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EyeTV Hybrid Tuner Stick

Our Sony Bravia large screen LCD TV is on the fritz. While we are happy to report that Sony is stepping up and sending a tech out to take a look, it means that we have to go elsewhere for watching football over the weekend. It then dawned on us: we already had all the pieces in-house to put something together for watching the games—a large monitor, the Elgato TV Tuner Stick, and the ClearStream Micron antenna.

The setup was simple: attach the Micron antenna to the Elgato Tuner Stick, insert the Stick into a free USB port on the laptop, and install the EyeTV 3.0 software. The 21″ Apple Cinema Display hooked up to the laptop would be the main screen. While it wasn’t as nice as kicking back and watching the Patriots on the 46″ Sony Bravia, it was reasonable for watching the game, especially since the picture was  in HD. BTW, theClearstream Micron antenna is flat, so it was easy to find a place for it. We have been using the Micron indoor antenna for the Sony large screen and its performance has just been awesome. In fact, it is the reasons why we no longer have a subscription to basic Cable.

While the EyeTV Hybrid tuner is tiny (Elgato’s smallest ever), it is packed with features and capabilities. The Stick can handle unscrambled cable signals, digital and analog TV signals, and HD broadcasts where available. It was exactly what we needed and more. How much more? With the latest EyeTV 3.0 software, we could not only watch, but was able to pause and rewind live TV right on the Mac.

Another benefit of watching TV on the multi-screen setup was the ability to pick the size and placement of the TV window. If we wanted to surf while watching the game, we could make the TV window smaller, put it in a corner, or move it to the other screen on the side. When something interesting was happening in the game, we could quickly expand it to take up the entire screen on the larger monitor. If we missed something, we could rewind and watch it using the DVR functions. Pretty cool.

While the experience was not as immersive as on a 46″ LCD, watching the game on the computer screen was actually a lot better than we would have thought. The Elgato Tuner Stick performed flawlessly the entire weekend. Of couse, it would have been better if the Patriots hadn’t blown a 21 point lead, but hey…at least we got to watch the game.

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