Elgato’s EyeTV mobile device, which allows you to watch live TV on your iOS device, is now shipping. Some have waited months for the opportunity to watch free TV on their iPads, but is EyeTV providing the solution consumers want?
Dyle is backed by a consortium of broadcast partners with the mission to bring, as well as brand, live TV to portable devices. There is a rich array of free local HD OTA programming, and the push is to get this on the mobile devices of consumers. Elgato’s EyeTV is one of the first for the iPad and iPhone, but there are a few catches with the product. First of all the adapter is already outdated. Apple has introduced a new and improved port, called the Lightening connector, on all of its Apple products this year. It’s designed to be better for charging and using add-on devices, and it is reversible, meaning cables and adapters can be used facing either way; the adapter can reassign the port no matter how it is inserted. Elgato’s device is a small black box with an antenna, but it still uses the old Apple 30-pin adapter. So you need an additional adapter to use the adapter, on this year’s iPhone and iPad. The device works only in some cities (not mine, I checked) where the coverage is, and even then it’s only a handful of channels. There is no DVR functionality, which would be a great fit for the iPad. Sports fans, maybe one of the key demographics, will be disappointed to find that NFL games are blocked on the device.
Aside from the drawbacks, on the positive side, this is Dyle getting out of the gates for the holiday season with a product targeted at the hugely popular iOS devices. With millions of iPads and iPhones out there, a relatively inexpensive device ($99) could be a good impulse buy for those who want to watch live TV as it happens. But Dyle and partners such as Elgato need to make these products a no-brainer. They need to be a compelling product, with little if any restrictions, that offers a better option than consumers currently have. The coming season will tell how quickly they get to that point, but clearly they are out of the gates now with their first major device for an equally major platform.