Review Price free/subscription
It's a well-known fact that the analogue TV signal in the UK is going to be switched off, for good, in the next few years. It's an event that will mark one of the biggest exercises in technological obsolescence ever known. Overnight, millions of TVs will become extinct, unusable without an accompanying digital decoder box.
Which makes it a bit weird that there are still some companies manufacturing and selling products that based on an analogue TV tuner. Take this TV tuner and video conversion box from Miglia, for example. It's been designed as a complement to the ultra-stylish Mac Mini, and its sleek aluminum looks mark it out in a market where prosaic plastic USB dongles predominate.
It claims to let you watch TV on your Mac, record it as you would on a digital video recorder such as Sky Plus and make the process of converting that footage to an iPod-friendly format straightforward. All sounds very high-tech, doesn't it? Yet underneath the flashy exterior lurks a soon-to-be defunct analogue TV tuner, which means you'll only be able to use it for three or four years before that part of it becomes useless.
It's a huge shame, because in other respects, the TVMax+ is a well-thought out and well-designed product. It's easy to setup and use for starters, and recording TV is simple. You can perform the usual digital recording tricks such as pausing live TV so you can pop out to make a cup of tea, rewinding and forward winding it. It works in conjunction with the tvtv.co.uk EPG service for scheduling programme recordings - and you can even do this remotely - as long as you leave your Mac on while you're out of the house. There's even a remote control in the box so you can control things from the comfort of your sofa if you wish.
You can also use the TVMax to digitise old analogue video tapes and camcorder footage, and it's here that the device's strength lies. The box has a hardware encoder built into it so, rather than relying on the processor in your Mac to do all the work which can tie up valuable system resources, you can capture footage real time and still use the machine to work or carry out other important jobs. All you do is plug your source in via the composite or S-Video inputs, switch source in the software and hit record.