Is it a Mac mini? Is it an Apple TV? No, it's a product designed to fit neatly in between the two – hence the slim, Mac-friendly design.
The TVMax+ hopes to be the missing link between your TV, Mac and your iPod, while also supporting Apple TV.So, that's a lot of promise, but what can the box actually do?
First things first: there's a built-in analogue TV tuner. Connect an aerial straight to the machine and you can watch TV on your computer. As the styling might suggest, it's Apple Mac-compatible only.
Record straight to your MacStep two is the ability to record straight to your Mac. Yep! Pause, rewind and record content you're watching straight to your computer.
This means you can compress the content to iTunes, iPod and Apple TV-compatible resolutions, allowing instantaneous sync'ing to your Mac library and beyond. For example, the ‘iPod best' format is 640 x 480 resolution. Ideal!
More after the break
No format too old or obscureAlongside the antenna connection on the back of the unit, there are composite and S-video inputs. These allow for direct ‘capturing' of video content from DVD players, camcorders, old VHS tapes and set-top boxes.
All this can be added to your Mac's library and loaded on to your iPod or sent to your TV using the Apple TV box.
Set-up is simple – be sure to check for the latest version of the software, though – and once up and running, the software is reasonably easy to use, if not the most intuitive. We found ourselves wondering where to look for certain features at times.
What no digital tuner?Sending content to iTunes is instant, so in seconds it's on your iPod – we found little fault with the basic functionality of the software.
What we do think is a mistake is the lack of a Freeview tuner. Surely forward-thinking consumers who might want to buy this would want to be able to access digital TV? After all, there are products elsewhere that offer this, such as the EyeTV 250 Plus from Elgato.
Likewise, we would like to see higher-quality video inputs. On this model there are only composite and S-Video inputs, so no hint of Scart or component, let alone HDMI, should you be wanting to connect a DVD player (as Miglia suggest).
And while we know there are more products out there for PCs, it would be nice if this unit simply offered some PC software, too.
This is an interesting, versatile and useful product, but we don't think it's quite the finished article.