Confused about eyeTV

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mac pro, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. mac pro macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2006
    #1
    okay...all this jibber on elgato's website is confusing. Will someone who knows what they are doing help me find the right one?

    What I want to do:

    Plug in my comcast digital cable box into this device and recieve every channel I would be able to if I had just plugged it into a TV...even better if I dont need the digital box. I also dont understand this whole encrypted channels thing... So...would that mean I wouldnt be able to watch special channels like HBO and other non-basic channels?

    I would like to be able to record HD video.
     
  2. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a

    pianodude123

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    #2
    Yes...I am a little confused about eyeTV myself.
     
  3. DSchwartz88 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    i would go with the 250 from elgato if i were you. You could also go with the EZ but the 250 has more options and is worth the price.
     
  4. mac pro thread starter macrumors member

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    #4

    Would the 250 be able to do everything I outlined above?

    IDK, but it doesnt look like it supports HDTV

    How about non elgato products?
     
  5. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #5
    Hi guys, I can help you out a bit.
    Basically, you need to plug your digital cable box into your EyeTV box, which is then plugged into your Mac.
    You would just set EyeTV to video 1, just like you do when you hook your cable box up to your TV.
    You need to change the channels on your cable box to change channels though, as your EyeTV unit won't control the cable box.
     
  6. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a

    pianodude123

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    #6

    okay...that settles the question about the encrypted channels, now how about the HD tv?
     
  7. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a

    pianodude123

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    Actually, as I look around their website...I found this
     
  8. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Eye TV has products that allow you to watch OTA HD channels but there is currently no consumer level product that will allow you to watch HD from a cable or satellite set top box, at least not to my knowledge.
     
  9. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    #9
    the 250 will not do HD. the old 500 used to do HD, but i do not see it on elgato's site right now. which means they are probably working on something like a 550 to replace the old 500 (just like they replaced the 200 with the 250) but who knows how long away that is. but it doesnt really matter, there are only a handful of channels that broadcast in HD and they actually only broadcast a few shows in HD. id go with the 250 and then in a couple years when HD broadcasting is more widespread, id get the latest version that supports HD then. i have the 200 and it works great for recording analog cable. (i dont have the digital box so i can control chanels and everything through the eyeTV software.)
     
  10. pianodude123 macrumors 6502a

    pianodude123

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    #10
    uhhh...okay...so now IM thinking that the eyetv 500 would be the best bet (from ebay or something) I called comcast and they said that the unencrypted channels are basically everything except for showtime cinemax etc. However...these are the best channels...Does any one who has any one of these boxes know of a workaround. I dont really care about the price.
     
  11. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #12
    Super Macho Man has your answer

    There are only two devices I'm aware of on the market that support viewing/recording HDTV on the Mac: the El Gato EyeTV 500 and the Miglia TVMini HD. Both use the EyeTV software. I have the EyeTV 500 and I think it has been recently discontinued, but you could probably find one on eBay. The TVMini HD is similar and cheaper with slightly fewer features.

    There is no way to watch any encrypted channel on your Mac with any device. The encryption that the cable companies use is called DTCP or 5C. In order to watch this encrypted content, you need devices that are HDCP-compliant: an HDCP-compliant display, an HDCP-compliant cable box, and a digital connection between them. Macs are not HDCP-compliant at all and neither are either of these products designed for watching HDTV on your Mac.

    Encryption is controlled by the cable provider. The cable provider decides which channels it wants to encrypt. There are two levels of encryption: copy-once and copy-never, but neither are supported by any Mac HDTV device. A few cable companies are really lax and leave the middle-tier HD channels (ESPNHD, InHD, HDNet, etc.) unencrypted. This is becoming very rare, though - most don't do this anymore. Pretty much all cable systems have Cinemax and all premium content copy-never which means you can't record it or timeshift it at all. Some cable networks are Nazis and encrypt even the local broadcast channels - which is illegal, but most of their customers don't notice because they're using HDCP-compliant HDTV sets. Different cable networks encrypt different channels. You could get lucky with an unencrypted Showtime or whatever that the cable company overlooked, but you probably won't.

    So what you wanted to do:
    You can't do this with HDTV because some or all of your HDTV channels are going to be encrypted. You can't watch or record them on any Mac or any PC. Sorry. The only way to record this stuff would be using a DVHS VCR or a HD DVR that supports HDCP, and even then, you could ONLY do it if the content is not copy-never.

    What you CAN do with an EyeTV or TVMini is watch UNENCRYPTED HDTV content. As I said above, your cable company encrypts some but maybe not all of your HD channels. The ones that it DOESN'T encrypt are fair game. You would not even need a digital cable box for these - you would plug your cable feed into the EyeTV 500's cable jack and use the EyeTV software to change channels, record, go nuts. The EyeTV 500 has two inputs: an antenna input and a cable input. So, your cable feed would go to the cable input and you would/could connect an antenna to receive over-the-air HDTV (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, etc.).

    I hope this answers your questions.
     
  12. Dunebug38 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2006
    #13
    ok...

    I have a few questions myself. For one....some products say they support digital cable but not from a cable box. Well my parents have digital cable and a cable box to use it. Does that mean I could not use it through their cable service or I should just bypass the cable box.

    2. What does free over-air-channels mean. I have read that elegato products offer this. Does that mean there is an antenae on the product and it can pick up free streaming channels (yes, I'm ignorant)

    3. What is the difference of getting an eyetv 250 as opposed to the miglia here: http://store.apple.com/AppleStore/W...HYXG23u0Uaz221WobIas/1.0.19.1.0.8.25.7.11.2.3 According to this page -- Note: TVMini HD is compatible with ATSC/Clear QAM broadcasts. It will let you watch unencrypted digital TV content, but is not compatible with paid digital cable or satellite services. --What the !@#^ does this mean? I can't use it with my digital cable?? Can I use it with any paid service? And yes I know the eyetv250 does not support HD but apparently the miglia product does. Also, I want to record old vhs tapes and it does not mention it here...hmm maybe cuz that would be analog

    4. And what about the plextor convert.
    http://store.apple.com/AppleStore/W...HYXG23u0Uaz221WobIas/1.0.19.1.0.8.25.7.11.0.3



    Maybe what I really want to know is this. What product should I get if I have digital cable, want to record VHS and want a few nice options such as hooking up a game system to my computer and having very good picture quality and a remote. Most for the value.

    Sorry for the long post. Any help would be much appreciated.
     
  13. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #14
    Super Macho Man has your answer too (and has massive pecs)

    It depends on whether you want to watch ANALOG TV on your Mac or DIGITAL TV. (Note digital TV does not mean digital cable, it means DTV or HDTV - I will explain below.)

    For analog TV: You would need a cable box. You would connect the output of the cable box to the EyeTV or whatever and you would then change channels etc. using the cable box.

    For digital TV: You would not need a cable box (in fact you could not use a cable box, you must use the EyeTV/TVMini directly). The EyeTV 500/TVMini do all the equivalent things of a cable box. You would have to either split the cable signal before it goes into your cable box, or maybe your cable box has a cable signal passthrough jack on it. (I don't know as I don't have a cable box.)

    Over-the-air (OTA) HDTV is HDTV that is broadcast digitally over the airwaves. This would be from the NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. affiliates (and any others) where you live. The TV stations that you can receive on an ordinary TV with an ordinary antenna are also broadcasting digital signals which only DTV receivers can receive. For example, at the same time your Fox affiliate (let's say it's WNBC) is broadcasting The Tonight Show over OTA analog, it is also broadcasting the same thing in hi-def over OTA DTV.

    If you want to view OTA broadcasts, most DTV stations broadcast over UHF so you will need a UHF antenna - the type of antenna you'll need varies depending on your location, e.g. distance from the broadcast towers, clarity of signal, etc.

    The EyeTV 250 cannot handle DTV at all, only standard def analog. The TVMini cannot handle standard def analog at all, only DTV.

    OK let me try to explain. The cable company sends out only one signal to all of its subscribers. If you have "digital cable" it means that you have a digital cable box that can receive some/all digital tier channels. ALL cable subscribers "receive" the digital cable signal, just not all can view it. The signal you are receiving from your wall jack is no different from basic cable. Whether you are paying for digital cable or basic standard cable, it's the same signal.

    "Digital" cable does not mean "DTV" cable. It means that standard analog channels have been digitally encoded and compressed, like DirecTV has always done. The HDTV stations you can receive over cable are a separate thing from what you are getting with "digital" cable. As I said above, the cable company broadcasts ALL of its HDTV channels over one wire. Most cable companies broadcast your local networks (NBC, CBS, etc. affiliates) over what is called "QAM." QAM = UNencrypted digital TV over cable. Any network that is NOT QAM is encrypted and is not receivable by the EyeTV, TVMini or any other computer device.

    In other words, ANY cable subscriber WITH OR WITHOUT subscribing to digital cable can receive ANY QAM (unencrypted) HDTV broadcast over cable. If you are ONLY using an EyeTV500 or TVMini, there is no reason to even subscribe to digital cable. You would only be paying extra for a bunch of "digital analog" channels that your device can't receive anyway.

    That's right, you can't record analog videos with the TVMini because it only has a digital input, not analog. Same with the Plextor.

    If you want to do all of this stuff, AND receive HDTV, you will need two devices. If you don't want HDTV, you will only need one. I am not familiar with any of the analog tuners for the Mac - only the EyeTV 500 which is HDTV only. So if I were you, I'd look for anything analog that has a no-latency mode for gaming. Most of your options would be from Elgato, so I would browse the products on their website. I know for sure that the EyeTV 250 offers all of what you're looking for but there may be a cheaper alternative.
     
  14. Yvan256 macrumors 601

    Yvan256

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    #15
    (post deleted - too confused with all the "standards" for digital TV signals)
     
  15. Dunebug38 macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Thanks super macho man

    You are very thorough...and all of my questions have been answered. I believe I will go with the 250 when I am ready to purchase. They are currently out of stock of these but they should have some by the time I am ready to purchase (late september).

    I do have one more question though....

    I am going to be living at home for about 4 months starting late september and my parents have digital cable as I mentioned before. The cable is downstairs and they use a cable box. However my new mac will be upstairs in my room. Do I need to order another cable box for my room or can I just use the cable output jack that is in my room currently and the eyeTV will detect the right amount of channels. I am thinking I probably need a box to get all of the parents channels or otherwise I will only get a few basic channels. Your thoughts?

    Thanks again
     
  16. nsutt22 macrumors regular

    nsutt22

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    #17
    will the 250 work as a cable box as well or no?
     
  17. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #18
    You can receive ordinary analog cable channels with it, but not any digital cable channels. In order to receive the digitals you will need a cable box hoooked up to the 250 and then you would lose the PVR features of the 250 and you'd have to change channels with the cable box.
     
  18. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

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    #19
    Happy to help. The EyeTV can't tune digital cable channels. It can tune the analog ones and there should be quite a few of those, but that's not ALL of the channels. (Probably few or none of the premiums you may be subscribing to - I don't have cable so I'm not 100% sure and it depends on how your cable company structures its cable package tiers.) So if you want the digital cable channels, then yes, you would need a cable box to tune them in.
     

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