Miglia TVMini – USB 2.0 HDTV Digital TV
The other week we reported on the excellent Elgato DTT receiver with the EyeTV 2 software.
This week we’re back again with the Elgato EyeTV but with different hardware; the Miglia TVMini. It allows you to watch, pause, record and rewind free-to-air digital TV straight on your Mac.
Unlike the Elgato, the TVMini is as its name describes, Mini! Itï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s the exact same size as the iPod shuffle and in the same quality finish as well. This means this chewing gum packet sized stick can straight in to your USB slot, attach an aerial to it and you’ve got yourself a digital terrestrial receiver for your Mac.
That’s all the hardware required to get this thing installed. The next step is to install the EyeTV 2 software. We reviewed this last time so check out the review for further details on this.
This time I reviewed it on the MacBook Pro since the software is now Universal Binary. Great news for those who can receive HD broadcasts and for those who will want to export these videos to other formats. The export speed and video motion is superb and flawless. My PowerBook G4 1.5GHz often struggled to accomplish other tasks when I had the EyeTV software running. Exporting was no fun either as it took forever and a day to finish. The Intel chip really does light (and almost literally) a fire on the EyeTV software. As with any CPU intensive task, you will find that the MacBook Pro will start to ‘sweat’ after a while.
The quality of the picture is superb and for some reason we did manage to get 100% signal quality and strength more often than with the Elgato DTT. Whether this was the aerial or the receiver itself, we’re not sure.
Even on a small 15-inch MacBook Pro screen (non-glossy) you get stunningly sharp pictures. It takes your breath away when it comes to outputting digital terrestrial broadcasts. Never before has digital TV over an aerial looked so well. With the Progressive Scan function switched on (turn on manually using Preferences) the picture quality is nothing short of breath taking.
Few things are different to the Elgato in terms of the accessories that ship with it. The antennae is a little bit different but is none the less a complete disaster when it comes to picking up a stable signal. Might just be the area that I’m in (I did try this in various locations indoors and outdoors) but 90% of the time I don’t get anything picked up and the other 10% of the time is the picture flickering on and off the screen.
You need a dedicated aerial or you need to be in an area of good reception or like me, you won’t be able to pick up the signal to receive all or any of the channels.
The compact nature of the Miglia TVMini means you can take it on the road with you in your pocket. No cables are required, just needs an antennae of some description and a decent signal pick up. The remote is optional; you can control the interface without it. All functionality can be done through the remote but the buttons aren’t as user-friendly as you might expect but after some trial and error you’ll get used to it.
Once you do pick up the functionality of the remote, you’ll find it an easy to use tool in navigating the EyeTV software.
The USB stick is small enough to fit in your pocket but can become a bit of an eyesore with it sticking out of the USB port of a portable Mac. It didn’t look good and I was always conscious of it when I needed to move my MacBook Pro. The concern was that the USB might snap of or damage the USB port if I accidentally knocked it or caught it on something. But I guess that applies to all USB devices really. A USB extension cable does ship in the box so if you need to extend the distance or prefer to attach it this way then you’ll find this to do the job.
All in all, the Miglia TVMini gets the thumbs up for a TechCast Recommended award, mainly for it’s compact and lightweight 200g Shuffle-like design. The two year standard warranty isn’t too shabby either and may come in to hand if you’re going to be taking this from place to place.
The software that comes with it is the well tested and tried EyeTV 2 from Elgato and the best digital TV application that I’ve used for the Mac so far.
At the moment, Apple Store UK are offering 30% off the manufacturer price and comes with free shipping at Â£69.95. This offer is valid until 09/07/2006.
Get it whilst it’s hot ladies and gents because if you want TV on your Mac, there’s no better compact alternative.
Just go buy one now ok.