eyetv 250 vs. TVMax vs. Blackmagic Video Recorder?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by SpiceLMF, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. SpiceLMF macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2007
    Ok I'm trying to decide which product to buy and I was hoping for some advice.

    First and foremost I want a device so that I may transfer my VHS tapes to DVD. Live TV recording is secondary but for the price, I'd like to find the device that suits me best so I can continue to use it after i've transferred all my VHS.

    Here are my concerns:

    1) I'm going to be moving from the US to Ireland in a couple of months (not sure for how long, could be years+) Obviously there's the whole NTSC vs. PAL, ATSC vs. DVB. I know with EyeTV 250 it's either or, any ideas if buying some sort of converter is an option (prices, quality)? If I bought just a PAL one, would I still be able to convert VHS or would it be completely unusable in the US?

    2) I'd like some sort of HD/Digital abilities. From what I can tell TVMax is analog only and Blackmagic may also be but I can't find more specs on that. Does this mean they'll be useless once the US undergoes the conversion?

    So as of now I'm leaning towards EyeTV 250 but the question are there any forseeable problems with using a PAL to NTSC converter or using a PAL EyeTV in the US just to convert VHS.
  2. SpiceLMF thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2007
    I think I found the answer to my own question. This if from EyeTV's faq:

    So if all else fails I can use my composite cables to record/capture etc. I don't see any mention of using s-video cables. Forgive my ignorance but would s-video also be workable. Anyone have experience with this?
  3. rosstex macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2009
    What a shame. This is exactly, word for word, my Google search. Unfortunately, this is the only exact topic! I wish there was an answer. I'm conducting research myself, but all research will eventually involve purchasing, unfortunately! XD
  4. greg400 macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2009
    Stay clear of the Blackmagic Video Recorder. It is a hunk of junk that is a waste of money. They have no specs on their website because they know damn well no one would purchase it if they did. It can only capture in 480i at a max of 3mpbs. Sure you get component input but again, it's only 480i. I haven't seen the TVMax but I can tell you that the EyeTV 250 Plus is great. Comes with phenomenal software and you get great quality. Although you want some HD capability pick up a Hauppauge HD PVR. It has component inputs that can capture in 480i/480p/720p/1080i but the only way it will connect to your Mac is if you buy one of these two programs: EyeTV3 or HDPVRCapture

    I'm not too keen on the whole NTSC/PAL so you would probably be better off asking the creators of the device, respectively.
  5. pcharles macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2003
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula

    These units are actually quite different beasties. The purpose of the BVR is simply to convert standard definition content to H.264 without taxing your computer. Unless you are running a new Mac with 10.6 and an appropriate video card, the H.264 encoding takes forever. You can use an Elgato 264 HD accelerator card, but this still becomes a multistep process and even that is limited to 10 mbps, which does not come close to the latest AVCHD specs. What this unit is designed to do is take the feed from your TV/VCR (not high def) and crunch it to H.264 in real time. If you expect something else, you will be sad. I have never heard of the TVMax, but the problem I have with the EyeTV is that it does not encode to anything particularly useful, so you still need to do a secondary encoding, which means you need to buy a hardware 264 accelerator, or wait and wait while your computer churns away with the encoding. On my Macbook 2.4GHz with 4GB RAM I was using a Sony Media Converter to bring the content over as DV to iMovie. I would then trim out the commercials and export to something like H.264. That final step was basically an overnight process. With the Elgato accelerator you can speed this up close to real time, and with the BVR you are working in real time straight in to the USB port. The BVR has some nice features like auto off after a certain time. So you can set the unit to encode for the known length of the program and then it will stop. That is pretty helpful if you do not want to watch every old VCR tape again.

    Take a look at: http://www.macvideo.tv/encoding/reviews/index.cfm?reviewId=101269

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