Elgato EyeHome test and review

Self Help | The Magazine | Downloads | Links | Tips & Advice | Help! I'm new | Contact Us | Subscribe | Home  

Inside the magazine
Self-help message board
Article reprints
How to contact us
Web links directory
Software downloads
Tips and advice
Fire-wire campaign
Subscribe today
Help Me, I'm new!
Fair pricing petition

In Software Downloads:
Magix Video Deluxe Plus
Vegas 4.0

Tips and Advice:
How to get started with computer video editing

Fire-wire Campaign:
Join our ongoing campaign

Elgato EyeHome

Networked media players are becoming the new must-have gadget for digital snappers and internet media enthusiasts. Elgato's EyeHome offers one of the smallest and most elegantly simple solutions - for the Mac

Our first encounter with a network media player involved Pinnacle's ShowCenter - a set-top box that connects via a wired Ethernet or a wireless network to Windows PCs, allowing video, music and photos on PCs to be played on a TV set or though an AV system. Movies are made to be watched on a TV set in a comfortable living room, not a computer monitor in an office or study. Many people seem to feel the same way, boosting sales of network media players in recent months. In truth, we're surprised that it's taken so long for a decent selection of such devices to arrive. QuickTime trailers have long been a staple part of internet marketing initiatives for new movies, and it seems like we can't get through a week without receiving at least one 'you've-been-framed'-style moment as a weighty email attachment.
Network players don't store any media themselves - they rely on database software to catalogue and browse files on one or more personal computers. This need for database software means that many models are created for Windows only. Elgato's EyeHome is one of the few models intended for use on the Mac. The other big contender is Neuston's MC-500, which works not only with Macs, but with Windows and Linux PCs, too. Like Neuston, Elgato has chosen not to reinvent the wheel with its own proprietary database, instead using the Mac system's Movies folder, iTunes playlists and iPhoto albums.
The hardware itself is far smaller than Pinnacle's ShowCenter and a good bit smaller than the MC-500, but it is rather more limited in its connectivity than these two competitors - providing only composite video, analogue stereo audio, optical audio and Scart outputs.

On the whole, EyeHome does its job well. It may not have the bells and whistles we'd associate with the ShowCenter and MC-500, but that's counterbalanced by the simplicity and general reliability of the unit. More extensive connectivity would be appreciated - the addition of S-video and component sockets, for instance.
But while we really like the EyeHome device and applaud the way in which it almost seamlessly integrates with the Mac's existing media databases, we're still disappointed that it failed to deliver on some fundamental promises such as DivX playback and internet access. DivX compatibility is a must for internet enthusiasts, as the format is becoming the standard for encoding and sharing movies online (even if most of this sharing appears to be done illegally). If EyeHome's own internet connectivity can be made to work properly, it would be a superb way to bring the benefit of home computers into the living room. As it is, we feel that there's still a considerable way to go before EyeHome is the killer product it promises to be.

Peter Wells

Recent features...
View The Archive

Reviewed in this issue:

Elgato EyeHome
Boris Continuum Complete 3.01
Snazzi DV.AVIO
Terratec Aureon 7.1
Sony Sound Forge 7 v Steinberg Wavelab 5

In November's news:

Ultra-slim Apple G5 iMacs
Casablanca uses MainConcept
Sony TRV950 replacement
Apple Production Suite
Hitachi 400GByte HDD
MainConcept HD DVD encoder
Networkable Panasonic DVD recorder
Software assistance for DV filmmakers
Roxio sells software arm to Sonic
Miglia FireWire800 storage

Contact Us | Subscribe | Home (c) WVIP. Maintained by Mark Newman.