EyeTv? Anything for 42" TV? Getting rid of DISH.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by moneywrangler, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I'm ready to get rid of DISH and monthly cable bills, but I'm having difficulty deciding on the best/cheapest/easiest route. Right now I'm looking at getting a Tivo to record OTA HD broadcast of local channels and then download from Amazon/Itunes for shows I can't get. Usenet seems to be an alternative..but I can't find out if the broadcast clarity will be high enough definition for my HDTV. I will try using my MBPro with that. However, if there's a cheaper DVR situation, I'd like to go that route. I know a lot of people out there use EyeTV or something similar but all I can find out is that it works on computer monitors...is there a way to use it to DVR my shows over the air and then show them on my big screen? Anything else anyone is using out there?

  2. macrumors 65816

    Of either the EyeTv or TiVo, the EyeTV will be cheaper, but probably not as convenient. The TiVo Series 3 is selling on Amazon for $500, plus subscription. The EyeTV 250 Plus can be had for $175. I have no experience with either, but, like you I have been doing research in the hopes of getting rid of Comcast cable. My big issue is that I live about 40 miles from most of the stations' towers, in a slight valley where OTA reception is generally pretty bad.

    I assume you have either an AppleTV or a computer media center hooked up to your HDTV? If not, then the issue becomes one of whether you want to watch TV on your laptop or do you want to watch it on your HDTV. With an EyeTV, you can put your shows in iTunes and then sync/stream to an AppleTV or an iPod. Otherwise, TiVo may be the way to go. Or roll your own...
  3. macrumors 6502

    EyeTV is only an input device, the output totally depends on the device you're using to playback. If it's the computer you recorded to, then your TV just needs to have the right input.

    I have a Hybrid hooked up to a mini and since I don't have an HDTV yet, I use a DVI-Video (composite RCA) to watch the shows on a regular TV.

    The EyeTV software has come a long way and is pretty close to TiVo functionality with season pass like features, plus it's easy to convert shows to play on an iPod, etc.

    I would double check the OTA HD that you can get if you haven't tried already. I can't get NBC or CBS reliably, but ABC, Fox, and a few others come in well enough. I'd personally rather watch a fuzzy analog broadcast than a digital one that has a bunch of hiccups.

  4. macrumors demi-god

    I did that exactly a year ago. I picked up two Series 3 Hi-Def TiVos from amazon (one for the living room, one for the bedroom). Connected to an over-the-air antenna, they record HD shows from my local stations (which covers 95% of what my house watches) in perfect quality.

    For the shows not carried by my local stations, I usually grab them from bittorrent and use a hacked AppleTV to play them back. I used to use the TiVo Desktop program to stream these shows to watch them on the TiVo, but the quality wasn't nearly as good as the AppleTV playing the AVI directly.

    I use HDMI cables to connect the TiVos to the TVs. It's nice that one small cable can do it all.

    I also have an EyeTV hybrid. It does a great job, but for as many TV shows as we record (between my two housemates and me), I couldn't imagine not using a TiVo. The TiVo scheduling software has been rock solid, and I like the idea of it being on its own dedicated device instead of running on my computer.

    The only thing I'd do differently if making the switch now is to consider the less-expensive TiVoHD ($254) instead of the Series 3 TiVo ($499). It has a smaller HD, the remote keys don't glow, and it doesn't have the OLED display on the front that shows what's being recorded, but for $200 cheaper, I could live with that. LOL
  5. macrumors 68000


    Someday I want to get rid of my Comcast cable box and switch to the Tivo service. For the amount of money I pay and the actual number of shows I watch (all are on network and over the air in my area) I would recoup the money in 3-4 months.

    Can you break down your cost per month with the Tivo service? Are you paying for a cablecard as well? I'm just trying to gauge exactly how much of a difference it would make to switch. For example, I pay about $120/month for HDDVR and cable internet, no premium movie channels. What would it cost to the equivalent with Tivo, assuming I keep my cable internet? Thanks.
  6. macrumors demi-god

    The TiVo fees are based on how long of a plan you agree to and how many TiVos you have (where TiVos in addition to your first one get a multi-subscriber discount).

    $12.95/month is the price for a single TiVo on a month-to-month plan. A one year plan drops it to $10.75/month, and a three year plan drops to $8.31. Additional TiVos are a little cheaper per month.

    The monthly fee gives you tech support and free quarterly software updates.

    Cable cards should only be needed if you keep your cable TV service. They allow the TiVo to decode the digital cable channels. Since my TiVos only use an over-the-air antenna, I don't need them.

    My TV bill went from about $75/month (for DirecTV) to under $20/month for TiVo. Took about a year to break even on the TiVo equipment purchase. And I actually own the box, unlike having to pay DirecTV $200 for the privilege of leasing their HD DVR box. Grrrrr
  7. macrumors 68020


    If you are patient, you can just wait until the shows are released on DVD. If you already have Netflix for movies, you would get TV shows for free, including ones that gets aired only on premium cable channels. No need for Tivo fees. :)

    The only missing pieces would be news and sports, but I don't know whether you actually record such shows.
  8. macrumors 601

    For OTA-only viewers ...

    you might want to look into the Dish/Sling/Echostar TR-50. It's not out yet, but the latest hub-bub is a Thanksgiving 2008 timeframe.

    It's supposed to have the following.

    • Dual-ATSC tuners.
    • TVGOS (free guide service)
    • $300 (no subscriptions)

    I'd be willing to bet that a Tivo would be a much slicker/better unit, but if the talk is true, the TR-50 would be a compelling product for many.

  9. macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Not too impressed

    I just bought an EYETV and I'm not too impressed. I connected it to the cable from the wall and have basic channels and basic quality. Do I need to connect it from the box (in the other room) to get better quality and more channels? Also, I can't rewind live TV, when I pause it, and press play, it jumps right to Live.

    While it's cool to have TV on a Mac, Im not impressed overall, good thing I bought it refurbed
  10. macrumors 6502

    It sounds like you're trying to get digital cable through it, which it wasn't designed to do, at least not the North American versions. They tune in analog antenna and cable and digital antenna. You can also use the RCA breakout to connect to a digital cable box and get a device to change channels via IR.

    As for the live TV/replay thing, you have to turn on the live TV buffer in the preferences.

    EyeTV is one of the best TV solutions I've seen for the Mac, hopefully you can get it working reliably.


  11. macrumors 601

    Actually, all of the newer EyeTV units can pick up digital cable (aka ClearQAM), provided that the cable company does not encrypt the signal.

    Typically, all of the local stations are passed along in clearQAM, meaning that you can get ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, etc in glorious HD. Many times, there will be several other channels that are left unencrypted. For instance, my Comcast provider leaves Universal HD unencrypted, along with a bunch of SD-digital channels like Bravo, History and just about all of the shopping channels.

    Additionally, all of the local analog channels are simulcast in digital, so they are clearQAM as well. The quality still sucks, but at least the file sizes will be smaller (on my Sony DVR, YMMV with EyeTV).

  12. macrumors 6502

    I forgot about ClearQAM as I bought the Hybrid before it could do it and I don't have digital cable. But his line about not getting as many channels/quality made me think he was trying to get all the digital channels. I was thinking more of it not being a CableCard...


  13. macrumors 6502

    My Setup

    I recently bought the EyeTV and I'm very happy with it. I connected it to my iMac and use it to record all my shows, then I have it automatically export them to my 160GB AppleTV. It has worked very reliably for me so far...the recordings still look good even when I'm recording a show with EyeTV, ripping a DVD with Handbrake, and using Parallels all at the same time. One other cool thing I did with the EyeTV is enable the "WIFI" access (where you can view your recorded videos on your iphone through wifi). However, I took it to the next level and used a dynamic DNS service so that I can watch the TV shows recorded on my iMac from my iPhone from anywhere in the world...not just on my local network. Lets see Tivo do that. :)

    With my current setup it feels very TIVOish because new shows automatically appear on my AppleTV which I watch on my 50" Plasma TV. However, unlike Tivo there is no subscription fee. :)
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    if I connect it to the cable box (possible?), it should work, right?
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Can you go into detail how you have your eye tv setup?
  16. macrumors 601

    It'll work, but probably not the way you want it to.

    I'm assuming that your cable box is a digital box and has composite or s-video outputs. Your EyeTV device should have a breakout input dongle that has composite/s-video inputs.

    Your EyeTV will be able to record via this input, but you'd have to manually tune your cable box to the channel you want to record. I'm not sure if EyeTV supports IR Blaster, but I'm guessing no. Without IR Blaster, you'd basically have to do everything manually when recording from the cable box.

  17. macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Whoa that sucks! So there is no way to access my "non-basic cable" channels without connecting to the box(in a separate room)? I'm pretty confused with the above terminology. On top of that, you have to use the box to change the channel? I might as well return it :mad:

    I do have comcast digital/HD cable
  18. macrumors 601

    Well, to be fair, that's not what EyeTV is designed to do. Sounds like you're looking to record premium cable. EyeTV can record basic analog and unencrypted digital.

    There are very few computer based PVR systems that can record premium cable without an external tuner. All of these systems need a CableCard. As of right now, there are no Mac based CableCard devices. On the PC side, you need to buy a whole new PC that is CableLabs certified ... although there is talk of a stand-alone tuner that is coming soon.

    For most people, the cable box/DVR is the best option. You might want to look at a TivoHD/S3 if you want a better interface/more features.

  19. macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Oh, ok. I must have misunderstood when I read the description.

    Thanks for the help :cool:
  20. macrumors 601


    I know that if you have EyeTV and a DirecTV satellite box, you can use this program called SerialChannel . When the EyeTV software wants to change the channel, it will change the DirecTV satellite box channel without an IR blaster. I haven't used it, but I've seen it around when I've done my searches.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Which DNS service did you go with?

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