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Old Jun 19, 2010, 11:34 AM   #1
Paulyboy
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EyeTV HD and the analog loophole

I'm seriously considering purchasing the EyeTV HD but I have one major concern. Most of you that read this forum are probably aware of how this product gets around the copy protection that television providers employ to prevent digital recording of encrypted channels, which accounts for most of the channels out there. It employs a component connection, rather than HDMI, in order to take advantage of the so–called “analog loophole”. There's been some talk that the television providers might close off this loophole at some point in the future which would essentially make a device like the EyeTV HD into an expensive paperweight so I'm obviously concerned.

I've done extensive research on this and nobody seems to have a definitive answer about this. Plus it's a little hard to believe that El Gato would invest so much time in developing this product if they thought it would be rendered obsolete so soon. But stranger things have happened I suppose.

In any case I won't spend time explaining why I want to get this product. Let's just say it does pretty much everything I'd want something like this to do and its simplicity attracts me.

So should I be worried?

–PN
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 06:19 PM   #2
cwaddell2002
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This is what you want....

If you really want to record HD - this is what you want:

http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/

It's not available yet - and that sucks - but its really the only product coming out that is going to do digital cable recording justice....

I have an EyeTV 250 right now, I record my clear QAM in HD and other cable channels in analogue... which doesn't look great, but it gets the job done...


Good Luck

Cailen
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 07:40 PM   #3
Paulyboy
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Originally Posted by cwaddell2002 View Post
If you really want to record HD - this is what you want:

http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/prime/

It's not available yet - and that sucks - but its really the only product coming out that is going to do digital cable recording justice....

I have an EyeTV 250 right now, I record my clear QAM in HD and other cable channels in analogue... which doesn't look great, but it gets the job done...


Good Luck

Cailen
Thanks for the info but that's for Windows 7. I'd much prefer something that's works with Snow Leopard.

-PN
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 11:36 PM   #4
WildGuess
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hd homerun for mac

Check Amazon. They have a "white" homerun box good on multiple platforms.
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 10:25 AM   #5
cwaddell2002
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Not what you want to hear...

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Originally Posted by Paulyboy View Post
Thanks for the info but that's for Windows 7. I'd much prefer something that's works with Snow Leopard.

-PN
So would I, but it simply doesn't exist. Windows has agreed to build in DRM controls for digital cable, Apple has not (although I don't know whether they have been approached, or would even want to given the itunes eco-system). With the concerns of the broadcasters, I highly doubt we will see a digital DVR solution for mac, unless there is an OS level DRM implementation.

While I am big mac fan boy (since the 128k computer i started using macpaint on as a kid)... This is one area where a cheap windows box in a closet that records and serves up the video may be better... It doesn't help any of us get to that mac media center nirvana many of us are seeking.

As for the analog loop hole - its possible that they may implement some sort of protection over this, although I think unlikely. Many of the new AVRs and other equipment is starting to forgo component connections with the rising popularity of HDMI, especially as new technologies that require it (3D) become popular. I think the broadcasters will just let component die its death as new models come out without it.

Again - Good Luck
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 12:11 PM   #6
Paulyboy
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Originally Posted by cwaddell2002 View Post
So would I, but it simply doesn't exist. Windows has agreed to build in DRM controls for digital cable, Apple has not (although I don't know whether they have been approached, or would even want to given the itunes eco-system). With the concerns of the broadcasters, I highly doubt we will see a digital DVR solution for mac, unless there is an OS level DRM implementation.

While I am big mac fan boy (since the 128k computer i started using macpaint on as a kid)... This is one area where a cheap windows box in a closet that records and serves up the video may be better... It doesn't help any of us get to that mac media center nirvana many of us are seeking.

As for the analog loop hole - its possible that they may implement some sort of protection over this, although I think unlikely. Many of the new AVRs and other equipment is starting to forgo component connections with the rising popularity of HDMI, especially as new technologies that require it (3D) become popular. I think the broadcasters will just let component die its death as new models come out without it.

Again - Good Luck
Yes I'm aware of the situation regarding Macs, Windows, and cable cards. I need something that allows me to watch (live) and record every channel from my cable company that I currently pay for. I also want it to be something that is simple to set up and integrates well with OSX. The only product that really fits that description right now is the EyeTV HD.

I already have an HD cable box sitting right next to my 27 inch iMac so distance is not an issue. I had a 30 inch HDTV in the same room as my computer (which used that HD cable box) but it was old and finally recently died. Rather than just buy another TV I figured why not make use of the beautiful 27 inch LCD screen this iMac offers and make that into the TV for this room. The EyeTV HD appears to be the best way to accomplish this because I'd still have access to all the channels I pay for in this room and a DVR capability to boot. All the other things you can do with the EyeTV HD don't hurt either, like the streaming of live and recorded television to any iDevice of which I have. I could go on about the other ways in which I plan to use the EyeTV HD but trust me when I say I am in the target audience for this particular device. Lots of other people may not be but I certainly am. My only concern was the analog loophole situation and that just doesn't seem like it's going to be that big of a concern.

I admit that cable card access for a Mac product like this would be great, and I'm well aware of that. I'm also well aware of the advantages of a multiple tuner device. But being only able to record one program at a time isn't much of an issue for me with this device. As for cable card access, while I would prefer it I'm not even close to needing such a solution like that bad enough that I'd go out and buy a Windows box just for that or go out and buy Windows 7, and something like Parallels Desktop, and try to use it that way. That would be too much money and too much hassle for me. Nevertheless thanks for pointing that out to me because I did not know that such a device was coming, even if only to Windows.

Thanks again for your response and advice.

-PN
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 12:12 PM   #7
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Check Amazon. They have a "white" homerun box good on multiple platforms.
Yes I'm aware of that product but it doesn't do what I want. I need something that allows me to watch (live) and record every channel from my cable company that I currently pay for. I also want it to be something that is simple to set up and integrates well with OSX. The only product that really fits that description right now is the EyeTV HD.

-PN
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 12:28 AM   #8
brucewayne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulyboy View Post
Yes I'm aware of that product but it doesn't do what I want. I need something that allows me to watch (live) and record every channel from my cable company that I currently pay for. I also want it to be something that is simple to set up and integrates well with OSX. The only product that really fits that description right now is the EyeTV HD.

-PN
I have the EyeTV HD and it will do what you want it to do. The quality is excellent, and it seems to control the cable box correctly (I have a Motorola HD 3416 box) Yes, it is only component and analog audio, but so far this hasn't bothered me.

As far as future proofing, nothing is. However, i think we have a fair shot at being able to use this for many years to come. Think about your cable company, they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on HD boxes with component outs in their inventory. There are hundreds of thousands of 'early adopters' with HDTVs with only component inputs, so there will be a need for some time to come.

I suppose the content providers (aka movie studios, HBO etc) might want their content to only be available via HDMI for copy protection reasons, but think of the uprising of those customers with component only connections if they are told they can only get SD on those channels. As much as people do not like them, cable companies want to keep customers happy and will try to prevent this.
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 03:44 PM   #9
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I have the EyeTV HD and it will do what you want it to do. The quality is excellent, and it seems to control the cable box correctly (I have a Motorola HD 3416 box) Yes, it is only component and analog audio, but so far this hasn't bothered me.

As far as future proofing, nothing is. However, i think we have a fair shot at being able to use this for many years to come. Think about your cable company, they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on HD boxes with component outs in their inventory. There are hundreds of thousands of 'early adopters' with HDTVs with only component inputs, so there will be a need for some time to come.

I suppose the content providers (aka movie studios, HBO etc) might want their content to only be available via HDMI for copy protection reasons, but think of the uprising of those customers with component only connections if they are told they can only get SD on those channels. As much as people do not like them, cable companies want to keep customers happy and will try to prevent this.
Thanks for your comments and I agree with you. I think it's any kind of programming gets blocked, according to what I've read, it would be pay-per-view stuff. I very rarely even use pay-per-view anymore so that would not be an issue for me. And even that probably won't happen for a while.

I will be using this with a Motorola 4250 HD set top box. I actually do have an HD DVR from my cable company in the living room. I am not purchasing the EyeTV HD to replace that, however there is a possibility that may happen in the future if I discover that I can survive with just the EyeTV HD.

I've been using an EyeTV USB TV tuner for around eight years and it still works! It was actually the first tuner they ever came out with. I'm also still using the old software that came with it, updated as far as it could be updated (something like version 1.8.3). If this still works with the EyeTV HD running I will continue to use it as well. We'll see what happens. :-)

-PN
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 03:51 PM   #10
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Wouldn't a TiVo fit your needs? You can use it with a CableCard, and I believe you can export shows to your Mac. Have you looked into this?
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 04:10 PM   #11
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Wouldn't a TiVo fit your needs? You can use it with a CableCard, and I believe you can export shows to your Mac. Have you looked into this?
I suppose it might but it's rather expensive and not as well integrated with MacOS X. So to answer your question yes I have looked into it but I don't think it's the best option for me right now. Thanks for your suggestion though.

-PN
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 07:23 PM   #12
brucewayne
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I suppose it might but it's rather expensive and not as well integrated with MacOS X. So to answer your question yes I have looked into it but I don't think it's the best option for me right now. Thanks for your suggestion though.

-PN
Unless something has changed recently, the TiVo limits what you can export too (i.e. if the station is flagged with copy once or 5C copy protection it won't export).


I think we will be ok with linear channels and regular PPV, but going back to something you said Paulyboy, you are probably right about certain PPV down the road. If they ever get same-day-in-the-movie-theater release via on-demand or PPV, that will probably be locked down (i.e lower res on the component out).

Although we aren't creating 'archive' or 'perfect' quality videos with this thing anyway. For example, the source material for most feature films is 1080p 24fps with some sort of digital soundtrack. Because of the broadcast over the cable lines, MPEG2 compression in the cable company back office, the limitations in the cable box itself, the best you are going to get out of the evetv hd is 1080i at 30fps (you could set to 720p, but most stations broadcast 1080i so you would still have a another layer of processing) and analog audio. Meaning that you'll have a another layer of compression, deinterlacing, 3/2 pulldown, etc.

I think the studios are smart enough not to come after eyetv when people are torrenting or ripping full quality blu-rays. It would have been like the studios going after the cassette in 1999 when everyone was ripping cds or using Napster.

Thats not to say I'm not happy with the quality of the eyeHD - for its main function of timeshifting, placeshifting (i.e. iphone/ipad) or archiving TV shows its brilliant. But if the intent is to create a movie collection based upon recordings from HBO or PPV there are higher quality and more efficient ways to do it.
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Old Jun 21, 2010, 08:12 PM   #13
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When content providers talk about "closing the loophole", I believe they mean stopping equipment manufacturers from building new equipment with analog outputs - if you have a cable box with analog outputs, they can never shut you out, causing your EyeTV to be obsolete. As long as you keep your old equipment, you'll be fine.
Of course, there is more to it - you don't say how you're going to be getting content (over-the-air? cable? satellite?), which equipment you have (cable-box? other?), etc... Cable companies could disable analog over a firmware update I suppose, but I doubt congress and the FCC will let that happen without first seeing cablecard technologies flourish a bit more. Your EyeTV HD may become obsolete, but I bet you'll have another vine to grab onto when that day comes - in the form of cablecard-compatible recording devices. You can bet that El Gato is going to embrace that technology when other larger players lay the groundwork.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 09:16 AM   #14
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If I remember correctly, the FCC just last month approved locking out the analog out for 90 days or until the movie comes out on DVD/Blu Ray (or whichever comes first) for on demand/downloaded rentals that come out the day it's available in the theaters.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 03:02 PM   #15
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If I remember correctly, the FCC just last month approved locking out the analog out for 90 days or until the movie comes out on DVD/Blu Ray (or whichever comes first) for on demand/downloaded rentals that come out the day it's available in the theaters.
I heard this as well but this doesn't affect me as I don't use pay-per-view. I'm not even certain that pay-per-view movies are available at the same time as their DVD release anyways. But I definitely could be mistaken here because I don't use pay per view and I'm not very familiar with it.

-PN
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