TV on your iPhone or iPad wherever you go, Elgato EyeTV Mobile analysis for iOS

elgato’s EyeTV products are well known to any Mac aficionado. For years, the company has been introducing products we’ve talked about at Apple. The last one we looked at was the eyetv DTT Deluxe for Mac in 2010, a great HD DTT TV tuner in an absolutely tiny design. Today, I’ll tell you about the new version that elgato has launched for watching DTT on our iOS device, with its EyeTv Mobile .

The idea of this device is the same as in its homonym for Mac, a small device that connected, allows to receive ( even record ) the DTT signal, as if it were a normal television. In fact, the operation is practically identical to its big brother: connect it, open the appropriate software ( in this case an app ) and browse the television in the usual way.

TV on your iPhone or iPad wherever you go, Elgato EyeTV Mobile analysis for iOS
TV on your iPhone or iPad wherever you go, Elgato EyeTV Mobile analysis for iOS

In the iOS version, we have also taken advantage of the touch screen to switch between channels by sliding your finger from right to left, sort channels, check the programme guide… All this, remember, using the DTT air signal : the video and audio of the channels are not downloaded from the Internet, so we can use them even when we are away from home without spending our data rate .

Box contents and physical design

I’m sure you’re familiar with it, if you’ve had a chance to try out the Mac version. This time, the box includes the EyeTV Mobile DTT receiver for iOS and two antennas: a miniature telescopic one and a fixed and extendable rod antenna with a cable that has two bases, one magnetic and one suction cup.

We also have an adapter to directly connect any antenna cable, whether it comes from a home connection or a higher external antenna. It does not include the adapter for the 30-pin dock connector to Lightning, which we will have to purchase separately if we are going to use it in a device with Lightning.

The physical design is very similar to what we’ve already seen in the Mac version. A little wider, but just as thick. Very light, it is very comfortable to carry because it fits in any pocket of a garment or a suitcase. It’s almost the same size as an SD memory card, so you get the idea.

Left, EyeTV DTT Deluxe for Mac. In the center, the new EyeTV Mobile for iOS.

Before we continue, let’s talk about requirements . The Elgato EyeTV Mobile only works on iPhone 4S and above, and iPad 2 and above. The device connection system is the “old” Apple 30-pin connector, but we can use it on any iOS device with a Lightning port if we have the familiar adapter.

The speed, handling and usage are exactly the same when used on an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 ( or a fourth generation iPad mini or iPad ).

Operation and use

To start working, we will need to download the corresponding application ( of course free ) from the App Store. This is EyeTV Mobile, a very small version of the fantastic EyeTV 3 we have for the Mac. When we download it, and connect the device to the iPhone, the message you see above will appear. If we allow it to continue, it will open the newly downloaded application and we can start using it, first of all, by searching for channels.

The number of channels found will depend on the quality of the signal that reaches us, and that is directly proportional to the quality of the antenna that we connect to the device, as well as the area ( outdoor or indoor ) where we are. Obviously, outdoors we will always have more chance of finding more channels.

In my tests, indoors and using the telescopic antenna, I found about 30 channels, which is not bad ( although this depends a lot on the area and signal coverage, as I say ). If we connect the fixed rod antenna, which we can separate more from the device, we will find even more. Of course, the best option is a good external antenna or connecting it directly with an antenna cable to a community antenna.

The quality as you can see in the picture above is not bad at all. In addition, EyeTV Mobile’s interface also loads the extra information provided by DTT, showing it on screen. From here we can also start a recording ( the space on our mobile can be adjusted from the application ), change the language if the broadcast allows it, the subtitles, and even pause playback and delay and forward it as we like.

We also have available a programming guide, from which we can consult the information of the registered channels. This guide is not bad, but it’s certainly light years away from the fantastic EyeTV 3, full of information, quadrants with schedules and much more data. In any case, the iOS version is quite functional in that respect.

The application is already designed with the iPhone 5 in mind, making the most of the four inches of the screen, so we won’t have to worry about seeing the broadcast cut off with black stripes.

iPad support

I didn’t want to overlook the fantastic use this product has on larger screens like the iPad. Also, this device in a product like the iPad makes it perfect to accompany us on vacations or trips, without taking up much more space than our own tablet.

For the tests, I tried the iPad mini , for several reasons: it has a Lightning port ( and I wanted to check how it behaves ), and the processor is not as powerful as the fourth generation iPad or iPhone 5. My goal was to make sure that the product works exactly the same on the iPad mini as well. And it has. The EyeTV Mobile app also has an app designed exclusively for the iPad screen, and the operation is identical:

In this test, I also used another 30-pin adapter to Lightning (with cable) to verify that it was also compatible and worked correctly

EyeTV DTT Deluxe, un sorprendente sintonizador de TV de alta definición para Mac

A pity though that Elgato did not take the opportunity to use the iPad screen even better to show more information. Something like what EyeTV 3 for Mac shows for example as a channel guide, something that this iOS version falls short of being a mere adaptation of the four-inch screen version:

TV wherever you go

This long-awaited version of EyeTV for iOS more than fulfils its mission: viewing channels, exploring them and the basic options of DTT make it the best purchase option if you want a TV in your pocket without having to spend your monthly data with other Internet viewing options.

However, there is a lack of better software that takes advantage of all the new features that are peripheral to DTT: a good programme guide, more recording and playback options… The Mac version of EyeTV 3 set the bar very high, and we hope that in time the iOS version will come closer. In any case, the functionality of watching TV with quality and ease of use is on a high note.

We would also like Elgato to offer the product already adapted for Lightning, or in two versions ( 30-pin Lightning ) so that you don’t have to carry around extra adapters (which I recall, are not included in the package). The price is one of its negative aspects, as it is on sale for 99.95 euros, 20 euros more expensive than the Mac version. However, if you need a portable TV without depending on the data in your iOS device, the best option available today with quality, is this EyeTV Mobile tuner .

At Apple

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