Mac DVR app shootout: Plex vs. EyeTV

“There’s never been a better time to trade your cable company’s rented DVR for your own Mac-based solution. A once-sparse market for Mac DVR apps now overflows with increasingly powerful and user-friendly choices for recording your favorite TV shows, via antenna or cable,” Nathan Alderman writes for iMore. “We’ve sifted through the growing pile of Mac DVR solutions to compare the two top contenders: veteran EyeTV and relative newcomer Plex.”

“The other players in the Mac DVR arena have their merits, but they all fall short in key ways. It’s important to note that no Mac DVR apps, including EyeTV, Plex, or any of the following rivals, can currently display or record encrypted premium cable channels such as HBO, Showtime, or Starz, even if you’re a subscriber,” Alderman writes “The cable industry demands hefty fees for the keys to unlock those codes, and none of the current Mac apps has yet been willing or able to shell out that much cash.”

“EyeTV boasts many superior individual features, like live TV and more precise scheduling. If you want to fine-tune your recording schedules, or more easily automate your recordings with AppleScript, you may want to go with EyeTV despite its idiosyncrasies and its hefty up-front price,” Alderman writes. “But for most users, EyeTV’s strong suits aren’t strong enough to outweigh Plex’s good looks and impressive ease of use.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you use one, which Mac DVR have you chosen and why?


  1. EyeTV. Been using it for years. The article has incomplete info. It doesn’t talk about about the fact that you can use for listings, and there is a sweet little ‘record’ button in the listings that you can hit to program EyeTV to record. It’s free and couldn’t be easier. YOu don’t have to pay for the TvGuide subscription.. You can also download some tv listings for free. YOu can also stream live tv to the iOS app without having to encode first.

    While I agree, the app is in desperate need of upgrading, and the developers don’t seem inclined to do so, it is way better than Plex.

  2. Not true.
    You can record the ANALOG HDTV output of X1 Boxes if they have the analog out connections. Comcast has them, you just have to ASK for them. Otherwise you get the version without. If you have the top line TiVo, you can also export 1080 via analog out.

    If you have a no longer shipped version of Eye TV HW, the IR Blaster will control your X1 Box and you can do any content you are subscribed to.

    BTW- any of the Game Capture units with analog inputs can also record the analog HDTV output of a Cable Box.

  3. Used to use EyeTV and still have one.

    When Comcast encrypted everything I had to go from direct HD capture for DVR to using the Eye TV HD- no longer sold in the US- which uses the analog hole to record from TiVo and later the Comcast X1 box.

      1. Yes, they used to sell these as Eye TV HD when ElGato owned it. The picture is of a Comcast X1 Box. They have a version with HD Component output (as in the picture) if you do not ask for one, they will give you the model with only HDMI and composite outs.
        The component HD out and IR blaster will let you record anything you are entitled to get by Cable. The article said you could not record encrypted content- that is incorrect.

  4. The article’s tip about the free etv-comskip plugin for EyeTV is excellent! But note that what you download requires DIY final compilation of the installer. That means you need to be CLI (character line interface) friendly and have Apple’s XCode installed, including the CLI tools. If you’ve got all that, the ReadMe provides the three commands to use in the Terminal to get and ‘make’ the installer.

    IOW: There is no pre-made DMG or PKG to download. 🙁

    1. There was a precompiled etc-comskip available.
      Not that it matters as it has not worked for years. Including by the end of 2917 when that original comment was written.
      Also, CLI stands for “command line interface”, not “character one interface” (which doesn’t even make any sense).

  5. I started with an EyeTV Hybrid and have moved to a Diversity so I can record two programs at once. On a macMini attached to HD TV. I have show series permanently set to record based on title, so they record even if they’re only on once per year.

  6. OMG! “Channels DVR”! Once you use this, you’ll never want to go back to EyeTV or PLEX. I’ve used EyeTV for over a decade, tried the latest PLEX DVR until about a month ago – neither give the ease of use, simplicity, or elegance that Channels DVR provide. The only downside to Channels DVR is the monthly $8 cost. It was outrageous to me at first, but after using it, I can’t imagine going back to the others.

    EyeTV provides some more in depth channel info, frequencies, signal strength, etc. But that would be more for the tweaker. If you just want to use a simple, reliable, and beautiful product, check out Channels DVR. There is no easier way to get your live or recorded TV to your Apple TV. For me, the end goal is to get everything I want to watch on my Apple TV. This product is the only one that get my television channels to my Apple TV in a manner that is fitting for an Apple device.

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