EyeTV Hybrid turns your computer into a TV. Picture quality is clearly better what you see on most big HDTV sets, especially if you have a fairly recent PC or Mac.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


How to watch recorded TV shows on your iPhone or iPad

February 19, 2012

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard

Over the last two weeks I've been writing about turning DVDs into video files you can watch on your laptop or other mobile device. (Go here for the first two articles, or use my site's search form and specify DVD as the search term.) This week I'm turning to TV.

There might be dozens of ways to do this. I'll tell you about the method I use.

I record TV shows on my computer using EyeTV Hybrid. This product turns your computer into a TV. Picture quality is fantastic. It's clearly better what you see on most big HDTV sets, especially if you have a fairly recent PC or Mac.

EyeTV Hybrid, sold by Elgato, at http://tinyurl.com/yam3n47, is both hardware and software, and it works on Macs and Windows PCs. It listed for $149.95 in late December. You get both the hardware --a video tuner for TV and cable that plugs into a USB port, and software -- for scheduling, cataloging and recording, using your computer's own hard drive.

The price seems steep, but remember that you are buying not only a TV set that shows live TV but also a DVR -- digital video recorder -- powered by the EyeTV software. It can do everything set-top DVRs do.

You can do time shifting, of course, by scheduling recordings. You can also watch live TV and go backwards in time during the live broadcast to see something you missed without losing the live content. You can remotely watch live and recorded shows from an iPad or iPhone. You can even schedule new recordings remotely.

Don't even think of getting EyeTV if you your PC or Mac isn't fairly new or doesn't have much memory or processor speed. The latest specs call for an Intel Mac on the Apple side or a Windows 7 PC on the Microsoft side.

EyeTVs recordings are broadcast quality, whether HD or standard. Hour-long shows take up 8 GB or so, so I tell EyeTV to make compressed copies of all recordings and save the compressed versions instead of the huge originals. I use the "iPad" setting for quality. An hour-long video at that quality is about 750 MB. You can compress videos more if you don't mind losing some quality.

EyeTV automatically places the converted videos into the iTunes Library if you choose that option, but you have remember to delete the original recordings from EyeTV's "Recordings" window. It's nice that iTunes doesn't touch the originals, since you'll still have that version if the iTunes version turns out to be a yoga class instead of your Cold Play concert, but that puts the responsibility of deleting the original on you; otherwise, you'll have duplicates and run out of disk space quickly.

Watching the videos I record and the movies I rip could not be more convenient. iTunes can beam any of its content, including videos and ripped movies, to any iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches within signal range on your home network.

That means Nancy or I can watch any show I've recorded, and any DVD movie I've ripped, simply by tapping the appropriate icon on our iPads, no matter where we are in the house. For us, TV and movies have finally reached the 21st Century.