Among TV tuners, Elgato and SiliconDust offer two of the best models. In this review, we’ll be comparing the Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus and the SiliconDust HDHomeRun HDTV Tuner.
The Elgato EyeTV 250 is an update to the EyeTV 250. The key upgrade with the EyeTV 250 Plus ist hat it receives both digital and analogue broadcasts, which is important since all U.S. broadcasts are now digital. The EyeTV 250 Plus comes with hardware encoding that lets you capture video from TV, VHS, video games and other sources and connects to your computer via USB 2.0. The EyeTV is designed for the Mac.
The HDHomeRun is compatible with Windows Media Center as well as third-party apps for Mac and Linux. The HDHomeRun is a dual-tuner, which means you can watch one digital channel while recording another. The SiliconDust HDHomeRun also has an Ethernet port that lets you share the TV tuner’s function with several computers.
As mentioned above, the EyeTV is for Mac only, while the HDHomeRun is designed for Windows, but can also run via third-party applications for Mac and Linux. For that reason, it’s best to use the HDHomeRun if you’re running Windows on any of the machines in your house.
Aside from the platform compatibility issues, the main difference between the EyeTV 250 Plus and the HDHomeRun is that the HDHomeRun allows you to watch unencrypted ClearQAM channels (i.e. cable TV) and digital broadcasts, while EyeTV is limited to analog and digital broadcasts (ATSC/NTSC). The EyeTV 250 Plus will be more useful if you’ll be mainly watching broadcast television, and if you’ll be traveling to countries that may still have NTSC (analog) broadcasts. But if you want to use your TV tuner to access your cable subscription, you should get a HDHomeRun.
The HDHomeRun also runs via Ethernet, which means you’ll need a router—but you’ll be able to watch TV on multiple computers. The EyeTV, on the other hand, connects directly via USB. You’ll only be able to watch on one device at a time, but setup will be easier.
The EyeTV Plus 250 comes with a remote, while the HDHomeRun does not. With a HDHomeRun, you’ll be using Windows Media Center or MythTV to change the channels.
The EyeTV Plus 250 has the advantage of hardware compression, meaning that much of the processing is handled by the unit itself. This feature allows the EyeTV 250 Plus to run a bit better on lower end computers, such as Macs without Intel processors.
Lastly, there’s a slight difference in price—at the time of this article, EyeTV 250 Plus was priced at $159.99 while the HDHomeRun was priced at $119.99. But if you’re a Mac user trying to decide between these two TV tuners, you should focus on the features that each of these TV Tuners offers.