By Phil the Gadget Guy
There are lots of "deals" out there this time of year for high-definition TVs and digital video recorders that let you record, pause, rewind and play back your favorite shows.
But not one of those gadgets fits in your pocket. And you can't find that particular combination of products for under $150.
However, a company named Elgato (elgato.com) makes a line of products that bring HDTV and DVR functionality to a Mac computer or a PC running Windows 7 or Windows Media Center.
After about 15 minutes of software setup, Elgato also adds a detailed on-screen program guide to the mix as well as the capability to capture video from old video tapes and edit them. Those of you with Mac computers can even stream your video onto iPhones/iPods/iPads over a WiFi or 3G connection.
EyeTV Hybrid ($135 at amazon.com) is the newest, and smallest, product in the Elgato line. No more than a thumb drive, really, this product plugs into a USB port on your computer. A connector at the other end attaches to an antenna (not included) or an unscrambled cable TV connection.
Once it's in place, your computer displays a gorgeous, live, high-definition TV picture and has full DVR functionality. The Hybrid comes with all the software you need, plus additional video and USB cables and an infrared remote control to channel-surf and manipulate video playback/recording without using your computer mouse or keyboard.
Also included in the Elgato EyeTV line:
* EyeTV One ($120): Delivers just over-the-air TV onto your computer.
* EyeTV HD ($200): Provides full access to your premium cable or satellite content as well as over-the-air and non-premium stuff.
* EyeTV app ($5 in the App Store): Once you have EyeTV software and a tuner on your Mac computer, this iPhone/iPad app allows you to watch live TV streaming on your iPhone/iPad through a WiFi or 3G connection. You can even change channels as well as watch (or schedule) video recordings. At the moment, this app doesn't work with EyeTV software on a PC.
Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org