Elgato keeps up the innovation with plug-in TV for iPads. Hugh John reports
Given Elgato’s longstanding affinity with Apple you wouldn’t have bet against them being one of the first companies to produce hard drives using Thunderbolt connectors (Apple’s new superfast standard for file transfer rates).
At the Digital Summer PR event (see "Digital Summer hot for latest gizmos") there was considerable interest in the new Elgato Thunderbolt SSD external hard drives featuring Thunderbolt.
As you'd expect, they’re not cheap (from around £240, connecting cable £50) but if you’re constantly working with, and transferring, large image or video files then it’s a premium that may be justified. Elgato describes them as “the fastest single-drive storage solution for your Mac”, citing Apple’s own figures that show Thunderbolt transfer rates to be three times faster than USB3. It's also silent in operation.
Visitors to the Elgato stand could also check out EyeTV Mobile (see video below), near cousin of Elgato’s dinky Tivizen mobile TV tuner (see "Instant iTV for iPods, iPads, Macs and PCs – Tivizen"). Unlike Tivizen, which connects to a mobile device via wi-fi, EyeTVMobile plugs directly into your Apple iPod or iPad 30-pin socket. This means no data charges as the television signals are being received ‘over the air’. Perhaps more importantly for performance, it gives users the option of plugging a larger aerial into the miniscule device. And if there ever was a good excuse to dust off the ‘bigger is better’ cliché then aerial size is it. The EyeTVMobile only works with Apple products, specifically iPads 2 and 3, iPod Touch and iPhone 4S. (Elgato is set to announce an Android version. Watch this space.)
The unit is sheathed in a black rubberised compound and is roughly an inch square (31mm x 41mm x 11mm) and wafer thin with three connections – Apple 30-pin and, in the rear, a micro USB connection and a mini coaxial socket (MCX) which accepts a small, swivel-mounted telescopic aerial, 160mm fully extended, or, for areas where reception is less than perfect, a fixed length miniature rod antenna designed for reliable signal quality, even under conditions unfavourable for reception. This comes with a magnetic base and detachable suction cup to attach to a variety of surfaces. The rod swivels 90 degrees in either direction.
If, however, you intend using the device in one place and want a strong signal you may well opt for a pair of EyeTV DTT antenna socket adaptors, available from the Elgato online store. Having experimented with one I’d go one step further and buy a larger aerial from the likes of Maplin,Tandy or Amazon. They’re cheap, highly effective and are sure to dramatically improve your signal.
Fully charged, the EyeTV Mobile should deliver, says Elgato, up to nine hours of live TV on a fully charged iPad and more than four on an iPhone (at 30 per cent brightness, and with flight mode enabled). The EyeTVmobile app, downloadable free from Apple, includes a 7-day EPG (Electronic Program Guide) and allows users to record and store live TV on their i-devices.
Plug-in TV receiver for Apple iPads and iPod Touches, £72 from Amazon UK
Everything else available from Elgato online store; http://www.elgato.com/elgato/int/mainmenu/buybp.en.html
Large antenna for EyeTVMobile £7
Pair of Antenna socket convertors £5
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD drives: £240 for 120Gb, £389 for 240Gb, connecting cable is £50