“I don’t even own a TV” has become a popular phrase amongst a certain set of people and it’s fascinating to watch the decline of broadcast television – once an essential part of the cultural landscape. With so may options for watching recorded content YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, plus box set and more sitting down in front of the telly and consuming The Real Housewives of New Jersey or yet another repeat of Top Gear doesn’t quite have the appeal it did of when I was younger (and even then it wasn’t all the promising).
However, if you are keen on live TV, be it for sport, live events or just background noise, the elgato eyeTV is one of the best ways of bringing it with you wherever you go – as long as you have an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector.
Although streaming options are available, the eyeTV uses no data and packs a neat little freeview tuner is a tidy, albeit easy to lose, package. There’s a simple detachable telescopic antenna that worked fine most of the London areas where I gave it a a whirl, although there’s a beefier extra antenna for if you’re in an area with terrible reception. This obviously hampers portability a little, but is less of a problem if you’re going to leave your iPad running on a stable surface. The compact unit is reasonably well built – although the lightning connector is very exposed and breaking it was a constant worry.
The included app is great, very simple but with a surprisingly elegant interface. Set up is nothing more than a simple scan for channels and then you’re away.There’s a full EPG and carefully thought out touch interface that made it easy to flick through channels whilst browsing – or scroll through a list of what’s on as you’re watching. You can also share what you’re watching via social media but if you could refrain from doing this that would be awesome. I really don’t care to know.
The app also includes Tivo magic so you can pause, fast forward, and rewind live TV – and even record if you stumble across something good enough.
As someone who has shifted to on demand TV viewing this feels less essential but if you love TV as it happens, it’s a great piece of kit for just £90.
Out now from elgato