eyeTV Hybrid or eyeTV 250 with a Mac Pro - any recommendations?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by arainert, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. arainert macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #1
    Hi there,

    I was hoping to get some advice on which of these two to go with. I will be using it with a mac pro and presumably a cable box of sorts.

    For bonus points, if anyone has any experience with these and Time Warner Cable or lives in Brooklyn (regarding the OTA HD signal - are there any?) I would love to hear about your experiences.

    Any advice would be great.

    Thanks!
    a
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    Before you buy either (I have the Hybrid, and it works well with OTA HD signals, of which you'll have plenty where you are), since you have a cable box, I highly recommend downloading the free iRecord, connecting your cable box to your Mac Pro via FireWire (if the cable box doesn't have FW out, you have the legal right to demand one with it), and recording programs for free. I use this setup with a mini core duo and an HD cable box. Very useful, and free. The downside is a need to watch (on the TV) what you're recording, as the cable box only streams to FW what it's showing on the TV.

    You could, of course, rent a second cable box just for this purpose, and the $10/month or so you'd pay might actually be a better investment than the Hybrid or 250. Just an option....
     
  3. arainert thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #3
    When you have the Firewire setup does it just use the Mac as an output - i.e. is video and sound transmitted over Firewire in realtime? I assume you just change channels on the cable box? Since there's no IR blaster, can iRecord change the channels on the box to make it function like a Tivo?

    Anything else you can tell me about how you go about using the iRecord setup would be great.

    Thanks!

    a

    Also, can you record HD content through the firewire port?
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    To be honest, I use mine in a pretty minimal configuration, so I'm no expert.

    I downloaded iRecord, kept the default settings except to change it to use Channel 0 (after screwing up a previous install), and then tell it when I want it to record, followed by making sure the cable box has that channel displayed at that time (the cable box supports a "record" mode which essentially just changes the channel when you tell it to).

    I set iRecord to always use Channel 0 - which means it doesn't try to change channels - because I had problems with it working with my cable box. In theory, it can change the cable box channels via the FW connection. If I were to get that to work, it'd undoubtedly be an improvement, but I'm fine with the way it is for now. As a plus, yes, it records whatever you see on the TV, so you can change channels, and it records that. But... I've yet to figure out how to watch on the Mac as it's being recorded, so, while it records audio + video, you have to wait until it's done to watch.

    Also, I only record HD content, as I have a DVR hooked up the the standard-def cable box upstairs for when I want SD (or, rather, for when what I want isn't in HD).

    Note, though, that you'll need VLC to watch the content (nothing else I've found works). iRecord doesn't have the best user interface, but it does work, and the price is right. A free HD DVR (well, free additional capability on top of the price of the Mac) is a good thing.
     
  5. fall3n macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    #5
    I'm also interested in these products. From the reviews I've read, both a great, but the hybrid is known to get some latency problems (this of course was with an ibook, so a mac pro SHOULD be fine). I'm personally going to go with the 250 just to ensure there arn't any latency problems. I'm not really to sure what the 250 provides more then the hybrid as it seems they both do the same thing and have mostly the same features. The only down side to both of them is that you can't hook up your ps3 or xbox 360 to it using hdtv, only regular composition.
     
  6. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #6
    both have latency problems. it is inherent in any device that encodes live video. there is a way to switch on 'video game mode' with 0 latency (for both devices), but in this mode it does not record video, it simply is a pipe to get the video onto your display. i have the 200 which is pretty much the same as the 250 only larger and does not have the 0 latency option. i think its great. i would probably go with the eyeTV hybrid, simply b/c of the HD capabilities.
     
  7. arainert thread starter macrumors member

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    Brooklyn, NY
    #7
    There is no HD recording on the 250 is there? With a cable box?
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #8
    No - the 250 has no HD input. Also, the Hybrid will not record HD off a cable box unless your cable company is nice enough to stream it for you (i.e., act like an antenna, in essence) - mine's not. It (the Hybrid) will record only over-the-air broadcasts.
     
  9. arainert thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #9
    How would one know if they stream? (btw, Time Warner Cable in NY)

    I could connect a digital box to the Hybrid and take my chances w3ith the OTA HD antenna too right?
     
  10. asencif macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2005
    #10
    I too have a question about this. I have an EyeTV500 which is strictly for HD. My question is whether Time Warner's HD cable box will work with it. This is in NY. Has anyone tried it?
     
  11. fall3n macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    #11
    Does the hybrid have the 0 latency option?

    Also, even though the hybrid support HD, it doesn't support HD with consoles such as PS3 does it?
     
  12. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #12
    Some answers:

    As far as I know, few if any US cable providers stream HD in an OTA format, so EyeTV500, Hybrid, etc - devices which depend on an OTA broadcast (and so do NOT work with other HD sources, like PS3) - will not likely work with the cable feeds. On the other hand, HD antennas are cheap, and people in metro areas will find many, many stations to choose from.


    I believe the Hybrid has zero-latency (I think someone's already confirmed that), but it will not support HD inputs. HD must come via an antenna or a cable provider that acts like an antenna for those stations.
     
  13. fall3n macrumors 6502

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    Aug 17, 2006
    #13
    So, really for someone like me who is just interested in having my computer act as a tv as well just needs the hybrid
     
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #14
    If you plan on getting an antenna. Otherwise, a non-HD model might have better SD reception or cost less.

    Also, models with hardware decompression don't eat up your Mac's CPU like the software-based models (like the Hybrid) do.
     
  15. rob5 macrumors regular

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    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #15
    kinda off-topic - but do you happen to know of any hardware that can do encrypted HD channels (such as HBO HD, Discovery HD, etc)?
     
  16. fall3n macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    #16
    Yeah, was checking the comparison chart between the 250 and hybrid. For the 50 bux more it's worth it to get for the 250, get a remote too.
     
  17. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #17
    It comes over fine via Firewire to my mini, at least using Comcast in MA.

    I'm switching to Verizon next week and I'll let you know if it works with them as well.
     

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