Elgato Digital TV Decoder

The recently bought an Elgato digtal TV decoder for my mac. I bought it bundled with a hardware accelerator for video compression. Both products worked very well but were a few things that disappointed me.

The digital TV decoder does HDTV only on Intel Macs. I have a G5 with 2 PowerPC chips and buckets of RAM. I expect it would have been able to handle HDTV. But the software didn't even try. The website did say that performance would vary from machine to machine depending on spec, but if it had said flat out that it wouldn't work on my G5, I wouldn't have bought it. The box did actually say this up front. But it was in my living room at that stage.

The hardware accelerator worked well but had some frustrating limits. Elgato's EyeTV software stores captured TV in an uncompressed format. The hardware accelerator did an excellent job of converting this to MPEG4. However the dimensions of the compressed video were limited. So even if I captured HDTV the accelerator would shrink it down. This is fine for folks with AppleTV since that doesn't do HD anyway. But the media player I have does HD.

I returned both products. In fairness to Elgato there was no fuss with the return. Although I did have to pay the shipping myself. Had I bought it at the AppleStore someone would have been sent to pick it up.

I will probably buy some Elgato products again. But only when I can do everything I want with HD TV.


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