Mac users may get a kick out of this, the elgato EyeTV HD. It’s a DVR solution that works with your cable and satellite channels, sending everything to your Mac instead of a plain ol’ TV. From there you can watch or edit whatever you’ve recorded. Easy as pie.
Why would you need such a device? Perhaps you don’t own a TV, but you want to be able to DVR every episode of “American Idol” or “The Best of PRIDE Fight Championships? Hook up the EyeTV HD to your Mac, and off you go. It’s a niche product, yes.
That said, it does seem to be fairly thorough. You connect the device to your cable or satellite box via component cable, then connect the device to your Mac via USB. You install the software, then let her rip. The device encodes all video with h.264, which makes it easy to create iPhone or iPad-friendly files.
Who needs to join shady BitTorrent Web sites in order to download iPhone-ready episodes of The Simpsons when you can make them on your own, legally. At least I think it’s legal, you never can tell with the DMCA.