El Gato Updates EyeTV PVR with New Features, European Version

| Macworld/iWorld Expo

Several TMO staff members are TiVo fans, and for good reason; the device really does change the way you watch TV. Unfortunately, the TiVo isnit a Mac. Fortunately, the good folks at El Gato software have come up with a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) solution for the Mac called EyeTV. We caught up with Victor Nemechek, Director of Marketing for El Gato, who gave us a rundown of the existing and new features of their system.

EyeTV is a hardware/software combination which allows you to save TV programs on your Mac. The hardware consists of a small unit with both a 124-channel cable tuner, and RCA jacks for raw audio and video input. Having the RCA jacks allows one to dub existing video to your Mac, a nifty feature in itself, since the AV Macs are but a distant memory. The output of the hardware device is USB which plugs straight into your Mac. The unit is bus powered, and surprisingly, USB provides enough bandwidth for the device to send compressed video to your Mac. New for MacWorld SF 2003 is the introduction of a European version of the hardware that is compatible with the PAL video standard.

The EyeTV software does many things. One is to allow you to schedule the recording of your favorite show. Like TiVo, you can access up to 2 weeks of programming data. Unlike TiVo, there is no "Season Pass" feature, so youill have to select each instance of a program you want to record. Once a program is recorded, youill see it in the EyeTV software. If you havenit yet watched the recording, it will be marked as New. During playback, you can pause, fast forward, rewind, and even skip commercials.

Where EyeTV really differs from TiVo is that you can export your recording to an MPEG-1 file. Another new feature introduced at MacWorld 2003 is the ability to edit your recordings before saving them. This way, you can cut out commercials or other parts of a recording that you donit want or need.

EyeTV, which requires Mac OS X 10.1.5 and a USB port, is available for $199, but during the show, you can purchase the system for $179.

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