31 January 2008 @ 21:57Hands-on with Elgato EyeTV Hybrid
When Elgato announced at the Macworld Expo San Francisco that their new EyeTV could receive Clear-QAM transmissions, I quickly placed an order for an EyeTV Hybrid. I live in an area just out of antenna range of any ATSC signals, but I do have cable tv. I have wanted a way to capture some high-def television, and now, thanks to Elgato, I had a solution.
My EyeTV Hybrid arrived yesterday, and the first thing I noticed was its size. The EyeTV Hybrid is smaller than I had imagined. It’s not much bigger than the 1GB USB flash drive I have in my pocket. I quickly plugged it in and installed the software. I let it go through its channel scan and it found 59 clear-QAM channels, of which about 50 were music channels. The first thing I wanted to do was see how easy it was to record, so I found an HD channel and pressed the record button on the controller. After a few seconds, I stopped it. I then went to Recordings section and found a recording labeled “Live Recording”. I exported the video as an MPEG Program Stream, so that I could inspect the unaltered video in MPEG Streamclip. MPEG Streamclip identified the tracks as:
224 MPEG-2, 1280 x 720, 16:9, 59.94 fps, 8.00 Mbps, progressive
128 AC3 3/2, 48 kHz, 384 kbps
Next, I wanted to test a scheduled recording, which in this case happened to be the season 3 finale of Lost which is broadcast in 720p. The recording started and stopped as scheduled, and the resulting 2 hour file, after exporting to an MPEG Program stream, was about 7GB in size. Here is a still frame from the recording.
Storing HD recordings will require a lot of disk space, and since I have no means to burn or playback HD discs, I can transcode the HD videos to DVD resolution using either the EyeTV software or ffmpeg. Here is a sample of that HD recording that I transcoded with ffmpeg. The EyeTV software offers quite a few export options including, iPod/iPhone, iDVD, and DVD Studio Pro. Click here to see the full list.
As for editing your EyeTV recordings, you can highlight the recording that you want to edit, pull down the Action menu and click Edit. From here the video opens in a separate window with a timeline. At this point I wanted to remove some commercials, so I naturally click the timeline at the start of the commercial, clicked the Add Markers button (looks like two triangles), and highlighted the commercial. Now, I assumed that I should be looking for a Cut option to remove the commercial, and after searching to no avail, I resorted to downloading and reading the EyeTV Software Manual. I found out that “Compact” is what I was looking for. Not exactly intuitive. Highlight all the sections you want to remove, then choose Compact from the Action menu.
Recording. It’s as simple as clicking the red button under the show’s name. If necessary, you may edit the recording to adjust the time, frequency, information, channel, and export options.
I will try to post again when I have more experience with the EyeTV Hybrid. One thing I want to figure out is how to “map” the standard definition channels from the program guide to the available high definition channels. I believe that this can be done through the TitanTV website.