Solutions to the Canadian Gap in Elgato’s EyeTV

I don’t watch a heck of a lot of television, but there are several particular (and generally mind-numbingly simple) shows that I am addicted to.

However, I find the television set itself, as an object, particularly ugly. And the current generation of big-screen LCDs tend to visually take over a room. So I’ve resisted dedicating any portion of my living room to this particular technological atrocity.

Instead, I do my television watching on one of my Macs or my iPod touch. (Quit rolling your eyes; the optical dimensions of the iPod touch screen held at about half-arm’s length are roughly equivalent to a 32″ television that’s 6 feet away. In other words, there’s no loss in visual quality.)

So support this habit, I recently fell in love with a piece of software called EyeTV after I learned that it offered Wifi streaming of the television programming it recorded. However, EyeTV doesn’t offer in-program television listings to Canadians, as it does for users in most other parts of the world. And that’s a major bummer, because it means you’ve got to find that information elsewhere.

So I was pleased today to stumble upon a couple of applications that fill this gap, Couch Potato and MacProgramGuide. Both of these applications access the fee-based television directory service at Schedules Direct (20 bucks per annum), so it sort of stupifies me why Elgato hasn’t just built this in to EyeTV.

Regardless, once set up, both applications offer one-click access to set up programs for recording in EyeTV. That might not sound huge, but it’s a huge time-saver over manually entering all the info into the somewhat clunky EyeTV interface. 

Couch Potato runs as a widget in the Mac OS X Dashboard and costs $5 to license. MacProgramGuide is a Mac OS desktop app; the author offers it for free, but asks for a donation if you use it regularly.