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Old Apr 30, 2012, 07:31 PM   #1
tmanto02
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TV tuner for mac mini

Hey guys,

I've got the 2011 Mac Mini with ATI graphics and I'm interested in getting a TV tuner for viewing and recording live tv. I currently use my Mac Mini primarily as a media centre running PLEX.

Does anyone have any experience with TV tuners for the Mac Mini? Which one should I get? And also is there an app out there that combines similar features of Plex with a tv client like eyeTV?
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 10:25 PM   #2
shortcut3d
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I currently have a very complex setup for viewing and recording live TV. You can search for my lengthy post explaining how I use my 2011 Mac mini. I recommend the Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime for cable card tuners. This is the only cable card tuner with any capabilities in OSX. MythTV and XBMC will likely get you the results you are looking for. You can also run Windows 7 WMC in VMware with decent results.
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Old May 1, 2012, 10:33 AM   #3
ReggaeFire
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I use EyeTV with an EyeTV Hybrid and a dual tuner HDHomeRun, giving me three tuners. I use ClearQAM, though I have also used OTA in the past. My ClearQAM gives me my locals in HD, which is all I really care about. If you want to get encrypted cable, you'll have to get the EyeTV HD box, which uses an IR Blaster to control a cable box, this limits you to a single tuner (well, you might be able to run multiple ones, but you'd have to hook each one up to a different cable box, which would get real silly real quick). The EyeTV software is fine, I've been using it for all my TV viewing for a few years now. It's getting a bit long in the tooth though, they haven't released any updates in quite awhile, about 6 months, and the last major update was over 4 years ago. I hope they're just gearing up for a big 4.0 launch, but I worry that they've decided to abandon the TV space.

I don't have EyeTV integrated with Plex at all, I bounce between the two using Remote Buddy. I have a Harmony remote set up to control everything, It's easy to switch between the two, my wife picked it up after about three days.

There is a plugin integrating EyeTV and Plex in progress, but I think it's still pretty beta. You can check the Plex forum about that, the thread is always near the top of the plugins section.

XBMC has Live TV integration on the roadmap for 12.0, it would just be a front-end, and I don't know if the backend will be mac compatible or not.
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Old May 1, 2012, 12:26 PM   #4
tshrimp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortcut3d View Post
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I currently have a very complex setup for viewing and recording live TV. You can search for my lengthy post explaining how I use my 2011 Mac mini. I recommend the Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime for cable card tuners. This is the only cable card tuner with any capabilities in OSX. MythTV and XBMC will likely get you the results you are looking for. You can also run Windows 7 WMC in VMware with decent results.
I too use the Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime (good deal can be had at Frys if you are near a local store), but (and don't hate me here) I do have it going through Windows 7 with Plex server (I love Media Center for DVR and live TV) and have Plex client on my Mac Mini and Roku 2.
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:28 PM   #5
hipnetic
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I posted a reply yesterday but screwed up and lost it before it got posted. I have SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime matched with a Windows 7 desktop. I have a couple of XBox 360's in other rooms which let me have full control of watching live TV and recorded shows (as well as setting up new recordings), but WMC can also work well in a Apple-centric home...

There are apps like MC-TVConverter which will watch your 'Recorded TV' folder and auto-convert your shows to an AppleTV-friendly MP4 format. Obviously, there's a delay here...you can't watch live TV this way...the show finishes recording, MC-TVConverter starts converting it (which, for a 30 minute show, could be as fast as 15 minutes or so if you have a fast desktop), and then you can watch it on the AppleTV.

And/or, you can use something lie AirVideo's Server app running on the desktop box, and then use the AirVideo app on your iPhone/iPad to watch your shows. You still can't watch live TV, but you can watch something as soon as it has finished recording. And you can use AirPlay from the AirVideo iOS app to push it to the AppleTV, too. PQ won't be as good as the MC-TVConverter method, but it's decent. I wouldn't recommend pushing it to an AppleTV in a room with a large screen TV, and if you're watching it on the latest iPad, you won't be able to pull off smooth 1080p high-quality video, but it's suprisingly good. Well, I should add, that you need your desktop to have a capable CPU to do that on-the-fly transcoding at a high quality level.

Ideally, I'd love to see a solution where the shows get recorded as MP4 files from the get-go. I don't think Apple has much interest in offering DVR software, which is a shame, since they're pushing the iTunes TV show purchase model. Microsoft, who desperately needs their Windows phones to get traction, would be smart to have the next version of Windows Media Center allow for recording directly to a Windows Phone capable high-quality format, which would likely be MP4 under the covers, though also likely wrapped in a DRM container.
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Old May 1, 2012, 08:51 PM   #6
Ice Dragon
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Which is best for just recording game videos such as from a Wii?
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Old May 8, 2012, 12:29 AM   #7
pmcdunnough
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Originally Posted by hipnetic View Post
Ideally, I'd love to see a solution where the shows get recorded as MP4 files from the get-go. I don't think Apple has much interest in offering DVR software, which is a shame, since they're pushing the iTunes TV show purchase model. Microsoft, who desperately needs their Windows phones to get traction, would be smart to have the next version of Windows Media Center allow for recording directly to a Windows Phone capable high-quality format, which would likely be MP4 under the covers, though also likely wrapped in a DRM container.
Microsoft is apparently going to make WMC and DVD playback an optional purchase in windows 8.

Are you able to reliably filter out commercials when using your setup (and reliably having Windows change the channels for PVR use)? I use EyeTV HP which is nice and com skip, but it's not reliable at changing channels nor at filtering commercials. We are on iptv with no cable card capability so it comes down to a dreadful IR Blaster solution which doesn't work well with the Motorola VIP12xx boxes.

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Old Jun 7, 2012, 03:45 PM   #8
hipnetic
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MC-TVConverter can strip out commercials, but I honestly haven't tried it. I'm using WMC and streaming to the XBox 360's, and that handles changing channels and scheduling recordings fine. I've occasionally used AirVideo to watch something on the iPad or iPhone in the house, but overall I haven't done much to convert shows to MP4 files, other than experiment. For day-to-day usage, I've been fine watching my shows via the main WMC computer/server in the bedroom or in other rooms via an XBox 360.
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