Mac DVR hardware/software options?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by psymac, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. psymac macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2002
    Trying to decide on which hardware/software combinations would be best for my Mac mini DVR setup.

    I'm using for now my cable box (Brighthouse) for HD content, and need to decide on a setup to use as a DVR, here's what I've found so far. I'd consider just OTA HD, but I still need for my young son content only cable or satellite provides.

    1) EyeTV HD $185 (with EyeTV 3 DVR software)

    Great solution, and pretty cost effective, nothing else to buy, and no issues with IF blaster and channel changing. Does cost after first year $20 subscription for TV program guide. However, although it records HD video content, it only records analog audio.

    2) Hauppauge HD-PVR $185 (HDPVRCapture, EyeTV 3, MythTV, SageTV software)

    Little more expensive than the EyeTV, as you need to buy for $30 HDPVRCapture to use with Macs, and there seems to be problems with setting up channel changing with the IR blaster. EyeTV 3 appears to be a better solution, although more expensive ($80), while MythTV is free. No charge for TV guide though. And it records in digital audio. Not sure how well this would work with MythTV or SageTV.

    3) SiliconDust HD $80 (EyeTV 3, MythTV, SageTV)

    Not sure about this, although least expensive of the bunch. Apparently uses the ethernet port on your modem to stream content from your cable or satellite box, if I'm not mistaken. OK,not this one, only can record from OTA HD or unencrypted cable.

    4) AppleTV?

    Don't know what Apple is thinking about this, don't want just rentals but who knows, maybe they will get content providers to come on over.

    5) TiVo DVR

    Other option is forget about making my Mac mini a DVR and just buy a used Tivo until more content moves online and I can use Plex or something similar for DVR recording directly off the internet.

    Any other ideas about this setup or things I missed?

    My goal is to eventually get rid of cable as content moves to the internet, hopefully sooner than later. In the meantime, I can avoid my cable companies $10 a month DVR rental fee and almost pay for this system.

    BTW, are content providers getting the picture that maybe they can make more money by putting their content online (either ad or subscription supported) and let the consumer decide what they want rather than cable/satellite providers forcing us to buy expensive packages?
  2. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    The HDHomeRun doesn't connect to your cable or satellite STB. It only works with OTA and clearQAM. So if you want to record premium and extended basic channels, you're probably SOL on this.

    While the content deals aren't quite there yet, I think Apple may be on the right track here. In my opinion, you'll eventually be able to get Hulu Plus on this (either directly with an app or via AirPlay). This will be a key point in being able to get rid of Cable TV.

    Not a bad option, but it certainly is costly. Also, the Tivo also has the issue that the HDHR has in that it's most useful when combined with CableTV

    Legal options ... you pretty much covered everything. Other options would be to build a Windows HTPC with a Ceton 4xCableCard tuner and run XBox360 4GB at each TV. The HTPC would record any premium cable channel you subscribe to and the Xbox's would run as extenders.

    If you want to drop Cable TV, you could also look into other media streamers that have "apps". Devices such as the Western Digital TV Live (WDTV Live), the Roku boxes, Popcorn Hour, etc. Also, many BluRay players have "apps" such as Netflix, Amazon On Demand, etc.

  3. omerbaker macrumors member

    Apr 19, 2009
    I've a had a REALLY bad experience with tivo: I was told by a service rep "Sir, not everyone can have tivo." This was after spending about $1000 and working on the setup about 2 hours a night for a week, after working 12 hour days and 2 hours of commuting. After that I would NEVER recommend tivo to ANYONE! Good luck!
  4. 9000 macrumors 6502

    Sep 29, 2013
    I have the hardware: a TV antenna that connects with USB that I bought off eBay (probably from Chinese Bootleggers Incorporated). It works fine with GQRX for audio, but I can't find any software to decode HDTV signals (and maybe record them)! Is there anything out there?

    Oh, and I wish the Apple TV had a coax input, but Apple is probably afraid of coax because it's not hip.
  5. FredT2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    I had the opposite experience. Comcast has just recently encrypted basic cable, forcing me off my Mac Mini/EyeTV/HDHomerun/Apple TV setup. I can't get over the air in my location, so it was stay with Comcast or try satellite. I decided to stay with Comcast basic service and add TiVo, Roamio Plus with one Mini. Setup was simple, and a couple of minor glitches were handled by TiVo tech support. And most importantly, my wife can it use without having to call me all the time when something goes wrong with the Apple TV. I am so far VERY impressed with TiVo.

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