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Elgato EyeHome reader reports, tips and tweaksReturn to News Page

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EyeHome Digital Media Player Reader Feedback/Tips/Tweaks
Posted: Feb. 12th, 2004
Updated: Feb. 17th, 2004 (for 2nd owner report)
Updated: Feb. 20th, 2004 (for 3rd and 4th owner reports)
Updated: Feb. 24th, 2004 (for 5th owner report)
Updated: Mar. 19th, 2004 (for more notes on SymbolicLinker)
Updated: Mar. 26th, 2004 (for more owner comments on Eyehome)
Updated: Mar. 30th, 2004 (for info on SymbolicLinker w/several source drives)
Updated: Mar. 31st, 2004 (for EyeHome software/iTunes Music store playback)
Updated: May 7th, 2004 (for Customization of Eyehome RSS/XML News Feed)
Updated: May 26th, 2004 (for Customization of Eyehome Screensaver/pictures)
Updated Sept 8th, 2004 (for using EyeHome with a PC)
Updated Oct. 5th, 2004 (for EyeHome 1.5 update)
Updated Oct. 6th, 2004 (for 1.5 update feedback)
Updated Oct 12th, 2005 (for EyeHome 1.5.1 update)
Updated Jan. 18th, 2005 (for EyeHome 1.5.2 feedback)
Updated Jan. 20th, 2005 (Another EyeHome/MPEG-4 playback issue)
Updated Jan. 21st, 2005 (ElGato comments on MPEG-4 issue)
Updated Mar. 31st, 2005 (Eyehome software/Alternatives)
Updated May 26th, 2005 (EyeHome 1.6 Update)
Updated July 25th, 2005 (User report)
Updated July 27th, 2005 (User report)
Updated Nov 1st, 2005 (v1.6/10.4.3 problem/workaround)
Updated Nov. 23rd, 2005 (v1.7 reports w/10.4.3)
Updated Jan. 9th, 2006 (Web browser access notes)
Updated June 5th, 2006 (EyeHome 1.8 update - univ. binary)
Updated Jan. 17th, 2007 (Connecting Syabas-based Players to the EyeHome Server)



This page has owner reports and tips on Elgato's EyeHome digital media player. Unlike most articles here, earliest user posts/tips are first.

Latest EyeHome Software Updates:

EyeHome 1.8 Update (Universal Binary)
ElGato has posted an EyeHome 1.8 Update. Info from the v1.8 readme (rtf)

" EyeHome 1.8 is a Universal system preference pane. It requires a Macintosh computer with PowerPC G4 (500MHz or faster), PowerPC G5 or Intel Core processor, and Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. We recommend Mac OS X 10.4.6 with all software and security updates installed.

What's new in EyeHome 1.8?
- Universal Binary support for Intel based Macintosh computers.
- iLife 06 support.

A note on alias support
EyeHome 1.8 no longer supports using aliases to play back content on other drives. If you need to play back content from other hard drives, create a symbolic link in your Movies, Music, or Pictures folder that points to the destination folder on the other drive. For more detailed instructions on how to do this, check out the following FAQ entry at http://faq.elgato.com/index.php/faq/more/404/"

Reader Reports: (latest reports first)
I welcome other EyeHome owner feedback. (Please include as much detail as possible in reports. thanks.)

Access EyeHome Interface via Browser

(added 1/9/2006)
"I've been wondering how to access the EyeHome interface via a web browser for the last couple months. I couldn't figure it out so I installed tcpflow on my mini which is running the eyehome interface. After reading through most of the data, the lightbulb finally went on! First off, to access the interface, goto the IP adress of the eyehome server at port 8000 (its running Tomcat) in a browser. This will show you some of the interface, but give you an Access Denied message.

To really get to the interface, you need to send the right User Agent String, which is "Syabas/07-69-040928-04-EGT-103-000/04-EGT (uCOS-II v2.05;NOS;KA9Q; 624x416,HiColor; www.syabas.com )". I have the User Agent extension installed w/ Firefox so I added the user agent string, changed Firefox to use that and loaded the interface. So far, I'm able to access my recorded Eyetv movies but not the music or video files in my Movies folder (the URLS are screwy).
I don't know if this helps anyone or not, but it certainly has me thinking of more ways to hack the Eyehome software.
-Matt "


First reports on EyeHome 1.7 with OS X 10.4.3 Yesterday's news had a note ElGato had released EyeHome 1.7 update that promised fixes for 10.4.3 problems seen with v.1.6 and had notes on updated iPhoto/iTunes compatibility. Two readers sent confirmation that 1.7 does work in 10.4.3 and one mentioned .Mac support:

(added 11/23/2005)
" Yes, it works on 10.4.3, that's the main purpose for this build. It is iTunes 5 and 6 compatible. (original readme for 1.7 had a typo and noted iTunes 5, not 6, but that's been corrected now. No protected ITMS music support though as far as I know.-Mike)
I am using it on the latest iTunes 6. PS: also tested on Java 5 release 3 and work on my side.
btw, Elgato has changed the (readme) text from iTunes 5 to 6.
It also now supports .Mac (with auto sync setup) but for some reasons it is not mentioned.
-TC "

(added 11/23/2005)
" Works like a charm. Pheww- finally back to the routine.
Works with iTunes 6 (or whatever is the version du jour), too (sorry, I hardly ever use it with my 200+ GB music library).
It also feels a bit more responsive than 1.6 or is just me being happy...:-)
Cheers, Tuomo "


ElGato info on EyeHome 1.6 problems with 10.4.3 - use EyeHome 1.5.2: (see above for 1.7 update which is said to work with 10.4.3) Shortly after apple released 10.4.3 in late October, a reader reported EyeHome 1.6 not working after the 10.4.3 update.

(added 11/1/2005)
"Hi Mike,
I am having the same problem with EyeHome 1.6 in 10.4.3 as you posted on Oct. 31st. I run both a PowerBook and an iMac. Both do not run EyeHome 1.6 any longer after the 10.4.3 update. El Gato now has a FAQ on their website regarding this issue. See below:

    "After installing OS X 10.4.3, EyeHome 1.6 won't launch and crashes
    OS X 10.4.3 has an issue with EyeHome 1.6. Apple has been aware of this, but was unable to address this in the final 10.4.3 release.
    It seems that EyeHome 1.5.2 still should work fine.
    http://www.elgato.com/support/updates_eyehome/eyehome152update.dmg.zip
    Erase the EyeHome.prefpane associated with 1.6, in /Library/PreferencePanes, and then install 1.5.2.
    We are continuing to work with Apple on a resolution."

I have reverted back to EyeHome version 1.5.2 now and it seems to be running.
Also, I can no longer run MainMenu v1.4.4 with the latest OS X update.
-Mike T. "

EyeHome and iTunes Music Store/AAC File Playback:
Although the first (early) reports from EyeHome owners said they could play iTunes music store purchased/AAC songs despite the ElGato FAQ's notes that they were not supported. However later Eyehome versions are not compatible (will not play them) based on the latest feedback.

(added 3/31/2004)
" Mike, ... Just a Little eyehome FYI
Nice product, that needs a few more features enabled to make it a real killer 5 star product.
But here is the skinny
the original eyehome 1.0 application did not support Music Libraries over 2000 songs, So they began a beta test seeding of version 1.01b3, which fixed the problem. When they released the final version 1.01 it had fixed the large library issue, but now it more longer allow you to play Itunes protected AAC songs. Although these songs would show up in the list, the eyehome would choke on them and fail back to the main menu.

The latest GM version 1.02 also no longer plays AAC Itunes, and also no longer even shows M4p tracks in the play list/ Elgato says they will try to add this back in future versions of the eyehome software..
So buyer beware.
also, lastly .. if you have any strangely named folders ( e.g.. anything with a Tilde or an accent mark) any tracks in these folders seem to cause the eyehome to choke also, renaming the folders without these characters seemed to fix the problem.
Bruce M."

I wrote Adam Steinberg of ElGato for confirmation on this but he's not replied yet. However today I also received an EyeHome user comments that confirm the above:

(added 3/31/2004 - updated 4/1/2004)
" I received my EyeHome last Friday and have been generally pleased with it and actually amazed at some aspects of it. Before I received it I ran an ethernet cable from my router to the TV so to get the signal from my computer to the EyeHome. I have an upgraded B&W 550Mhz as my main computer and a I also have a 12-inch PowerBook with an Airport Extreme base station. I figured that the playback from the B&W might be a little slow because it is so close to the minimal requirements, but that the PowerBook would be even slower due to the AirPort Connection. To my surprise, the B&W plays video fairly well (I would give it a 4 out of 5 rating), but the PowerBook plays video even better with no dropped frames. I guess the greater processor power of the PowerBook is more of a factor than the higher bandwidth of the ethernet vs. airport connection.

I am having difficulty getting it to play any AAC audio files (encrypted or not). They all show up in my playlist, but I just get the song title and a black screen whenever I try to play any of them. None of the buttons on the remote seem to work except the stop button which takes me back to the playlist. This is very frustrating because I just ripped all of my CD's to AAC. I am using the 1.02 version of the software.
Matt.
(after getting a mail that the latest firmware + latest software should play non-protected AAC files but not even show ITMS protected AAC files, I asked Matt if he had the latest firmware)
That is the version that I have (1.02) and as I have played around with it a little more I have noticed that the AAC files I have encoded show up in my playlist, but won't play. While the AAC flies I have downloaded form the iTunes Music Store don't show up on the playlist at all. (this is what I was told - with latest firmware to date and 1.02 software ITMS files will not even show up, but others do. I wrote a contact to ask why non-protected AAC files will not play.-Mike)
I checked on Saturday night and it said that my firmware was up to date. I just tried to check again and I got a message that it could not connect to the site. Web browsing and radio work fine so I suspect it is something on Elgato's end. I will try again later and let you know.

I emailed Elgato about this issue and also asked a question about the possibility of being able to use Divx 3.11 files in future releases. They had a very prompt response (within a day), but they only answered the Divx part of the question and did not even acknowledge the AAC question in their response. By the way the said they may consider expanding Divx compatibility in future releases.

I am going to try to reinstall the version that came with EyeHome to see if it will let me revert back. That way I can at least listen to all the music I just ripped.
-Matt "

NOTE: I've not been able to verify this (no EyeHome here personally) but I've been told that the latest EyeHome firmware can play non-protected AAC files with the latest software (but not iTunes music store AAC files, which may not even appear in the listing).


Using SymbolicLinker with Multiple Movie Source Drives

(added 3/30/2004)
"I'm using the Symbolic Link maker (available here) with my Eyehome with no problems or renaming of movie folders. I had my external firewire drives mounted on the desktop and an XP share. Using the symbolic link maker contextual menu, whilst in the finder and clicking on the mounted drives on the desktop, I created the symlinks from all of the various drives (three), dragged the links in to my movies folder, and everything worked fine. The eyehome sees the symlinks, which I have renamed to things such as movies, Tv series, Comedy e.t.c, with no problems even to the shared folder on the windows XP box.

If I have to restart the mac or the server software the symlinks work just fine - sometimes the Xp link goes dead but just recreating the link solves that, the firewire drive links work perfectly.

This is on an iMac G4/800, OSx 10.3.3 using the latest version of symbolic Link maker and eyehome software version 1.02. with the European edition of the Eyehome (scart).

Movies are very clear, I'm using handbrake to create .avi files (divx video/mp3 audio) and my av-receiver makes a really nice prologic surround from the mp3 audio. Very pleased!

My only issues are stuttering video after fast forwarding large .avi files, and difficulty in getting it to play mp4 video files with aac audio - it says invalid codec (these are unencrypted aac, not iTMS).
Darren E."


(added 3/26/2004)
"Just received my EyeHome media server yesterday after waiting a month from the order date. Not sure why it takes so long to ship (high demand?).

I will post a longer review after I've had a chance to use the box for a while, but I thought I would offer my first impressions after setup last night.

The EyeHome player itself is amazingly small and light. I have a large Marantz receiver and I managed to slide it in-between the wall and the receiver length-wise. The width of the player is just shorter than the -height- of the receiver. The Marantz is hooked up to an EDTV Panasonic 42-inch plasma.

Setup was a breeze. I am going to get some component cables and an optical cable today, but last night I set up with S-Video and RCA audio to give it a whirl.

My set up is a 2.0 GHz G5 and Netgear RP614 router (purchased specifically for using the Eyehome). I've run a standard Cat5e cable from my computer room to the basement then back up into the living room. The ethernet cable is 50ft and just barely makes the run.

I logged into the EyeHome FTP server and downloaded the 1.02 update preference panel and fired it up.

The Eyehome immediately recognized my Mac and automatically connected to it as the manual describes. So far so good. I used the remote to navigate to the iTunes folder and, lo and behold, there was my music collection. Last weekend I spent a considerable time pulling in my CD collection - Velvet Underground, Bauhaus, Beck, Casino vs. Japan and 20 gigs or so more. I also have an image collection that started when I purchased my digital camera in 2000, approx. 1500 images - it recognized all of those from iPhoto.

Sorry, at the moment I have no video but plan to download some tonight or rip a DVD for testing. Also, I do not have EyeTV. I'm using this player as a lower-cost alternative to the Roku 1000.

The sound and video from the player are great! I'm actually questioning spending the extra dough for the new cables because the quality of the current setup is really good.

Without detracting from the absolute coolness of this box, my only disappointments are:

- The 'Services' in Eyehome are not really usable. The streaming music skips, the custom news is minimal and the web browsing is difficult to use. If Elgato can make this more usable it could be very cool. It would be nice to have the Yahoo TV guide there on the web with only your preferred channels showing. Being a programmer myself, I realize this kind of stuff isn't a breeze to get just right.

- The remote and responsiveness of the interface seem to lag a bit. For example, to navigate through lists and to the various services seemed to require two pushes of the remote buttons at times and I often ended up in places I did not want to go. I expect this will take some getting used to. I plan to program the Marantz remote to do the functions of the EyeHome, so maybe that will help. It did with my DVD player. After a while, the EyeHome was not able to access my content, but I think my Mac drives had gone to sleep or something.

The EyeHome, on first impression, is everything I was hoping for. My girlfriend loved the images of our parrots on the plasma TV with music in the background. Even the parrots started squawking upon seeing their countenances there on the screen.

Overall the whole concept of this player is really fantastic. In my mind, the large media companies (and Apple) are idiots for not claiming this market sooner. Think about it - the music companies and operations like Comcast are so stuck in their lucrative business model that we have to actually do an end run -around- them to get content on demand to our home theaters. Elgato will leave them in the dust because they are smart and offer great customer service. OK, maybe Apple could make it work. I'll stick with Elgato because they are really plugged into their users.
Nigel H. "


The reader that sent a previous tip on using SymbolicLinker, replied back after another EyeHome user said the symbolic links to Movies didn't work:

" Hi, I just want to explain what I have done to make this work on my Eyehome. I removed the original movies folder in my "home" directory. Then I made a symbolic link on my partition, copied the link to "home" and renamed it into movies.
After that everything works, and I don't get a invalid link error at all. But it just plays my movies without any problems
Justin M. "

Sean wrote the above solved his problems with the symbolic link.
However another reader asked how Justin can use one symbolic link to play movies from several hard drives.

(added 3/26/2004)
" I must be doing something wrong.
I was able to follow Justin M.'s instructions (his second SymbolicLinker post above) for making movies on an external drive playable in Eyehome. That is, I clicked on the mounted image of a storage drive and used SymbolicLinker to make a link to it. Then I copied the link to my Home folder, trashed the old (and empty) Movies folder, and renamed the link "Movies."

OK. All the movies show up. All the movies play. (And very well too. Eyehome is damn good value.)

But I have several firewire drives mounted on the desktop, and all of them hold movie files. I can't make links to all these drives, call all the links "Movies," and drop them into my Home folder. It won't work. You can have only one Movies folder at a time.

Now Justin says in his first post about using SymbolicLinker that "all (his) movie folders, scattered on different hard drives, are visible now." (I'm guessing the movies in those folders play too, and that he's not getting "Invalid Link" messages.) Hmm. "Different hard drives."
How, exactly how, did he do it?
Tom K. "

Justin later wrote he was only using one drive (correcting a previous comment) - but see the later report above from another EyeHome user with multiple movie source drives.


EyeHome owner tip on using SymbolicLinker (from the Mar. 1st, 2004 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)

" Just stumbled upon this nifty software tool: SymbolicLinker
Does the symlink with a Contextual Menu Item. All my movie folders, scattered on different harddrives are visible now ! (he later wrote that he was not using multiple drives - but see the tip above from a user that is)
Kind regards, Justin M. "

Update - as a followup to the above from a different eyehome user:

" I tried the symobilc linker with eyehome and yes I can see all my movie folders but eyehome refuses to play them, I always get an invalid link error message, but when I copy the files into my movie folder and restart eyehome plays them no problem.
Sean "


(Added Feb. 24th, 2004) This EyeHome user reported no problems with a large library of iTunes music when using the 1.01b3 update (although a previous owner report noted the problem even w/1.01b3 installed).

" I received my eyeHome last week and other than downloading the update for the eyeHome to register large music collections (mine is somewhere around 75 gig) i have not had any problems. (I asked him for specifics on this update and he wrote-Mike)
The new version of the eyeHome pref is 1.0.1b3... They were having problems with people with large music collections not being able to share all the media. the link is
ftp://downloads:downloads@gate.elgato.com/eyehome101beta.dmg.hqx
(this is the version mentioned below by someone that still had a problem though-Mike)
My smart playlists seem to be working although i will check the actual numbers of files it is reporting since someone else seems to be having that problem.

The only other hitch i ran into was the failed to wake MAC on LAN message. But in my case it seemed to be stemming from my wireless network (I run a D-Link wireless g setup). changed some settings there and I was good to go and haven't seen that message since.

Any complaints i have would be the exclusion of iTunes song data. The tracks of an album are listed alphabetically not by track numbers. If you are browsing by album it gives you no artist name with that. This is fine with my collection because i know the titles/artist of MY music but when browsing my friends laptop it was a pain to look at album titles i was unfamiliar with and not be able to see the artist name with that. Visualizations or at least some choices for the screensaver mode would be nice. But that being said....with the ability for firmware and software updates on this....i would suspect that some of these problems will be rectified shortly.

All in all i am extremely happy with my purchase. I cleaned up my scattered collection of over 500 CD's and playback performance has been exceptional. I run a BOSE surround system and it sounds great playing back on it. Now if i can only get motivated to scan all my photos in to iPhoto...lol
Mike C.
(I asked Mike for details on his mac model/OS version used and number of itunes songs. )
I am running a G4 with dual 1GHZ processors, 1.5 GB RAM.
Running OSX Panther 10.3.2
I have over 6000 songs in my music library taking up about 72 GB and they all seem to be showing up. Maybe it has to do with running Panther? "

Willie (previous report below) later wrote the 1.01b3 update seems to have solved his problem with large libraries.


(Added 2/20/2004 - updated 2/24/20040 Another EyeHome owner wrote regarding iTunes library problems (that he later said were solved with the 1.01b3 Eyehome software update):

" I am having problems with my EyeHome as well.
My iTunes library is too large apparently. The EyeHome Media Server Software reports an java.lang.OutOfMemoryError when starting up with my iTunes Music Library. If I move the library, it starts up correctly.

I have sent two reports into customer support of this problem and have yet to receive any response or indication of software releases other than 1.0 (that came in the box) that your other reviewers have noted.

As for the EyeHome itself working with smaller music libraries, photo libraries, and video files? I love the potential of this, but the current implementation is lacking.

FYI, I believe that the eyeHome is an ElGato modified version of this product:
http://www.syabas.com/syabas/syabas.jsp?name=products&subname=products_media&subname1=
Willie
(I sent Willie a download link for the 1.01b3 update that was said to fix the large library issue although it didn't for one EyeHome user (per previous report).)

with the new (1.01b3) beta, EyeHome is working for me. My impressions so far:

Pros:

  • it does a stellar job playing music, showing pictures and playing back video

    Cons:

  • the navigation interface is slow and cumbersome. It is especially tedious if you have a lot of content. (Those with a lot of content would be the EyeHome's target audience, I think.)
  • the remote occasionally does not respond
  • streaming radio stutters (when it does not stutter in iTunes)
  • the music screen saver (while playing music) is ugly and probably will not stop screen burn-in by moving the title back and forth on the bottom of the screen "

  • (added 2/20/2004)
    " Steve W asks what's not to like about the EyeHome. (in his report above) My answer is it's selective exclusion of content from my iTunes playlists:

    The EyeHome server software Elgato shipped in the original package contains an unfortunate bug, where "large" (I don't know what defines large) iTunes libraries would prevent the server from starting. It would simply fail to start up without an error message. (They have since released 1.01b3 to address this.)

    In hopes to get my EyeHome server to start, I relocated my iTunes library, and reconfigured it so that it only had a couple hundred songs. This allowed the server to start and me to experiment with playing my digital content on my home entertainment center, which EyeHome did very well.

    When the 1.0.1b3 release was provided, I restored my iTunes library to it's full 30+ gigs. Since then, I've never been able to get EyeHome to see all my content. My Smart Playlist which contains all songs where genre is blues is 1,790 songs in iTunes, but 15 songs if you ask EyeHome.

    Thinking EyeHome was somehow finding an out of date iTunes library file, I went and made some new playlists to force the .xml file to update. A smart playlist of Artist contains Barenaked gives me 75 songs in iTunes. If EyeHome was reading an out of date iTunes Music Library.xml file, it shouldn't know about my new playlist. It does find it, but believes it to have only 18 songs. I've done Finder and terminal searches for rogue xml files gumming up the works, but if they're there, I can't find them.

    I've done many permutations of restarts of the server, the EyeHome, and reinstallation of the server software, but my music content remains a fraction of what it should be. It will only acknowledge 196 songs, and I can't figure out why.
    Yuri "

    I'd also write Elgato about this problem to see if they have any suggestions or can address this in a future update. (Note to other Eyehome users using the 1.01b3 update said they had no problems with large libraries. I wonder if there's some leftover file/cached older version on Yuri's system that's the cause of the problem.)


    2nd EyeHome Owner Report/Review:

    (added 2/17/2004)
    " First impressions of the EyeHome from El Gato:

    I was an early adopter of the EyeTV (USB) years ago, and I'm an early adopter of the EyeHome. I anxiously await shipment of the soon to be released EyeTV 200 I ordered, so I can start enjoying recordings of TV shows with stereo audio and higher resolution video.

    I've been using the EyeTV (USB model) practically every day for years and using the EyeHome for a little over a week. I've also had a chance to extensively use a friend's Tivo (I even installed a 2nd hard drive for him) and I'll be comparing the EyeTV/EyeHome experience to using a Tivo.

    I won't be comparing the search/scheduling features because I don't really use those. I manually set up my recordings.

    The EyeHome performs the main function it is designed for --watching recorded EyeTV programs on your TV set-- very well. There are no dropped frames and no stuttering as far as I could see, using my G4 tower (digital audio G4/733) upgraded to OWC's G4 1.467 GHz with 1.25 GB of RAM.

    I always record EyeTV (USB) shows at highest quality. The picture, (if I start with a decent signal from a (non-HD) digital cable channel that's coming in strong) looks quite good on my recent vintage 36" Toshiba cathode ray tube set. I would compare it to a very good VHS recording, maybe better.

    I find I enjoy watching EyeTV shows much more on my TV set than in a window on my 17.3" flat panel computer monitor or on my 17" PowerBook. In addition to the picture being much larger, and therefore more impactful, certain compression artifacts just don't show up on the TV set the way they do when you're sitting close to a flat panel.

    The main area I would like to see improvement in EyeHome is in fine control of the playback of the show. Watching it straight through is no problem, but that's not how I watch TV. I skip some commercials and watch some scenes twice.

    Maybe I missed a snippet of dialog: both Tivo and EyeTV allow you to push a button on a real (or, in the case of EyeTV, an on-screen) remote to jump back 7 seconds to see what you missed or want to watch again (like a great basketball play). You can also hit that back button repeatedly if you want to see the last 14, 21, 28 seconds, etc.

    Both devices also let you jump forward 30 seconds, to skip a commercial or jump to a location in a scene. Tivo and EyeTV also give you instant and excellent feedback while you scroll forwards or backwards.

    But EyeHome's greatest shortcoming, in my opinion, is that it does not allow for this fine control when playing back a show. It has the ability to go backwards and forwards at up to 4X, but unfortunately does not, in its present iteration, give frequent or speedy feedback on the TV screen.

    It gives occasional single frames that are only updated every few seconds, if you're lucky. Sometimes several seconds can go by without the frame on the screen being updated. So even when fast forwarding or reversing at the minimum speed, it's almost impossible not to overshoot your mark and then have to try again in the opposite direction, where you're likely to overshoot it again.

    Contributing further to the problem is that the EyeHome sometimes fails to respond the first time I hit the button on the (real) remote, and other times thinks I hit it twice or three times when I only hit it once. In those cases, it fast forwards at 3X or 4X when I wanted 1X or 2X. Then I sometimes have to hit play several times before it responds. By then, I'm way past where I was trying to go.

    Since EyeHome can be upgraded via both firmware and software updates, I'm hopeful that ElGato will address this issue quickly. It's one of the few areas where I feel the EyeTV/EyeHome experience falls short of the experience of using a Tivo, where feedback is frequent and it's easy to hit your mark when searching for a scene or particular moment.

    In fact, even when fast forwarding at Tivo's highest speed, when I hit "play", I rarely have to back up even a little to see the beginning of what I was aiming for. I swear, I think Tivo takes you to *just before* the spot where you hit the button to take it out of fastest fast forward, thus compensating for the time it took you to react to seeing the scene on the TV. It may be my imagination, and not an actual feature, but more than once I've wondered how I hit the mark on a Tivo with the show whizzing by so fast! (a reader replied to this post saying "That is in fact an actual TiVo feature".)

    If the networking nature of EyeHome makes very frequent updates of the frames impossible, at least adding a "7 seconds back" and "30 seconds forward" option to the remote, just like Tivo and EyeTV have, would allow you to zero in on exactly what you are looking for, once you're in the ballpark, even if frames don't frequently update.

    The slo-mo on EyeHome works very well, (many speeds) although I'd like to see slo-mo reverse (also with many speeds) added. The freeze frame doesn't jitter, but I'd like to be able to go from slo-mo to freeze and vice versa. As things are, if you are using slo-mo and you hit the freeze (or pause) button, it jumps to normal speed. Then you have to back up to get to the scene you wanted to freeze, and we know what a problem that becomes.

    Speaking of freeze frame, EyeHome allows zooming in on JPEGs, so why not add the ability to zoom in on freeze framed or moving EyeTV recordings? My Toshiba DVD player does it! Up to 6X zoom.

    El Gato tech and customer support have been extremely responsive and helpful, and the company has updated and added features to the original EyeTV product, such as the ability to edit commercials or unwanted scenes out of recordings. I hope they address the issues mentioned below so that EyeHome becomes an even more useful product.

    The EyeTV 200/EyeHome combo basically gives you Tivo-like functionality with the added pluses of being able to edit your programs, watch them on your PowerBook, add inexpensive hard drive capacity, burn to DVD (if you buy Toast 6) and dispense with subscription fees. Plus you can play QuickTime movies, JPEGs, MP3s and songs purchased from iTune Music Store on your home entertainment system.
    What's not to like?
    -Steve W. "


    (added 2/12/2004)
    "My EyeHome arrived yesterday and works great. It even streams full-sized DVD VOB files. The responsiveness of streams over my 50ft Ethernet Cat6 cable is just amazing. And wonder of wonders, so far, it passes the test that really matters: My wife likes it! Enough said.

    Movie Folders:
    The manual says to put your mpg and vob files in your user's "Movies" folder (on your startup volume). This works fine and you can have folders within folders, e.g. I am currently using folders named "SVCD (480 x 360, MPEG2)" and "VCD (320 x 240, MPEG1)". However, when I tried to use a folder named "mpg" nothing would show up and it acted kinda cranky (avoid that one). Also, aliases (e.g. to folders on other drives) don't show up. (see update below for El Gato Support comments on this as well as the tips on using "SymbolicLinker".-Mike)

    Refresh:
    The manual says, if at some future time you copy new stuff into your Movies folder, to get the EyeHome to show the new stuff, you should Stop and then re-Start the EyeHome Media Server (EyeHome PrefPane), but for me most often I also have to Stop and re-Start "Personal Web Sharing" (Sharing PrefPane); but both steps take only about 10 seconds, so no biggie.

    Delays:
    Sometimes when I go to the main screen it takes several seconds before the menu choices appear. And speaking of things that can be slow, web surfing can require a little patience waiting for pages to load.

    Wake on Lan Error:
    Sometimes, when I turn on the EyeHome and go to connect to my Mac, I get the error: "Wake On LAN fail. Please turn on your MAC manually." I click OK and just try again, it then succeeds (no need to do anything else).

    I just received a response from Elgato concerning the issues I raised earlier.

      "Elgato Systems Customer Support wrote:
      Unfortunately, the first release of the EyeHome software does not support aliases or links from the Movies folder. This is something we're working on for a future software release.
      I will figure of what's happening with your folder entitled "mpg". Perhaps it's being misinterpreted as a file extension.
      If your Mac is waking up, or is asleep, then "Wake On LAN" will appear. Confirm that your Mac is on, and things should be fine.
      We'll see what we can do about connection and web browsing speed."

    (Update from a later email) Well, I've used the EyeHome for four days now and I really like it. We've watched movies, listened to music, looked at photos and have not run into any glitches. The audio/video quality is great. The responsiveness is impressive (I have it connected to a G5 1.6MHz, through a 100Base-T switch).

    I bought a couple of songs from the iTunes Store today (one was from a winning Pepsi cap) and they play just fine unaltered on the EyeHome.

    Followup on issues I raised earlier:

  • Wake on Lan Error:
    This was User error. Without realizing it, I had not been waiting the extra two seconds required for the light to turn from red to green.

  • Refresh failures:
    I have found that if I (1) power off the EyeHome box, go to my Mac, (2) turn off "EyeHome Media Sharing", (3) make the changes I want in my Movies folder, (4) turn on "EyeHome Media Sharing", (5) power on the EyeHome box, then everything is updated just fine. What I had been doing, that wasn't working so well, was (1) make the changes to my Movies folder, (2) turn "EyeHome Media Sharing" off then on.
    (Note: A reader suggested "You might want to ask him to try just clicking "Movies" will do. Don't need to do all these things.")

    (Update - added Feb. 17th, 2004)

    Here's a reply I got from Elgato this morning:

    Q: When playing a Movie, is there any way to make a "bookmark" so that I can come back later to where I left off?
    A: Right now there's no "Bookmarking" feature for Movies or any other content. This is something we'll put on our "to do" list.

    (Note to Mike from Steve relating to the above: "Yesterday the phone rang while I was using the EyeHome, I paused the movie I was watching and didn't get back to it until four hours later. The movie was still paused but it wouldn't start playing again. Then I remembered that I had my Mac set to go to sleep after 3 idle hours. So I went to my Mac, pressed the space bar to wake it, went back to the living room, pressed play on the EyeHome Remote and the movie began playing right where it left off. Very nice. Not bookmarks, but not bad.")

    Q: When playing a song, how can I skip to the next or previous song?
    A: If you randomly select a song, you can't skip to the next song. If you start playing a playlist, then you can skip to the next or previous song, by using the "previous" or "next" buttons.

    Q: Do you have any forums where people can talk about their experiences with your products and help each other?
    A: We are seriously considering a forum/message board for all users of Elgato products. If it is decided to implement one, hopefully it would be ready quickly.

    EyeTV 200:
    I'm excited to try the EyeTV 200 that I ordered (they are supposed to start shipping in two weeks). Below are replies to questions I asked about it.
    -Steve S."

  • Elgato Systems Customer Support wrote:

    "EyeTV's MPEG-2 encoder offers much more flexibility than that in TiVo. EyeTV's can use 704 by 480 resolution, or you can choose from smaller resolutions. You can choose the sound sampling rate, and you can choose a video bitrate up to 15Mbps. Realize that a professional DVD usually uses 8Mbps, so you can surpass that with EyeTV 200.

    Right now the EyeTV 200 does Constant Bit Rate Encoding only. Our intention is to add VBR encoding as soon as possible, via a software/firmware update.

    Closed captioning is working OK internally, but we want things to be as perfect as possible before turning on that function. So, if it's not in the first release, then it will be in an upcoming software download. "Upcoming" means a month or to, not a long time."

    Customization of Eyehome RSS/XML News Feed (from the May 7th, 2004 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page) Justin Meyer sent a mail earlier this week about customizing the EyeHome RSS/XML news feed file but included only a link to a modified file. I asked if he could include info for users to modify the file (for their preferences) and he later wrote he's posted an Applescript for it that's now listed at Macupdate. See Eyehome Customization RSS/XML feed 0.1

    " Apple script for changing the RSS/XML feeds (services->news) on your Eyehome!
    Dutch language RSS/XML feeds only at the moment, later this month I'll add German, French, Italian, Spanish.
    Requirements:
    Internet Connection, Elgato Eyehome, G4 or better"

    Guide to changing Screensaver/Interface Pictures: (from the 5/26/2004 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)

    " Here's some info that might be of interest to other eyeHome owners...you can change the screensaver pictures as well as the interface pictures. i have messed around a little and you have a sort of "skins" flexibility by changing the TV picture that is the startup. -Michael C."

      Changing EyeHome Interface:
    1. Find "EyeHome.prefPane" in
      username/Library/Preferences/PreferencePanes
    2. Quit the EyeHome server.
    3. Use the Control key to click on EyeHome.prefPane, and then "Show Package Contents". You're now inside the application.
    4. Go to Contents/Resources, and then "Show Package Contents" of EyeHome.
    5. Go to Contents/Resources/Java/webapps/ROOT/theme/eyehome
    6. Now you're in a directory with a number of things you can change. EyeHome is basically a web server, with the box as the client. Thus, if you change the jpg or png graphics (with Photoshop, GraphicConverter, etc.) then the EyeHome interface will change.
    7. The Slide folder contains 8 images that you can change. They're 720 by 480, so keep that resolution. Keep the same names, like slide4.jpg, and the JPEG format.
    8. When you start the EyeHome server again, the music slideshow will be as you customized it.
    9. You can also experiment with the background.jpg and tv.jpg files - they determine what your background picture is. Open up the other folders to see what they do. If you can't figure it out, don't change it.
    10. NOTE - make a backup of the pictures you change. Otherwise, the only way to get back to normal is to reinstall EyeHome from the CD-ROM.


    Using EyeHome with a PC (from the 9/8/2004 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page)

    " Just a quick heads up to let you know that the Elgato Eyehome will work with content kept on PCs.

    I'm currently mac-less so needed a temporary solution to access my movies/music till the new iMac G5 arrives so I did a bit of digging and found out that the eyehome is based on a product from Syabas (iBox). In addition a number of other companies also use it at as basis to their products including Neuston (www.neuston.com). (The August 16th news page had a Reader report on Neuston MC-500 (alternative to EyeHome)-Mike) So I downloaded the Neuston software for PC (they also do a mac version), installed and it worked perfectly! The Eyehome saw the pc and worked fine with the software giving me the same functions as with the standard elgato software on my mac!

    Here is the important bit - you need to download version 2 of the Neuston software for PC and not version 2.4 (latest) as only version 2 works perfectly with Eyehome. (Well, 2.4 didn't work for me....)

    Before my mac was sold I tried the mac version and found it to be functionally better than the elgato software, especially in terms of music in that it lets you search by song/artist/keyword e.t.c - but it does not look for eyetv folders.
    Thought your Eyehome using readers might find this interesting.
    Darren E. "


    Eyehome 1.5 Update Reports:
    Here's the first Eyehome owner report on the 1.5 Update (w/firmware update) mentioned in yesterday's news. Not sure if the problems he notes is common:

    " I just installed Eyehome 1.5 and noticed that after upgrading the firmware, some EyeTV Movies weeren't playing very smoothly. Other movies don't play at all. Black screen for about 15 seconds and then the menu comes back. I am thinking of returning to the previous version as this one seems to be useless.
    Could be that it works better with films recorded with EyeTV 1.6.1, which I did as well. But for now, having a number of movies on my harddisk, still waiting to be watched, I rather want to return to the perious version. I would be very happy if anybody could give me some help, or if anybody has the same problem !
    Greetings from Luxembourg !
    Luc B."

    I don't have an eyehome but if anyone that does has a tip, let me know. (I also suggested writing Elgato tech support.).
    Update: ElGato tech support spotted this and sent a reply:

    " This is in regard to the comments of "Luc B" (above)
    EyeTV content playback issues seem to be a result of high CPU activity on your Mac. If you try to fast forward in EyeHome, while your Mac is heavily occupied, then there will be problems. If you reduce CPU processes on your Mac, it should progress normally. This is due to on-the-fly file translation for EyeTV MPEG-2 files - from Transport Stream (EyeTV's native format) to Program Stream (which EyeHome can read).

    EyeHome 1.5 has improved EyeTV content playback, but the price was some more CPU activity. We will look to see if this can be further optimized. Until then, steps like closing open EyeTV video windows on your Mac can make a real difference in EyeHome playback.

    Please let Elgato know if you have any other problems with EyeHome 1.5.
    Nick Freeman
    Elgato Systems Customer Support "

    Here's a copy of a report from the EyeTV feedback page from an EyeTV 200 user running EyeTV 1.7 mentioned problems playing video (MPEG4) on his 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. (Update - See 1/21/2005 post below for ElGato's comments on an EyeHome update needed to fix this issue.)


    (added 1/18/2005)
    "First thing is to take time to read all the documentation. Prior to buying my Eyehome, I discovered that it could play VOB files, the mainstay of DVD video. I inquired and found that is will only play the ac3 sound which is on most DVD's and VOV's with the optical cable so I purchased that. I have at this point 200 DVD movies on two 300G Maxtor drives. Most are compressed to 1.95G per movie. With this set up in place, the playback is excellent on a 27-in screen. The surround sound is incredible with the ac3 audio.

    My EyeTv library works perfectly. I combined two libraries and found all works well. The first portion was recorded on the USB version, and the most recent on the EyeTV 200.

    I have many thousands of photos, and by using IPhoto as the library for copies of these photos, slide shows are great. The audio will only sync to a single song, not an entire album. My workaround is to import some CD's as a single MP3 for large slide shows via audio hijack or other such program (he later wrote)
    Please amend the Itunes comment about music during slide shows: Using MP3 Trimmer effectively joins multiple MP3's into a single track which EyeHome can play without any problems. I joined 30 tracks from the sound track of Under The Tuscan Sun to accompany slide show of Italy, and it works perfectly.

    ITunes with 700 playlists and 15,000 tracks is difficult to mange so I made some favorite playlist and prefixed them with a 0 (zero) to put them on top to make it quicker to navigate the files. Hymn strips the DRM problem and allows purchased music to play on Eyehome.

    I have no use for the web browser, but the internet radio is similar to cable audio or Direct-TV digital audio.

    All in all, I give a 5 stars. The team at Elgato constantly work to improve their products, and I am sure there are going to be more updates to the software.

    I have a dual 1g G4 with 4 internal driver and 5 firewire drives Eyehome works well while other tasks are running on the processor such as DVD2One or MacTheRipper.
    Greg S.
    (I asked if he was running EyeHome 1.5.2 and EyeTV 1.7.-Mike)
    Yes, 1.5.2 and 1.7 my goal was to have total media capability.
    Besides the slow use of the playlists with a large library, the only problem which is slight is the delay when moving from VOB's of about 1/2 second. This is similar to the delay in old versions to VLC which looked like a reel change at a movie theater.

    Also, Elgato has always gotten back to me on any emailed questions within 24 hours.
    Each update of a software version has always brought improvements. "


    Another report of EyeHome/MPEG-4 playback problems w/EyeTV 1.7 recordings

    (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. "


    ElGato comments on EyeHome Update to fix MPEG-4/EyeTV 1.7 Playback problem
    EyeHome owners have reported recently that they could not playback MPEG-4 video recorded from an EyeTV with the 1.7 Update. 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:

    " 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 "


    Comment on EyeHome software/Using Eyehome w/Neuston software:

    (added 3/31/2005)
    " In my previous profession I was a Java developer, mainly doing web-based applications. Long story short, I dug really deep into the Eyehome application only to find out that it is a Java Servlet Container running a webserver that the Eyehome device connects to.

    The main Java files, I discovered, are in a Jar file like com.syabas.xxx. I googled syabas and found that they are the developers of a product called myiHome. I then googled myiHome and found that Elgato is not the only company that makes a product based on the syabas myiHome. Neuston does too. On another lark, I downloaded Neuston's software, turned on the eyehome device and wouldn't you know it, I'm now running the Neuston interface. (Of course, I don't see my eyetv recorded programs, so I'll be switching back to the eyetv interface.)

    All in all, I consider this a good thing. If anyone else is intrepid enough to dig into the java files, you'll notice that some (not sure how many) of them are open-source products. Also, those of us that know JSPs and such know very well how to 'configure' the software...
    Stay tuned for more...
    Regards, Matt "

    Disappointed User:

    (added 7/25/2005)
    "Mike,
    When visiting the ElGato site I saw they were offering a $100 rebate on the EyeHome which brings the cost to under $100. So I ordered one thinking it might have some benefit compared with my connecting my G4 iBook directly to my TV or receiver. After spending a couple days with this I returned it for a refund.

    The EyeHome needs to be located where it can be connected to your home network router or to an Airport Express along with an Airport Base Station. I could not get it to work wirelessly with my combination of a D-Link Wireless Bridge, Belkin Wireless Access Point and iBook Airport Extreme. I had hoped that I could connect the EyeHome to my iBook via Ethernet and have it access the Internet via the iBook's wireless connection. ElGato support informed me that this is not possible. I can access the playback from my iBook's hard drive by connecting to directly to the iBook, but I cannot connect the EyeHome to the Internet unless it is connected directly to a router.

    I did manage to connect the EyeHome to my router (located in another room) via Ethernet, but in that case the EyeHome wasn't able to see my iBook unless I also connected it via Ethernet to the router. So none of my wireless hardware worked with this in any direction.

    I did check that I had the most current firmware for the EyeHome. I am using OS 10.4.2 and iLife 5. The supplied 1.5.2 Eyehome software was able to play from my iTunes folder (I don't have any Music store tracks to test) and the Movie folder. It showed the albums from my iPhoto folder but wouldn't display any selected photo. I updated to the current 1.6.x software. The only change is it now wouldn't even show the iPhoto albums. Selecting the Photos menu caused the selector to jump to the EyeTV menu.

    I can see how this product may be useful to someone using a desktop computer located in a room away from their home entertainment system (as long as they have easy access to an Ethernet router near their TV or the supported combination of wireless hardware). But it is a pain compared to simply connecting an iBook, PowerBook or other Mac directly to a TV or Receiver.
    Thomas "

    Another User Report:

    (added 7/27/2005)
    "I purchased the little box just a few weeks ago, and satisfaction is almost full.
    Set up includes a G4 733 QS, an iMac 800 and an old Sony 32" TV set, all of them connected via ethernet cables trough an inexpensive Belkin 5 ports 10/100 switch to the Internet.
    Apart from firmware updates, completed directly from the box via the Elgato site, and from the download of the latest installation software from the same source, since the enclosed CD was not up-to- date (maybe because of the long storage time with the seller) the installation has been flawless.

    Browsing through images, movie files and music stored on both computers is a bit slow but satisfactory, while web browsing appears to be almost impossible, since navigation on sites being visited if often precluded or not sufficiently detailed in order to be used for practical purposes.
    This is a pity, as a passable web browsing would add a substantial value. Let's hope for updates to come.
    Cheers, matchless "

    (added Jan. 17th, 2007)
    " Connecting Syabas-based Players to the EyeHome Server
    I thought this might be of interest to your readers...
    I recently purchased I-O Data's AVeL LinkPlayer2 to replace both my DVD player and EyeHome box. Like most others that have taken this path, I needed a convenient way to view my EyeTV recordings from the LinkPlayer. Symlinks work, but they're not very practical for this purpose and the EyeConnect UI is laughable. It didn't take much digging around with the LinkServer software to discover that, like EyeHome, not only was it Syabas-based, it was essentially the same software. That is with one key difference - no validation of the hardware unit attempting to connect. A little more digging around and I found that it was very easy to remove said validation. What does this mean? Well it means that you can connect your LinkPlayer (or any Syabas-based player for that matter) to your EyeHome server. If you don't own the EyeHome hardware, I believe the software is a free download. Here's what you need to do...

    1. Find the EyeHome.prefPane
    (username/Library/Preferences/PreferencePanes)
    2. "Show Package Contents" of the preference pane
    3. Go to Contents/Resources and "Show Package Contents" of the EyeHome application
    4. Go to Contents/Resources/Java/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF
    5. Open up web.xml in a text editor
    6. Remove the following elements:

      <context-param>
      <param-name>fwname</param-name>
      <param-value>EGT</param-value>
      </context-param>

    7. If you own a LinkPlayer, you may want to add the following extensions to the files listed below:

      ROOT/application/video/xml/extension.xml
      ROOT/xml/video.xml

      <ext>dvr-ms</ext>
      <ext>wmv</ext>
      <ext>ts</ext>
      <ext>m2t</ext>
      <ext>trp</ext>

    8. Save all files, relaunch EyeHome, and you're done

    I actually have Wizd and EyeHome running side-by-side and connect to whichever is appropriate for my purpose. Oh and in case you're wondering, the EyeHome hardware will successfully connect to Wizd, or other Syabas-based server software.
    Have fun, J. "


    I welcome other feedback from EyeHome owners. (Please include info on the version of EyeHome you're using and system/OS details. thanks.)

    (For previous reader reports on ElGato's EyeTV, see this page.)



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