Mac Compatible TV Tuners

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by brofkand, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. brofkand macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2006
    Hi all,

    I am looking for a TV tuner for my MacBook Pro. I've seen a few USB ones on eBay for ~$30 or so, but they don't list Mac compatibility. But, it's been my experience that many peripherals still work even though they don't say they do.

    However, TV tuners may be a different animal. I know already the software included won't work. So, here's my question:

    Has anyone tried a TV tuner that didn't list Mac compatibility? Did it work, and if so, what software did you use to actually use the tuner?

  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    elgato and Pinnacle make the majority of the Mac tuners.
  3. misterredman macrumors 6502a


    Oct 3, 2007
    I am using a Terratec USB stick with the elgato EyeTV application without any problem!
  4. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    EyeTV is the major application for Mac. Check their list of compatible tuners.

    I've played safe so far and only purchased tuners EyeTV claims compatibility with. Some tuners are supported by it, but don't mention "Mac" anywhere in their specifications while others even include rebate offers for EyeTV in the box.
  5. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    I just picked up the WinTV-HVR-950 and then bought the EyeTV software from Elgato. I'm able to pick up loads of over-the-air HD channels from both Toronto and Buffalo.
  6. MasterNile macrumors 65816


    Apr 9, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I used the Elgato EyeTV 250+ made specifically for Mac and has decent bundled software

  7. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    The majority of folks here use tuners that are compatible with EyeTV. It's prudent to do so as well, since you will have a deeper knowledge base to assist you when problems arise.

    With that said, there is other software out there for Mac/TV tuning. SageTV has a compatible client and I'm sure there are others.

    As for specific hardware, you have to ask yourself the following questions.

    1. Where are you getting your TV signal from? OTA, cable, satellite

    2. Are you interested in HD/digital only or do you still want analog?

    3. Do you want/need dual tuners?

    4. How robust is your home network?

    Here's what I'm getting at. El Gato (and others) make an array of EyeTV compatible tuners. I like to categorize them in 4 classes ... USB stick tuner; USB brick tuner; Network tuner; discontinued Firewire tuner. Of these 4, only the 1st three really apply anymore, unless you can find the great EyeTV 500.

    1. Most of the USB stick tuners will rely on hardware to encode analog signals. Depending on your Mac, you might run into problems where too much CPU cycles are being used for encoding. Typically, USB stick tuners have NTSC/ATSC/QAM.

    2. What I call USB brick tuners are devices like the EyeTV 250+. They typically include hardware to encode analog signals to free up CPU cycles. Most of these now have NTSC/ATSC/QAM.

    3. There's only one network tuner that I know of ... the HDHomeRun. You connect it to your home network via Ethernet and a TV source. The HDHR only has ATSC/QAM, but it has dual tuners.

    NOTE - most, if not all of the ATSC/QAM tuners will record the actual digital stream without any re-encoding. So the CPU specs of the Mac are largely irrelevant. Playback is a different story.

  8. NoRights macrumors newbie


    Jun 7, 2007
    I recently picked up an EyeTV 250 Plus. (From OWC since they had the best online price.) I'll echo previous comments that it's probably best to actually get something from Elgato to ensure compatibility and support. Really, any other tuner you'd find would most likely work about the same. I just went with the 250+ for the hardware encoder.

    I also got an IRTrans with iRed to change the channels on my Time Warner set top box. I've gone through all the frequency options, learned the raw IR codes, and still can't seem to get it to work. :confused: Anybody have any suggestions?

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