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Elgato EyeTV Netstream DTT review

Kat Orphanides
1 Jun 2010
Elgato EyeTV Netstream DTT
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
186
inc VAT

The Netstream does a great job as a network TV tuner, but we're still left with the question of whether anyone really needs it, especially at this price.

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Elgato's EyeTV Netstream DTT is the first network TV tuner we've ever seen. It designed to let you watch broadcast TV on any computer attached to your network. Inside its compact casing is a pair of DVB-T tuners. You connect the box either to your home's aerial lead or the supplied mini antenna. You’ll also have to hook up the Netstream's 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet port to your router.

A web interface allows you to view status information for the device's dual tuners. Conveniently, you can install the EyeTV plugin for Windows Media Center direct from the web interface, although it only works under Windows 7. Users of earlier versions of Windows will have to install Terratec’s capable Home Cinema software from the bundled disc. EyeTV software for the Mac is also provided, and you can even get an app that will allow you to watch the stream on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

You’ll need to scan for TV channels in your chosen software. From then on, it’s a lot like using a USB tuner, with access to the EPG, the ability to record programmes and to customise your channel list, though all such actions only affect that local PC.

If you want to access TV channels using freely available media players, such as VLC, then you can use Terratec’s software to copy a channel list back to the Netstream. Once done, it’s easy to export an M3U playlist, for use with your media player, via an option in the web interface. Along with UPnP support, this makes it easy to get visitors or guests hooked up quickly.

The NetStream may claim HD compatibility, but with only DVB-T tuners you aren’t going to be watching Freeview HD in the UK (as only DVB-T2 tuners are capable of receiving this). The only silver-lining of this limitation is that you shouldn’t suffer any problems with jerkiness or packet loss if you choose to watch it via a wireless connection to your router. The ability to access the TV stream via a wireless connection makes it far more flexible than most TV tuners, which tie you to your aerial cable.

As the Netstream is a dual-tuner device, you can either watch one channel while recording another or watch two different channels on different devices, which is handy if you share a home with someone whose taste in television doesn't match your own. You can’t connect more than two PCs at once though, even if they want to watch the same channel, which is a huge shame as it could have been handy for network broadcast of a single channel in the workplace, say a 24-hour news channel.

The Netstream DTT is in many ways a good idea, well implemented. However, we doubt that many people actually need something like this, particularly at such a high price. If you're one of the few who needs to share Freeview over your network, the Netstream works perfectly. Otherwise, a simple USB or PCI TV tuner is a much cheaper way to get digital TV on your PC, assuming that iPlayer and other online services aren't enough for you.

Details

Rating***

Features

Digital tuners2
Tuner typeFreeview
Interface10/100Mbit/s Ethernet, 802.11n wireless

Buying Information

Price£186
Supplierhttp://www.morecomputers.com
Detailswww.elgato.com

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