How to set up your own whole-home DVR with Apple TV and HD Homerun Plus

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dgalvan123, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #1
    Now that my setup has been recently upgraded and is working well, I thought I'd share. (The recent upgrade is the HD Homerun Plus, which makes the TV shows available for viewing on Apple TV only a couple minutes after they air, as opposed to the hours you'd have to wait for your mac to transcode them with the previous generation of HD Homerun.)

    The following will result in a whole-home DVR system using one HD Homerun Plus, your Mac running EyeTV 3 and iTunes, and Apple TVs (one for each TV you want to serve).

    After setup, the only recurring cost is $20/year (i.e.: $1.67 per month) for TV Guide electronic programming guide (EPG) service in EyeTV.

    One-sentence-Description:

    The HD Homerun Plus tuner transcodes OTA mpeg2 broadcast programming to H.264 and delivers it to EyeTV on your mac, which then automatically exports the recorded shows to iTunes, making them viewable via Homesharing on any Apple TV in your house.

    Five-Sentence-Description:
    The HD Homerun Plus takes free high-definition (HD) TV signals from an over-the-air (OTA) antenna, transcodes that signal from mpeg2 to H.264 in real time, and delivers that H.264 program stream over ethernet, through your router, to the EyeTV software on your Mac. EyeTV acts as your DVR control program; scheduling, organizing and storing your TV recordings. Once a TV show recording is finished, EyeTV automatically "exports" that show to your iTunes library (a process which takes just a couple of minutes for a 1 hour high-definition show), where it is available via Homesharing to any Apple TV in your house. You access the Shows on your Apple TV by going to "Computers --> Your Library --> TV Shows" within a few minutes after the show has aired, and can pause/skip/rewind from the couch just like a DVR.

    Optional extra features available at no additional cost:
    -iOS streaming: You can use the EyeTV app on your iPad or iPhone to stream your recorded shows on those devices on your home wifi network or anywhere in the world using LTE.
    -iOS synching: Once the shows are in iTunes, you can sync them to your iPhone or iPad (ex: sesame street episodes so my kids can watch on iPad during a long car trip.)

    Costs of Hardware/Software needed:

    -OTA antenna (I use this one which I got at Home Depot for $35. It sits in my attic. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Winegard-Freevision-Outdoor-HDTV-Antenna-FVHD30H/203972856. Use http://www.antennaweb.org to determine your reception if you don't already have an OTA antenna working.)
    -(optional) Distribution Amplifier (I got this one for $30. http://www.amazon.com/Channel-Master-Outputs-Distribution-Amplifier/dp/B001PI09SE Only needed if your reception is poor or if you are sending co-ax to multiple TVs or tuners over long runs.)
    -HD Homerun Plus (Available for $170 from Newegg, plus tax/shipping. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815345014).
    -EyeTV 3 software for your mac (Available from Elgato for $80. http://www.elgato.com/en/eyetv/eyetv-3 TV Guide EPG subscription is $20/year)
    -a Mac running iTunes
    -Apple TV 2 or 3 (available refurbished for $75 plus tax with free shipping. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/appletv)

    Assuming you already have the OTA Antenna setup and a mac running iTunes and serving Apple TVs (which I expect many users in this forum do), we are talking $250 plus tax/shipping for the HD Homerun Plus and the EyeTV 3 software, with an additional $20/year ($1.67 per month) for the TV Guide EPG in EyeTV.

    Compare that with the $250 cost for one Channel Master DVR+, which has zero recurring cost (free EPG service!), but only serves one TV. (http://www.channelmasterstore.com/DVR_Plus_p/cm-7500gb16.htm)

    If you only want to serve one TV in your house, I'd recommend you go with the Channel Master DVR+. If you want to serve more than one, I'd recommend you go with the HD Homerun Plus / EyeTV / AppleTV system.

    Setup:
    (only addressing HD Homerun and EyeTV here. Assuming you already have your Apple TVs, Mac with iTunes Homesharing, and OTA antennas set up.)

    1. Plug the HD Homerun Plus into power. Connect to your router via ethernet, and to your antenna via co-axial cable.
    2. On your mac, run EyeTV, and search for tuners (select the "Elgato HD Homerun" tuner in the pulldown menu). Scan for channels.
    3. On your mac, go to your HD Homerun Plus configuration page by typing its IP address into your web browser. You can find this IP address by opening a Terminal and typing: "hdhomerun_config discover"
    4. Once you are looking at the configuration page in the browser, click on "Transcode Configuration" and select "mobile" in the pulldown menu. (this sets the HD Homerun Plus to transcode from mpeg2 to H.264, 720p)


    That's it. Now whenever you schedule a show or series recording in EyeTV, set it to auto-export to iTunes. When a given show is done recording, EyeTV will "export" the show to iTunes without transcoding the video (since the HD Homerun Plus has already transcoded it to H.264 for you). The export takes a couple of minutes, because EyeTV is transcoding the audio from AC3 to AAC. On my Macbook Pro (2009, 17", Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz), this takes 2 minutes for a 30 minute HD show, and 3 minutes for a 60 minute HD show.

    For more info on the HD Homerun Plus use with EyeTV and iTunes, see these topics in the SiliconDust forums:
    http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=16754
    http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=16842
     
  2. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
  3. Richdmoore macrumors 65816

    Richdmoore

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #3
    FYI, reading the posts it sounds like there is still an issue exporting the eyetv recordings. Hopefully that will be cleared up soon with an eyetv or sd update.

    I am hopeful that a cable card solution will also arrive, until then I am stuck with an eyetvhd setup vs the much better SD tuner setup.
     
  4. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #4
    Yes the exporting from EyeTV to iTunes/Apple TV still has some issues. Here are my observations so far:

    1. The "heavy" transcode profile for the HD Homerun Plus gives no benefit for EyeTV/AppleTV users, since getting the recording from EyeTV to iTunes still requires a full video transcode to produce a playable file. You might as well use the default non-transcode mpeg2 format, just as you would using an HDHR3 (predecessor to the HDTC-2US).

    2. The "mobile" transcode profile DOES give benefit for EyeTV/Apple TV users, in that clicking the "Apple TV HD" export option will take only 2-3 minutes to export that file to iTunes. This was the main reason I purchased the HD Homerun Plus. Unfortunately, the end recording in iTunes ends up with some annoying artifacts:

    a. Another user on the sd forums (linked above) is reporting that green bars show up on the eyeTV exports as a result of changing broadcast resolution between commercial and program.

    b. I have not experienced #1 above, but I DO experience a "jitter" effect in most of my eyeTV exports made using the "mobile" transcode profile. The recording looks fine when viewed in EyeTV, but when you click the Apple TV 720p for the recordings made using the "mobile" transcode profile, the resulting iTunes show looks very "jerky". My hypothesis is that this has something to do with framerate. maybe, for some channels, the frame rate is higher than for others. Or maybe the frame rate changes when going from commercial to program broadcasts, and the Plus assumes one frame rate based on starting the recording on a commercial, but then applies that frame rate assumption to the program too, incorrectly.

    Whatever the cause the result is that the frames seemed to be out of order. While the show progresses forward just fine, a character walking across the screen will seem to jitter back and forth as they go. It's as if the sequential frames are arranged as follows:

    Broadcast frames (for smooth progress, as viewed OTA or in EyeTV)
    1,2,3,4,5,6. . .

    Frames in iTunes Apple TV exported version (using mobile transcode profile):
    2,1,4,3, 6,5. . .

    The latter arrangement still has the show progressing forward in time, but each second frame goes back a step (from frame 2 to frame 1) before jumping ahead (from frame 1 to frame 4).

    I've googled around, and found that this thread might be of some help.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-672287.html
    It makes it seem that, if we use the "Apple TV" export profile instead of "Apple TV HD", we can preserve the correct frame rates, but lose resolution. I might experiment with this.


    ---------------------------------
    But ultimately:
    Problem 1 should be addressed by SiliconDust, who says they are trying to get the rights to produce transcoded video with AAC audio, which should help compatibility with apple devices.
    Problem 2 would need to be addressed by Elgato, and I doubt Elgato is ever going to do anything about it.
     
  5. NukeIT macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    #5
    From time to time I have experienced the audio/video getting out of sync as well. Most programs no problem and others the audio could be a full 10 seconds behind.
     
  6. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #6
    Two questions:

    (1) Are there no free EPG services? A quick Google reveals a few options, but since I know so little about this I wasn't sure.

    (2) How long does it take a transcode a "heavy" or regular MPEG2 file from the HDHomerun to a file compatible with iTunes? I assume this is the only way to avoid the jitters problem currently, correct?
     
  7. NukeIT macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    #7
    MPEG2 to Apple TV HD preset takes ~ length of the show, maybe a minute or two longer.
     
  8. macunix macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2015
    #8
    Has anybody got this to work with 2 HD HomeRun's? I'm wondering, because there may be times when there are 3 or 4 shows on at the same time.
     
  9. dapetrun macrumors regular

    dapetrun

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    #9
    I recently bought the HDHomeRun Extend product from Silicon Dust (this is the model that has built in H.264 transcoding) and I have found that it works well on my MBP with Mountain Lion but has numerous problems when I try to use it with my iMac which has Yosemite. If I record the shows on ML using the MBP and then AirDrop the files to my iMac to finish the encode into iTunes there is no problem.

    Whatever the cause, it has to do with Yosemite or the changes within and perhaps the lack of changes by Elgato. Neither Apple or Elgato has yet to identify the problem with any software update. I did the recent firmware update from Silicon Dust and have downloaded EyeTV's V-3.6.7 update but the problem persists.

    To answer your question, yes, two HDHomeRun's will work fine, but when using across multiple clients at the same time it may require entering Mac addresses to avoid conflict with recording problems.
     

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