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Digital tv recording - Mac Applications & Software

This might be more of a hardware question, but.... I have an aging VCR that doesn't work terribly well. Rather than replacing it, I was considering some sort of digital video recorder. Does anyone have experience with anything that works with a Mac? I'll be getting a dual 2-GHz G5 when they ship. Basically, I'd like something with TV recording capabilities. I never buy or rent videotapes anymore (just DVDs), so playback in that respect isn't an issue these days, but I'd basically like something that can tape TV shows that I'd otherwise miss. I have no interest in a ...

  1. #1

    Default Digital tv recording

    This might be more of a hardware question, but....

    I have an aging VCR that doesn't work terribly well. Rather than
    replacing it, I was considering some sort of digital video recorder.

    Does anyone have experience with anything that works with a Mac? I'll be
    getting a dual 2-GHz G5 when they ship. Basically, I'd like something
    with TV recording capabilities. I never buy or rent videotapes anymore
    (just DVDs), so playback in that respect isn't an issue these days, but
    I'd basically like something that can tape TV shows that I'd otherwise
    miss. I have no interest in a TiVo.

    I have a digital cable box from my local cable company. This basically
    means that I can tape/watch most channels without using the box, so I
    have a splitter taking one signal to the box and then the TV, and
    another to the VCR and then the TV, but for the premium channels (Starz,
    etc.), I have to reconnect the VCR to follow the cable box. I don't have
    it like that normally because I'd then be unable to watch one show while
    taping another, or have the VCR tape shows from two different channels
    (since the cable box serves as the tuner).

    I'm debating getting a stand-alone DVR, or a board that uses the Mac as
    the controller. Obviously, the downside to the latter is that the Mac
    must be left on for it to function, and if I'm out of town for a week or
    so, I prefer to leave the Mac off, and unplug it from the wall (in case
    of thunderstorms).

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    Scott Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    Scott: 

    Then you haven't tried TiVo. This may be the only product on Earth
    whose users are more ravingly mad about it than Mac users are about
    their Macs.

    Me? I would rather give up color than TiVo. No joke.

    I like the Home Media Option -- connects to my AirPort network via a
    USB wireless adapter. Lets me play iTunes music from any Mac on the
    network via the TV's stereo system, or display iPhoto slide shows on
    the TV. My wife and I were on vacation recently, and caught a trailer
    for a TV show that we wanted to watch, but we weren't willing to
    rearrange our sightseeing to do so. No problem. Connect my trusty
    PowerBook to the hotel's high-speed network, connect to my TiVo a
    thousand miles away, and tell it to record. Later my TiVo sent me a
    confirmation e-mail. My wife said "This is too much -- an e-mail from
    our television."

    Davoud

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    Davoud Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    Scott <invalid> wrote:
     

    If you were happy leaving theMac plugged in, then iBeeZz will, among
    other features, turn the Mac on and off at specified times.
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    Daniel Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <srv.hcvlny.cv.net>,
    Scott <invalid> wrote:
     

    This statement confuses me. I was under the impression that with digital
    cable systems you really needed to use the box as the tuner, as neither
    common TVs nor VCRs would know how to extract the signal. I'm definitely
    not aware of any computer-hosted PVR packages that do it.

    G
    Gregory Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <040920030925515736%net>, Davoud <net>
    wrote:
     

    Well, most of those functions are ones I don't really need, though the
    remote setup seems pretty cool. And I don't really want to pay for YET
    ANOTHER monthly subscription.

    One important question, though: how do you record channels that are
    scrambled--i.e., that need a cable box to view?

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    Scott Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    Scott: 

    Pay once for the lifetime of the machine.
     

    Connect it to the cable box.

    Davoud

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    Davoud Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <attbi.com>,
    Gregory Weston <com> wrote:
     

    I am able to receive all broadcast and most "basic" cable channels
    (Comedy Central, etc.) without using the cable co's tuner. Once you get
    to the movie channels, the TV and VCR cannot tune them in without using
    the digital cable box.
    It may be that there's also an og signal for the tunable channels,
    for those who don't opt for the cable box.

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    Scott Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <040920032145105164%net>, Davoud <net>
    wrote:
     

    Can the TiVo, be manually set? I thought you needed the subscription to
    get the show guide.

     

    In that situation, I guess it can't be remotely set, since you can't
    change the cable box's channel.

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    Scott Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    Scott <invalid> writes: 
    >
    > Can the TiVo, be manually set? I thought you needed the subscription to
    > get the show guide.[/ref]

    It can, but you still need a subscription - at least since
    the Series 2 devices. Tivo is the device _and_ the service.
     [/ref]
     

    If you use a cable box, there's a little infrared mouse that
    tivo uses to change channels.

    It's a hack, but so long as cable companies require such
    idiotic things, it's all certain folks can do. I won't
    subscribe to any cable channels which require such a box.
    If I can't use the tuner in my tv/vcr/tivo, I won't bother.

    Has anyone here been using El Gato's EyeTV for the Mac?
    $200, no subscription necessary, video files available
    for burning to VCD or DVD, etc. Sounds great...

    Tivo's awesome, though.

    Only problem is when stuff gets rescheduled at the last
    minute or, say, certain broadcasts unexpectedly go overtime
    like, say, coverage of the US Open with all the rain delays...


    --
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    BreadWithSpam@fractious.net Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    Davoud: [/ref][/ref]

    Scott: [/ref]

    BreadWithSpam: 

    All true, but many people think of such a subscription as a fee that
    one pays monthly, like a cable TV subscription. I wanted to clarify
    that one may pay a one-time fee, which buys a subscription for the life
    of the TiVo box, and pay no monthly fee.
     

    Indeed.
     

    A problem that also exists with a VCR; but you can't contact your VCR
    remotely from any computer in the world on the Internet and make
    last-minute changes--but you can do this with your TiVo.

    Davoud

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    Davoud Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article
    <srv.hcvlny.cv.net>,
    Scott <invalid> wrote:
     
    >
    > I am able to receive all broadcast and most "basic" cable channels
    > (Comedy Central, etc.) without using the cable co's tuner. Once you get
    > to the movie channels, the TV and VCR cannot tune them in without using
    > the digital cable box.
    > It may be that there's also an og signal for the tunable channels,
    > for those who don't opt for the cable box.[/ref]

    You sure you're talking digital cable and not just og including some
    scrambled channels?

    Doesn't matter. If your cable-ready TV or VCR can get a channel without
    the box, a PVR will too. If they can't, neither will it and you'd have
    to do the same wiring to work around it.

    G
    Gregory Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <panix.com>,
    net wrote: 

    We've just been having a discussion about this device, as well as the
    Televio pci tuner card and the Formac firewire tuner/recorder, over in
    comp.sys.mac.hardware. As a result I ordered an EyeTV. It should be
    here in a few days. EyeTV is indeed a kind of poor man's TiVo, using
    your mac's hard-drives for storage. It supports scheduled recording,
    real-time pause, etc. There's no fee for the scheduling data, monthly
    or otherwise.

    EyeTV compresses on the fly. The good thing about that is the storage
    requirements for an hour of tv are small. The bad thing is that the
    image quality is (I'm told) visibly degraded. For me the tradeoff
    seemed worth it, but I'm not fussy about the video quality of cable
    tv.





    tristero Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <attbi.com>,
    Gregory Weston <com> wrote:
     

    Yes:
    <http://www.io.tv/>
     

    I realize that. That's why I have the annoying reconfiguration
    necessity. I prefer leaving the VCR and cable box separate, but
    sometimes--if I want to tape something on the "special" channels, I have
    to rewire everything, set the VCR to channel 3, and leave the cable box
    turned on and set to the desired channel. Real PITA.

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    Scott Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <pGn6b.276338$cF.86126rwcrnsc53>,
    tristero <net> wrote:
     
    >
    > We've just been having a discussion about this device, as well as the
    > Televio pci tuner card and the Formac firewire tuner/recorder, over in
    > comp.sys.mac.hardware. As a result I ordered an EyeTV. It should be
    > here in a few days.[/ref]

    Bought one last night. Did a little bit of fooling around to make sure I
    wasn't missing anything because it seemed too simple. I wasn't; my first
    non-play scheduled recording went like clockwork last night. Picture
    quality seems well within my expectations. The only real complaint I
    have is that the ability to excise/excerpt chunks of the recording is
    cor than I would like. Can't go in increments smaller than a second,
    AFAICT.

    G
    Gregory Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <attbi.com>,
    Gregory Weston <com> wrote:
     

    What's the quality like, full screen, compared to broadcast? I.e., if
    I'm away and want to tape a movie, will it look noticeably pixelated if
    played back fullscreen on the monitor? On a TV?

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    Scott Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article
    <srv.hcvlny.cv.net>, Scott
    <invalid> wrote:
     
    >
    > What's the quality like, full screen, compared to broadcast? I.e., if
    > I'm away and want to tape a movie, will it look noticeably pixelated if
    > played back fullscreen on the monitor? On a TV?[/ref]

    On a TV it looks fine (essentially, it is VHS quality). On a monitor,
    full-screen, it will look a little blurry/pixelated, just like any
    other 320x240 image n up to full-screen size. Of course, if you sit
    as far from monitor as you would a TV screen of same size, it should
    look fine.

    EyeTV is great :)

    --
    Spenser
    sbt Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <060920032023282173%com.invalid>,
    sbt <com.invalid> wrote:
     
    > >
    > > What's the quality like, full screen, compared to broadcast? I.e., if
    > > I'm away and want to tape a movie, will it look noticeably pixelated if
    > > played back fullscreen on the monitor? On a TV?[/ref]
    >
    > On a TV it looks fine (essentially, it is VHS quality). On a monitor,
    > full-screen, it will look a little blurry/pixelated, just like any
    > other 320x240 image n up to full-screen size. Of course, if you sit
    > as far from monitor as you would a TV screen of same size, it should
    > look fine.
    >
    > EyeTV is great :)[/ref]

    Spenser has said exactly what I was about to. It's a little unpleasant
    at normal computer-using distance, but if I pretend I'm looking at a TV
    and sit where I would for that size TV it's eminently satisfactory.

    Of course, then I need a poking stick to get through commercials and
    similar. ;)

    G
    Gregory Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <attbi.com>,
    Gregory Weston wrote: 

    Supposedly the Keyspan ir/usb remote can be used to control EyeTV. Of
    course that's another $50 (msrp) and requires yet another usb port.













    tristero Guest

  19. #19

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    Gregory Weston <com> writes: 

    Just a USB extension cable. Hopefully, there are useful keyboard
    controls - trying to position a mouse pointer from across the room
    isn't always that easy.

    -- David
    David Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: Digital tv recording

    In article <invalid>, com (David C.)
    wrote:
     
    >
    > Just a USB extension cable. Hopefully, there are useful keyboard
    > controls - trying to position a mouse pointer from across the room
    > isn't always that easy.[/ref]

    The keyboard interface is fairly extensive, but didn't think about
    actually hooking up an electronic control device. Pause, skip fore/aft
    and the like are trivial and obvious key commands. ElGato also provides
    a settings file for one of the IR/USB remote doohickeys.

    G
    Gregory Guest

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