PDA

View Full Version : Using Mac Mini as a DVR - storage question




yellow281
Jun 3, 2010, 02:45 PM
Hi all,

First post so thanks in advance for any assistance. I am currently using the Mini in the living room as our media center. Its plugged into a Sharp Aquos and Bose sound system. I want to move to the next level and start using the Mini as a PVR (Tivo type setup). I've been reading all sorts of advice and it looks like Elgato (need to determine which) or possibly the HDHomeRun from Silicon Dust if I want to network my TV channels to other computers in the house (won't do that yet but will for sure in the future).

Anyway.. all that brings me to storage for the PVR bit. Clearly I need some external storage or the Mini's HD will fill up real quick. I was looking at the Mac Stack external drive etc. but then I started thinking shouldn't I be looking at MobileMe (or any type of cloud storage) and iDisk? Plugging an external drive in seems a bit antiquated these days.

Any help would be AWESOME!



Hellhammer
Jun 3, 2010, 02:50 PM
Online storage is very slow. If you're going to upload more than few movies/TV shows, it'll be pain in your arse. You could replace Mini's HD and SuperDrive with bigger HDs, for example 2x750GB. External HDs work fine too and are cheaper than mobile HDs so you get more GBs per $

Tilpots
Jun 3, 2010, 03:01 PM
I use a 1TB Seagate FreeAgent with FW800 for all my media and EyeTV recordings on my Mini HTPC setup. It's fast and quiet enough that I don't even know it's working. I don't have any media on my internal, just the OS and apps. Even EyeTV's live buffer works great on the external. FW800 drives can be daisy chained, too, in the event you find you need more storage.

And I agree with Hellhammer, the "cloud" is too slow for what you'd need.

waw74
Jun 3, 2010, 04:06 PM
an hour long HD show can easily be 5GB or more.

at 5GB that would...
1. would fill up mobile me pretty fast.
2. probably take about 15 hours to upload on a decent connection (100KB/s up), and about 1hr 25min to download with 1MB/s speed. and that's if you are doing nothing else with the internet.

HE15MAN
Jun 4, 2010, 09:56 AM
I think the Hauppauge HD PVR is one of the best devices to do this.

spectre51
Jun 5, 2010, 12:40 PM
any usb external HD should be okay and as for the DVR I have the elgato hybrid USB and it works great.

redmac
Jun 9, 2010, 07:10 PM
How about an external HDD connected to an AirPort Extreme base station? I am looking for an external HDD to use with a similar Mac Mini HDTV setup. If the transfer rates are good enough for HD playback, I can get a cheap USB HDD and keep it in the closet with the AEBS. Otherwise I will need something with FW800 that would also look good next to the Mac Mini.

ggf
Jun 9, 2010, 08:36 PM
Hi all,
Anyway.. all that brings me to storage for the PVR bit. Clearly I need some external storage or the Mini's HD will fill up real quick. I was looking at the Mac Stack external drive etc. but then I started thinking shouldn't I be looking at MobileMe (or any type of cloud storage) and iDisk? Plugging an external drive in seems a bit antiquated these days.

Any help would be AWESOME!

I would thoroughly recommend the newer tech ministack, same form factor as the mini and airport extreme. Also if you buy the right model you get firewire which solves the speed problem

NReichman
Jun 9, 2010, 11:54 PM
I'm a very happy owner of the Silicon Dust HD Homerun and EyeTV, both running with a Mac mini in my living room. With about 100GB free on my mac mini, I find that that is enough to record all the shows we watch each week. Every weekend I delete old shows from EyeTV. I'd like it if Elgato had a feature that limited the total size of the archive, but even without it, I don't feel the need for external storage of TV shows.

dmm219
Jun 14, 2010, 07:41 AM
I'm a very happy owner of the Silicon Dust HD Homerun and EyeTV, both running with a Mac mini in my living room. With about 100GB free on my mac mini, I find that that is enough to record all the shows we watch each week. Every weekend I delete old shows from EyeTV. I'd like it if Elgato had a feature that limited the total size of the archive, but even without it, I don't feel the need for external storage of TV shows.

Forgive me as I am new to SDHD...but why would you have both SDHD and Eye TV on a mac? Don't they both do exactly the same thing?

I'm confused...

Tilpots
Jun 14, 2010, 08:28 AM
Forgive me as I am new to SDHD...but why would you have both SDHD and Eye TV on a mac? Don't they both do exactly the same thing?

I'm confused...

Not to speak to the previous poster's setup, but I believe he uses the SDHD as the tuner and EyeTV as the software.

ReggaeFire
Jun 14, 2010, 08:35 AM
Forgive me as I am new to SDHD...but why would you have both SDHD and Eye TV on a mac? Don't they both do exactly the same thing?

If the OP meant an EyeTV tuner (ie a Hybrid) and a HDHR, you can use this setup have multiple tuners (you can watch/record different channels at the same time). The only restriction is that they must be using the same source feed (all OTA, all cable, etc.). The EyeTV software is (sadly) still not smart enough to know that the Hybrid is connected to an OTA antenna while the HDHR is connected to a cable feed.

NReichman
Jun 14, 2010, 08:42 AM
Forgive me as I am new to SDHD...but why would you have both SDHD and Eye TV on a mac? Don't they both do exactly the same thing?

I'm confused...

No, the SDHD acts as a tuner. It takes any two coaxial cable TV connections (in my case, one from the Time Warner, direct from the wall, no Time Warner box, and the 2nd from my aerial antenna). The SDHD then puts these signals on the local area network. PC users on my network can pick up the signal with WMP, but on the Mac you need additional software, and EyeTV is great. EyeTV is a combination DVR/iTunes-video front-end for recording and watching TV. The software is not perfect, but it's very good, and there seems to be a lot of ongoing support behind it. Buy it!

ftaok
Jun 14, 2010, 10:56 AM
No one's addressed the 800 lbs gorilla in the room here ... CableCard.

If the OP is connected to an antenna, then disregard my post. However, if he's using cable, then this applies (or soon will).

The HDHR is a clearQAM device only. It doesn't do analog at all, which isn't too much of a problem since most cable systems are dropping analog for all but the basic channels.

So if you're cable company is passing basic and extended channels in clearQAM, you'll be able to record pretty much everything you want. However, if you subscribe to premiums, or your cable company is encrypting everything but basic, you're kinda screwed.

Here's my situation (which is happening to most Comcast users). About a year ago, Comcast started turning off all of the analog channels (5 at a time or so over the course of 3 months). They provided a small box (DTA) for "free" so that you could receive channels for secondary TVs that used to run on analog.

When this occured, Comcast put all of the Extended Basic channels on clearQAM. So I was able to record all of my channels (e.g. ESPN, Nick, Spike, etc). This was great as the digital channels used much less HDD space than the analogs.

Now that Comcast is done with the transition (in my area), they have turned encryption back on for the Extended Basic channels. So now I can't record them at all ... no digital, no analog.

So I will need a Cable Card if I want those channels back.

Currently (and in the forseeable future), there is no Mac solution for native CableCard support. There are work-arounds (involving capturing the analog output of a Cable STB), but these are kludgy in my opinion.

If you want native CC support for an HTPC, you'll need to go Windows. Plus, the tuners aren't out yet (unless you want to buy something off of eBay).

spectre51
Jun 14, 2010, 12:23 PM
Why not get a digital csblenox from your provider instead of a cable card. I know the eyetv hybrid works withth via an ur sensor and their are others.

ftaok
Jun 14, 2010, 12:54 PM
Why not get a digital csblenox from your provider instead of a cable card. I know the eyetv hybrid works withth via an ur sensor and their are others.

While this would work, it's still a kludgy solution. IMHO, the downsides outweigh the upsides. Here's a list.

1. Requires rental of a STB. Typically, this costs more than a CableCard.

2. Limited to recording a single channel per STB.

3. Limted to Standard Definition resolution.

3a. You'll need an Hauppauge HD-PVR 1212 or the new EyeTV HD for recording HD channels off a STB.

Native support for CableCard is the ultimate answer. At this point, I doubt if Macs will ever support CableCards. The pragmatic answer might be a Tivo Premiere and TivoToGo to connect to the Mac.

ft