Trying to cut cable, need inputs

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BigDukeSix, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    BigDukeSix

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    #1
    I am trying to figure out the easiest way to get rid of my cable, and have been doing plenty of research, but have not come up with the concise answers I am looking for. Yes, I have googled, and mroogled to see whats out there....

    Okay here goes.

    I am going to setup an antenna so I can get OTA local channels. My TV can handle that.

    I am not going the ATV2 route, mainly due to some issues y'all have talked about, and not being able to get Hulu through it, as well as accessing shows directly from network websites. I figure I need to have a Mac Mini setup with my TV to do that and from what I have read, that is a good little computer for that use.

    I have experiemented with using my MacBook hooked up to my TV so I can directly access Hulu, and network websites. However, it is hard to read and I hate to keep going back and forth with screen resolutions to see my browser vs watching a show. Is there a software interface that is easier to look at and that will work for accessing all my media without having to constantly switch back and forth between Firefox browser and having to type in the URL for the various sites I want to get content from, and also interface with ITunes? If so, please advise and let me know how you like it.

    I am just running the audio out of my flatscreen tv speakers, and I do understand that the latest Mini with HDMI output has the audio also running through there, no need for a 2nd cable as with my Macbook.

    What is available for recording OTA broadcasts for later watching (ala Tivo)?

    I know I will need a keyboard/mouse to use with my Mini to navigate. Any ideas/experience with ones that work the best?

    There is a ton of fragmented info out there, but it is always good to find out from folks who have already set theirs up to see what works, it saves time and money.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    Use the zoom feature found in all browsers. That makes the browser's content bigger without changing the actual screen resolution.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    j3yq

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    #3
    Im curious to see the answers turn out, Ive been begging the boss to do this for years. she cant get over not having live TV.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #4
    I cut the cable a year ago - no regrets.

    Here's my system.

    Main viewing area:

    LCD TV with surround system.

    Mac MINI (the DVI version) so have DVI to HMDI to TV and Optical to receiver. EYETV to record - can only watch/record one channel unless you add another EYETV.
    Stream music, photos and movies from a Mac Mini connected to 6TB Raid 5 system - using Ethernet not WIFI due to bandwidth issues with Hi-def movies. PLEX for streamed movies.
    use Iphone Plex App to control movies and Iphone Remote App to control Mac Mini - no keyboard or mouse needed.

    For completeness I also have a TIVO HD with lifetime service.

    So I can record 2 different channels and watch a 3rd if needed.

    With the EYETV recording I can convert to play on Iphone etc as needed.

    The Mac MINI server also sends media to an ATV2 on the patio and a 3rd (!) Mini/TV in the bedroom.

    Works great - the only monthly bill is for the Internet Service (Uverse) and the electricity to run it all - not much as the Mini's are very frugal.

    Works great!
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #5
    I just created another thread on this...you say you have an eyetv to record--record what? What are you feeding into the eyetv? OTA HD? Or are you getting content online somehow?
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BigDukeSix

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    #6
    So, an older Mini seems to be adquate to run home theatre? If I could pick up an Intel based pre-2010 models used, that would be sweet.

    And, does PLEX provide an all in one interface for Hulu, Netflix, ITunes, and other website video content?
     
  7. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    #7
    I'll bite but it would be helpful if you gave some indication of what you have researched.

    Tuners: Look at Elgato and Siliconedust. there are others but they seem to be the most prevalent on the Mac side.

    DVR software: Elgato seems to have the commercial Mac market. there is also SageTV and MythTV. Sage seems to be stopping Mac support and the UI leaves alot to be desired. Myth-if you are a programmer/tinkerer.

    HTPC software: Plex, XBMC, Boxee, MythTV. Boxee does not have Hulu support. Plex supports Hulu if you use the previous version of Flash but Hulu is able to detect Plex now so that even gets sketchy. The best I have found lately is Hulu Desktop to stream to the TV.

    You can decide how automated you want things to be. The only thing that puts DVR and HTPC under one roof is Myth but you better know more than how to just click on the install icon, Myth doesn't have one. With some applescripts you can take files from EyeTV an make them Plex compliant or just watch them in EyeTV. So there is nothing out of the box to do all you want it just depends on what all you want to do. Some look for the alphabet soup of file format compatibility others don't need it.

    If you are looking for a specific suggestion I am using a duel tuner HDHomerun with EyeTV , Plex and hulu desktop. This is a new setup so things may change in th future but seems to work OK.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #8
    For HTPC use, I think the HDMI out on the newer Mac Mini is worth the extra cost vs the previous gen.

    I turned off Cable about 2 weeks ago after watching almost nothing but NetFlix via ATV2 for a month or so.

    I'm considering adding a Roku XDS ($99) for HuluPlus, but I just connected an over the air antenna over the weekend. I'm going to get an EyeTV and connect it to my iMac for DVR function and convert those recordings to iTunes for access through the ATV. If I can figure out how to strip the commercials out of the EyeTV recordings, I don't think I'll need Hulu.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BigDukeSix

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    #9
    I have been looking at the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid and if it works as people say, that would be a good setup. I would only need to record some OTA shows, as the rest I could watch on demand via Hulu or the network websites as needed. I will be anxious to hear how you like it when you get it hooked up.
    Also, how hard was it to find the proper antenna and set it up? Is it inside or outside? I have checked out this website for antenna info: http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx and it indicates a small or medium multidirectional antenna would be adequate.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #10

    ota hd
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #11

    yes the MINI works great - its a 2.26 with 2 gig Ram.

    Plex does provide an all in one interface.

    Its free too!

    Take a look at www.plexapp.com
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BigDukeSix

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    #12
    For those that have added an outdoor OTA antenna, did you just connect the coax cable from that into your junction box where your external cable/satellite input was hooked up to the cable wiring for the house?
     
  13. macrumors demi-god

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    #13
    I started w/ the EyeTV Hybrid and ended up getting the SiliconDust HDHomeRun product.

    The reason I went with the HDHomeRun is that (a) it has two tuners and (b) it connects to your network, so you don't have to physically have the OTA antenna plugged into a USB dongle hanging out of the back of your Mac. I use the EyeTV software -- it knows how to communicate with the HDHomeRun over the network. If you're only looking to occasionally record stuff (i.e. one tuner is enough), and running the antenna directly to your Mac isn't a big deal, it may be overkill price-wise though.

    Antennaweb indicated that an indoor antenna would do well where I live, but that wasn't my experience. I ended up putting a small one on the roof and get perfect OTA reception on all of my local channels.

    All in all, I liked the solution, but it turned out to be too geeky for my housemates. So I use it for myself, but in the living room, we have a TiVo w/ lifetime service. Records OTA HD with the same quality as the EyeTV, it's just that the remote and UI are easier for them to use.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #14
    I checked the same site, but it turns out that when my townhouse was built, they installed an antenna in the attic (this was in the early 70s). It's a fairly small antenna of the type that I used to see on rooftops. probably considered small or medium. I just ran a coax cable directly from the antenna to the TV and got all of the local channels. After running a more permanent (and longer) cable through the walls, I lost the local NBC channel and maybe lost a little signal on the other channels. I have a Distribution Amplifier (ChannelMaster CM-3414) on order, and am hoping that this restores NBC for me.

    For the EyeTV, I went with the EyeTv One. This seemed to be the one to get for Over the Air - I think the Hybrid is for use with a cable box.

    I might consider the HD HomeRun in the future, as I might like to do multiple recordings, but for now, I'm in proof of concept mode.
     
  15. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #15
    Did you use RG-6?
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    Airforcekid

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    United States of America
    #16
    I cut mine with the Boxee box you can test out the software first on your mac similar to plex and xbmc.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #17
    My first run was part existing RG-59 and part new RG-6. With that, I lost all but Fox. Then I replaced it with a single run of RG-6 and got most of the channels back. My first test connection direct from the antenna to the TV was 50'; my through the walls run is at least 100'.
     
  18. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #18
    The EyeTV One is ONLY for ATSC. The Hybrid is for ATSC, NTSC ( not that it matters anymore) and QAM. The EyeTV HD is for cable/sat boxes.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    BigDukeSix

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    34.6700N 118.1590W
    #19
    So, I downloaded PLEX so I could try it on my MacBook to get familiar with it. Seems like a fairly good program, however there are two glitches that are quite annoying. First is that PLEX apps for various sites like network tv sites (NBC,USA, etc)are not compatible with Flash 10.1, so you get audio with no video. And, if your movies are stored in ITunes, there is not a very easy way to get PLEX to see them. Anyone else having similar issues?
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #20
    I do not copy my movies into Itunes - i manage them from there for Airplay and syncing to my Iphone etc. - so I point PLEX to the folders where they are stored.

    Not sure about the Flash thing - I keep all my software up to date - so I assume i have the latest Flash, so I do not see the problem.

    One issue is that there is no EYETV plugin so switching between PLEX and EYETV was a PITA. I am trialing IKEY which allows me to sen commands to the MINI via keystrokes (like hide PLEX/show EYETV and vice versa) this works well so far and I send the command via my Iphone/IPAD using HIPPOREMOTE - a nice app which also has a PLEX and EYETV interface - as well as many others.

    David
     
  21. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #21
    Yes, there is an issue with Plex and Flash 10.1, but if you downgrade Flash, there will be no problems. Flash will also work just fine when browsing other sites after you downgrade.

    I use Hipporemote, too. It's great and I highly reccomend it, but even if you only have the Apple Remote, you can use Plex to launch any application and Plex will auto-close. Then when you quit that application, Plex will auto-relaunch. It's extremely handy and really, you won't be using Plex and EyeTV at the same time anyway, so this option takes all of about 10-20 seconds.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #22
    The only problem with using the PLEX application route - that I have found - is that you have to close EYETV in order to switch back. I want to leave EYETV open, but the viewing window closed so that scheduled recording still take place.

    Unless I've missed something I don't know another way to achieve that.

    David
     
  23. macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #23
    If you're just trying to record something on EyeTV while watching something on Plex, just close the EyeTV Player window. That will knock out your video and audio while still allowing you to record a show. Yeah, you might have to manually relaunch Plex, but it's not difficult or time consuming. You'll already have the mouse handy when you close the Player window.
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    walterwhite

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    Location:
    South Central PA
    #24
    On Keyboard ideas.... I have tried three... one is a wireless bluetooth keyboard and mouse (although a mac trackpad works better for leaving it on the couch) Jaadu iTeleport ($9.99) for my iPhone or iPAd to run it all, and you can use it on all your computers... like remote desktop for your iOS device. Also you can use a free App called remote mouse... works well also.

    Jaadu for the iPad is about the best... the keyboard and trackpad combo is nice because you just leave it there and it works... no apps to search thru.
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #25
    Thanks.

    I find what I do now very easy. Here's the command sent to IKEY and the result.

    When I am in PLEX - watching a movie, listening to music etc.

    SEND from Ipad
    cmd E

    This pauses the movie etc in PLEX and opens EYETV view window at full screen.

    Change back to PLEX

    cmd P

    Switches active window to EyeTV (in case it wasn't the top screen)
    Closed EyeTV viewing window
    Switches to PLEX
    Un-pauses the movie etc.

    The whole process takes about 1 second and even my girl friend can do it - and thats a BIG plus :)
     

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