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Old Oct 6, 2010, 05:58 PM   #1
hallaisen
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Need some help setting up Mini+EyeTv+HD receiver

Hey,

So today I got my new TV and I need to get everything set up properly. Here is my equipment list:

-LG Infinia 47" LE8500
-Mac Mini from early 2010, 2.53ghz with 4gb RAM. Connected to the TV with a Kanex Minidisplayport to HDMI cable.
-EyeTV HD connected to the receiver via component cables and the Mac via USB.
-Bell Satellite HD receiver
-Logitech Harmony One universal remote
-A couple of harddrives connected through USB to an Airport Extreme Base Station
-iMac, Macbook Pro and iPhone which I all want to be able to stream TV to with EyeTV

What I have done so far is to connect the EyeTV to the receiver and to the Mac and then obviously connecting the Mac to the TV. My questions are as follows:

-This is really the reason why I'm making this thread: The picture quality is not great. By that I mean that is stuttering a bit. I checked the activity monitor to see how the CPU is doing and when I watch TV it is running at about 75%, which makes me believe that the Mac Mini is ok for processing the HD signals from the EyeTV? What other settings can I look into to make it look smoother?
-Is there anything in particular I should know about EyeTV or is it pretty much plug and play? Everything is working fine and I can stream to my other macs vi Live3G, but like I said I'm not happy with the quality.
-Is the component cable my best option?
-The picture from my Mac is "too big" for the TV, and I can't see the top menu bar etc. How do I fix that?
-The TV has a 240hz refresh rate, but in the Mac display settings I can only choose between 50 or 60hz. Does this mean that I won't be taking full advantage of the TV capabilities if I run the signal through the mac?
-I'm having some problems with the Harmony remote. I haven't played around with it enough to really ask for help yet, but I'm wondering if anyone knows of a guide out there for how to set up a Mac Mini+EyeTV with the remote?

Last edited by hallaisen; Oct 6, 2010 at 08:40 PM.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 07:00 PM   #2
hallaisen
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I just tried connecting the receiver directly to the TV instead of running it through the EyeTV and there is no stutter anymore. Disappointed by EyeTV, but still hoping to find a solution.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 08:28 PM   #3
Mr. Savage
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There's a lot to wade through in your post, hallaisen.

First thing that jumps out at me is the composite cable. Are you sure you don't mean component? If you are in fact using composite cable (single yellow RCA-type plug) then you will have poor picture quality no matter what.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mr. Savage View Post
There's a lot to wade through in your post, hallaisen.

First thing that jumps out at me is the composite cable. Are you sure you don't mean component? If you are in fact using composite cable (single yellow RCA-type plug) then you will have poor picture quality no matter what.
Yes, thank you. I did mean component. Im not used to these types of cables and wrote the wrong thing. Thanks for clarifying, I'll try to edit my original post.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 09:02 PM   #5
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Where are your recordings stored?
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 09:08 PM   #6
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i presume Display Port is the limit where the hz is concerned, a quick google seems to think 60hz is the max it supports.

can you try to record to the inbuilt hard drive and see how performance goes there?

75% CPU usage is quite high! on my 2006 model MBP it sits at about 60%, but that is just digital TV and not HD digital tv.

try switchresx for your display issue.
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Last edited by DoFoT9; Oct 6, 2010 at 09:18 PM.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 10:34 PM   #7
hallaisen
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Where are your recordings stored?
To the Mac Mini's local harddrive. Two days ago I ordered an Iomega hd from the apple store that I plan to connect to the Mini via Firewire and use this for EyeTV recordings.
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 11:29 PM   #8
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Your set-up is different from mine but a couple questions:

have you tried the different deinterlace settings in eyetv software preferences (motion adaptive, progressive etc.)?

how long is the usb cable you're using?

How large is your live tv buffer and do you keep it in RAM?
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Old Oct 6, 2010, 11:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DoFoT9 View Post
i presume Display Port is the limit where the hz is concerned, a quick google seems to think 60hz is the max it supports..
No, the problem is that his TV only supports 60hz input. It's a very common misconception that HDTVs that advertise themselves as 120hz/240hz actually allow you to input at that refresh rate. It's actually a bit deceiving and really annoying to have to explain to people all the time.

The HDTV can only receive 60hz and *maybe* 24hz which is designed for 24p content like Blu-rays.

The whole point of the 120hz and 240hz thing is two-fold. For one it allows for frame interpolation, which artificially combines frames, which is supposed to make motion look much smoother. This is the setting on most HDTVs called "Motion Plus" or something like that, you have to check your manual for the exact setting, but it is absolutely awful and makes motion look artificial, and makes movies look like candid film instead of the nice crisp 24fps motion they are supposed to look like.

The other point is to allow for you to input 24hz on some HDTVs so that you can watch a Blu-ray movie at 24fps without it doing a 3:2 pulldown. This is good for people who don't like "stutter" look that can sometimes result from 3:2 pulldown.

Either way 120hz and 240hz refers to the refresh rate the screen outputs at (referring to image processor output), not the refresh rate that it accepts as input.

Also I am pretty sure MDP supports more than 60hz, and it is using HDMI anyway (no HDTV supports MDP), so your point about MDP is silly. When you use the adapter it doesn't actually output using MDP, it outputs an HDMI signal straight off the video card. If it was outputting as MDP then it would require a powered converter in order to make it into HDMI because of how MDP works.

Educate your friends, family, neighbors, don't fall for the 120hz/240hz scam*

* unless it's capable of 24hz input and you have a Blu-ray player that supports it as well.
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Last edited by ovrlrd; Oct 7, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 06:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mr. Savage View Post
Your set-up is different from mine but a couple questions:

have you tried the different deinterlace settings in eyetv software preferences (motion adaptive, progressive etc.)?

how long is the usb cable you're using?

How large is your live tv buffer and do you keep it in RAM?
I've put it on progressive, which seemed to be the most high-quality setting I could use. I don't accept compromising on quality to use EyeTV, so if this is the cause of the stutter I'll return the EyeTV instead.

I'm using the (short) USB cable that came with the EyeTV.

I haven't changed the buffer setting, so it's on 2gb and not in RAM. I thought that would only affect how much I can rewind during LiveTV?
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 06:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ovrlrd View Post

Educate your friends, family, neighbors, don't fall for the 120hz/240hz scam*

* unless it's capable of 24hz input and you have a Blu-ray player that supports it as well.
Thanks for the clarification. I was aware that the 240hz was "fake", but not really sure how it worked. So you're basically saying to always keep that option (it's called TruMotion on LG TVs) turned off?
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 07:25 AM   #12
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Yes, turn it off. Just to clarify, 120hz/240hz is great. It works wonders for Blu Ray content because it allows 1080p at 24 fps content to be played exactly as intended without any type of 3:2 pulldown which causes judder. The reason is that 24 frames multiplies into 120 or 240 evenly so they just repeat the frames exaclty as is rather than doing any sort of calculations. 24 does not multiply into 60 evenly which is why older tvs had to do 3:2 pulldown.

Of course any 30 or 60 fps content multiplies into either 60, 120, or 240 evenly as well so there is no change there. But 120 or 240 also allows them to do funky things with the video rather than just repeating the frames the required number of times. Like adding a completely black frame in between and multiplying the real content a fewer number of times to create a "more dark and cinematic" experience. Or interpolating (basically inventing frames) and doing 3:2 pulldown to make the motion in fast action scenes look more fluid. Or any combination of the two.

All of that extra stuff changes the way the film was meant and intended to be viewed and often causes picture quality issues because they involve calculations and rounding errors that a simple frame repeat never has to worry about.
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 12:01 PM   #13
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Yeah, that's what the buffer is for but if it is writing to a hard drive that isn't fast enough it can exhibit some strange behavior. Just to rule it out, try knocking it down to 512 and keep in RAM.

Also, have you visited eyetv lounge? It's a forum for eyetv users and tech support employees are also on there answering questions and offering advice.
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 01:28 PM   #14
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Yeah, that's what the buffer is for but if it is writing to a hard drive that isn't fast enough it can exhibit some strange behavior.
He said he's using the Mini's internal drive. The internal is esata so it should be plenty fast.

Im thinking the problem is the receiver. I've never used Elgatos HD, so I'm not sure how to go about testing the output of that box.
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 02:51 PM   #15
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Received my 1TB 7400 rpm iomega drive from the apple store and connected it to the mini with a firewire cable. Switched buffering to 512mb ram and deinterlacing to motion adaptive. Picture is still stuttering in live tv. I tried to pause live tv and watch a recording and it was terrible. In activity monitor it said 0% idle cpu. I then quit live tv and watched the recording by itself and it was a lot better, but still stuttering enough to be annoying. Have a feeling Im gonna end up returning the EyeTV, which is a shame cause I like the software. Still hoping to find a resolution for my problems.
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Old Oct 7, 2010, 03:31 PM   #16
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i had an annoying stuttering issue as well that was the worst watching the World Cup..about every 5 seconds it would stutter for a second or less but other channels seemed less afflicted or not at all. I tried a bunch of stuff:

--buffering to RAM did not help
--look at activity monitor and see if there is a recurring process at time of stutter
--while watching livetv it will buffer to your hard drive, try replaying the scene over and over and see if it still skips (for me sometimes it did, sometimes not)
--do stutters persist in the recording?
--what if you try an aerial as a test instead of cable box/EyeTV, ie how does your TV alone handle the raw feed?
--is it every channel? 720P or 1080i channels?

For me, I ended up using a dedicated cable line for tuner and internet (before I was using the same line), which may have improved things--I haven't had such a bad problem since then. I have crappy aerial reception so I have to use cable line, but even with the line plugged straight in to the TV very occasionally I'll get brief dropouts (split second). Also occasionally in recordings I get the same. My feeling is part of the problem is some junk bits/signal issues on the line itself but also that EyeTV as a player could be more robust...I am using a Hybrid though I don't have the new EyeTV HD.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 08:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovrlrd View Post
No, the problem is that his TV only supports 60hz input. It's a very common misconception that HDTVs that advertise themselves as 120hz/240hz actually allow you to input at that refresh rate. It's actually a bit deceiving and really annoying to have to explain to people all the time.
i wouldnt call it misconception when every single advertisement you see basically tells you that those frequencies can be interpreted from the BD player to the TV - and not just "made up" by the TV itself.

that is some very useful information ovrlrd, thanks for the time in writing a detailed response.

in any case, i looked into DP and i could not see any evidence that it supports +60Hz - are you able to find anything that tells us otherwise?
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 08:41 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hallaisen View Post
Received my 1TB 7400 rpm iomega drive from the apple store and connected it to the mini with a firewire cable. Switched buffering to 512mb ram and deinterlacing to motion adaptive. Picture is still stuttering in live tv. I tried to pause live tv and watch a recording and it was terrible. In activity monitor it said 0% idle cpu. I then quit live tv and watched the recording by itself and it was a lot better, but still stuttering enough to be annoying. Have a feeling Im gonna end up returning the EyeTV, which is a shame cause I like the software. Still hoping to find a resolution for my problems.
I have a Mac Mini 2010 too and run the EyeTV software off of an HD Homerun dual tuner device. What I have learned is skipping is caused by high processor load, not network issues. If I run two live TV windows at the same time and they are both in HD, I sometimes get skips too. Especially if I am using the Eyetv app on the iPhone at the same time which is very processor intensive. Another thing to watch for is when you are exporting a recording. That takes up a lot of processor cycles as well.

You said activity monitor showed your processor as 0% idle and I'm almost sure that is your problem.
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