Using Mac as DVR/PVR/DVHS vs. Cable Company

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by crazytom, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    I recently attempted to use my mac as a digital recorder of a network TV show through the Firewire on my cable box and I came to a sad realization. It's looking like the cable operators and the 'anti-pirating nazis' have won the battle. Years ago, we could program a VCR and watch our preferred show at a later time. Now...I can't find a way to do it without paying extra to the cable company.

    Here's what I tried so far:

    MacBookPro, FW hard drive, Comcast cable, Motorola RNG110 box, FireRecord (freeware), VLC (freeware), Apple's AVCVideoCap(ture) + related programs (DVHS, etc).

    After trying multiple times to capture a network FOX broadcast, I always came up with nothing. I discovered that the Motorola box provided had the 1394 port (Firewire) set to 'Disabled'. Doing more research and finding the FCC's regulation 76.640(i) that states the cable operator shall:

    I called/visited my cable company (Comcast) to get a Firewire enabled STB (set top box), to which they responded, "That ain't gonna happen."

    An FCC complaint has been filed.

    What do you think: Am I fighting a losing battle here? Is there anyone that is successfully using their mac as a digital VHS?

    I know there's other sticky issues that the cable company is doing that are breaking the law, like network TV that is broadcast in full HD, Comcast is reducing the resolution to 480i despite the FCC regulation 76.1904(a) that states:

    But, of course, Comcast says that I must PAY for the HD package in order to view the network stations that are already TRANSMITTED in HD, which Comcast is reducing to SD, back to the original HD.

    It's an aggravating and very confusing issue with all the changes to digital signal. Is there anyone out there that still uses their mac as a DVHS? I'd love to hear your setup, cable company, STB model and any extra info, if possible. I'd like to hear other thoughts and opinions, too.
  2. macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Cut the cable if OTA is an option. A EyeTV or WMC are both excellent DVRs.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Dump the freeware and buy this:

    It's a video capture device from EyeTV. You hook your cable box into this via the component cables. It has an IR blaster to change the channel on the cable receiver at the appropriate time to record a show.

    You could then have EyeTV export the videos to iTunes and watch them on an Apple TV in a different room in the house.

    Lots of info on the EyeTV website, check it out.
  4. macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2010
    Connecticut, United States
    I'm surprised you're having/had such trouble! I have Comcast and our Motorola can record just about anything.
  5. macrumors 604

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    FCC rules aren't going to mean much with the new Cable/telco lobbyist running the FCC.
  6. macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2007
    I agree, these companies are out of control.

    One thing with the eyetv one, I have had issues due to having to many USB hard drives and other devices. Even now that I have reduced the USB devices it is still a bit flaky.

    If your cable company uses cablecard, right now basically the only commercial software that works is for windows media center. Hopefully after silicon dust releases it's hdhr4-cc we will have more options, as it hardware transcodes and uses dnla to stream the program to any compatible device.

    I am using the eyetv one for now, and waiting to hopefully switch to cablecards once Mac native hardware/software is developed.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Apr 4, 2007
    los angeles
    You're screwed. You need to run Windows to capture/record from the cable companies.

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