Comcast ruined my Elgato EyeTV Hybrid - Anyone else?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by PatriotInvasion, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #1
    So I've owned Elgato's EyeTV Hybrid product for about 2 years (previously had the 250 model) and really enjoy recording sports games with it (plenty of Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox memories on my Mac now!).

    But, all of a sudden, almost no channels are available. After a lengthy back and forth with Elgato's awful online email support, it turns out Comcast now requires a digital cable box for almost every basic cable channel except PBS and CSPAN. Who wants to record CSPAN? That essentially makes the EyeTV Hybrid a useless product for two reasons:

    1.) It forces you to get another digital cable box from Comcast for about $8/month

    2.) Prevents you from using the software or the EyeTV iPhone App to watch live TV, control recordings via guide, etc.

    The only solution is to buy their new EyeTV HD product for $200 but you'll still need to pay Comcast for a dedicated box. I've asked Elgato's customer service repeatedly for a discount on the new product, since it's really my only option and because the product I purchased less than two years ago has been stripped to nothing. It's been 20 days and no response from them. I guess I'll just buy a Slingbox instead...recording ability or not.

    Anyone else have this issue?
     
  2. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    Apr 19, 2006
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    Carolina Beach, NC
    #2
    Don't mean to be a Junior Engineer, but did you rescan for channels? Comcast shouldn't be able to encrypt the locals because of QAM laws. If you're paying Comcast for more than the locals, than they could claim you need the box anyway. Are you sure Comcast didn't move from Analog to Digital? Also, when you say basic cable, do you mean just the locals or are you counting channels like ESPN and Discovery?

    Sorry for the questions, trying to help you figure out what's going on...
     
  3. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #3
    So the locals do come in. I'm exaggerating a bit when I say just PBS and CSPAN, but I am counting the "expanded basic" channels I'm used to getting...ESPN, TBS, TNT, Discovery, etc...yes...those are all now gone.

    The exhaustive rescan was completed with no change in results. So now all I can get is 4,5,7 and a few other crap channels not worth recording.
     
  4. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #4
    The Hybrid's doing what it's intended to do. The fact that Comcast hasn't been scrambling these other channels has been a gift to you. All my low tier cable has been scrambled for years and I'm sure most folks here would say the same. It sucks that it's happened, sure, but what your seeing now has been par for the course for a very long time.

    EyeTV Hybrid Overview

     
  5. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #5
    Well that may have been the case for you for awhile, but here in the Boston area I've been able to receive those channels for as long as I've owned an EyeTV device. I suspect that Elgato released this product under the scenario that I've experienced in my time of ownership. I find it very hard to believe that they market this product so that you can watch 7 lousy channels on your Mac - locals, PBS and CSPAN.

    In fact, Elgato's own customer service admits that this is a newer issue with Comcast and that even they were disappointed in the change in their offices in California (can provide the Elgato customer service email string If you'd like). It's also a strange coincidence that they release the EyeTV HD which is designed to work with a cable box right around the time this happened. Here's an article which summarizes the issue as new:

    http://www.tuaw.com/2010/05/24/dear-aunt-tuaw-will-comcast-kill-my-eyetv/
     
  6. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #6
    As I told you earlier, you have been the exception to the rule. I'm amazed Comcast has waited this long to encrypt their basic expanded channels. Time Warner's been doing it for what feels like ages. According to the article you posted, Elgato's not responding to Comcast, it's something they've been working on for a long time, and I agree. Many people are not in your situation, so they've always needed a device like the Elgato HD to work with their provider's box and now they finally have one.

    And they do make the Hybrid for "7 lousy channels." Lots of folks like myself have cut cable. I've found I can watch just about everything I want to watch over the internet for free and it's completely legal. With ESPN 3, Hulu, and other services, all my viewing habits are covered and I save $100 a month.
     
  7. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    Well regardless, I am willing to buy the EyeTV HD, but was requesting a "loyal customer" discount from Elgato considering a.) My EyeTV 250 just randomly stopped working out of warranty a few years ago. b.) I also own the Elgato Turbo.264 and c.) The Hybrid usability rug was pulled out from under me overnight. They have yet to respond after 20 days of waiting and follow ups.

    And as I stated in my first post, I primarily use the device to record Boston sports games for my viewing pleasure and editing - which are often on ESPN, TNT, etc. Not for regular TV shows - I just use my regular DVR for that so Hulu and ESPN 3 don't do much for me.

    Still stinks that I'll have to give Comcast more money each month just to use an EyeTV device now. Bummer.
     
  8. HappyCheese macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    #8
    I just ordered the separate box. You can get one for free with basic subscription and two free with anything higher than basic. You might have additional fee's if your franchise charges. Mine happens not too. http://digitalnow.comcast.com/
     
  9. MikeEvangelist macrumors newbie

    MikeEvangelist

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    May 28, 2008
    #9
    We could not agree more. The situation with Comcast and others scrambling former Clear QAM channels is low-down and sneaky (IMHO) but there's nothing any of us can do about it.

    And this is not just an EyeTV issue...it affects any TV with a digital tuner which in the past has received a large range of digital channels, many in HD. Now, they will get hardly any when connected directly to the cable. And even worse, if you use one of the cheap/free adapters from Comcast, you get only standard-definition - no HD. If you want HD in Comcast's new world, you have to pay for an HD cable box.

    As Tilpots points out, the EyeTV HD is useful for people whose subscriptions require the set top box (premium cable and satellite). That's really why we created it.

    Mike Evangelist (from Elgato)
     
  10. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #10
    Nice to see you on the boards again, Mike! Thanks for chiming in... It's great to see you guys branch out into other communities every now and again!
     
  11. MikeEvangelist macrumors newbie

    MikeEvangelist

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    #11
    Thanks to Google alerts for pointing out this topic.
     
  12. PatriotInvasion thread starter macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #12
    Ditto. I've been making headway with Elgato and will likely soon purchase an EyeTV HD.
     
  13. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #13
    I'm in the Boston suburbs, and earlier this year Comcast dropped pretty much all the unencrypted stuff from their cable - the clear QAM support of my EyeTV device isn't going to get much exercise anymore. The local stations were there, but that's it. I switched to OTA and Internet and haven't looked back.

    A.
     
  14. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    USA
    #14
    Comcast and the other cable companies are responding to the demands of the Hollywood producers. [With its 50% ownership of NBC-Universal, Comcast now is a major producer. But, I digress.] Producers have a morbid fear of the fact that digital might allow users to make perfect copies of broadcast and cablecast movies and TV shows. They demanded that digital content be encrypted. The producers forced Sony [also a major producer] to add encryption and DRM to Blu-ray, a demand that delayed Blu-ray's entry into the US for years after it went on sale in Japan.
     
  15. donmerlin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    #15
    The Comcast virus has hit my town...

    I didn't realize until now that this cancer called "Comcast Digital" has been spreading across the nation wiping out EyeTV scheduling for the last few years. Just last week, they turned off analog on my basic cable service, and essentially killed my EyeTV scheduling enjoyment that I have been using for the last 10 years. Comcast is evil. No doubt.

    Given, however, that I'm only scheduling shows on the main networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX), I'm wondering if it's time for me to follow so many others and just drop Comcast, by a digital antenna, and go that route. I'll have an issue with getting the coax from the roof into our living room, which puts me on the fence. I'm also considering getting an IR blaster to help EyeTV change the channels on this stupid Comcast box, but not sure how that works since I have to keep the EyeTV tuner on channel 3 (or 4). It isn't clear to me at all how that works.

    Right now I just look at each night's schedule, and pick the most important show of the evening, and make sure the Comcast box is on that channel. all the schedules have been changed to use channel 3 in EyeTV, which also makes it hard to figure out which channel the Comcast box should be set to (i.e., I need to memorize which channels all these shows are broadcast on).

    I truly hate Comcast for doing this to me.
     
  16. DHKaplan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #16
    @donmerlin: There is no such thing as a "digital antenna". The antenna only picks up the TV signal at a specific frequency range, and doesn't care what TYPE of signal it is. I'm using incredibly old rabbit ears (remember them?) in my attic and feeding a whole house system that includes the EyeTV on my Mac. I don't watch enough TV to get cable and am happy with the 1/2 dozen over the air stations I can get. Luckily they come in without my having to move the antenna. Any antenna you can find that covers VHF and UHF (which are frequency ranges) will work fine. In fact the channels you look for now on digital are really just "brands". The actual over the air channel that refers to a specific frequency will probably have changed during the conversion to digital. Our local Channel 3 in Hartford, CT actually is transmitting on UHF channel 33 now after the change, but still identifies itself as Ch 3... a brand as I said. How many people know the call letters of the station as opposed to the channel #? Anyway, good luck to anyone impacted by the encryption. If we ever get cable we'll be hit by it as well...
     
  17. donmerlin, Nov 13, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012

    donmerlin macrumors newbie

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    Oct 7, 2012
    #17
    Yep, I didn't mean to type digital antenna... I really mean that I was looking to get an antenna that could pick up digital signals. BTW, since then, I did just that: bought an inexpensive low-profile antenna, 4 screws to attach to roof, and cabled into the attic. However, now I'm dealing with (and learning a lot about) signal strength, coax connectors, splitters, etc., because while the signal comes in strong to the upstairs TV, when cabled downstairs through the garage to replace the Comcast cable coming into the house, there is a huge signal loss. I'm slowly getting there, should be in a position to drop Comcast very soon.

    BTW, with the antenna, I now get more channels than I do with Comcast basic. More importantly, I get all the channels that I care about, and many of them have HD signals.

    The downside to this episode is that it looks like my old eyeTV finally kicked the bucket. The signal coming in from Comcast is now B&W with audio problems. Comes in perfect color when using the cable on my TV, so it appears to be the eyeTV box.
     
  18. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Location:
    USA
    #18
    Because you subscribe to Comcast, I infer that you live in the USA. For future reference, all (100% of) US full-power broadcast TV stations broadcast exclusively in the [digital] ATSC format. Not many but all full-power stations have digital signals.
     
  19. donmerlin macrumors newbie

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    Oct 7, 2012
    #19
    Once again, I made a typo. I meant that many signals are HD (definitely not all).
     
  20. outonmybike macrumors newbie

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #20
    EyeTV Hybrid question

    I'm having a tough time figuring a few things out. I have comcast basic cable that includes the local channels plus espn and nickalodeon (not for me, I promise, I have kids).
    When I hook my eyeTV up to the coax coming from the wall (no box, just the coax straight from comcast) I get quite a few channels, including locals in HD, but none of the "cable channels" like ESPN or NICK. When I hook the eyeTV up to my little cable box the only way I can figure to get channels is to do the Gateway channel thing, which means I have to set my eyetv to channel 3 and use my cable remote to change the channel, and I have no idea how to record shows on different channels without changing the channel on the cable box. In addition, when I run it from the cable box, i only get standard def of my local channels when before, when I run the coax from the wall I get local channels (ABC, NBC, etc) in HD. Does anybody know a way around this, is there a quick way to switch back and forth between "cable" and the "non cable" so I can record locals in HD and "cable" shows like Nickelodeon?
    If anybody has any ideas that would be great.
    Thanks,
    -D
     
  21. donmerlin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    #21
    My solution...

    I bought an antenna, and found out that I get a lot of stations, including HD, through the antenna. So, my solution will be to cancel comcast, throw their boxes in the trash, and go back to enjoying my EyeTV through the antenna receiver. Yeah, some stations will be gone, but there's enough good free ones to watch TV 48 hours a day (which is 47 hours more than I need to watch). :)

    I did this to get my eyeTV back. The savings of not having to pay a cable bill is just icing on the cake.
     
  22. MisterMe, Aug 28, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013

    MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    #22
    You are describing how cable TV set top boxes work. Except for retransmitted broadcast channels and shopping channels, HD cable channels are scrambled. The only way to unscramble them is to use that God-foresaken set top box or a CableCard. Unfortunately eyeTV does not support CableCard.

    By law, all standard television broadcasts in the US are digital. Only low-power TV stations are permitted to broadcast analog signals. The traditional broadcast networks--ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS--distribute their programming exclusively in HD. Digital and HD are not the same. Local broadcast stations are not required to deliver this programming in HD, but the overwhelming majority do.

    Your local cable company receives all of its programming irrespective of source in digital format. In order for it to deliver programming in analog format, it must first convert from digital to analog. I consider myself lucky because my local cable franchise delivers its programming exclusively in digital format. Standard definition or HD, it is all digital.

    You are part of a trend. Cable subscriptions have been on the decline for several years. Many cable subscribers are cutting the cord and going with broadcast exclusively, Internet streaming exclusively, prerecorded programming exclusively, or some combination of these.
     
  23. Richdmoore macrumors 68000

    Richdmoore

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    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #23
    I recently subscribed to cable to watch indycar races (my old source stopped capturing them for me, so I had to reconnect the cord.)

    First of all, for the op who wanted a cheap Eyetv one "loyalty discount." What I would up doing was just buying the Eyetv box used on eBay without the software for much, much cheaper than retail. If you need an ir blaster, you can use TiVo designed ones, or do what I did and buy an "direct connect cable" on eBay that simply plugs both into your cable box (Motorola) and Eyetv.

    One thing i experienced is that these eyetv one boxes are sensitive to is having too many USB devices. I had about 10 usb components hooked up (most had ac power as well) but got frequent cutout a during recording. I removed most of the drives, and the Eyetv is more stable now (but not perfect.)

    I am hoping at some point a cable card compatible Mac product becomes available, but nothing so far. (Rumor is that the silicon dust hdhr4-cc with built in h.264 might finally offer an easyier way to use cable cards with iOS & Mac Osx. We will see after the device finally enters the market.)
     

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