Watch TV on your Mac: the definitive guide

And Elgato has a box for Freesat called EyeTV Sat Free. Elgato also has a device called Netstream which connects to a wireless network and allows you to watch and record TV on up to two Macs. The Tivizen, also from Elgato does a similar job, but creates its own Wi-Fi hotspot, so you don't need to be within range of a Wi-Fi network to use it.

There is one Equinux Tizi for the Mac, a USB connected model which is roughly the same size as the EyeTV DTT Micro. There are two Tizi models which are similar to the Tivizen, the Tizi and Tizi+. Both create their own Wi-Fi hotspot and allow you to watch TV on a Mac or iOS device, but the Tizi+ also allows you to record to its in-built flash memory.

Lightning conductor

The Tizi Go connects to the 30-pin dock connector on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You use it with the Tizi app to watch live TV. Elgato has the EyeTV mobile, which does the same thing using Elgato's EyeTV iOS app. Both can be used with Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adaptor.

The software for Elgato's tuners and Tizi is similar but, to our mind, Elgato has the edge. It allows you to create favourite channels and to watch programmes you've recorded on a Mac on your iOS device, provided you're on the same network and have installed the latest version of EyeConnect on your Mac. That said, the ability of the Tizi+ to record to its own flash storage could be useful.

Attaching a TV tuner isn't the only way to watch live TV on a Mac or iOS device, of course. Each of the major terrestrial networks now allows you to watch live TV on its website. On the BBC, this is done through the iPlayer, so you can watch live TV in the iPlayer app for OS X and iOS. Channel 4 and ITV also provide access to all their channels on their websites.

Finding the live TV streams isn't always easy. The BBC does a good job of highlighting where to click to watch live, particularly in the iPlayer apps, but on both Channel 4 and ITV it takes a bit of working out.

For Channel 4, the simplest way to find it is to go directly to Channel 5 doesn't have live streaming of its output, but some programmes which are currently being broadcast are available through Demand 5.

Away from the websites of the main networks, choice is limited. The Freeview TV guide allows you to find recently broadcast programmes and click on a link to go directly to them in the relevant catch-up service. But clicking on a programme currently being broadcast won't provide you with a link directly to the channel's live output.

Sky subscribers can watch live Sky TV on many of its channels using the SkyGo app or on the SkyGo website. And Virgin Media customers can do the same using Virgin Media's TV Anywhere website.

Virgin Media's TV Anywhere app also has a very limited ability to play live TV on your iPad. While there's a Watch Now button for every channel, most channels will only let you 'Watch on TV' - use your iPad or iPhone to change the channel on your Tivo box. For BBC output, there's a 'Watch on iPlayer' option.

Catchup of the day

TV Catchup

TVCatchup is a third-party provider whose website allows you to watch any Freeview channel, plus a couple of channels exclusive to TVC, from a web browser or app, as long as you're in the UK. You'll need to sign up for an account, but it's free.