Appletell reviews Elgato’s EyeTV for iPhone

Sections: iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod, iPod touch, Reviews

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EyeTV for iPhone iconCategory: Entertainment
Seller: Elgato
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.0+
Compatibility: iPhone and iPod touch
File Size: 0.8MB
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Price: $4.99
Age Rating: 12+

EyeTV is, without a doubt, the best desktop app for watching TV on your Mac. But Elgato is not satisfied by merely being the best desktop app. That’s just not good enough. So, that’s why they’re making their debut on the iPhone, and what a debut it is.

Elgato’s EyeTV app for iPhone is nearly everything you’d want from a TV app. It shows what you’ve already recorded, it shows you scheduled recordings for the future, it gives you access to the TV Guide data you pay yearly for, it even streams past recordings (provided they’ve been converted for iPhone) over 3G, not just Wi-Fi. And of course, the biggest feature here, it’ll stream live TV over Wi-Fi, not just your home network.

Obviously, you’ll need to have a working EyeTV setup with a (semi) constant connection to the net for all of this to work properly. That’s likely not a problem. What’s really cool is that the desktop app uses the same email address that you registered for TV Guide data to point the iPhone app to your desktop app. All you have to do is download the newest version of EyeTV and enable the feature. Then you enter your details on your iPhone, and voila, EyeTV anywhere you can get on the internet. Just remember, your Mac has to be running EyeTV for you to be able to access any content at all. So don’t close it.

EyeTV for iPhone 3G quality

I was really surprised to find out that streaming video actually works over 3G, just not live video (unless you have version 1.0, which did). It’s not exactly crystal clear 1080p HD video (see above) but it works rather well on the small screen of the iPhone. Just know that it has to be converted to the iPhone format. But if you have the Turbo.264 HD or a really fast Mac, this could happen fairly quickly after a show is recorded, since EyeTV has an option to automatically convert after recording. I suppose someday we’ll be able to watch live TV over 3G. And with the latest developments over at AT&T regarding VoIP on their cellular networks, perhaps it won’t be that far off. But until then, streaming recorded videos is an awesome feature I wasn’t expecting. The quality is dependent upon your connection, though it will likely never be better than videos you’ve synced to your iPhone through iTunes.

EyeTV for iPhone recording details

As much as I love this app, there is room for improvement here. You can’t search for programming using the guide. Yes, you can browse, but you can’t search. For me, that’s a big deal. This means if you want to record something from your iPhone, then you have to know exactly where and when it’s on. I anticipate this is coming in an update, so I won’t get all flustered. Along with this feature, I hope it will gain the ability to save searches and set them to auto record. As it stands, you can browse for shows and set EyeTV to record them, you just have to where and when.

EyeTV for iPhone guide

Overall, EyeTV for iPhone is an amazing first offering. It feels much more mature than its version number might suggest. Elgato’s name brings with it some expectations, and the app meets or exceeds nearly all of them. There’s no question about it, if you have EyeTV on your Mac, then you absolutely need EyeTV for your iPhone. Who needs a Slingbox?

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EyeTV for iPhone Review

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  • Jelemy

    The recording remotely feature I was looking forward to, but I discovered that although I could watch live TV, there was no interface to start a recording on the Mac, if I did not have an EPG. As far as I could discover that is. I have another free application on the iPhone that gives me an EPG, so I see no need to pay a subscription to see the same thing in EyeTV. So, for the life of me, I could not find a way to start the Mac recording what I was watching, from the iPhone via the Internet.

    Please educate me if I am missing something.