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HE15MAN
Sep 3, 2009, 12:31 PM
Here is what I have

newish (8 month old) Directv with HD DVR
24" Intel iMac

What do I need to do to be able to save TV onto my computer? What is the most cost effective way to get it in HD and easiest also? The main problem I see is that the computer and tv box are 3 rooms and about 70 feet apart. I would not be against buying a separate Mac Mini to setup near the Directv box and just swapping the hard drive out for a larger one. I also would like to be able to upload all my movies I have onto a hard drive and stream them to the TV.

TV is a Sony 1080p 46" LCD

I am just for the most part clueless on what I need to do and was told to head this way for help.

Thanks!



spice weasel
Sep 3, 2009, 03:36 PM
You can save recorded programs to your mac, or record them directly to your mac. For the former, you'll just need Apple's Firewire SDK bundle and a firewire cable. However, you will only be able to copy non-5c protected content. Generally this means broadcast television only.

For other content, you'll need a tv tuner device such as the ones Elgato and Miglia sell. I have no experience with either, but plenty of people around here do and can tell you more about them. With these devices and the software that comes with them you can turn your mac into a DVR, recording shows directly to your drive.

You can also put all of the movies you currently own in your library. If you haven't done so already, use a ripping program such as Mac the Ripper or Rippit to copy your DVDs to your drive. Then, if you want to save space, use HandBrake to convert them to h.264. The process takes a bit of time, but the results are DVD-quality (or damn near it) with a lot less space taken up. Then you can use Front Row or Plex to play them on your tv.

If you are serious about going down this path, then I highly recommend getting a Mac mini to act as your dedicated HTPC.

rayward
Sep 3, 2009, 03:57 PM
For other content, you'll need a tv tuner device such as the ones Elgato and Miglia sell. I have no experience with either, but plenty of people around here do and can tell you more about them. With these devices and the software that comes with them you can turn your mac into a DVR, recording shows directly to your drive.

Can you access premium channels with these gizmos, or just basic cable? Thanks

xxBURT0Nxx
Sep 3, 2009, 04:16 PM
why do you want to save the recordings to your mac? Just curious, not really sure what you are trying to accomplish here.

HE15MAN
Sep 3, 2009, 04:54 PM
why do you want to save the recordings to your mac? Just curious, not really sure what you are trying to accomplish here.

Really all I want to record are football games to archive that the Gators play:o

Other then that, the main thing I want to do is be able to rip all my hard copy dvd's to an external hard drive and be able to watch them from a Mac Mini on my TV in the living room and bed room (the share a common wall and are back to back in the house so wiring through the wall would be easy)

spice weasel
Sep 3, 2009, 05:17 PM
Really all I want to record are football games to archive that the Gators play:o

Other then that, the main thing I want to do is be able to rip all my hard copy dvd's to an external hard drive and be able to watch them from a Mac Mini on my TV in the living room and bed room (the share a common wall and are back to back in the house so wiring through the wall would be easy)

In that case, and so long as you are recording these games on broadcast channels (and not cable), then just use a firewire cable and the AVCVideoCap application that comes in Apple's Firewire SDK package to copy the games onto your mac. You basically hit play on the DVR and record in AVCVideoCap. The file you'll end up with is a transport stream, so use VLC or MPEG Streamclip with the MPEG-2 component to play it back. It will be a large file, especially if in HD, so you'll probably want to convert it to h.264. You can use HandBrake for this.

For getting your DVDs onto your computer, use a ripper and HandBrake. It will take time, but when it is all done you'll have a nice library of media.

tbayrgs
Sep 3, 2009, 05:21 PM
Sounds like OP is possibly interested in trying to transfer TV programs saved on his HD DVR to his PC--if this is the case, not sure why as you already have them saved for viewing. If you need additional storage space, I believe you can attach an external HDD to your DirecTV DVR. As far as I know, there is no way to move files from your DTV.

If you're interested in being able play programming from online (i.e. Hulu), there are various option but all would involve purchasing additional hardware (Mac Mini, Apple TV, PS3 are most popular discussed here) to connect directly to the TV.

@rayward,

I was curious about this as well and found this info (http://support.elgato.com/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=8) on Elgato's site. Sounds like EyeTV basically gives access to broadcast/OTA transmissions.

If the OP is looking to replace the DTV box, then a Mac Mini sounds like his best bet--between online content and an EyeTV, you'd have access to a majority of programming. I personally like to watch a lot of sports programming--coupled with my wife's viewing habits, EyeTV wouldn't suffice for me. Also, with the Mini, if you have Netflix you'd be able to stream any of their offerings.

If you plan on keeping the DTV HD DVR, you probably only need to add something like an Apple TV or other media player (WDTV or Popcorn Hour) that would allow you to stream your saved video content from your iMac. Take Spice Weasel's advice, rip/encode your DVDs--I'd suggest an External HDD if you have a relatively large library--and then either transfer them to a media player or stream them. I personally have an Apple TV in the bedroom that works great. Wife can stream any of our movies or rent directly from iTunes. I'm setting up a new Mac Mini to serve as an HTPC in the family room. If you're up to doing the work yourself, you can get a base refurb from Apple for $499 and upgrade it to 4 GB RAM and 320-500 GB HDD for about $150.

xxBURT0Nxx
Sep 3, 2009, 05:30 PM
Really all I want to record are football games to archive that the Gators play:o

Other then that, the main thing I want to do is be able to rip all my hard copy dvd's to an external hard drive and be able to watch them from a Mac Mini on my TV in the living room and bed room (the share a common wall and are back to back in the house so wiring through the wall would be easy)

Okay, you need to buy a mac mini, and an elgato eyetv. Hook the eyetv up to the mini, and that is where you are going to plug your tv source into (cable, sat, or ota). Then you can record it straight to the mini and have all games. You can use the internal drive for your recordings, and hook up an external to rip your dvds onto. You can use mactheripper/handbrake to rip and encode dvds onto your external. Then you can use something like plex or boxee to give it all a nice interface, which will also give you plugins for hulu and netflix. If you want to network it back to your mac you can do so wirelessly or wired through your router.

also, you will need to record your shows through the eyetv, and not through your dvr

KevinC867
Sep 3, 2009, 06:25 PM
As I just mentioned in another thread, the Hauppauge 1212 HD PVR (http://www.amazon.com/Hauppauge-1212-Definition-Personal-Recorder/dp/B0018LX0DY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1252011826&sr=8-2) is great for capturing HD (or SD) programs from your DVR. It receives an HD signal from the component outputs and connects to your Mac via USB. It ships with windows capture software, but a nice Mac application is available here. (http://www.steventoth.net/blog/products/hdpvr-capture/about/)

This also works great for getting your BluRay discs onto your computer.

It would be nice if you could just connect a FireWire cable from the DVR to your Mac, but I don't think recent DirecTV DVR's provide that connection. (My HR-21 does not and my old DSR-6000 also does not.)

HE15MAN
Sep 4, 2009, 03:46 PM
After doing a good amount of research, it appears to me I am going to get a mac mini. Upgrade the memory and hard drive space on my own to save $. I would like to upload on an external hard drive all my music and dvd's on the external to be viewed through Plex. Get the dvi to hdmi connectors for the best quality possible and the optical cable connection for the audio.

The Logitech diNovo remote seems pretty sweet also as does the Drobo external hard drive enclosure for Raid. Anyone know if you can use time machine for these or is that how you use them usually?

srexy
Sep 4, 2009, 04:22 PM
After doing a good amount of research, it appears to me I am going to get a mac mini. Upgrade the memory and hard drive space on my own to save $. I would like to upload on an external hard drive all my music and dvd's on the external to be viewed through Plex. Get the dvi to hdmi connectors for the best quality possible and the optical cable connection for the audio.

The Logitech diNovo remote seems pretty sweet also as does the Drobo external hard drive enclosure for Raid. Anyone know if you can use time machine for these or is that how you use them usually?

I've been down this road and here's what I ended up doing:

- Mac Mini 2.0ghz refurb + newegg 500gb drive and 4gb ram
- I had an OWC Mercury Elite FW800 JABOD dual drive enclosure to which I have now added a 1.5tb WD Green drive and a 2tb Seagate LP drive.
- I'm using a Harmony remote (forget the model - a Sam's special) which is handy because Plex has built-in Harmony Key Mapping already supported with customizable features available.


I'm running Plex on the Mini and using the 1.5tb drive for media storage. I'm using Carbon Copy Cloner to back up both the Mini's drive and the 1.5tb Media drive on an every 2 day schedule (my backups just aren't that critical that I need to have Time Machine tapping my cpu every 15 mins or whatever it is). I have my media drive shared and running constantly. It's available on the network for my kids iMac/Plex which is hooked to their LCD panel (kid's movies only at this point), the :apple:TV in our bedroom for joint supine viewing and my MBP for personal viewing in the office or during bouts of insomnia.

When $$ permit I will purchase a Drobo and toss the two large capacity drive into it.

HE15MAN
Sep 4, 2009, 04:57 PM
What is the best way to rip DVD's and what format do you put them in?

and....Uh oh....My tv only has two HDMI ports and both are being used...and my surround sound only has 1 optical port and it is being used...Am I out of luck?

tbayrgs
Sep 4, 2009, 07:14 PM
What is the best way to rip DVD's and what format do you put them in?

and....Uh oh....My tv only has two HDMI ports and both are being used...and my surround sound only has 1 optical port and it is being used...Am I out of luck?

Can you input all of your video sources into your surround sound receiver and then just run one output from the receiver to the TV? Obviously this depends on your receiver but just a thought as that's what I've done. I only have a Sony soundbar and sub but it's great b/c it has 3 HDMI inputs (my satellite, Xbox 360, and Mac Mini) and a single HDMI output to the TV.

Also, FWIW, I rip my DVDs with Rip It ($18 I believe) and encode with Handbrake using the Apple TV preset with the constant quality setting bumped up to 63%. On my MacBook, Rips take about 30-45 minutes and encode about 3 hrs, give or take, depending on the movie.

srexy
Sep 4, 2009, 07:29 PM
I have Handbrake and VLC installed on my Mini - takes about 1 1/2 hrs on average to rip/encode to an mp4 file.

For the HDMI - just get an HDMI switcher from Monoprice. Not sure about the optical in... However by the time you've mucked about w/optical switchers/HDMI switchers it may well be cheaper to get a cheapie receiver that has multiple HDMI inputs and optical inputs. My Panasonic class D amp was mid $200's for eg.

HE15MAN
Sep 8, 2009, 10:32 AM
Can you input all of your video sources into your surround sound receiver and then just run one output from the receiver to the TV? Obviously this depends on your receiver but just a thought as that's what I've done. I only have a Sony soundbar and sub but it's great b/c it has 3 HDMI inputs (my satellite, Xbox 360, and Mac Mini) and a single HDMI output to the TV.

Also, FWIW, I rip my DVDs with Rip It ($18 I believe) and encode with Handbrake using the Apple TV preset with the constant quality setting bumped up to 63%. On my MacBook, Rips take about 30-45 minutes and encode about 3 hrs, give or take, depending on the movie.

Pretty sure I could do that, but I don't use my surround sound 100% of the time, more like 30% of the time when I am watching TV and stuff, wouldn't this setup make it mandatory to have it turned on for me to hear sound?

Wow I didn't think it would take that long to rip movies. What is the norm for file type to watch for playback with Plexx?

HE15MAN
Sep 8, 2009, 10:34 AM
I have Handbrake and VLC installed on my Mini - takes about 1 1/2 hrs on average to rip/encode to an mp4 file.

For the HDMI - just get an HDMI switcher from Monoprice. Not sure about the optical in... However by the time you've mucked about w/optical switchers/HDMI switchers it may well be cheaper to get a cheapie receiver that has multiple HDMI inputs and optical inputs. My Panasonic class D amp was mid $200's for eg.

I am 90% positive this is the receiver I have

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9245523&st=sony+receiver&lp=2&type=product&cp=1&id=1218066769427

How well do the HDMI switches work ?

danny_w
Sep 22, 2009, 01:08 PM
Can you input all of your video sources into your surround sound receiver and then just run one output from the receiver to the TV? Obviously this depends on your receiver but just a thought as that's what I've done. I only have a Sony soundbar and sub but it's great b/c it has 3 HDMI inputs (my satellite, Xbox 360, and Mac Mini) and a single HDMI output to the TV.

Also, FWIW, I rip my DVDs with Rip It ($18 I believe) and encode with Handbrake using the Apple TV preset with the constant quality setting bumped up to 63%. On my MacBook, Rips take about 30-45 minutes and encode about 3 hrs, give or take, depending on the movie.
May I ask what kind of a Sony soundbar you have? Is it the HT-CT100? If so, hou do you connect your Mac Mini and get both video and sound? All that I have seen and heard says that plugging in an hdmi kills the associated optical and analog inputs. Do you feed the Mac Mini directly to your TV?

tbayrgs
Sep 22, 2009, 06:02 PM
May I ask what kind of a Sony soundbar you have? Is it the HT-CT100? If so, hou do you connect your Mac Mini and get both video and sound? All that I have seen and heard says that plugging in an hdmi kills the associated optical and analog inputs. Do you feed the Mac Mini directly to your TV?

Yeah, i plugged the mini (mini dvi to dvi/hdmi cable) into the DVD labeled hdmi port which also has an accompanying optical input and ran the audio to the optical--no luck with sound when switched to the DVD input. What does work though, and don't ask me how I figured this out because I honestly can't remember (most certainly was on accident), was ran the video to blu-Ray labeled hdmi (ditched my PS3, Xbox 360 plugged into DVD) and ran sound to optical input labeled TV. As long as I switch to bluray input first, then to TV input, I get both video and audio. If I just leave it on bluray input, no sound. Weird but hey, it works.

HE15MAN
Oct 14, 2009, 08:09 AM
Thanks for all your help guys, here is the final product!

Dont laugh, its my first house and not nearly as impressive as others I am sure.

I am running a Mac Mini 2.0 GHz with 3GB of ram with an attached 1TB external hard drive. I am using Plex as my media program to display movies, tv shows, stream Hulu, Netflix, Joost, MTV music videos, Comedy Centrals entire library of shows, Pandora, the iTunes accounts from my others computers, my iPhoto library's from my iMac, its just a thing of beauty.

The next step is getting a wireless Xbox 360 controller or two and installing video game emulators :icon21:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v520/rem3mberingnever/House%20Pictures/DSC00832.jpg

ski2moro
Nov 3, 2009, 09:33 AM
Don't apologize for your house. Everyone started somewhere and you have a really nice head start on most people.

My question is about how you finally connected your Mac to the DirecTV for recording.

I like to record broadcast tv and watch it on the commute using my iPhone, so HD really doesn't matter, but some of the content I want to record is from premiums.

Are you able to record to your Mac and what hardware are you using? I have an EyeTV hybrid that I have used previously with TW cable.