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View Full Version : Making the AppleTV a DVR (The Idea...)




darwen
Jan 9, 2007, 11:12 PM
So I have been anxiously waiting to see more info on the iTv to find out if it could DVR. I think I figured out a way it is possible.

Using the EyeTV components and an iTunes like interface one could write up an application that allows you to seamlessly record and watch on your TV. The solution is already there, we just need a bridge to make it easy. EyeTV allows you to record TV like a DVR on your computer. It has all the functionality most need from a TiVo.

The Idea...
1) Write and application to replace the EyeTV software. Something that has DVR functionality.

2) Have the program convert the files to a mp4 or a h.264 while recording or right after.

3) Either hack the syncing capabilities found in iTunes or force the program to immediately load the video into iTunes. It can then sync to the AppleTV

I am thinking a program like roxio's new TiVo2Go for mac would be amazing. This could take a bit of work, it is not an easy task. It would be awesome though. It would be almost as good as a TiVo.



blybug
Jan 10, 2007, 03:55 PM
The Idea...
1) Write and application to replace the EyeTV software. Something that has DVR functionality.

2) Have the program convert the files to a mp4 or a h.264 while recording or right after.

3) Either hack the syncing capabilities found in iTunes or force the program to immediately load the video into iTunes. It can then sync to the AppleTV

I am thinking a program like roxio's new TiVo2Go for mac would be amazing. This could take a bit of work, it is not an easy task. It would be awesome though. It would be almost as good as a TiVo.

Maybe I'm missing your point, but Elgato's EyeTV 2 software ($79) does all of the above. My EyeTV records onto my main PM G5 based on the EyeTV 2 scheduling software, and the programs are automatically converted to MP4 and loaded into an iTunes playlist which then syncs to my iPod, and is also accessible by the mini attached to the TV in my living room via Front Row (my pre-AppleTV AppleTV).

But I still have a TiVo cuz it's more elegant.

darwen
Jan 10, 2007, 04:07 PM
Maybe I'm missing your point, but Elgato's EyeTV 2 software ($79) does all of the above. My EyeTV records onto my main PM G5 based on the EyeTV 2 scheduling software, and the programs are automatically converted to MP4 and loaded into an iTunes playlist which then syncs to my iPod, and is also accessible by the mini attached to the TV in my living room via Front Row (my pre-AppleTV AppleTV).

But I still have a TiVo cuz it's more elegant.

I did miss all that. I did not know it did everything I was asking alredy. I was trying to fix that elegant issue though. Having EyeTV work almost as a background application (you only need to use it when you absolutly have to). Build a program like itunes around it that has the programming guide built in. Imagine never needing the EyeTV software. Just perform a search like you do in iTunes Music Store and see your shows come up (not with all the graphics obviously, but atleast a list). Then you select it and add it to your que or library... maybe even just as a playlist. Then it automaticly adds it to the line up in EyeTV so EyeTV can do its thing and get it to the AppleTV. Never needing to use the complications of a DVR, just simply make things like buying them from the itunes store. Search for your show, select it's recording options, and have it sent into iTunes ready to go. It is like a control panel for EyeTV.

blybug
Jan 10, 2007, 04:18 PM
Just perform a search like you do in iTunes Music Store and see your shows come up (not with all the graphics obviously, but atleast a list). Then you select it and add it to your que or library... maybe even just as a playlist. Then it automaticly adds it to the line up in EyeTV so EyeTV can do its thing and get it to the AppleTV. Never needing to use the complications of a DVR, just simply make things like buying them from the itunes store. Search for your show, select it's recording options, and have it sent into iTunes ready to go. It is like a control panel for EyeTV.

I've written Elgato about this exact functionality...it's the only thing missing from the software exactly as you describe. EyeTV uses TitanTV.com (http://www.titantv.com) to get its scheduling info, and I cannot figure out why Elgato hasn't incorporated Wishlists or Smart Searches to automatically record every instance of a particular program or other search criteria just like TiVo. Presently you do still have to look at a big program guide grid in EyeTV and choose each show you want. You can program EyeTV to record "every Thursday from 730 to 800 on channel 11" but you're right...much better would be to tell EyeTV "record every episode of The Office", then carry on with the excellent MP4 conversion and iTunes/iPod/AppleTV integration.

It can't be that hard to "search" TitanTV for user-specified recording criteria, but for some reason they haven't taken it that final step.:confused:

ftaok
Jan 10, 2007, 04:19 PM
I did miss all that. I did not know it did everything I was asking alredy. I was trying to fix that elegant issue though. Having EyeTV work almost as a background application (you only need to use it when you absolutly have to). Build a program like itunes around it that has the programming guide built in. Imagine never needing the EyeTV software. Just perform a search like you do in iTunes Music Store and see your shows come up (not with all the graphics obviously, but atleast a list). Then you select it and add it to your que or library... maybe even just as a playlist. Then it automaticly adds it to the line up in EyeTV so EyeTV can do its thing and get it to the AppleTV. Never needing to use the complications of a DVR, just simply make things like buying them from the itunes store. Search for your show, select it's recording options, and have it sent into iTunes ready to go. It is like a control panel for EyeTV.

Great idea, however the flaw is that 2005 was the Year of HD and the AppleTV doesn't support the most common source of HD material. It would be nice if AppleTV just supported common formats so that we wouldn't have to convert anything. I understand and accept the need/desire to convert for iPod viewing. However, the AppleTV is meant for the widescreen HDTV that are in people's living rooms. Why would I want to record 1920x1080i MPEG2 material and have to scale it down to 1280x720 24fps h264? To save hard drive space??? Heck, hard drives are dirt cheap these days. And using the syncing feature, network bandwidth isn't even an issue.

I think that if Apple opened iTunes and AppleTV up to some more formats, it could be the total device. It really needs to support 1080i/720p natively.

poopyhead
Jan 10, 2007, 04:50 PM
erased my previous message
somebody please erase this one

blybug
Jan 10, 2007, 05:08 PM
The most elegant solution would be a new EyeTV-like device that attaches directly to the TV USB port...like poopyhead thought we were talking about :p erased my previous message
somebody please erase this one
Note that the new TV interface has the icon elements rotating "off the screen" like a carousel to the left, rather than in an "on-screen" circle like the current Front Row. Combined with the USB port on the TV, right away at the original preview I thought this might indicate plans for a plug-in architecture for 3rd parties. This could include a TV receiver box, game console, hard drive as NAS, iPod docks...just plug in the device, it automatically installs its software to the AppleTV, a new icon joins the carousel, and you're off!

Of course that presumes Apple would allow such add-ons...but why not encourage a 3rd-party TV ecosystem like the iPod?

darwen
Jan 10, 2007, 06:14 PM
The most elegant solution would be a new EyeTV-like device that attaches directly to the ?TV USB port...like poopyhead thought we were talking about :p
Note that the new ?TV interface has the icon elements rotating "off the screen" like a carousel to the left, rather than in an "on-screen" circle like the current Front Row. Combined with the USB port on the ?TV, right away at the original preview I thought this might indicate plans for a plug-in architecture for 3rd parties. This could include a TV receiver box, game console, hard drive as NAS, iPod docks...just plug in the device, it automatically installs its software to the AppleTV, a new icon joins the carousel, and you're off!

Of course that presumes Apple would allow such add-ons...but why not encourage a 3rd-party ?TV ecosystem like the iPod?

This would be great. I thought about that but it is unlinky at this point. I am sick of waiting for apple to allow us to do what we want with devices. Things like the ?TV should be a lot more open. This thing should be able to run OS X software like EyeTV's program. The fact is it cant. Apple may fix this but until then... I would love to see a hacked solution. The ?TV needs a DVR. Period. I understand Apple wants us to buy content and therfore is not going to help us. We need to do this on our own.

zebostoneleigh
Jan 14, 2007, 04:36 AM
AppleTV seems grossly overpriced for what it does (and doesn't). If you can get ahold of an eyeTV product called eyeHome, then you'll have all the functionality of AppleTV for a fraction of the price. It plays music, shows photos, surfs the web, and plays video (the only "real" reason to have it anyhow). They don't seem to sell them anymore (sadly), but there was na time when you could get the little box for under $100. It can also connect to multiple computers. The only thing it's lacking is the ability to upload files or work wirelessly (though you can buy a wireless adapter for $75). Anyhow, it can play MPEG-4, DIVX, and MPEG-2 files (streamed from your mac to your TV).

There are even various solutions to making it a live DVR as well. I haven't tried them, but they involve setting up eyeTV and VLC on your Mac and having VLC transcode the live TV feed. Then, you set up a remote control to the desktop computer and you've got TiVo-esque capabilities to puase and rewind live TV. I haven't tried it, but I've read several forums on the matter and it's already doable.

Anyhow, AppleTV will certainly see it's market share. And it will also see numerous upgrades as well as thrid party programs. But note that there has been a similar product on the market for 2+ years and it works great.

I watch all my eyeTV content - as well as other media stored on my various Hard Drives over our network on my widescreen TV.

PS OK, admittedly - eyeHome is missing the HDTV capabilities of AppleTV, so I guess that's where the high price comes in. Even so, it will play back HD MPEG-4 files in SD and they look great!

EasyB
Jan 14, 2007, 05:24 AM
The most elegant solution would be a new EyeTV-like device that attaches directly to the ?TV USB port...like poopyhead thought we were talking about :p

I have an the eyeTV model that does the encoding by hardware, if they wanted, I bet they could make this work. That is plug the EyeTV in to the AppleTV and it would be a great DVR.