EyeTV update adds MPEG-4 for EyeTV 200, ConvertX

A recent update to Elgato's EyeTV Personal Video Recorder (PVR) software for the Macintosh enables Elgato's EyeTV 200 and Plextor Corp.'s ConvertX PVR for the Mac to record video using hardware-based MPEG-4 encoding. Previously the devices were capable only of recording using the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 standards. EyeTV 1.7 is a free upgrade, and also subtitling support and Clear QAM support for certain models of EyeTV hardware.

The EyeTV 200 is a FireWire-based video interface for the Mac that features a 124-channel cable-ready TV tuner and composite, S-Video and stereo audio input connectors. You can use it to record your favorite TV shows or to do analog to digital video conversion from VCRs or other sources.

Plextor Corp.'s ConvertX PVR for the Mac is a USB 2.0-based device that works the same way as the EyeTV 200. For Macintosh compatibility, Plextor has licensed Elgato's EyeTV software. The same software you can download for the EyeTV 200 also works with the ConvertX PVR for the Mac. And, like its Elgato counterpart, the ConvertX can record video to your Mac's hard disk in MPEG-4 format using this new update.

MPEG-4 is an efficient video encoding technology that makes it possible for you to store about three times the amount of video in the same hard disk space that would be occupied by MPEG-2 at a similar level of quality. MPEG-2 is still the better choice if you plan to burn your video to DVD, as that's the video standard used by DVD players, but MPEG-4 will free up considerable hard disk space for other data, if you're just planning on watching video stored on your Mac's hard disk.

In related news, Plextor has also announced a US$49 software upgrade that lets users who already own ConvertX PVR for the Mac to install and use the device on a Windows-based PC as well. ConvertX users interested in the upgrade program can call Plextor at (510) 440-2000 to order.

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