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A Mac as TV/Stereo

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Dreadnought, May 3, 2004.

  1. macrumors 68010


    Hi guys,

    I was trying to get some sleep when my mind started thinking of the following and would like to know if this could be done:
    Could you take a harddiskrecorder with firewire and an Imac and use them instead as your home cinema set? Could this replace your DVD player, VCR and TV? The harddiskrecorder has a good TVcard inside and you could change channels with it. Hook it up through firewire to a mac (pref. an Imac) and you got a TV with DVD/CD player/burner and ofcourse Itunes. Hook this up to an amplifier and you got everything. Does anyone know if this would work properly, did anyone try this already? Are there some things that I don't see here?

    Thanks, Dreadnought
    P.s. going back to bed know!!
  2. macrumors regular


    I use an eyeTV card with my laptop, and that handles TV signal and recording to my HD. Screen is a bit small but its fine for in the bedroom.

    My shopping list to turn this into a home cinema replacement is:

    USB or Firewire 5.1 surround sound
    and a Firewire HD for programme storage.

    It certainly can be done if you want to... just not 100% sure of the quality levels.
  3. macrumors member

    Did the music part...

    Haven't played with the Tivo like stuff though...

    These guys make a nice wireless (and wired) product. Compatible with iTunes and AAC files
    Slim Device

    I guess these are more for surround at you computer

    I got the Hi-Fi Link. Does a great job and simple. I combine this with iAlarm and use iTunes and my Stereo as an alarm clock. It pulls in rss feeds of weather, news, etc... pretty cool.

    I've heard good things about the EyeTV also, but I don't watch enough TV to be interested in it. But like Steve said "digital hub."

    some more tidbits...

    HD Recording

    Not very good El Gato review

    Used this at work to capture some video, did a great job

  4. macrumors 68010


    Thanks for sharing your experiences with this stuff, but that is not exactly what I had in mind. The eyetv still doesn't come close to the quality of a normal TV. The TVtuner card has to be that quality. Now I am using my VCR to zap through the channels (the remote of my vcr works, while the one from my tv is broken...). In a harddisk recorder (the modern vcr) the tvtuner part has to be good. So, using that for a tuner, connect it through firewire with a 20" iMac (nice screen!) and in theory you could watch TV. But I wonder if you need a special program for it (probably) or if you could watch in Quicktime. For the audio out of an iMac you will probably have to use an external device such of m-audio if you want dolby surround, or get a G5 and a 23" display.

    For the audio part, why use a slimdevice? It's a bit of a complex device and can handle only mp3, not aac. I have read the reviews and the device is to expensive for only getting music to one part to the room to the other (personal opinion). BTW, my tv is next to my stereo, so if an iMac replaces my tv I don't need that.

    If you guys have any other ideas or know any harddiskrecorders that have firewire and you connected them to a computer, let me know. Still very interested. Also thought of most of them. Still think a iMac and HDrecorder are the best things, also to keep it simple and ofcourse the coolfactor!
  5. macrumors newbie

    I was thinking about the expenses and everything associated with home theater, and gennerally, apple home computing. thw solution I came up with is with a mix of terminal services, multizone stereo system, and a G5 maxed to the hilt, you could come up with a pretty cool home entertainment system.

    But the main problem is that apple does not sell cool thin clients, though it could conceiveably be done with a bunch of different stuff, and the cost would skyrocket. Nice thought though....
  6. macrumors 603


    Most PVRs don't have tuners in them, but simply a line in. Instead they have functionality that allows them change the channel on your cable or satellite box via IR or RF. Those that do have tuners are usually bound to the type of tv service that you are buying(DirectTivo, or Time Warner, or Dish Network PVR, etc..) which means you are SOL if you want to change to another company.

    SlimDevices does support AAC, MP3, and others.

    Seems what you are getting at (in some respects) is already being attempted by Microsoft with their Media Center version of XP.

    Its simply a matter of time until most home theater manufacturers start adding "features" to their devices, which will ultimately lead to a single device that can play DVDs, played streamed/shared music, decode HD, and pause/record live tv.

    Although the convergence is nice, the complexity is hindering its progress. I can barely get teach the wife how to use a universal remote.
  7. macrumors 68010


    Yep, you could make a beaty Home Theater System with a G5, a big screen and a good amp and speakers. Also, I am thinking about it since years, but every time I almost figured it out, some product doesn't quite do what you want it to do, and therefore the whole system is not what you want. Therefore I thought a HDrecorder would solve most of my problems, but just looked at a couple, which all had firewire, but that is only a line in.... and I want both and that it can "talk" to my Mac. Is that too much to ask... If I remember correctly, Philips would make some products that had rendezvous. Let's see if they also have a HDrecorder with it...
  8. macrumors 603


    Well, you could buy a Miglia TV-Tuner. It's a PCI card (with a G5 compatible version). Or a firewire one like the El-Gato EyeTV 200, or Formac's one (1 with HD, one without). They all have the software for watching/recording TV, and sometimes even radio. The PCI card with the right software and a G5 would be pretty much real-time. Plus, all Macs come with a TV-out option (even G5's), or you could hook most of them up to an HDTV system with the DVI-out. Line-out on all Macs, but you'd need to use a PCI audio card (or FW) for true surround sound. I think Mplayer can play surround sound, one of those does.

    But yeah, it's possible. Just expensive.
  9. macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    have you actually tried the miglia tuner? i was thinking about getting one to use with a quicksilver, but i would like to hear from someone who has actually used one. thanks for any info! :)
  10. macrumors 68020

    MacAddict had a nice issue about making a small entertainment center around your Mac about a year ago. I use it as a guide to make a wish list.

    But, it doesn't seem like it's worth the money. You can get a nicer T.V. and other hardware at the same price you'll use on a Mac entertainment center.
  11. macrumors 68010


    Guys, a consumer tv tuner card for a pc or mac can hardly give you the quality a normal TV gives you. I have tried a lot of those things, internal and external ones. If you fill your screen with it, the resolution is crap, every time. Or you have to have digital TV tuner card with digital TV. Therefore I want to hook up a HD recorder to a mac (if this works...). Maybe I have another look at formacs one, as suggested below. It does have a version with a built in HD. So, it is a HD recorder which you can hook up to your mac!!
  12. macrumors 603



    Actually the quality (resolution) of a tuner card and a standard PVR/DVR is going to be the same. The reason it looks like crap on your monitor is that a computer monitor is capable of a much better resolution that a standard TV. Put that feed you captured with your tuner card on a TV, and you wouldn't even notice the difference.

    For some background info see http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/vidres.htm

    Another note. HD recorder is not Hard Disk recorder (at least not here in the states). Rather it means High Definition (ie HDTV) recorder, which is another topic.

    Also I think replayTV has some functionality where you can store files on a PC using networking. I think I saw this on TechTV.
  13. macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    and even on your monitor it's not that bad (especially if you turn down the resolution the monitor displays). if i am used to the quality of, say, cartoons people have recorded with their computers, will i be relatively satisfied with the tuner cards? and again, if anyone knows about that miglia tuner, i would love to hear a review. :)
  14. macrumors 603


    I haven't tried any myself. I have a pass through on my camcorder, so if I needed to convert something I'd just use that. But there are some reviews out there. www.xlr8yourmac.com has some info on it. And some links to reviews.

    TiVO has a network option. You can use it with your Mac. It's about $100 on top of the normal costs. Haven't tried it, but As The Apple Turns talks about theirs all the time.
  15. macrumors 68010


    Yeah, I know that, but I was hoping that because you use a digital device (the harddiskrecorder) the analog signal also gets transformed to digital because you use firewire. And could good screensizes, just as if you are making a picture bigger in quicktime viewer for instance. Probably I was hoping too much, and should leave the consumer market for what it is and shop around in the pro broadcasting market! Also, I have had a videocard and it didn't care how much I boosted the signal, I only got a lot of snow through the picture, black and white and no sound out of it.

    Just want to get rid of the old analog devices and really step in the future, be ahead of the market and have a really cool looking setup! If you guys ever come accross a harddiskrecorder that can do all the things I want, don't hesitate to contact me!!
  16. 7on
    macrumors 601


  17. macrumors 68010


    I wonder if it has very good quality. Just read a review of a Dutch Mac magazine of the Miglia TV tuner. It also said a view words about external tvtuners and it wasn't very good. Mostly that it lacks the bandwidth to get a good image. But this one had Firewire in and out... I look further in to this one! Probably will end up testing one at a Apple Dealer with a 23" screen, and ofcourse on a 20" Imac! Only thing missing here is a remote (could probably get an external one) and text.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Sounds like a great excuse to buy a new iMac. Can't know till ya try :p
  19. macrumors 68010


    Well, that is the idea! Get out that old black box and put in a nice 20" iMac!

    Well I was just looking further on internet and came several times accross the Elgato eyetv 200. This seems what I am looking for. Does anyone have any experience with this thing? Did anyone hook it up to a mac and watched tv on it, how is it? Is it image as good as watching to a normal tv?
  20. macrumors 6502a

    tuner IR control?

    So what mac available TV tuners have pass through ir control for a digital cable box? I'm taking the plunge on a new G5, but won't be able to give up my Media Center XP PC. I know Steve is not hot on convergence, but the dreaded Microsoft sure did a nice job with the Media Center software integration. Works pretty much just like a Tivo/ReplayTV. This is the last thing tying me to my PC (besides gaming eheh). I'd love to let it rest in peace next to my new G5. :)
  21. macrumors 68010


    If I understand your question correctly, there is an Elgato Eyetv for digital cable (the 400 version if I am correct). It has an infrared control with it. And because the signal is already digital, the quality to watch on your mac is very good!

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