Buying my first Mac (mac mini). Questions (also reg. Elgato software)

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by felixen, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. felixen macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009

    This week Im gonna buy the new Mac Mini. I never had a mac before so its all pretty exiting.

    First of all, I just need to know something about the harddrive formats. I understand that if you want to use a format that works on both windows and mac then you cant have files bigger than 4gb. I have all my music, videos, pictures and such from my old computer stored on an external harddrive and I have files bigger than 4gb so I guess the mac mini wont be able to read this harddrive. Is there anything I can do? I wanna get all my files from my current computer transfered to the mac mini.

    Secondly, whats the best TV software & hardware for the Mac Mini? Ive looked at Elgatos EyeTV Hybrid and EyeTV Plus 250 or whatever. I have a satellite dish, and 90% of the channels are analogue, so I need the best for analogue (and digital as well) TV.

    Im guessing since I have a satellite dish I wont be able to set the Mac Mini to record all basketball programs for instance (if they are shown on two different channels), since the satellite dish box wont know it has to change channel, correct?

    Also, I have an Xbox 360. I see on the Xbox 360 that you can connect to your PC via Windows Media Center. To me it seems that the Elgato program is similar to Media Center, so Im wondering if I can use this feature on the Xbox 360 even though Im on a Mac?

    Thats about it for now. Im really looking forward to this, its gonna be an awesome entertainment center :) Thanks
  2. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
  3. userblah macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I'm assuming your external hard drive is formated for NTFS. You will need NTFS-3G for the most stable connection between your hard drive and mac mini. There won't be any problem with a 4GB limit as that is for FAT, not NTFS.
  4. Jackintosh macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2009
    EyeTV from Elgato is probably the best TV tuner for Mac, especially since it was designed to be Mac specific. For the EyeTV Hybrid, make sure to buy the latest 2009 version, as earlier versions tuner recepetion wasn't that great, and they lacked QAM for HD reception. Latest version also has FM.
  5. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    Thanks guys.

    Yeah I think my external harddrive format is NTFS. Will the Mac Mini be able to read this, or will I need to reformat it to this NTFS-3G (Im guessing I can do this on my windows XP comp. I just need to transfer all my important files from my current PC to the new mac)?

    Also, Elgatos two best products are Hybrid and 250 Plus, right? Why is 250 Plus better? And there are no monthly fees like there is with a TiVo for instance, are there? (its not that I dont wanna try and find out myself, I have read everything on apples website but there a few things I couldnt find answer for)
  6. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    I also see theres a
    EyeTV 310 FireWire Digital Video Recorder for Digital Satellite Television by Elgato. Man I dont see the difference between these three products
  7. krogren macrumors member

    Mar 27, 2009
    Your mac will read the NTFS drive. He was just suggesting the NTFS-3G for a more stable connection. I would just leave it as NTFS, and copy all your files over. If you plan on using it later frequently on your Mac, you might choose to reformat to NTFS-3G.
  8. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Seeing as how you spell analog, you're probably from the UK. Is that correct? If you are in the UK, disregard the following.

    In the US, the only options you have are the 250+ and the Hybrid. The 310 is for Europe, not the US.

    If you want to use EyeTV with satellite, you will be using a breakout cable, not the tuner built into the EyeTV hardware. Combine that with an IR blaster to change the channels at the set times, and you're set. If you want dual channel recording capabilities, then you'd need two sat-STBs, two EyeTVs, and two IR blasters.

    If you have HD and use component cables, then you'd need a Hauppauge HD-PVR instead of the Hybrid/250+.
  9. Berlepsch macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    If you only want to copy files from the old hard disk to the Mac, you don't need to do anything special. OS X can read NTFS out of the box, it just doesn't allow to write to the disk (that's where you need the extra software).

    EyeTV is probably the nicest TV software on the market. But, as ftaok mentioned, for further help we need to know the country where you live, and whether you plan to receive digital TV through satellite or by aerial antenna (terrestrial DVB).
  10. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    Hehe, nah Im from Denmark. I usually use the american way of spelling but I was unsure how to spell analog, and my dictionary just said "analogue" :)

    But I guess that doesnt matter though, since its still Europe..?

    But yeah Im in Denmark and I watch all of my TV on my satellite dish box. I have like 5 digital channels and I rarely use them, since the majority of our channels are still analog, but thats gonna change during this year (also, I see the EyeTV doesnt support mpeg 4, only mpeg2. Will this be a big problem, or can it easily be fixed with some add-on when digital TV in mpeg4 is getting launched for real during 2009?)

    Anyway, I didnt understand the whole post from you, ftaok. A few unfamiliar terms :) For instance, whats a breakout cable? Does it connect the EyeTV hardware with my satellite dish box? But if the tuner in EyeTV hardware isnt needed, can I just do with the software and this breakout cable? Or is the hardware still necessary?

    Im guessing an IR Blaster connects with my satellite dish box and tells it to change the channel according to how I have programmed my EyeTV software? Is this expensive and difficult to hook up?

    Dual channel recording sounds ill, but for now I'll keep it solo ;)
  11. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Since you're in Denmark, most of my posts don't apply to you. But I can still answer your questions.

    1. A breakout cable is included with the Hybrid and 250+. Basically, it bypasses the hardware tuner and lets you plug in a separate AV source ... basically more inputs. In the US, the breakout cable gives you composite video input, s-video input, and composite audio input. Not sure what the European version gives you.

    Check out this Picture

    The hardware is still necessary. I'm not sure if anyone makes some low-cost device that just plugs in.

    2. You are correct on the IR Blaster. To be honest, I'm not sure how easy/difficult it is to set up, but I don't think it would be too hard. Many years ago, the cable installer put in an IR blaster from my cable box to my VCR, so that the cable box would "turn on" and "hit record" on my VCR automatically. It took him 10 seconds to do it ... literally.

    3. EyeTV officially supports dual tuners for the HDHomeRun (US only) and the Diversity (Europe). I believe dual tuner support for other devices (including the Hybrid and 250+) do work, but it's not supported .. yet.

  12. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    Cool, so it sounds like I just need to get this IR Blaster and then Im all set. I'll have to look into this.. How much did you pay though? And all I have to do AFTER installing the IR Blaster is program the EyeTV software on the mac mini, and the IR blaster will take care of the rest? that sounds awesome
  13. felixen thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2009
    I looked into it and I think I might buy ZephIR. It says on the site that its all Im gonna need and its already got some apple scripts or whatever. So if I can buy it anywhere else than from their own shop I might buy it (not that I wont buy from them, but the shipping to Denmark is almost as much as the product costs itself.. Which doubles the price more or less)
  14. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Before taking any advice from me ... which is basically worthless since I'm a permanent fence sitter on this, you should check the El Gato forums.

    They will be able to answer your specific questions regarding IR blasters and stuff with a lot more authority.

    I'm only passing along stuff that I've read. I haven't actually used any of this stuff as I'm still trying to piece together my HTMac system. Besides, most of my information applies to the US version, not the European stuff ... although they should work similarly.

    Any reason why the 310 won't work for you? Seems like you're on satellite and the 310 is for satellite.

    Good Luck!
  15. James Cole macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    I wonder how will a new mac mini play 1080 files

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