|Product type||Consumer electronics (computer)|
Elgato is a brand of consumer technology products. It includes the EyeTV line of video capture devices and software, a thunderbolt dock and external hard drive, and a set of "smart" devices such as a key-finder, smart light-bulb and home management products. The manufacturer was founded in 1992 by Markus Fest and is headquartered in Munich, Germany.
The first EyeTV hardware device was introduced in November 2002. It was a small USB-powered device that contained a cable tuner and hardware encoder in order to convert television video into an MPEG-1 format for watching on a computer. It also had coaxial and RCA plugs to connect it with a VCR or camcorder. A 2002 article in Macworld said it was the "first step" in bridging computers and television, but at this point still had "some kinks".
The next iteration was released in 2004 and called EyeTV 200. EyeTV 200 introduced a digital remote control and converted video programming into the higher-quality MPEG-2 format. A Macworld review gave it 4 out of 5 stars for "very good" and emphasized the video quality and ease-of-use. A story in the Washington Post said it was more expensive than some alternatives, but worked on a mac and had good-quality recordings.
That same year a home media server called EyeHome was introduced. It had recording features similar to other EyeTV products, but was also intended for steaming a computer display to a television. It connected mac computers and televisions that share the same home network. A review in Macworld gave it three stars or a "good" rating, saying that it was easy to install and worked well with Apple applications, but some aspects were quirky or frustrating. Sound and Vision Magazine said it was "pretty darn cool" and an easy, in-expensive way to get media server functionality, though there were some user interface quirks. It gave the product an 89 out of 100 rating.
By 2005, several other EyeTV products had been introduced, such as the EyeTV for DTT, the EyeTV EZ and the EyeTV Wonder. The EyeTV for DTT (digital terrestrial TV) is a small USB-powered device with an antenna for receiving free over-the-air television broadcasts. It received a 4 out of 5 rating in TechRadar. A review in The Register gave it an 85 percent rating. The Eye TV Wonder was only available from July 2005 to January 2006, before being discontinued and replaced with the Eye TV EZ. The EZ was a basic, entry-level product with an analog tuner for watching TV on a mac computer.
In 2006, version 2.1 of the EyeTV software was introduced with a new user-interface, an integrated TV guide from TitanTV and compatibility with Apple remotes. The interface was similar to that of other Apple products. An article in Macworld praised the update and especially the new editing features, but said it had some quirks, such as a difficult-to-find edit button. Some of the iHome software, which plays video content from a computer onto a television, was released in 2006 as a universal binary.
Version 2.4 of the EyeTV software was released in 2007 and added an export tool for Apple TV. The first EyeTV product for satellite television was introduced in 2008 with the EyeTV 310, which was later discontinued and replaced with EyeTV Sat.
Over the air
The EyeTV Diversity is a USB-powered device with dual tuners for receiving over the air television broadcasts. The tuners can be used simultaneously for an optimized signal, or one tuner can be used to record a channel, while another is used to watch a separate show. Diversity was first introduced in November 2006. A driver in 2009 added compatibility with Windows 7. A review in TechRadar gave EyeTV Diversity five out of five stars. PC advisor and Pocket-Lint both gave it four out of five stars.
EyeTV Hybrid, which can pick up digital or analog television broadcasts, was first released in early 2009. A CNET review said the device was easy and effective to use, but that buffering was often too slow to make watching live TV practical. Macworld said EyeTV's "core strength" was recording scheduled TV shows. A review in PC Magazine gave the product 3.5 out of 5 stars. The review said it "works exceptionally well" but doesn't come with Windows software.
In June 2010, the EyeTV HD product for recording high-definition cable and satellite programming was introduced. Because cable and satellite signals are encoded, the device must be connected to a tuner from a television provider. Then it provides remote controls, recording and DVR-functionality from a connected computer. A Macworld review gave the product four out of five stars. A review in Laptop Magazine gave EyeTV HD 3.5 out of 5 stars. It said the interface was intuitive and the video quality was good, but noted it was only compatible with macs.
The EyeTV Netstream 4Sat has four satellite tuners, allowing four channels to be watched simultaneously from different devices. It was introduced in 2014. A review in Macworld gave it 5 out of 5 stars. The review said Elgato had addressed some of the limitations of prior EyeTV satellite tuners like Netstream Sat/DTT. Pocket-Lint gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars CNET gave it five stars. The EyeTV Sat product, which receives free-to-air television, was introduced in Europe in late 2009. The Register gave it an 80% rating, saying that it "works well" and that the documentation did not make it clear how to install the Apple and Windows versions of the software.
The EyeTV software was updated to version 3.0 in 2008. 3.0 made user interface improvements, such as being able to mark favorites or automatically record shows in a series. A review in TechRadar gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. The review noted that EyeTV was the de facto software for TV and computer video integration and praised its new features, but said it was expensive when purchased separately. A 2007 article in Mac Life said their "top picks" for USB-powered tuners were those using the EyeTV software, such as the EyeTV hybrid or EyeTV 250. In addition to Elgato's EyeTV line of consumer devices, other brands such as Terratec and Migliac use the EyeTV software in their products through licensing agreements with Elgato.
The EyeTV W was introduced in November 2013. It is a small 44 gram device that receives free digital over-the-air television broadcasts and makes it available to portable devices through a wireless hot spot. A review in Macworld said it was portable, easy to use and had good battery life, but noted that users can't connect to other wi-fi networks and watch TV at the same time. It gave the product 4 out of 5 stars. An EyeTV Mobile device for iPads was announced at the 2011 International Franchise Conference as the first tuner for the new Freeview system in the United Kingdom.
Subsequently the EyeTV Mobile and EyeTV Micro products were released for iPhones and Android respectively. The Micro and Mobile allow users to watch or record free over-the-air television programming from their smartphone. Reviews of the mobile products ranged from 2 out of 5 stars by CNET 4 out of 5 stars in Macworld and 3 out of 5 stars in PC Magazine. There is also an EyeTV iPhone app that allows the user to watch their recorded shows on their iPhone, control their EyeTV recordings or watch live TV while connected to Wi-Fi. A compact version for laptops, the EyeTV GO, was introduced in May 2014.
Elgato manufactures and markets a smart-key system. The system comes with a small 10 gram device that is placed on a key ring, in a purse, inside a car, or somewhere else. Then it communicates with an Elgato app on an iOS device. If it is setup for keys, the app will alert the user when they are 10 meters away from their keys, indicating that they may have forgotten them. It takes advantage of the "Smart Bluetooth" Apple implemented in iOS7. A review in TheNextWeb said it was "money well spent" and worked "exactly as described", but that the beeping of the device could be louder and users will still need to supplement it with the Find my Phone app. A review in Macworld gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
In September 2014 Elgato announced a home monitoring system called Eve, which monitors a home's air pressure, water usage, temperature, air-quality and other factors. Elgato said the product won't be available until the HomeKit software, which is expected to come with Apple iOS 8, is released. It also introduced smart light bulbs, which communicate with iOS devices through Bluetooth and allow users to adjust home lighting from their mobile device.
In late 2014, Elgato introduced the Smart Power battery backup for mobile devices. It communicates with the user's bluetooth-enabled device to provide notifications and calendar reminders when it needs to be charged.
Elgato introduced a Thunderbolt external dock in June 2014. A computer is plugged into the dock using a Thunderbolt port in order to gain access to the dock's three USB ports, audio jacks, HDMI and ethernet. It is typically used to plug a Macbook into an office setting (printer, monitor, keyboard) or to provide additional ports not available in the Macbook Air. A review in The Register said it was compact and useful, but Windows users should consider a USB 3.0 dock. The Register and CNET disagreed on whether it was competitively priced. Reviews in TechRadar and Macworld gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
Elgato introduced two firewire external hard drives in September 2012 called Thunderbolt Drive. Benchmark tests by MacWorld and Tom's Hardware said that the hard drive was slower than other products they tested, despite being connected through a faster Thunderbolt port, rather than Firewire. The following year, in 2013, Elgato replaced them with similar drives identified as "Thunderbolt Drive +", which added USB 3.0 support and was claimed to be faster than the previous iteration. A CNET review of a Thunderbolt Drive+ drive gave it a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. It said the drive was "blazing fast" and "the most portable drive to date" but was also expensive. An article in The Register explained that the original drives introduced in 2012 didn't perform well in benchmark tests, but the newer "plus" version had impressive speed results during testing.
Game Capture HD, which connects to gaming consoles to record gameplay, was introduced in 2012. It was created in response to gamers that were hacking EyeTV products for gameplay recording. The device connects between a gaming console and the TV and is powered by a USB connection. It captures video as the console sends it to the television, compresses and stores it. A review in iPhone Life gave it 4 out of 5 stars and noted that it could also be used to record iPad games with the right setup.
In October 2014 Elgato released a new version called HD 60. It recorded in 60 frames per second and 1080-p high definition video, whereas typical low-end video game recording devices capture in 720p and 30 frames per second. The Telegraph gave it four out of five stars. A review in Gizmodo said that it captured extremely high-quality footage, but it may be higher-end than needed for many gamers that would be satisfied with the recording features built-in to the console.
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