment failure due to the video material (i.e., a dark stage w/ light spots for the musicians)? (I tested w/ v135 final, NO CHANGE, problem is still there, maybe even getting worse...)

- tech support at Elgato
I emailed Elgato tech support (initially only possible via a form on their site, but my message got trunkated due to limited amount of typing allowed so I couldn't really get into detail...) :(

After 2 days and another mail to support I finally got a reply addressing the drop-out problem w/ a link to the 135b4 eyeTV software but the link was dead and the beta couldn't be found on the ftp server either. The mail seemed to be a 'pre-written email reply' since tech support didn't mention the probs w/ artifacts I also encountered. Not to mention the dead link to the beta SW... I mailed back immediately, had to wait another 4 days for them to reply. Now there was a working link to 135b7, which didn't improve matters at all.

Finally the shop where I bought the unit mailed me (!) last saturday that there is 'vers 135 final' available. Maybe Elgato took the weekend off for a swim in the ocean?
- In closing, I have given up for good, pissed off.

I oppose the idea of 'banana-warez' (deliver first, develop later). I feel Elgato should pay all users up to the point of delivering a working unit since this is pure beta testing at this stage. ;)

In summing up my experiences with eyeTV 200 I can clearly see the promises and advantages of this product, that's how they got me in buying it in the first place. But I can only advise everyone to stay away from this product at this point to anyone due to the inherent flaws on either hard- or software.
Also I find the tech support only so-so for a $350 product in a world of $900 PCs w/ build-in video boards in addition to other feats Mac useres only can dream about for this money. I am returning this product back to the store today.
Type to you later, Christian "


Here's the first reader report on the 1.3.5b9 update mentioned yesterday (below)

(added 4/2/2004)
" Hi, Mike, This is my final review because I'm pretty sure I'm going to return the EyeTV 200 unit soon (within my 30 days). This is despite having more luck with it than some of your other readers. I resent providing free testing, QA, and debug of a not-ready product for El Gato's measly $40 MacWorld discount. They didn't tell me when I bought it that debugging it was going to be a full-time job! Here is what I've found out with the 1.3.5b9 software.

Apparently, the firmware update I received with the b4 software was current, because b9 didn't offer to update it any further.

The black screen of death is largely gone, and switching between the A/V analog and antenna/cable inputs is now much quicker. This used to be very problematic (had to unplug and plug, restart software, etc.).

When I first tried recording from the A/V inputs with software b4, I noticed there was a constant small offset between the sound and the video (i.e., lip synch was off). [This was not a problem with the antenna input.] Version b9 has fixed it in a funny kind of way. The pitch changes during real-time record/viewing (to maintain audio and video synch?) !!! But the recorded movie is then fine upon playback later. I would have never noticed this with speech, but I was recording and simultaneously viewing a music concert from VHS fed into the A/V inputs, and the occasional pitch fluctuations were very obvious (I later checked the VHS playing directly to TV to make sure it wasn't a problem with the tape). I tried recording the same program twice and had the same "live" problem with pitch fluctuations. I assume if you rewind the "live video" and play it a few seconds behind from the buffer, the problem wouldn't be there, but I didn't try that (I'm burnt out experimenting with this unit).

I don't know much about this subject, but I wonder if the problem I just described is from trying to maintain audio synch with an imprecise video time base (VHS tape jitter and fluctuations) during real-time recording. A similar Pixela unit (Japanese only, unfortunately) has built in Time Base Correction (TBC) which I think removes any imprecision in the scan line and frame timings, as do also set top TIVO players and DVD recorders (I checked their specs, and both Panasonic and Toshiba advertise TBC). [Some of these set top units also offer various input filters and digital noise reduction and reverse 3:2 pull-down and progressive playback.] But El Gato doesn't mention TBC in their specs. In fact, for the price, the El Gato EyeTV 200 does seem very spartan (no MPEG-1 for VCD unlike the ADS and Pixela units, no video out for direct viewing on TV, probably no TBC on the analog inputs, no digital noise reduction thru frame averaging, no locked audio advertised although b9 seems to do this in the funny way I described, no chapter marker support because it doesn't handle authoring thru its own editor, uses Toast as a crutch, etc.)

The b9 release note mentions fixing a 0.1 second synch problem.

My original complaint about popping sounds is still there. It seems to be associated with video noise in the playback (sparkles, blips, . . .) somehow feeding back into the sound stream. So the worse the video signal, the worse the popping sounds seem to be. This is only a problem with the El Gato playback software. Recorded DVDs and .mpg played back in other players don't have the problem.

I give up. I might wait six months and give it another try. But I'm also thinking that a more full-featured set-top time-shifting DVD recorder might make more sense. The just newly released Toshiba model is only about $50 more list, while essentially the same Toshiba with an 80BG hard disk built in adds a couple hundred more. You get TBC on analog inputs, noise reduction, built in chapter marker editor with freeze frame selection for the icons, 3:2 reverse pull-down, progressive playback on supporting EDTV/HDTV monitors, and VCR Plus programming support (no TIVO subscription needed any more). A lot more for the money! It records to DVD-RAM and -RW as well as -R, so it will be economical and easy to move MPEG2 material to the Mac for further processing (e.g, Quicktime or DIVA encoding to 2-pass MPEG4 with the 3ivX encoder, for playing on an iBook on those long flights).
Hope this helps! - Paul "

If any other EyeTV owners have better luck with the update/troubleshooting tips, let me know.


(added 4/2/2004)
" I've tried three beta versions (including 1.3.5b9 linked below) of EyeTV 200's as well as the version that came with the unit. None of them work for more than a few seconds before the Black Screen of Death returns.

The most significant change from the original software to beta 9 is that the death message no longer says "No Signal or Encrypted", instead reading "Please Stand By . . ." While that's really great, it still doesn't find a signal for more than seconds at a time. (I assume also tried the troubleshooting tips noted by EL Gato in the post below - the report above seemed to say there improvement for that problem, but noted some other sync problems.)
It has yet to work as advertised and the experience has not been pleasant. I'm inching closer to taking the RMA option with every failed attempt, and, man, there've been a LOT of them.
(System is a dual 2GHz G5 running OS X 10.3.3 with 2.5 GB of RAM and none of my FireWire drives connected during testing.)
Mike C."


Troubleshooting Tips/Beta Software Update: (mail from a reader that previously reported problems here)

(added 4/1/2004)
" El Gato responded back quickly with a fairly detailed list of things to try and a link to the beta software. i did the first suggested thing (installed the beta) and it appears to be working much better now. i didn't test it extensively but opened and closed EyeTV a couple times and set up a scheduled show and put my computer to sleep to see if it would work. To my surprise the program started automatically and successfully recorded the program. Here is the email they sent to me:

From: support@elgato.com
Subject: Re: eyetv 200
Date: March 31, 2004 1:22:52 PM PST
Chris, Thank you for contacting Elgato Systems.
Please try the following beta version of EyeTV, which has a firmware update that we hope will fix all connectivity issues (like "No Signal Or Encrypted" appearing):
http://www.elgato.com/support/eyetv135b9.dmg
Then, navigate and find the 1.3.5b9 software.

For it to work, unplug EyeTV, and then plug it in after the software is running. Then follow the instructions. More specifically:

 

  1. Unplug EyeTV hardware from Mac. 
  2. Unplug all other FireWire devices. 
  3. Launch this version 1.3.5b9. 
  4. Plug in the EyeTV hardware. 
  5. Click OK when asked to update. 
  6. When next dialog comes, unplug EyeTV. 
  7. Click OK in the EyeTV software. 
  8. Quit EyeTV. 
  9. Relaunch EyeTV. 
  10. Plug back in EyeTV. 

If the above doesn't help, then please quit EyeTV, unplug the FireWire cable, and erase the following files, so we can start from scratch:

In /Library/Preferences/
-com.elgato.eyetv.devices.plist
-com.elgato.eyetv.plist
-com.elgato.eyetv.world.plist

In /Users//Library/Preferences/
-com.elgato.eyetv.plist

In your EyeTV Archive, there also are files with these names:
EyeTVNewAutoTune.log
EyeTVAutoTune.log
Please erase those, too.

Finally, Repair Disk Permissions in the Disk Utility application.

You can also remove and reinstall a small program called EyeTV Helper, which is involved in detecting EyeTV on the USB or FireWire bus. Do a search for that program. Then, start the Process Viewer (or the Activity Monitor in 10.3), and find EyeTV Helper. Quit it. Then, erase EyeTV Helper from your hard drive

Then, use the Setup Assistant again with the EyeTV 200 first. See if connectivity has improved. Plug in the EyeTV 200 when prompted to during the Assistant.

You also might want to try another FireWire cable or FireWire port, to see if that makes a difference. Removing other FireWire devices might also have an effect.

Let me know if this makes any difference. If it doesn't, please share any benefits or problems that you notice, so we can roll further fixes into the final 1.3.5 release, coming in a few days.
Nick F.
Elgato Systems Customer Support"

If any other EyeTV owners find this helps, let me know.


(added 4/1/2004)
" i too consistently receive the "No Signal or Encrypted..." message upon first launching EyeTV. i either need to unplug the firewire cable or change the video input setting on EyeTV or change the channel for it to work. very annoying! i'm using version (EyeTV software) 1.3.4

i had the original usb EyeTV and sold it because i was disappointed in the mpeg1 video quality. i then had the Format DV version for a while and sold it too because i had to convert the DV video to MPEG2 to make dvds. i was hoping for the new firewire version of EyeTV to be the end all. good picture quality and eliminating the need to convert the video.

if it constantly had signal problems the scheduling software is useless if you have to babysit it for it to work.
i await the fix.
thanks, chris "


(added 3/31/2004)
" I received my EyeTV yesterday and have yet to see it work—as advertised or otherwise, unless otherwise means not working at all. I installed the software on its accompanying disc and all I got was the now-familiar "No Signal or Encrypted" Black Screen of Death. After several hours last night of installing/deinstalling software and connecting/unconnecting the FireWire cable, I gave up, but not before e-mailing Elgato the results of my efforts.

Today, I called Elgato Customer Service and received very sympathetic assistance. I was directed to an FTP site containing two newer beta versions of the 200's shipping software. Neither one fared any better on my dual 2GHz G5: the EyeTV 200 still doesn't work. The Support guy gave me two alternatives (although there are at least three viable ones in the offing): 1.) Return the unit for an exchange on a new one; 2.) wait for the next rev of the software "in a couple of days"; or, 3.) turn the thing in for a refund. I sincerely hope the software rev works because I don't want to wait for a new unit. However, door #3 is looking better with every frustrating tick of the clock. The bottom line is that this product apparently was/is not ready for prime time, yet it was put on the market as if it were.

I'm a bona fide, dyed-in-the-wool Mac guy and have been since 1984, but this kind of stuff is hard to swallow, especially when PC friends of mine are cruising down the old TVR highway without a hitch. Come on, guys!
Mike C "


(added 3/22/2004)
" I am a long time user of the USB version of EyeTV, and an early adopter of the EyeHome box. As a loyal Mac guy I am willing to support developers of cool products like Elgato provides and I hope they iron out the bugs of the EyeTV 200.

I can't get it to reliably pick up the signal from my cable input. I can't find anything that will make it work or fail to receive the signal consistently. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When it does work, the picture is FAR SUPERIOR to the USB version which was good to begin with. The remote control-when working- is cool, too. Reminds me of my old MacTV.

My brother has spoken to Elgato about his similar problems and they have advised him that the box is supposed to reset itself when it does not receive a signal from an input. This is not happening. They advise to "...make sure you are tuned to a strong station, or hook up something like a camcorder to the other inputs when initially starting up...."

At this point it is simply not reliable enough to count on for recording that "must see" program.

All in all, I would rate the 200 as a beta product. I have no problem keeping it if Elgato commits to fixing the problems.
(I am running 10.3.3 on a dual 1GHZ G4 tower, with the 1.3.4 EyeTV software that shipped with the EyeTV 200.)
Dave N."


(added 3/22/2004)
" EyeTV 200, Eyetv software 1.3.4 in box, eMac700, 640MB ram, WD 200GB 8MB cache drive (internal upgrade), 10.3.3.

Sound: Pops and static like an old LP. Strangely, on a VCD I burned and played on my set top DVD player, the pops aren't there. Hopefully it is just a playback software issue. I noted the 1.3.5beta mentioned elsewhere on your site. Waiting for their tech support to respond with that.

Playing live stream: Very jerky on this old eMac (standard DVD 120 compression), even keeping the buffer in ram (an option), unless I set the compression to SVCD (480x480 playing as fat pixels to a display ratio 480x360 = 4:3, 1.5Mbps ave, 2.5 peak). Artifacts are clearly visible with that setting on a CRT, but seems OK on TV. Other pre-settings: DVD 120min (720x480 4-6Mbps) and DVD 90min (6-8Mbps) and maybe a couple of VCD settings (can't remember). I believe those are average and peak rates. Note that the shipping version has VBR (variable bit rate, as in above pre-sets) as well as CBR (constant bit rate). This is contrary to what I heard from them a few weeks ago (CBR only at initial shipment). A custom setting lets you choose anything up to 15Mbps.

If you save in an inappropriate bit rate and size for what you are burning, toast 6 seems to recompress to the correct rate and size using its own internals (e.g. eyetv set to encode dvd, but I burned a vcd). I haven't tried it yet, but if everything is matched up (e.g., eyetv set to encode dvd and you burn a dvd), toast 6 is supposed to be smart enough not to re-encode. When you use the so-called "integrated" toast burn feature, it writes out a *.mpg file with a quicktime file logo as toast's source. Video editing features in toast seem to be disabled when the input to it is this *.mpg.

The player's output is de-interlaced with some kind of blending. Unfortunately, if you output the live or saved video from the eyetv playback software on your computer thru a scan converter to a TV, there is an added image degradation from the de-interlace/re-interlace process. They really ought to have this (playback de-interlace feature) as an option and not fixed on. Keeping interlaced video is no panacea for playback on TV (because the scan converter's interlace won't necessarily synch up with the original interlace), but de-interlacing by blending or field decimation or any other method short of a good BOB method is probably worse because it is a known hit to the original resolution. The de-interlaced video might be desirable for playback on newer ETV/HDTV that can accept progressive computer video output.

Thankfully, this de-interlace functon seems to be only a playback post-processing, not a corruption of the source used to burn the DVD or VCD. The DVD or VCD you produce is still interlaced, which gives good quality playback on television. You can double check this by viewing in Quicktime the *.mpg that is produced as part of the burn process, and on your progressive CRT you will see definite combing in high motion scenes.
- Paul
(he later wrote)
Correction:
There are no VCD compression presets (which would be Mpeg-1) (although you may still burn a VCD by toast re-encoding). The only presets are for SVCD and DVD.
Update:
I received the 1.3.5beta software. Still have crackling sound in the elgato player. "


(added 3/19/2004)
" Hi Mike, I got my PAL EyeTV just the other day and I've been busy checking it out. I didn't have any problems yet except yesterday night when I couldn't get the 'live TV window' working. (both the other reports below also mentioned sometimes losing the signal) Gave up after about 15 minutes (de- and re-plugging the FW cable, w/ no success). Today everything is fine again.

Besides being very intuitive (up and running within 5 min) I am a bit disappointed about the editing possibilities of the EyeTV Software. Very bare-bones indeed, you can only cut out commercials and edit the beginning/end of an recording. No fades, title editing or setting markers. Also after editing and 'saving' the edits you can't redo your action; 'save as' is not possible either. Better prepare your edits good.
I wondered what SW exists for these tasks, iDVD doesn't recognize the mpeg2 format. (iDVD isn't really an editor, but you can use QT Pro to convert EyeTV movies to DV format for use with iMovie4, iDVD, etc. See the ElGato FAQ also. I don't own EyeTV but there may be some comments on converting/editing in the past page here of EyeTV reader reports (although the original USB EyeTV used MPEG1 format I believe).-Mike)
Gearlist:
- eyeTV SW vers 1.3.4, FW connection powered
- iMac G4 12" 800 Mhz, 356 RAM, 10.3.3
I'll date you up on the quality of audio and video later.
Great site, recommend it to everyone, kind regards,
Christian "


(added 3/19/2004)
" I've had an EyeTV for about a week now. It is a PAL model connected to an iMac 17". Setup went very quickly and is foolproof.

The image is really first class. Good color fidelity, no visible artifacts. The mpeg2 chip works very well, generates a much better output than the Formac DV I used to have. Recordings can be edited with a specific application that is very basic but is sufficient to cut commercials. Strangely Quicktime Pro with Apple's mpeg2 component does not understand the signal, it must be some variant on mpeg2. (He later wrote)
I should also say that I was mistaken in my first report about the lack of compatibility of EyeTv mpeg2 recordings with Quicktime's mpeg2 component. Quicktime can read the recording perfectly well. If you don't have the mpeg2 component (costs US$19.99) you may use VLC (or, I imagine, mplayer).

I've put a 10 second fragment of a recording on an internet site - check out (file has been removed now, it was up only for a few days)
http://users.pandora.be/ben.van-houtte/Film/BBC_10_sec.mpg - it is a 4.3 MB fragment.

The sound is good although on some channels it tends to be a little metallic for a few seconds, then reverts back to normal. El Gato is aware of this, they've let me download a new driver (1.35 beta 2) that seems to address this issue.

There is one serious issue, though. From time to time the iMac does not receive a signal. When this happens the "preferences" panel does not show the firmware revision. I thought this had to do with insufficient power through the Firewire connection, and added 12V DC but that doesn't seem to make any difference. El Gato is aware of the issue and said they are working on it.

I haven't tried out the programmed recording yet.

Overall a very good product which still needs some work but I am confident that the very responsive customer service will remedy the outstanding issues quickly.
Regards, Ben H.
(he later wrote)
As Graham stated (see his comments below) there is an issue where the Mac doesn't pick up the EyeTV's signal. I've experienced this from time to time; when this happens the preferences panel does not display hardware and firmware versions. Both 1.3.4 and 1.3.5b2 suffer from this malfunction. "


(added 3/19/2004)
" Thanks for noting that at least some people have been successful getting their new EyeTV 200 working. The new version of their software that ships with the 200 (version 1.3.4) fails to completely recognize that the hardware is attached, so the window that should display live TV only says that a signal is not available or is encrypted.
I was ready to just give up after three hours tonight, but if this product works for other people I will keep working to make it work for me, too! Love the site!
Graham "

Hopefully ElGato will have another software update available soon that can address this.



Here's the first reader report on the 1.3.2 update:

(added Feb. 9th, 2004)
" I just updated to EyeTV 1.3.2, my system is a Cube 450 Mhz running under 10.3.2.

Surprisingly, performance is much worse with this update. The sound goes on and off and frames are skipped. It is almost impossible to move the mouse around anymore, the system freezes almost completely. And judging by my activity monitor the CPU usage is just as high. I had been using the 1.3.2 beta Version and despite my system being low-end everything was working fine.

So maybe you can inform your readers to be cautious when using this update. I have reverted back to using the beta version and performance is back to normal.
Georg K.
Germany
(I asked what EyeTV model he had)
I am using a EyeTV 400 (DVB-T) in Berlin, Germany. The firmware update was installed (ver. 1.1). Like I said, there was no improvement whatsoever over the former version, in fact performance was much worse.
I would really like to know if other users have had similar results. But since Berlin is the only city in Germany with DVB-T reception and Mac users account for only 3% of the computer market in Germany I don't expect much resonance. "

I welcome other owner comments on the EyeTV 1.3.2 update for 300/400 models (and firmware update for the 400 model).

Note: reports below were before the 1.3.2 update (for 300/400 models) was released which claims to help with CPU usage/performance.

(added 1/22/2004)
" Hi Mike, I'm a reader who sent in a previous report on running the EyeTV 400 DVB with an iMac 800Mhz. (See previous report below)
I've e-mailed tech support about the sluggish response of the computer when EyeTV was running, pointing out that their mpeg2 decoder doesn't seem to let any dropped frames to occur (unlike Mplayere and VideoLan).
A very helpful tech answered my e-mails promptly, and asked whether I would like to test out a beta, which they're working to fix this problem, amongst others.
So, for all you people struggling with this software, be assured that they're trying to improve it as fast as possible, and are willing to listen to us end-users. Hopefully, I will post my impressions of the new beta software (but will check with Elgato tech support beforehand).
James L. "


(Jan 16th 2004 update follows)
Recently two owners of Firewire EyeTV models reported performance issues (they had G4/800 iMacs). Here's the latest reader comments on the Firewire EyeTV 300 model:

(added 1/16/2004)
" I had the EyeTV 300 Firewire demo'd for me at MacWorld in San Francisco last week and the software crashed 3 times during the demo. If they don't have it running smoothly on their own machines don't think I'll be too anxious to give it a try. I was glad to see that they finally had a firewire model, though.
Sincerely, Scott H.
Apple Certified Technical Coordinator "

(added 1/15/2004)
" Hi there, as I unpacked the box the first thing that made me doubt if this product would be working as promised was that the driver disc was a handmade cd-r. After installing the software onto a beige g3 with g4/500 upgrade, the computer wouldn't start up anymore. I spent about two hours in single user mode, trying to fix things, but no chance. I had to do a complete reinstall.
On my b/w G3, also with g4/500 card, I would get a kernel panic everytime I plugged the eyetv 300 into a firewire port. This also happend with a firewire pci card. Finally I got it to install and run normally on my G4 1.42 Ghz. Well, that's what I thought in the beginning. From time to time the app would crash while changing channels. After all, I send the crap back to Dr.Bott KG, and decided to use a Linux box with vdr.
I used 10.2.8 on the beige G3, 10.3.2 on the other systems. Eyetv software was 1.3.1.
Greetings from Germany, Frank

PS: The only good thing about it was, that the eyetv 300 was already delivered on the 22nd of December. Must have been one of the first ones Dr. Bott KG, here in Germany, shipped. "

If any other readers have used one of their new Firewire EyeTV models let me know your experiences.

(added Jan 13th, 2004) Previous reports I've had to date on the EyeTV from El Gato were from the original USB model, although they added new Firewire based models (300/400) a month or two ago and a new 200 model last week.

" nothing but trouble sofar with the eyetv 300.
Setup was easy but a scheduled recordings went into a loop at the first commercial break and extended recording until the harddrive was full! Artifacts in the pictures-thick green lines and pixels. Live TV picture freezes from time to time. Only a reboot of the application gets it back going.
Its slow as molasses. My imac 800 crawls like a snail when i try to edit a recording.
Everything takes absolutely forever.
I give it another week and then it goes back to the shop. too bad really. General picture quality seemed ok and the whole concept is really cool.
-Hans
I asked him what OS X version and EyeTV driver version he was using.
OS X 10.3.2 and driver 1.31.
After a full weekend of recording stupid videoloops i finally gave up and returned the unit today for a refund... "

An EyeTV 400 model owner replied to this post:

" Just to let you know I've got a EyeTV 400 DVB-T firewire box in the UK.
I'm running 10.3.2 on an iMac 800Mhz 17". I have to agree with the EyeTV 300 reader report, that it's really really slow. It takes up 100% of my CPU time, even though the specs on the El Gato website say it will run on a G4 500.

Also, the 'auto-tune' function in the setup menu keeps crashing on me, although stations are found and stored.

The image quality is good, just wish the interface and mpeg2 decoding code was more effecient. I also gave it a try on my Beige Tower (upgraded to G4/700Mhz, 512RAM and 10.3.2) and it runs so slow it can't decode at full speed, although perhaps this could be the 66mhz bus speed?
Regards,
James L "

If any other readers have used one of their new Firewire EyeTV models let me know your experiences.

Note: for older reports on the original USB EyeTV model, see This Page.


I've not used one personally but welcome other EyeTV owner comments about their experience with it.



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