If you're sitting back to relax and watch something, you'd probably want to use the remote control that comes with the TVMicro; however, if you're watching the news or catching some reruns while getting work done, it's more convenient to resize the main window to fit somewhere on your screen and opt to use the on-screen controller, which provides an intuitive interface for accessing many of EyeTV's main features. You can easily hide the control with shortcut keys, so it never really gets in your way.
Figure 4. The on-screen controller provides an intuitive interface for many of EyeTV's most commonly used features and the Program Guide gives you a nice synopsis of what's currently playing. (Click for full-size image.)
While navigating through the Program Guide, you can click on a show (or use the remote control) to bring up a brief synopsis. From there, it's easy to schedule a recording by simply clicking on the "Add Schedule" button to instantly add it to your schedule. Once it's been added, the button changes to "Remove Schedule", which you can select if you change your mind. The "Edit Schedule..." button allows you to do things like add the episode to a playlist, repeat the recording according to a schedule, and automatically export the episode to your iPod when it's finished.
Figure 5. When you choose to edit a schedule, EyeTV allows you to set up routine recordings, export to your iPod, and more.
EyeTV uses about 650MB of disk space per hour of video that's recorded, but once it's on disk, you can use a pretty generous variety of export formats for compression and conversion. If one of these options isn't what you're looking for, this is where a dab of AppleScript or an Automator action could come in handy.
Like any other piece of complex software, there are tons of smaller features that you can discover if you dig around in the menus and explore a bit, but we've touched on most of the broader strokes. So what don't I like about the TVMicro and EyeTV? Not much. In fact, there's really only one minor complaint I have with EyeTV as of version 2.3, and it's an obvious bug involving fast user switching.
Here's what happens: let's suppose I start EyeTV as one user, stop it, fast switch to another user, and then try to start EyeTV again. Instead of seeing it fire up like you would expect, nothing happens. EyeTV instead opens in the background for the initial user who started it, and when you switch back to that user, there it is running. (A bug report has been filed, so the developers are aware of the issue.) If you run into the same problem, a temporary workaround is to kill the EyeTV Helper process in Terminal, which seems to be at the crux of the problem. In the grand scheme of things, however, this little bug amounts to nothing more than an annoyance, and I'm sure it'll be cleared up with a bug fix sooner than later.