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Old Nov 28, 2012, 12:29 PM   #76
danbeckemeyer
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
As a father of two young kids (2.5 year old boy and 10 month old girl), I can tell you that Netflix is ESSENTIAL once your kid gets to the age that you feel comfortable with them watching a TV show once in a while. That's because Netflix has just about every kids show you can think of, multiple seasons of it. And there are no ads try to sell you stuff through your kids. Sesame Street, Thomas the tank engine, wonder pets, yo gabba gabba (shudder) and everything else all have plenty of content. Being able to simply start playing whatever episode of whatever season you like without having to have the forethought to set a recording ahead of time is so valuable. Well worth the Netflix subscription cost.
He's already watching some of that content He is a big Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan, however, and it's unfortunate that it's not available on this. But, I just AirPlay it from my iPad. He's not near old enough to care about video quality..

My favorite part is that they categorize the shows by character image genius!!
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 12:36 PM   #77
Bozley0621
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My favorite part is that they categorize the shows by character image genius!!
I appreciate this feature at 32. I love watching the shows from my childhood. He-Man and Inspector Gadget are awesome. I would love if they added the Smurfs and Snorks.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 01:22 PM   #78
ericrwalker
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What do you prefer Hauppauge or HDHomeRun and why?


I was looking at Hauppauge, but recently purchased a HDHomerun on woot.


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Originally Posted by blueroom View Post
We cut the cable TV service about 3 yrs ago.

What we use:
Windows 7 media center AMD A6 running on a pair of dual ATSC tuners (Hauppauge & HDHomeRun)
Green button remote, 16 HDTV channels, guide data & DD5.1plus + no monthly fees
XBox 360 console as extenders (fantastic, but you must be on wired Ethernet to be problem free)
Apple TV3 for rentals, Unblock-US for border free content on Netflix.
Synology NAS for music, movie storage and everything else.

That's it. It's the WMC is the only Windows computer in the house and it works great.

I'm not a sports fan so cutting the cable was easy.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 08:21 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
I upgraded my internet (from $35/month AT&T DSL ad < 3Mbps to $50/month TWC at ~15 Mbps) BEFORE I cut my Dish Network service. We used netflix streaming so much, even then, that we wanted to upgrade our internet service anyway.
You're an example of how cable operators and telco TV providers benefit when customers cut the cord: The profit margin on broadband is much, much higher than on video. Of course, the broadband margin isn't large enough to outweigh the loss of the monthly video fee from someone who had a full package (e.g., sports tier, HBO).
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 03:54 PM   #80
dgalvan123
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You're an example of how cable operators and telco TV providers benefit when customers cut the cord: The profit margin on broadband is much, much higher than on video. Of course, the broadband margin isn't large enough to outweigh the loss of the monthly video fee from someone who had a full package (e.g., sports tier, HBO).
Interesting point.

In my case, I cut Dish Network and cut AT&T DSL, and became a new customer of TWC for broadband. So TWC benefited outright, and Dish and AT&T lost out.

If I had been a TWC customer all along, and then decided to discontinue TV service from TWC (say, at least $30 less per month) but boost my broadband service with TWC from the low the next lowest tier (say an additional $15 per month), the company still would have be getting less money from me. So much depends on just how much bigger the profit margin is on broadband than on TV service. There's a quantitative answer to that somewhere. . . do you know it?

Anyway, I don't think the telco companies are actually benefiting in general from cord-cutting. For one, they are making efforts to replicate the watch-on-demand and streaming experience through their TV set-top boxes. My mom has ATT Uverse, which comes with video-on-demand for most popular shows. Basically simulates the experience of hooking Hulu up to your TV. So the Telco companies are at least taking steps to keep their TV customers. Can't be too beneficial for them to have everyone cut the TV cord.

I will say though that it's funny to think this could possibly end up as a zero sum gain:
1. We all say "I don't want to pay for TV service! I'll just use the internet!"
2. We all cut our TV service, subscribe to Netflix (monthly fee), Hulu Plus (monthly fee) and increase broadband usage (higher monthly fee)
3. We end up paying about as much as we did before.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 04:50 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
Interesting point.
1. We all say "I don't want to pay for TV service! I'll just use the internet!"
2. We all cut our TV service, subscribe to Netflix (monthly fee), Hulu Plus (monthly fee) and increase broadband usage (higher monthly fee)
3. We end up paying about as much as we did before.
depends what you were paying for on TV, and how much was crap you won't watch once its not as convenient (better in the long run), for me adding the 10$ to my internet package, and 8$ for netflix, outweighed the cost of cable with a sports pack. i now pay for sports individually (in canada on rogers it was 33$/month for everything, couldnt only buy basketball and football), and whenever i travel i take those sports with me via mac or iPad, so money isnt lost if im away for a weekend and im paying for football games i can't access
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 05:21 PM   #82
iHailCarlo
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I want to cut mine so bad, we hardly watch it except for sports and HBO. We always use netflix and iTunes for everything. We got a decent size movie library.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 05:38 PM   #83
linds15
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I want to cut mine so bad, we hardly watch it except for sports and HBO. We always use netflix and iTunes for everything. We got a decent size movie library.
sports is easy to replace with NFL Gamepass, NBA Gametime, NHL Centre Ice, and MLB Innings, HBO is the only downside, to me HBO wasnt worth cable +25$a month
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 08:14 AM   #84
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So much depends on just how much bigger the profit margin is on broadband than on TV service. There's a quantitative answer to that somewhere. . . do you know it?
It varies by operator, as you'd expect, but it's about double that of video.

The higher tier residential broadband services (100 Mbps- 1 Gbps) probably have much higher margins than slower services. That's because the operators offering those services say that most customers who buy the faster tiers don't really consume much more data over the course of a month. Typically they use those speeds only in bursts, such as to load up the buffer on an HD movie stream or to download a game. The rest of the time, they use data at the same rate as everyone else.

That's why a business broadband service always costs a lot more than a residential service with the same speed: The operator knows that business customers will consistently max out that pipe, so they have to spend accordingly to put in the infrastructure necessary to deliver the advertised speed 24/7.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:47 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
I will say though that it's funny to think this could possibly end up as a zero sum gain:
1. We all say "I don't want to pay for TV service! I'll just use the internet!"
2. We all cut our TV service, subscribe to Netflix (monthly fee), Hulu Plus (monthly fee) and increase broadband usage (higher monthly fee)
3. We end up paying about as much as we did before.
I dropped my cost. By nearly $100. And moved from 1.5Mb broadband to 40Mb.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 12:47 PM   #86
slothrob
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
This is true.

In my case, however, I upgraded my internet (from $35/month AT&T DSL ad < 3Mbps to $50/month TWC at ~15 Mbps) BEFORE I cut my Dish Network service. We used netflix streaming so much, even then, that we wanted to upgrade our internet service anyway.
The point: I would have the higher internet service whether I had "cut the cable" or not. So I don't count that as an "extra" cost for cutting cable.
The problem I have is that cable is essentially free in my bundle, compared to paying for phone and internet separately. Maybe ~$10-15/month more than the two separately, at best. Since I'm not willing to give up having a phone that works when the power goes out (which I would consider an unacceptable risk), any savings would be trivial. On top of that, there is a large granite hill between us and the TV towers, that prevents us from receiving over-the-air TV broadcasts.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 08:01 PM   #87
GarrettL1979
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Do you all think a 10 Mbps plan would work well for Hulu and Netflix?
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 08:55 PM   #88
dgalvan123
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Do you all think a 10 Mbps plan would work well for Hulu and Netflix?
Yep that will work fine. Anything above 4 Mbps or so is plenty.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 08:58 PM   #89
GarrettL1979
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Yep that will work fine. Anything above 4 Mbps or so is plenty.
Thanks!
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 09:23 PM   #90
DP812
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
I will say though that it's funny to think this could possibly end up as a zero sum gain:
1. We all say "I don't want to pay for TV service! I'll just use the internet!"
2. We all cut our TV service, subscribe to Netflix (monthly fee), Hulu Plus (monthly fee) and increase broadband usage (higher monthly fee)
3. We end up paying about as much as we did before.
All I can do is speak for myself. In Japan, cable service costs around $70 a month, and their selection of English language programming is severely limited and often several years behind. Instead, with the annual Unblock Us subscription plus Netflix and Hulu Plus, I save $50 a month, and I have access to far more content. So far, I haven't been charged once for increased bandwidth usage.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:58 AM   #91
Hooksta
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I like the idea of "cutting the cable cord" but I still haven't figured out the value of my Apple TV. I love it for streaming movies from my MacBook's iTunes library to the big flat screen in the living room but that's about it. Each time I log on I see that I have to pay $1.99 and up to watch anything on it. I'd rather use my MacBook and go out to a network's website and watch the video for free (IE...The Daily Show on Comedy Central)

I've tried paying for Netflix but they seem slow about putting up new releases...at least that has been my experience.

Heck, I even like the thought of getting an HD antenna for the house and then using the internet to fill in the gaps. However, I love having a DVR and I am unaware of a good DVR setup for an HD antenna. (Definitely open to suggestions here!!!!)

In the end my wife and I are spoiled by the HD service with DirectTV, including the whole house DVR setup. We don't pay for any of the movie channels or sport packages and yet our bill comes in just over $100 a month. That part sucks!!!
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 12:06 PM   #92
GarrettL1979
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
Each of the reasons people have mentioned why they wouldn't want to cut the cord have solutions.

My setup:

OTA: I split the co-ax from my rooftop antenna: one goes straight into the TV, the other goes into my HD Homerun. We watch local news and live events on the TV, and use the HD Homerun for recording shows.

DVR: The HD Homerun is dual-tuner and sends the signal to EyeTV running on my mac (A 2009 MBP 17"). We use this to record network shows. EyeTV auto-exports the recording to iTunes (using the ETVcomskip applescript to remove the commercials), so the resulting iTunes .m4v is stored on an external hard drive and viewable by all the Apple TV's in my house. (This is scalable: if you want to add access to all your recorded shows to another TV in the house, just add another Apple TV. You can get 3rd gen refurbished for $85 each from apple.)

Cost: $20 / year for the TV Guide electronic program guide service in EyeTV. That's it. Everything else is free.
This is great! How are the recorded network shows displayed in iTunes and on your apple tv? Does EyeTV take care of the metadata?

Also, are you using a NAS drive for the recordings?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 12:40 PM   #93
dgalvan123
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Originally Posted by Hooksta View Post
I like the idea of "cutting the cable cord" but I still haven't figured out the value of my Apple TV. I love it for streaming movies from my MacBook's iTunes library to the big flat screen in the living room but that's about it. Each time I log on I see that I have to pay $1.99 and up to watch anything on it. I'd rather use my MacBook and go out to a network's website and watch the video for free (IE...The Daily Show on Comedy Central)

I've tried paying for Netflix but they seem slow about putting up new releases...at least that has been my experience.

Heck, I even like the thought of getting an HD antenna for the house and then using the internet to fill in the gaps. However, I love having a DVR and I am unaware of a good DVR setup for an HD antenna. (Definitely open to suggestions here!!!!)

In the end my wife and I are spoiled by the HD service with DirectTV, including the whole house DVR setup. We don't pay for any of the movie channels or sport packages and yet our bill comes in just over $100 a month. That part sucks!!!
You sound exactly like me just over 2 years ago. We also paid too much for satellite TV (Dish network), and the main thing that kept us from giving it up was the fact that we loved our DVR experience. It just seemed two convenient to give up. So I spent a good amount of time researching how to get a good DVR without paying for sat or cable.

The answer, I found, is that there are very few DVR boxes out there that you can buy outright (at least in the U.S.A.). The reason is that DVR's cost several hundred dollars each, and since one can "rent" them from one's cable provider for $6/month, it's nearly impossible for the solo-DVR sellers to compete, and they often go out of business if they dare to try. Tivo is the best known example of a non-cable/sat-company-tied DVR. The cheapest Tivo model now is $150 (back when I was looking into this, the one you'd actually want to buy was at least $200 I think, so maybe Tivo is finding ways to bring the price down). Also, you'd need to buy a Tivo for every TV in your house, so just multiply that $150+ by the TVs and there's your argument for sticking with cable/sat right there. Add in the $15/month Tivo service fee (per unit), and it meant that, instead of paying $6/month to rent a DishDVR (which outputted to two TVs), I'd have to pay $30/month just for the service on two Tivo's, in addition to the $400 up front cost. No way. Still the Tivo company manages to survive by maintaining a brand of user-friendliness and a cult-like following.

The only other mainstream DVR brand I found when I was looking into this two years ago was Moxi. They had a lower monthly service fee than Tivo, but the device itself also had fewer features, as I recall, and couldn't be used with OTA antennas (ie: you'd just buy it to work with your existing cable service). How have they fared? Just checked their website right now: they sold their business/brand to another company and you can no longer buy a standalone Moxi DVR without buying the Arris "whole home solution", which seems to be aimed at corporate customers, not consumers. http://www.moxi.com/us/

-------

I wanted a DVR-like solution that would not cost $15/month to maintain and could be used without a cable/satellite subscription. And I found one. I've already described it in earlier posts in this thread (as others have already described their DVR-like solutions). But, to give you the overview:

The setup:
I use an OTA antenna to get HD broadcasts from the major networks and PBS. That feeds into a dual tuner HD Homerun device (~$90), which sends the broadcasts to my Mac running the EyeTV software ($80), which basically lets the mac serve as a DVR. That software lets you schedule recordings on your mac using a program guide. After finishing a recording, it auto-exports the program to iTunes, at which point it is accessible to any Apple TV in your house.

The use experience:
Since the recordings can be set in advance for a full season of shows, and the export to iTunes can be set to happen automatically, the end user experience is that you come home from work, turn on your Apple TV, go into Computers --> TV Shows, and you have a list of unwatched programs that just "magically" appeared. You can start watching the shows any time, pause, rewind, fast forward through commercials. And the only monthly fee is $1.67/month ($20/year for the TV Guide program information in the EyeTV software). Show scheduling and deleting is done at your computer in EyeTV and iTunes, but actual watching/enjoying can all be managed from your couch. (I use the "mark as watched" option to check a show off my list. Just hold the Apple TV "select" button on the show to bring up the "mark as watched" option, which removes it from the "unwatched" list. Sort of like deleting on your DVR, but you still have to actually delete the program in iTunes and EyeTV on your mac.

Cable shows:
-For cable shows (including the Daily Show) I use my jailbroken Apple TV 2's. I have XBMC installed with the Hulu and Free Cable plugins. Hulu gives my ATV2 access to the free version of Hulu (which is officially only available on computers), and Free Cable streams any show that has been posted on the cable networks' websites for watching in a browser, but Free Cable pipes that stream straight to your Apple TV. Between these two, you can watch any show that you could watch on your computer's browser on your Apple TV.

If you don't have an Apple TV 2 (the Apple TV 3's haven't been jailbroken yet, and might never be, so the Apple TV 2's are only available used and typically sell for $150+), you can still replicate this cable-show watching experience simply by airplaying your mac's screen to the Apple TV using either Mountain Lion's Airplay Mirroring or the AirParrot software. So just start the show on your mac, airplay, and enjoy. Or you could just pay $8/month for Hulu Plus on your Apple TV 3.

After all this, there are only a couple shows that we want to keep up-to-date with that we actually purchase on iTunes. Breaking Bad is one. For everything else, I just wait for it to come out on either Netflix streaming or Netflix discs.

The overall result:
If you spend some time to look how others have done it (feel free to ask specifici questions), you can have the DVR experience without the $100/month cable bill. Up to you to pull the trigger. I set up my system and we used it in tandem with our Dish subscription for several months before my wife became convinced she could give up Dish. We've been Dish-free for over a year now, and both of us are glad we did it. The minor occasional inconveniences of how to watch a particular show are minuscule compared to how good we feel to have complete control over our entertainment and not be overpaying for something we don't use.

Last edited by dgalvan123; Dec 3, 2012 at 06:26 PM. Reason: fixed price for HD Homerun: it's actually $90 not $150
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 01:52 PM   #94
JAT
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Originally Posted by dgalvan123 View Post
The answer, I found, is that there are very few DVR boxes out there that you can buy outright (at least in the U.S.A.). The reason is that DVR's cost several hundred dollars each, and since one can "rent" them from one's cable provider for $6/month, it's nearly impossible for the solo-DVR sellers to compete, and they often go out of business if they dare to try. Tivo is the best known example of a non-cable/sat-company-tied DVR. The cheapest Tivo model now is $150

-------

The setup:
I use an OTA antenna to get HD broadcasts from the major networks and PBS. That feeds into a dual tuner HD Homerun device (~$150), which sends the broadcasts to my Mac running the EyeTV software ($80), which basically lets the mac serve as a DVR. That software lets you schedule recordings on your mac using a program guide. After finishing a recording, it auto-exports the program to iTunes, at which point it is accessible to any Apple TV in your house.
One Tivo is $150 (probably less @ Amazon) + $400 to be a standalone DVR with no monthly fee, not exactly cheap. Keep in mind with EyeTV you need a computer that can have a lot of its cpu cycles spent on recording/converting/playing TV. That can also have a noticeable upfront cost.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 02:01 PM   #95
dgalvan123
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This is great! How are the recorded network shows displayed in iTunes and on your apple tv?
They are displayed just like a show you would have purchased from the iTunes store, with the following exception:

-The graphical "icon" for that particular show episode is not the show's "poster art", but the first frame of the EyeTV recording (which may be an ad, so it is not necessarily indicative of what is in the show). But EyeTV thought of this, which is why the icon also has a horizontal gray band at the top and bottom of the icon square. On the top band is the title of the show ("Star Trek: The Next Generation"), and at the bottom is the "EyeTV" logo, indicating that the show came from an EyeTV. So just looking at the icon, you can still tell what show it is, even though the photo might be misleading.

That's pretty much it: the icon is different. Otherwise it's just like any other show you have in iTunes.

Well, it has commercials unlike an iTunes-purchased show, but you can skip through those on the apple TV or in iTunes when you watch. There is actually an EyeTV applescript called "ETVComSkip" (google it) which allows EyeTV to mark the beginning and ends of commercials while it is recording. Then, when it exports to iTunes, EyeTV omits the commercials so your exported show in iTunes has no commercials to skip at all! I have this working (it involves downloading ETVComSkip, saving it to your EyeTV "scripts" directory, and possibly changing some directory names in the Applescript document), but I've found that it only works for certain networks. IE: I typically get no commercials for NBC shows, but I do get them for ABC shows. Maybe whatever signal the two networks use to mark the beginning/end of a commercial break is different, and ETVComSkip only detects one of them. *shrug* I haven't bothered hacking around to make it work with more networks. (How much effort does one want to devote just to enable more laziness? Hitting "skip ahead 30 seconds" a couple times to skip a commercial is easy enough.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettL1979 View Post
Does EyeTV take care of the metadata?
Yes. It grabs it from the EyeTV program guide, which uses information from TV Guide. So your exported show in iTunes has the same metadata that the EyeTV recording itself has: Show name, episode title, air date, and description. And all that metadata appears both in iTunes and your Apple TV. You don't have to do any "tagging" like you would if you were ripping a DVD movie or show, for example. EyeTV does that with no effort from you.

Remember, that TV Guide info is the $20/year fee you are paying for: it gets you the ability to browse and schedule using a program guide, and provides metadata for your recordings. (It's actually free the first year and then $20/year after that.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettL1979 View Post
Also, are you using a NAS drive for the recordings?
No. I store them on an external firewire800 1 TB drive. But you certainly could store them on an NAS if you wanted to. All that matters is that EyeTV and iTunes can see the recordings. Your storage of the recordings is left for you to manage what works best.

------
(What follows below is a detailed and perhaps scary explanation of how I customized my storage for my particular needs. Please don't let it scare you away from using EyeTV. The default settings are probably fine for most people.)

I should clarify:

If you're using EyeTV to auto-export to iTunes like we are talking about, there will be two versions for each individual recording.
1. The EyeTV recording in an uncompressed format (2-7 GB for a one hour show, depending on SD vs. HD). This is the file that would play if you watch the show in the EyeTV program.
2. The compressed show that is exported to iTunes in a .m4v format (usually 1-3 GB for an hour, depending on SD vs. HD). This is what you can see via Homesharing on your Apple TV.

#1 is stored in your "EyeTV Recordings" folder, which you can set in EyeTV's preferences to be wherever you want, on whatever drive you want (internal or external). Mine are stored on the external.

#2 is a bit harder to control, and I found it to be a bit unintuitive. By default, EyeTV dumps the exported show into the iTunes Media folder on your mac's internal hard drive. This works fine, requires no extra setup from you, and may be your best option if you have plenty of room on your internal drive.

The only down side is that you will tend to have less available storage space on your internal hard drive. You can only delete the .m4v file from iTunes on your Mac, or manually in the Finder. You can't delete it from your Apple TV. So if you are like me, you'll finish watching a show on your couch or in bed, and then you don't want to get up and walk over to the computer to delete the show right that moment. (I just hold the select button on my Apple TV remote, select "Mark as watched", and watch as the show is removed from the "unwatched" list on the screen. So I "check it off" that way.) But then you end up having to delete a bunch of shows every week or however often you need to get your many GBs of internal storage back on your mac. It's not a big deal to have a "deleting session" like this once every while.

But I didn't have all that much free space on my internal drive (it's a macbook pro), so I was having to delete the shows from iTunes every couple of days. So I wanted to store the exported .m4vs on my external drive, and just have them visible to iTunes without actually being copied into the iTunes media folder. (The equivalent of option+dragging the files into iTunes, which lets you "import" them without "copying" them.) This would mean I could wait longer between "deleting sessions", since my external drive had lots of free space and I wouldn't be taking up valuable internal drive space. This is where I hit a snag, and ended up with a convoluted workaround.

the snag:
EyeTV always puts a copy of the exported file on your internal drive IF you are using the "Apple TV" or "iPad" settings selected in the "export" pulldown menu for a scheduled recording. There is no built-in option to tell EyeTV that you want the exported .m4v file stored in a particular place other than the iTunes Media folder. You simply tell it to export the recording or not (as an "Apple TV" or "iPad" or "iPhone" setting), and it does the rest. So I tried to trick EyeTV by moving my iTunes Media folder to the external drive. I figured EyeTV would notice that the iTunes Media folder was on an external drive, and put the exported show in there. Instead, once the iTunes Media Folder was no longer on my internal drive, EyeTV put its exported recordings in the "Movies" directory in my user home directory (/Users/dgalvan/Movies). If I wanted the file to actually get recognized by iTunes, I had to check the "copy imported media files to iTunes Media Folder" in iTunes' preferences, and the show in my Movies directory would get auto-imported to iTunes and copied into the iTunes Media Folder as well. But then I'd have two copies of the .m4v: one on my internal drive in the Movies directory AND one on the external drive in the iTunes Media folder! So moving my iTunes Media folder to my external drive didn't solve my storage problem.

the workaround:
Luckily, EyeTV plays well with Applescripts. If there's not a clear way to do something in the EyeTV GUI, you can probably do it with an Applescript. So I cobbled together a script (mostly from what others had posted online, with some minimal changes from me related to the actual directory paths) that I placed in the EyeTV --> scripts --> triggered directory. The way this script works is as follows: Any time an EyeTV recording is finished, the script is triggered. (since it is in the "triggered" directory). Once triggered, the script immediately starts transcoding the Eye TV recording (#1 above) and producing a .m4V (#2) recording. At this point in the script, you can specify where that #2 recording is stored, and I have it set to store in a directory on my external drive. Then in the applescript you can issue a command to "send to iTunes", which basically just sends iTunes the link to the file without copying the file into the iTunes Media Folder.

So, my setup now works so that both the #1 and #2 recordings are stored on an external drive (one in an "EyeTV Recordings" folder, the other in a "EyeTV Exports" folder), with no recordings saved to my internal drive. It was a bit unintuitive to setup, but it works fine. And since it is a triggered script, the recording exports whether or not I have selected the "export" option in the EyeTV GUI, so I no longer have to remember to do that when I set up a recording in EyeTV.

If anyone is interested, I can post my applescript.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 02:20 PM   #96
dgalvan123
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One Tivo is $150 (probably less @ Amazon) + $400 to be a standalone DVR with no monthly fee, not exactly cheap. Keep in mind with EyeTV you need a computer that can have a lot of its cpu cycles spent on recording/converting/playing TV. That can also have a noticeable upfront cost.
Agreed.

BUT I'll point out: Depending on your main home computer's specs and your use of it, you may not need to dedicate a computer for this purpose.

When I was first looking into this, I was expecting that I'd need to buy a computer to be my Home Theater PC (HTPC), just dedicated to being my DVR. I wanted a Mac Mini for this, but that added enough to the cost that it kept me from pulling the trigger. (a Mac Mini at $600 or $700 is comparable to the cost of a Tivo with lifetime subscription, arguably)

But then I decided to just try using the EyeTV setup with my existing desktop computer, a MacBook Pro 17" mid-2009, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz. This is our main home computer, which my wife and I use primarily for web browsing, e-mail, iPhoto, and iMovie. We basically use it as a desktop computer, with no need to move it from the desk since we got our iphones and an ipad.

I expected that the performance impact of running EyeTV in the background, especially with the transcoding exports, would be too much of an annoyance during our regular use of the machine and would convince me I that I did indeed need a separate HTPC. But I figured I'd try, so I bought an EyeTV One tuner and the software used on Ebay. I figured if it didn't work out I'd just resell the tuner/software on ebay.

To my pleasant surprise, I found that the transcoding, while creating a noticeable increase in CPU cycles and usually triggering the computer's cooling fan, didn't actually impede our use of the computer significantly. We could still use iPhoto and iMovie happily while a transcode (EyeTV --> iTunes) was taking place. Sure it would cause a momentary (several second) hang once in a long while, but it always resolved fairly quickly. Enough that my wife didn't think it was worth complaining about.

This meant I wouldn't have to buy a HTPC at all: I could just use the computer I already had.

I have been running the system in this way for the last year and a half: The 3.5 year old machine is always on (sleeping when it can), EyeTV is always on recording and transcoding shows, and iTunes is always running to serve my Apple TVs. We just sit down and start using the computer for regular home tasks whenever we like, whether a transcode is going on or not, and it has not been a problem.

Your results will depend on your own machine's specs. But I can tell you that dedicating a computer to just be your HTPC is probably not necessary if you have a mac from the past 3 years or so.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:38 PM   #97
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dgalvan123, thanks so much for the indepth info. Much appreciated!
Just curious as to the advantage of using the Homerun device vs just the Elgato EyeTV device (USB Unit) on your setup?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:46 PM   #98
GarrettL1979
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dgalvan123, thanks so much for the indepth info. Much appreciated!
Yes-- thanks so much!
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:24 PM   #99
dgalvan123
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dgalvan123, thanks so much for the indepth info. Much appreciated!
Just curious as to the advantage of using the Homerun device vs just the Elgato EyeTV device (USB Unit) on your setup?
Looking at Elgato's current lineup, there are two USB EyeTV units currently sold, the EyeTV HD and the EyeTV Hybrid stick: http://www.elgato.com/elgato/na/main...tuners.en.html

Since the topic of this thread is "cutting the cable cord", I think you're talking about the EyeTV Hybrid stick, since that's the only one that accepts OTA or clearQAM input. (The Eye TV HD unit requires a cable/satellite subscription since it doesn't have a tuner and only accepts component input, not co-axial.)

The advantages of HD Homerun over the EyeTV Hybrid stick are as follows:

1. HD Homerun has two tuners, so it can record two shows at the same time. EyeTV Hybrid has one, so it can't.

2.The HD Homerun plugs into an ethernet port on your router, whereas the EyeTV Hybrid plugs into USB on your computer. This is an advantage for three reasons, the first of which:
HD Homerun doesn't take up a USB port (valuable for me since I only have 3 USB ports on my mac and several peripherals and external hard drives), EyeTV Hybrid does.

3. HD Homerun's two tuners are available to any computer on your home network running either EyeTV or Windows Home Media Center, so you could have multiple computers serving as recorders / TV watching stations. You could also split your coaxial feed and have multiple HD Homerun units (each with two tuners), and that multiplies the number of tuners available to ALL computers on your network. So, say, for example, you had 3 computers in your household, each running EyeTV or Windows Home Media Center. With two HD Homeruns connected to your router, all 3 computers would each have access to your 4-tuners. So it is very scalable and flexible.
Whereas the EyeTV Hybrid only serves one tuner to a single computer.

4. HD Homerun just needs to be physically positioned near your co-axial source (Antenna or clearQAM) and your router (via ethernet. . . though theoretically an airport express bridge may work instead of a direct ethernet connection, though I haven't tried it). Your computer itself can be anywhere in the house, connected to your network through EITHER ethernet OR Wifi. This adds convenience if you are using a laptop or if your router and/or antenna simply aren't near your computer.
The EyeTV Hybrid requires a direct physical connection between your antenna and your computer, requiring they be somewhat near each other, or at least that you will likely need to do some cable routing.

Regarding Cost:
The HD Homerun can be found for $90 without software, so if you purchase both it and EyeTV software for $80, you'd pay $170 total (plus tax/shipping).
The EyeTV Hybrid can be purchased with EyeTV software for $150. (You may be able to find it used on ebay without the software for less.) From this perspective I'd say the extra $20 for the HD Homerun are definitely worth it for increased flexibility and the extra tuner. And if you have a PC and are using Windows Home Media Center, the HD Homerun is a no-brainer since you can get it without EyeTV for $60 less than the EyeTV Hybrid /software combo.

I'll also note I haven't used the EyeTV Hybrid stick. I do own an EyeTV One USB stick, which is similar in form factor but only accepts OTA antenna as an input (no clear QAM cable). And it works just fine for the testing I used it for. But once you know how you want to configure your household I can't think of a better device than the HD Homerun.

Finally, one disadvantage: HD Homerun is dependent on your router and home network, which adds complexity to your system compared to the EyeTVHybrid. So if you don't have/need a home network, EyeTVHybrid is probably the better bet.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 08:25 PM   #100
mslide
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Definitely open to suggestions here!!!!
Cutting the cord is also about changing your viewing habits. My wife and I were in the same boat as you. We watched tons of shows on cable channels, used a DVR, etc. One day, we just decided to cut it all and give it a try. We didn't have any problem adjusting. OTA + Netflix + Hulu is enough for us. Not having a DVR hasn't bothered us at all. Most of our shows are on Hulu and those that aren't have the newest episodes available on the station's website (I use my MBP + Airplay to the Apple TV to watch them). I just don't think it's worth it to bother setting up a home DVR solution. To be honest, I don't think there's a single show we watch OTA that we could not get new episodes of via either Hulu or the station's website.

We've been cable free for about 6 months now and we would never go back to paying for cable. There's just so much content readily available that we can't see paying Comcast/DirectTV for more.
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