For many people, using a Mac as a TV recording system is just the ticket for their home entertainment system, but Apple doesnit include a TV tuner in any of its current products. Miglia fills in the gap with its USB-based TV tuners, and the TVMini HD does a splendid job of bringing digital cable TV to the Mac.
This palm-sized wonder comes with everything you need to get started: The receiver with built-in decoder, USB cable, carrying pouch, Elgatois eyeTV 2 software, and an external antenna. The antenna is a nice touch if you live in an area that is serviced by terrestrial HD signals, since it lets you watch local broadcast channels in HD without paying digital cable fees.
What you get in the box.
Set up is an easy affair. After you install the eyeTV 2 software, just plug the TVMini HD unit into your Mac, choose your device from eyeTVis list, and you are in business. eyeTV includes its own interface for controlling the TVMini HD, and lets you watch live television, and record programs directly to your hard drive for later viewing.
It also draws power from your Macis USB 2.0 port, so thereis no need for an external power supply. That saves you from sacrificing another plug on your power strip, and makes the unit easier to travel with.
The TVMini HD comes with its own built-in digital decoder, which is good news. That means the signal processing is handled by the unit instead of your Mac, freeing up your processor for other tasks. The decoder is specifically for HD TV, however, so you wonit pick up any signal if you donit have digital cable.
eyeTV 2 lets the TVMini HD turn your Mac into a TV and DVR.
There are no additional services to pay for when you use the TVMini HD. Program scheduling information comes courtesy of TitanTV. Another nice touch, since that means you donit have to pay recurring monthly subscription fees.
You can also export recorded shows to your iPod or DVD if you plan to watch them away from your Mac. Sending a show to your iPod is a one-click process. Really. The eyeTV handles the conversion process for you, and automatically adds your show to iTunes.
Export shows to your iPod with a single click.
The included carrying pouch is a nice touch, but itis too small to carry the TVMini HD and its antenna. If you want to take both when you travel, youill have to find something else to store the antenna and itis long cable in. Also, you canit watch encrypted digital channels with this unit. Thatis not a design flaw in the TVMini HD - most cable providers offer their own decoder box with a special chip inside. Youill still need that for those pesky encrypted channels.
The Bottom Line
Migliais TVMini HD is simple to set up, and Elgatois eyeTV 2 software makes it just as simple to use. If you are looking to pump HD TV into your Mac, this is the way to go.