EyeTV developer Elgato on Wednesday introduced the Turbo.264, a device that enables Mac users to convert video to H.264 format using hardware-based video encoding, which works significantly faster than software. It costs $99.95.
The video iPod, Apple TV, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and other devices can play back MPEG-4 video encoded using H.264, also known as Advanced Video Codec (AVC). The end results are great, but even on a fast Mac it can take a while to encode the video. The Turbo.264 resolves that problem by providing hardware-based H.264 encoding that Elgato claims is up to four times faster on Intel-based Macs — “exponentially faster” on PowerPC-based Macs.
The Turbo.264 installs as a USB 2.0 stick, and includes software that lets you convert videos one at a time or as a batch. The app automatically drops the converted files into iTunes for you, so you can sync them to your iPod or Apple TV right away.
The device will also work in concert with popular Mac video applications — the hardware encoder “jumps in to take over for your Mac’s processor,” according to Elgato, and works as a “co-processor,” taking the load off your Mac’s own processor. It works with iMovie, Final Cut Pro, QuickTime Player Pro and EyeTV, among other applications.
The software included with the Turbo.264 offers presets for the Apple TV, iPod and PSP.
System requirements call for a G4 or better, 512MB RAM, built-in USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X v10.4 or later, QuickTime 7.1.5 or later and iTunes 7.1.1 or later.