Elgato EyeTV Netstream Sat Initial Setup

Network streamed TV is something I’ve long had an interest in due to the set top box lockdown imposed upon us in the UK by Sky and Virgin Media. Elgato EyeTV Netstream Sat is a DVB-S2 Freesat HD network attached TV tuner which allows you to escape the set top box lockdown and enjoy TV how you want on almost any device using your existing satellite dish and home network.

Recently, I tweeted ( a picture of the new Elgato EyeTV Netstream Sat that arrived for me in the post. I got a chance last week to have a go at setting this up to see how well it all works. For this post, I’m just going to be installing the device and configuring it on my Windows 8.1 desktop PC to see if it works using the client software shipped with the device. Once I’ve got this all working, I’ll be moving up a gear to setting it up with Windows Media Center for my HTPC.

Where to Buy and What You Get

The EyeTV Netstream Sat sells on Amazon for just shy of £130, but head to eBay and you can pick up a new unit for an eBay shop as I did for £100.

The EyeTV Netstream Sat on it’s own is a single tuner device allowing you to stream a single channel of Freesat HD TV to your network devices. You can expand this with the EyeTV Sat Free which is identical in looks however lacks the Ethernet port and instead connects to the EyeTV Netstream Sat by a USB cable adding a second tuner capability.

For my needs, I’m looking at a final design consisting of two EyeTV Netstream Sat devices with two subordinate EyeTV Sat Free devices which will give me a total of four Freesat HD tuners on the network. Total cost for this is in the region of £300 but with my current Sky TV bill coming in at £39 a month, this will pay for itself in eight months due to the nature of subscription free Freesat.

Installing the EyeTV Netstream

Setup is really simple as it should be for a consumer device. Connect the EyeTV Netstream Sat to power, an Ethernet cable to the RJ-45 port and a Coaxial cable into the satellite input port. It goes without saying that for this to work you need an existing satellite dish on your house pointing to the right satellites. I’m currently a Sky customer which means I’ve already got the dish and it’s pointing at the right part of the sky to pick up the signals.

Once powered up and connected, the EyeTV Netstream Sat will pick-up an IP Address from DHCP on your router however with me and my overly complex home setup, I like to have my infrastructure devices on static IP addresses so that I can give them cute DNS names to access them. If you are going for a basic install, you can skip the following piece and head straight to software installation where the tuner will be automatically detected on the network however if you’re like me, then keep reading.

Configuring the EyeTV Netstream

My EyeTV Netstream picked up an IP Address out of my Windows Server 2012 Essentials DHCP scope which I pointed my browser to after which you are presented with the web interface. The initial page Status shows you the tuner signal strength which will probably show 0% at this point as it hasn’t been configured. Head straight to the Network tab to configure the static IP Address and DNS Server IPs.

You need to click the padlock icon in the right of the tab navigation bar to unlock the interface and allow you to edit the settings. The default PIN is 1234.

EyeTV Netstream Network Settings

Change the default option from DHCP to Manual Setup and enter your network settings. As you can see, I’m a bit of a propeller-head and use a network range for my home network. Nothing like simulating the office right? There is a Test Network Speed button at the bottom of the page which I fail to understand and we’ll ignore as this button tests your broadband internet speed which being we aren’t streaming IPTV here but receiving hardline satellite signals here, I don’t quite get it’s purpose?

My EyeTV Netstream shipped with quite an old firmware version. Elgato don’t seem to issue very frequent updates but each one does include good fixes and updates, so head over to and download the latest (1.1.5 Build 423 at the time of writing) and use the Update button on the General tab to install this. The device will reboot after installing the update and mine took about two minutes to come back to life afterwards.

EyeTV Netstream General Settings

The General tab also let’s you assign a name to it so that if you have multiple EyeTV Netstream’s on your network you can identify which is which. I’d also recommend changing the PIN number on this page too from the default of 1234 to something personal to you. This PIN is what locks down the web interface to prevent unauthorized changes.

Installing the Windows PC Software

At this point, you’ve configured your EyeTV Netstream Sat on the network and if you followed the steps above, you’ve got it updated with the latest firmware and set yourself a custom PIN. Installing the Windows PC Software can be achieved using either the provided CD or from the web interface. As I was already in the web interface, I did the latter. Click the Install tab in the interface.

EyeTV Netstream Install Links

Here, you get links to all the various software options for accessing your Netstream. As you’ve probably gathered by now from the physical device’s appearance, the web interfaces look and feel and the fact that Mac OS X is listed top on this page, these EyeTV devices are really Mac biased but they work just as well for Windows and PC so don’t be put off by any of this. Click the link for TerraTec Home Cinema to download the software.

During the installation, you’ll be asked for an activation code. This is the code which is printed on a small card inside the product box. This is the reason I decided to buy new and not used as I was worried that the activation of a used product may not go down so well.

Scanning for Channels

Once you’ve got the software installed and running, you need to scan for channels. The scan interface should automatically pop-up on first run but if it doesn’t, you can access it from the Setup button on the black control console and then click the Scan tab.

TerraTec Scan for Channels

To find the channels, leave the Filter set to Free-to-Air as you don’t get a card interface with EyeTV Netstream Sat to allow you to access encrypted channels. Click the Automatic Satellite Detection button after which a new dialog will appear. This will use the dish to determine what satellites are visible to the dish. After the scan completed, I was told that I’m using the Astra Freesat 28.2 East satellite.

Once this is done, click the main Scan button to begin a search for channels.

TerraTec Found Channels

Viewing the Results

As you can see from the screenshot above, it found lots of channels and radio stations. Click OK and you should now be able to start viewing. Right-clicking in the TV viewing area gives you an option to select a channel. I went straight for BBC One HD, the highest bit rate channel on Freesat HD currently to stress test it.

TerraTec BBC One HD

I happened to try this at the time that the regional news was on so I only got a splash page but it worked none-the-less. I tried this in full-screen mode on my 22″ LCD and it looked great.

TerraTec Channel 5

Here’s a screenshot of Channel 5 which is a non-HD channel and that considering, it still looks great even in full screen.

Channel switching is one area that people seem to have concerns and complaints with IPTV and streaming TV services. I tested this quite extensively, flicking between HD and SD channels, back and forth a number of times and I was quite happy with it to be honest. SD to SD channel switches happen in under a second. SD to HD channel switches take a fraction longer but that is to be expected as the EyeTV Netsream is having to start up a stream at a higher bitrate for the new channel.

I inspected the network usage whilst streaming and I was quite impressed with this too. A standard definition channel was stable at 4 Mbps (Megabits per Second) and a HD channel was stable at 10 Mbps. The EyeTV Netstream only has a 100 Mbps network adapter so whilst this is okay with a single tuner and in theory should be perfectly okay also with two, I’ll be interested to see how that coped with an EyeTV Sat Free connected via USB adding a second tuner with both tuners streaming a HD channel at the same time. I haven’t been able to test a wireless device yet as most of my home is wired with Gigabit Ethernet however as I have N 300Mbps wireless I’m pretty sure that’d work just fine and it should work okay over 54 Mbps G networks too.

In summary, I’m really happy with the results of the setup and streaming to my PC using the TerraTec software. The next step is to now configure the Windows Media Center HTPC in the living room to use the tuner and see how I get on with that. That for me is the biggest test also because this is how the wife and kids will interact with it. Unless it’s bulletproof, the wife and kids won’t be happy with it and I will probably have a hard time replacing Sky with this setup. I’ll be posting the Media Center setup steps in another post coming soon.

Bring on Elgato EyeTV Netstream

I’m not the biggest fan of Sky TV even though I’ve been a customer of theirs for about eight years now. The way that you are locked into their eco-system and how you watch media the way they want you and not what is most applicable to you to doesn’t appeal to me. Sky Go and other new features have helped the situation for a number of people but it doesn’t help me using a Windows Phone or Windows 8 devices as none of their apps are available on these platforms (for clarification, by Windows 8, I mean impressive UI native Windows 8 apps and not desktop apps). I’ve long wanted to break into the IPTV and streaming TV markets, originally with SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun product and now Elgato’s EyeTV Netstream and now is the time to strike.

Me and @NickyCGreen got an email from Sky at the weekend to tell us that our bill was going from a promotional rate to the standard rate, almost doubling to £40 a month. I was happy enough to pay for Sky at £20 a month and actually, I didn’t even consider this was a promotional rate. Just because something is easy though isn’t justification for buying it, certainly when it’s £40 a month. All we really watch on TV these days is FTA (Free to Air) content like BBC One, BBC Two, Channel 4 and the kids watch a little bit of kids TV too like Pop and CBeebies. We don’t have sports or movies add-ons and we don’t have any other services like Sky Go, broadband or phone from them, this is just for basic TV with HD.I  was pretty staggered that Sky will expect me to pay £40 for this basic service so I decided that now was the time to strike the IPTV drum.

I’ve long courted SiliconDust and their HDHomeRun product line but they have let the European products stagnate and not updated them to meet the x2 standards such as DVB-T2 (Freeview HD) or DVB-S2 (FreeSat HD) which means that you can only get the SD (Standard Definition) variants of Freeview or FreeSat on the HDHomeRun. On my search for other products, I came across Elgato and their EyeTV product line. On first inspection, it looks quite Apple focused with a lot of detail on Mac OS X software, AirPlay support along with mobile device support for iOS iPhone and iPad devices but they do support Windows and Windows Media Center also which is enough for me to be happy.

Elgato EyeTV Netstream Sat

I decided to dip my toes into the line-up today by ordering an Elgato EyeTV Netstream Sat, a single tuner DVB-S2 FreeSat network tuner. For those of you who don’t know what any of that means, it basically means that I can connect one of the satellite feeds from my Sky MiniDish into the box of tricks from Elgato and it will output those FreeSat HD pictures onto my home network to be consumed by any device I choose.

I’ve gone with a single tuner to start with as a proof of concept to the wife and kids, I’m going to be configuring this single feed on the Windows Media Center PC in the living room to test out the Media Center Live TV interface, that basics like live TV and channel switcing all work as planned and also that none of the codec changes I’ve made to support .mkv playback effect the TV experience. Once I can get this working and other basics like the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), I can start to experiment a bit more like. Tricks like the MCL (My Channel Logos) plugin to add the UK channel icons to the EPG are nice additions and make the experience much sweeter.

Aside from watching live TV and optimising that experience, the next thing I’m going to be playing with is the Windows Server 2012 Essentials integration with Media Center. A feature has existed since the days of the first Windows Home Server which allowed the server to move TV recordings to a share on the server and replace that recording with a stub on the Media Center. For me, this is the best feature of Windows Media Center and Windows Server 2012 Essentials coming together. The HTPC (Home Theatre PC) records a programme from the network tuner as normal and once the recording completes, the server moves the recording to the backend Recorded TV share. The result is that the recording then is available anywhere I can access the server from. For me, this means any other Windows PC in the house, my Windows Phone using the My Server app or any internet enabled device which supports Silverlight. Windows Server 2012 Essentials (and notably R2 with it’s tablet and touch device improvements) allow you to use Silverlight Adaptive Streaming to deliver video and audio content from the server to any device you can think of (so long as it supports Silverlight).

Isn’t that a much better way to be able to consume your media? Exactly how you want, wherever you want on whatever device you want and not paying a penny for a subscription service in the process?

I tried, as I always do with product purchases to o a tonne of research before laying down the money but nearly all of the videos I can find on YouTube for Elgato EyeTV Netstream are in German which doesn’t really help me. I’ll be sure to post up a nice review of how setting up the EyeTV Netstream and getting it to play with Windows Media Center goes. If the test goes well, I’ll be sending some more of my money Elgato’s way to beef that single tuner into a dual tuner with their EyeTV Sat Free extender for the Netstream and I’ll then be doubling down to give me four network tuners throughout the house so that I don’t have to worry about recording conflicts or scheduling problems.

If the excitement of unboxing the product doesn’t overwhelm me (these things normally do) then I may even try and get a video on YouTube to get some English language demo’s of the product out there.