Review: HDHomeRun Network TV Tuner



The HDHomeRun is a network tv tuner, rivalling the likes of the Elgato EyeTV Netstream. This device connects directly to a network (via a router) rather than to an individual PC. This means the HDHomeRun can connect to any computer on your network, without the need for antenna cables or dedicated tuners connected directly to your computer. Simply put, you can watch TV wherever your computer and network (wireless or wired) can go.

The device itself is small and simple. It contains two high definition TV tuners. On the rear, there are sockets for ethernet, antenna and power. On the front there are LED indicators for power and each tuner, which are handy for knowing when one or both tuners are in use.

The HDHomeRun is very easy to setup, first by connecting it to the router, antenna wall socket and power adapter, then installing the device driver on any Windows, Mac or Linux computer. The HDHomeRun works with a number of TV/Media applications. I chose to use Windows 7 Media Center on my PC and Elgato EyeTV on my Mac. Within minutes of running through the setup on each application, I was able to watch High Definition TV, over my wired and wireless network, concurrently on both Windows and Mac computers.

As an added bonus, the HDHomeRun allows live viewing of HD/SD channels and any saved recordings (from your Mac computer running EyeTV software), via the EyeTV iOS app ($5.49) for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. The EyeTV Netstream offers the same functionality, plus direct streaming of SD channels (a Mac is required for HD channels) to iOS devices. Just keep in mind the Netstream ($300) costs nearly double the price of the HDHomeRun ($170), for an otherwise functionally identical product.

 The Good

  • Quick and easy to setup.
  • Excellent quality HD video, no stutter or lag over Wireless N.
  • Watch and record concurrently, even across two different computers.

 The Bad

  • Requires the antenna wall socket and router to be in close proximity.
  • Bundled software is rubbish. Use Windows Media Center (free) or Elgato EyeTV ($106) for Mac, instead.

Conclusion

Having used several USB TV tuners on both Windows and Mac, the move to a network TV Tuner has proved a success. Performance and reliability are largely dependent on the network quality and TV reception, but provided both of these boxes are ticked, the results will be excellent.

Rating: 5/5