Eyeing Improvements

I was very excited at Macworld Expo 2004 when Elgato first showed me EyeHome, a hardware device that allows you to access movies, pictures and music on your Mac and play them back on your television. While I wasn’t initially impressed with the user interface of EyeHome, I am very satisfied with the latest updates, which completely revamped the look of the software, giving it a more mature feel.

As an avid home theater geek, I believe that the center of my digital universe is my theater system, not my computer. However, I should be able to connect to my computer to play my music, view images and watch movies. Since Apple hasn't done anything in this market, Mac users—including me—have turned to Elgato.

EyeHome shows a lot of promise and the fact that the company revamped the UI so quickly after its initial release (   , June 2004 ) tells me they are serious about giving customers in this market a quality product. The new interface reminds me more of what I expect to see from an electronics company like Sony or Panasonic rather than a computer-oriented tech firm. That kind of familiarity is good news for users like you and me as we begin to make the move to more centralized content in our homes.

Not everything is perfect with EyeHome, yet—there are still a couple of things with the UI that are kind of quirky. For instance, when moving between menus the cursor doesn’t always go where you expect it to be, often times going to the top of the list instead of your last menu choice. However, that’s a relatively minor complaint when stacked against the positive changes that have already been made.

Like my colleague Jason Snell, I would also like to see Apple work with companies like Elgato to allow music purchased through the iTunes Music Store to be played through Elgato devices. With the amount of music I purchase through iTunes, I am finding it more difficult to satisfy my musical tastes by just playing non-DRM songs in my library.

I welcome companies like Elgato that can bring more media into my living room, but I don't want to have to work hard to access the content. From what I’ve seen, Elgato endorses this theory and are working hard to make the digital experience from the Mac to the living room enjoyable.

  
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