EyeTV and iPad make a great DVR!

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Nelson Au, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys,

     

    I hope this is kosher to discuss. I don;t have TIVO or cable TV with a TIVO box.

     

    I got a Miglia HDTV receiver for my Mac in 2006 at the start of the TV season and I use it to record shows like a DVR on my G5. I used to burn DVDs so I could watch the shows later on my big screen.

     

    But I had gotten the Nano last year and it was able to play back the videos. But then when I got the iPad earlier this year, I decided to finally try to use it to playback TV shows. It worked out great! I exported the recordings out at Apple TV resolution. Before I was experimenting with a lower rez because of the Nano. But at the Apple TV rez, other then a few times during scenes with a slow pan, I see a bit of minor studder, the image looks great on my big screen TV! Before I was burning DVD's almost every week, this is better!

     

    I bought Apple's very expensive Component AV cable for the iPad recently and hooked it up. Part of the cost of the cable is that you are forced to buy another wall plug. But after seeing how it's set-up, I can see why. It's the only way to power the iPad if you're not on battery power.

     

    Image looked great, except audio levels are low via the TV's speakers. Last night I tried to use my Pre-amp and see if the audio would work and it did! I'm not sure, but I think I had Dolby Pro-Logic working. The new Hawaii Five 0 looked great! And just watching TV recordings on the iPad itself is great! Looking forward to see the CSI premiere recording this way.

     

    I bring it up incase anyone else is doing this. I'm still on the old EyeTV software, 2 dot something. I have not upgraded to the latest. So I don't know if upgrading would buy me any improvements. Like maybe 5.1 audio or something else?
     
  2. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    I had tried the EyeTV software on my 2.2GHz MacBook with an HD Homerun device. It worked great but the encoding time to get the videos in the formats I needed was just too long. Just viewing on the MacBook itself was fine. How is the encoding speed on your set up?

     

    -Keith
     
  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey Keith,

    Regarding encoding time, I don't know! What I just did was edit out the commercials on Hawaii Five-0 and it's down to 42 minutes now and that took about 15 minutes including the compacting time. Then I exported the 5gb file to Apple TV format. Then I go to bed. It's been crunching on my G5 for about 30 minutes now and it's less then a quarter of the way done.

    If I replace the G5 with a new Mac Pro, I could try the G5 as a HTPC and just play the file connected to my display. Or get a Mac Mini and connect that to my HT set-up.

     

    Update: This morning I found that it took about 2 1/2 hours or 2 hours 45 minutes to export the file into MP4 format at Apple TV resolution for a 42 minute TV show. Of course the show is widescreen too. My Mac is a G5 dual 2.7ghz with 5gb of RAM. I imagine if I had done this on my Macbook Pro it would have been done much faster!
     
  4. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Elgato offers the Turbo.264 for hardware-accelerated conversion, perhaps at some slight loss of video quality.
     
  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Ken, that looks interesting.
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Do I read right, that you're recording shows onto your Mac, transcoding to another format and copying to your iPad, and then connecting your iPad to your TV to watch the shows? That sounds like a very complicated way to do it, when for $10 you can buy cables to connect your Mac directly to you TV / receiver.


    Or for $10 a month, have a Tivo that does all that without having your Mac hogged by video processing and no kludging Mac to TV connections
     
  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Yes, you read it right. Sure it's crazy! It was crazy when I would burn the episodes on DVD to watch too!


    If I had a Mac closer to my HT set-up, I would connect it. I have been considering a Mac Mini. And I was considering if I retire my G5 from my work work, then I could move it to the HT room. But it's a huge computer.


    No TiVo for me though. I prefer to see if I can do this with out a monthly fee and on a computer.
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I take it your Mac isn't a laptop? If it is, $10 in cables from monoprice and you'll be hooked up to your living room system. No multi-step, multi-hour conversion and transfer process.


    I appreciate the desire to not have a monthly sub like on a Tivo. But there's something to be said for a device that just works, especially compared to a multi-step, multi-hour, multi-device, multi-cable process for a 30 min sitcom. And you're still stuck without a decent remote control because the iPad is tethered to the TV and you're lounging on the couch.


    I'm just saying...that $10/mo makes TV sooo much easier
     
  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I bought a $7 DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect my MacBook Pro to my flatscreen TV. A $2 minijack-to-Toslink cable to get its digital audio to the receiver. Works well. I use it when it's necessary to watch a missed show on Hulu.com.


    The Apple TV might be a cheaper and easier option. I think it can stream video from a computer.


    I still think Tivo is much easier and worth the price (paying $20/mo for two Tivos keeps me from paying $70/mo for digital cable). But I do have two Tivos, with one in the bedroom (you can transfer shows from one to the other). And you can copy shows from the Tivo to put on your iPod and iPad.
     
  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the links to the cables. Those have opened my mind to the possibilities. I could set up the G5 too using those cables, as one of the many options!
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Monoprice is great. I've spent about $300 there in the past two years on what would gave cost $3000 retail. And if you want to wall mount a TV, they've got quality mounts for good prices.

    I also like BlueJeans; I'm partial to their HDMI cables.
     

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