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Most people that I know own at least 1 television set and these days it’s usually a wall-mounted plasma of at least 40 inches. When I watch TV it really is “on the small screen”. All my viewing is done on my MacBook Pro or my iPad or iPhone.

Connected to my MacBook Pro I have an Elgato EyeTV DTT, a USB TV tuner/recorder. I usually have the app’s window sized to about 6 inches, though if there’s something exciting on I might hit the “Enter Full Screen” key!

In addition to allowing me to watch and record live TV, it comes with software that converts the proprietary .eyetv files (generated when you record a programme) to various formats including M4V – which means that I can watch the recording on an iPhone or iPad.

There is also an EyeTV app for the iPhone and iPad which allows you to, amongst other things, stream live TV to your device.

As long as your iPad/iPhone is connected to the same WiFi network as your Mac(s), when you run the app it displays a list of all Macs on your network that have the EyeTV software installed. Tap the name of the Mac whose TV you want to stream. If the EyeTV software is not running on the Mac that you select, it asks if you want to start the EyeTV running.

Elgato EyeTV

From the menu on the left, you can choose whether to watch live TV, watch a programme that you have previously recorded, display a list of future programmes that are scheduled for recording on the Mac (you can cancel recordings from here too) and view the channel guide (where you can also set a programme to be recorded) on the eyeTV on the Mac.

To watch live TV, simply tap the channel that you want to watch. If you have the EyeTV running on your Mac, the Mac will be tuned to the selected channel (so be careful if someone else is watching on the Mac!).

If you want to watch an EyeTV recording on your iPad/iPhone, it has to be “prepared”. This is done by right-clicking on the recording in the Mac version of the EyeTV app and selecting “Prepare for iPhone access”. This process doesn’t convert the file to an M4V. It remains an .eyetv file but is now playable (as a streaming file from the Mac) on an iPhone and iPad (although the command is “Prepare for iPhone”, it plays full screen on an iPad, not at 2x)*.

Elgato EyeTV

A small issue that I had recently was a problem with the audio. The volume was set to maximum on the iPad itself (using the volume switch on the side).

However, when I double-clicked the Home button to bring up the list of currently running apps and swiped my finger to the right to display the volume controls, I found the mute was turned on.

Simply tapping the volume icon turned off the mute and restored the sound.

The EyeTV app is available from the iTunes Store and costs £2.99 / $4.99

*Thanks to Elaine Giles for this tip…the .eyetv file that is created when a recording is created is actually a package. If you right-click on the file in Finder and select Show Package Contents, you will see a number of files including a .mpg. This is the actual video file. When you prepare an EyeTV recording for iPhone access, an extra file is added to the Package. This file is an M4V. As well as this being the file that is streamed to your iPhone/iPad, courtesy of the EyeTV app, you can play it directly on your Mac or copy it to your iPhone and play it with an appropriate app such as VLC.