EyeTV Hybrid. 1st vs. 3rd generation in quality

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Michael4824, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Michael4824 macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    I'm saving up for a Mac Mini, which I plan to use as a Home Theater setup. A few weeks ago, I found a really cheap EyeTV Hybrid on eBay. Although it was a first generation of the device, I figured I could do without the newer features in order to save on the price.

    Now, I'm sorta regretting it. I plugged it into my Macbook right away, to make sure the thing works. The quality is not what I expected, all my recordings are pretty grainy. I tried using different cable hookups to it, make sure everything is tight, but it didn't make a difference. So, I know the issues lies within the tuner itself.

    I'm wondering, is the 3rd generation of these devices any better? If anyone owns one, how would you say the quality of the recordings are? Is the picture clear? A second question, if I do buy a second EyeTV Hybrid tuner, would I be able to use both, on the same computer, at the same time? That way I could record one show, while watching another?

    Thanks for the help.

    EDIT: Here is a 2 second preview. You can see how grainy the video is. (I choose this channel simply because of the still image.)

    Attached Files:

  2. kwarren Guest

    Aug 18, 2007
    Well, you have to understand that if you're pulling content from SD sources, then the quality is going to be relatively nasty at fullscreen.

    I have a 3rd gen. Hybrid, and this is the case with SD channels, but with HD channels, the quality is obviously great as most of my locals broadcast in 1080i.

    What El Gato really needs to make is a quad-tuner product!
  3. Michael4824 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Even when the window isn't at full screen, the content is grainy. Just the regular, not resized window, the quality of the picture is awful. But when the same feed goes to my TV, it looks 10x better.
  4. kwarren Guest

    Aug 18, 2007
    Yep, that's basically what my SD channels look like, too. Maybe Mike is hanging around these forums and can answer. Mike...?
  5. Michael4824 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Hoping that's not the case. (I have Hauppauge HVR1600, which has exceptional quality, at 2/3rds the price...) There has to be a setting somewhere that is causing this.
  6. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Can you post a 2 second sample of the same channel using the hauppauge?

    It looks to me as though you're trying to record an analog SD channel, a low quality channel at that. What happens when you record a digital HD station?
  7. Michael4824 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Unfortunately, I don't have immediately access to the desktop computer with the card installed. (College student, the desktop is at home.) It happens on every channel, I choose that one for the still image, so you could see what happens. Since it's an older card, it doesn't include ClearQAM channels, which are the only HD channels I can pick up. Here's a clip on a normal channel. (Pay particular attention to the black shirts, as well as the lady's neck on the left.)

    You know, the more and more I play with this, it seems that the recordings are better quality then the live TV itself. Maybe there is a cache setting I'm missing? The only one I can find is set to 2000MB, so it should be sufficient. (Without having that MacMini yet, I haven't had that much time to play with it, I haven't had any scheduled recordings yet. I am happy to find that the recording are at least of decent quality!)

    Attached Files:

  8. milan03 macrumors 6502


    Jul 16, 2002
    New York City
    You are comressing your caps. Your caps should be .mpg not mp4. Go to your settings and make sure iPhone automatic compression isn't on. You want to keep the quality cap. It doesnt matter if it's first or 2nd gen.
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Having viewed both of your videos, I have great difficulty finding a problem. The Biggest Loser is a broadcast show that you are recording from basic cable, I presume. The other video, I presume, is also a broadcast show on basic cable. Since you do not have ClearQAM, you are left to record the analog versions of these channels. FWIW, analog is legal only for low-power broadcasts. However, cable has a mandate to convert digital broadcasts to analog for its viewers. Your cable provider appears to be doing this flawlessly. Your 640x480 converted analog version of The Biggest Loser looks better than any analog broadcast ever looked. It doesn't look as good as hi-def, but that is to be expected. There is a reason that HD broadcasts are HD.

    If you want to record HD off your cable, then you should purchase a tuner that features ClearQAM. Your current complaints make no more sense than bellyaching because your VCR won't play Blu-ray Discs.
  10. kwarren Guest

    Aug 18, 2007
    Yeah, again, Michael, I have a 3rd generation Hybrid, and that is exactly what SD cable channels look like for me because that is what they are broadcast as. You can't complain about the video not being amazing quality when the source material isn't.

    I'm at college, too, but the ClearQAM channels are obviously picked up by my Hybrid, so that's what I opt to record for the channels that I get in HD. I don't know if the first generation Hybrid has ClearQAM or not, but if not, then for that reason alone it's worth upgrading.
  11. Michael4824 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    The first generation does not support ClearQAM (or FM Radio). I really believe the recordings look better then the Live TV, so I'm going to try to play with that buffer later today.
  12. Michael4824 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    I figured out the reason. I never resized the EyeTV window. It was smaller then the native resolution, compressing the image, making it appear grainy. Now that I have it set to it's native resolution, the picture looks much better. (Which explains why the recordings looked better, they were at native resolution.)

    The other question still exist though, does anyone know if I can use two tuners on the same computer?
  13. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2007
    you can use as many tuners as the computer will handle.

    I have a HDHomeRun with two tuners on it, even with two HD streams coming in i could probably run four more HD streams from another 2 devices before my laptop would be unable to handle it. I have a 2.66 i7.

    Using USB cards, you'll run into USB bandwidth limitations depending on the machine you're using.

    I've had two USB devices total on my machine, both were Hybrids that handled HDTV, QAM, ATSC.
  14. Michael4824 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2008
    I know this topic is a few months old, but I just want to give an update, in case anyone else is wondering the same question.

    I've been watching eBay for a little while, and saw a decently priced Hybrid tuner that was the latest generation, and new in box. After an intense bidding war, I won the item, and it arrived at my door step just last week. After tinkering for a little while, I finally have the device all set up.

    First off, the ClearQAM HD looks fantastic! I'm amazed at the picture quality that I receive with it. To me, it's very interesting to see the size of the picture on different local stations.

    I was a little worried tuning to a standard definition channel. But when I did, I was impressed with the picture quality. The random lines I saw in the first generation of this tuner are gone. Although the picture isn't the clearest (which it shouldn't be, being standard definition), it looks very similar to my Hauppauge 1600 tuner, which is what I wanted!

    This leads me to two possibilities of the increase. Either Elgato greatly improved the quality of this little tuner (which did shrink a LOT from the 1st to 4th generation), or the previous buyer wasn't quite honest to the history of this device.

    Thanks for every ones input though on this device!

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