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Ubele
Aug 6, 2013, 01:24 PM
A couple months ago, I started looking into "cutting the cable" to save money, and instead rely on an OTA antenna, my Apple TV, and Netflix. I plan to use my 2012 Mac mini as a media hub. To use the Mac mini as a DVR, the EyeTV Hybrid looked like a perfect solution. Now I'm getting close to pulling the trigger. I just checked Elgato's site, and the EyeTV Hybrid is no longer listed. Online stores have very limited quantities, or messages saying "item discontinued." Elgato as yet doesn't offer a product that does the same thing (the EyeTV HD requires a cable or satellite converter box). This must have just happened, because I can't find an Internet reference to the Hybrid being discontinued, or why. I wonder what the deal is. There were a number of postings by people saying that their Hybrid had died after a year or so. I was going on the theory that more unahppy people than happy people post about a product, but maybe the hybrid was intrinsically prone to failure.

Anyway, does anyone know of a product that does the same thing: let me use my Mac as a DVR with a digital antenna? I could snag one of the remaining EyeTVs that are available, but I don't want to spend the money if the product has been discontinued for reasons other than low sales. I suppose I could bypass my Mac and buy a TiVo or other separate DVR, but using my Mac seems like it would be more flexible, not to mention cheaper.



mic j
Aug 6, 2013, 01:30 PM
There has been some talk of Silicon Dust releasing a new unit that natively transcodes to mp4. I think I remember seeing they expected to release this fall. Could they be drawing down stocks before release of the new unit?

FredT2
Aug 6, 2013, 02:11 PM
The Silicon Dust HD Homerun dual tuner unit works great.

Ubele
Aug 6, 2013, 04:28 PM
The Silicon Dust HD Homerun dual tuner unit works great.

Thanks I checked this out, and it looks like exactly what I need. The fact sheet says it's compatble with Elgato EyeTV software, among others. Does it come with its own DVR software, or is it just hardware, and I need to buy the EyeTV software?

mic j
Aug 6, 2013, 04:53 PM
Thanks I checked this out, and it looks like exactly what I need. The fact sheet says it's compatble with Elgato EyeTV software, among others. Does it come with its own DVR software, or is it just hardware, and I need to buy the EyeTV software?
Yes, you need to buy the DVR software.

Ubele
Aug 6, 2013, 06:24 PM
Yes, you need to buy the DVR software.

Thanks!

waw74
Aug 6, 2013, 06:25 PM
They current silicone dust tuners will record in MPEG2.
in order to view it on an iOS device it will need to be re-encoded to h.264, depending on the processor in your computer, this can take 2 to 3 times the length of the file to process.

also it depends on your cable provider as to what channels you can record.

there are clear and scrambled channels, to access the scrambled channels, you will need a cablecard model.
In addition there is a "broadcast flag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcast_flag)" encoded in each broadcast. depending on how that is set your provider (cable or satellite company) you may not be able to record.

EyeTV doesn't support broacast flags (http://support.elgato.com/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=2729). Your only option if you want to record show that have the flags set is windows media center.

I have time warner cable in manhattan, even with a cablecard, i can only access the local broadcast channels.


silicone dust is supposed to be releasing a new model, with 4 tuners, and onboard h.264 encoding.
the h.264 will get around 2 problems, it will have the file ready for iOS (and cut the file size to about 1/4 the size), and by converting, it will remove the broadcast flags.
The only thing they have said is that it will be releasing "this summer" and that was announced this past january at CES


--------
just re-read your post, and that you are planning on using an antenna.
make sure the tuner you choose, supports ATSC, which is the broadcast standard. QAM is what the cable companies use.

Ubele
Aug 6, 2013, 06:50 PM
Thanks for the information, waw74. It sounds like the next version is worth waiting for. I would be eliminating cable TV entirely and using an over-the-air digital antenna to pick up the local channels. The Mohu Leaf gets great reviews, and since I live less than seven miles from the TV transmitters for all the stations I want to watch (they're all clustered on the same range of hills), it should be adequate. The SD HomeRun would connect to my 2012 Mac mini, which would connect to my HDMI receiver.

waw74
Aug 6, 2013, 07:01 PM
i currently use mythtv (linux based DVR) so i am looking forward to the new one as well.

If you have cable internet, the cables companies are required to carry the local channels unencrypted, so just hook the cable up to your tuner, and you get at least the local channels in HD on that.

also one thing to keep in mind is storage, an hour long HD show is about 5 GB, so space can disappear pretty quickly.
good quality 720 H.264 is about 1.2 GB. (re-encode the file with the aTV 2 preset in handbrake)

Ubele
Aug 7, 2013, 03:29 PM
i currently use mythtv (linux based DVR) so i am looking forward to the new one as well.

If you have cable internet, the cables companies are required to carry the local channels unencrypted, so just hook the cable up to your tuner, and you get at least the local channels in HD on that.

also one thing to keep in mind is storage, an hour long HD show is about 5 GB, so space can disappear pretty quickly.
good quality 720 H.264 is about 1.2 GB. (re-encode the file with the aTV 2 preset in handbrake)

Thanks for that information I do indeed have cable internet, and I didn't know that about carrying local channels. That means that an external antenna is unnecessary.

I recently picked up a 4TB external Seagate drive at Costco for $159. It's amazing how cheap HDD storage has become.

GarrettL1979
Aug 7, 2013, 06:18 PM
I was going to do this until I heard about aereo coming to my city. Should be much easier

tajeddine
Oct 23, 2013, 09:11 PM
I've run into the same issue. No external tuners for macs anymore, and I really can't find anything... It makes me wonder whether Apple has muscled the existing providers into discontinuing their product as they get ready to release an Apple TV with built in OTA tuner?!

priitv8
Oct 24, 2013, 12:14 AM
I've run into the same issue. No external tuners for macs anymore, and I really can't find anything...This must be US-specific issue. Last time I checked, I discovered that Elgato's product offering in Europe is much broader than in US. Here we have at least 5 different OTA tuners on offer from them.

Billit
Oct 24, 2013, 07:35 PM
If you have cable internet, the cables companies are required to carry the local channels unencrypted, so just hook the cable up to your tuner, and you get at least the local channels in HD on that.

Not if you have Comcast and live in a western Chicago suburb like I do at least. Comcast started encrypting the local channels about a month ago. Fortunately I have an outside antenna and connected that to my Windows Media Center PC to continue to record the local channels.

slu
Oct 24, 2013, 10:08 PM
i currently use mythtv (linux based DVR) so i am looking forward to the new one as well.

If you have cable internet, the cables companies are required to carry the local channels unencrypted, so just hook the cable up to your tuner, and you get at least the local channels in HD on that.

also one thing to keep in mind is storage, an hour long HD show is about 5 GB, so space can disappear pretty quickly.
good quality 720 H.264 is about 1.2 GB. (re-encode the file with the aTV 2 preset in handbrake)

This is no longer true. Time Warner stopped sending clear QAM local channels to me a few months ago. I put an antenna on the roof. I now actually get more channels than I did with the Time Warner "free" channels.