New transcoding HD Homerun now available for pre-order!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dgalvan123, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. dgalvan123, Oct 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014

    dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    UPDATED 1/20/14:

    Release date was delayed until 1/21/2014! (Was originally 12/12/13.)
    However I have finally received an order confirmation (and credit card charged) as of today, so it looks like it is finally shipping!

    The new HD Homerun transcoding device (HDTC-2US) is now available for pre-order for $169.99:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815345014

    This is a big deal because this device does transcoding on-the fly. Meaning that the OTA signal arrives at your computer already converted from mpeg2 (the broadcast format) to mpeg4 (h.264). Note this device is reported to work with EyeTV, but the transcoding feature does not yet. It will require an update from Elgato to enable the transcoding feature with EyeTV. See latest posts below for details.

    There is also a nice new flyer on the site explaining the details of the device and all its compatibilities.
     
  2. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I can't seem to find anything about this model. Was it just announced?
     
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    May 27, 2008
    #3
    announced at CES last january.
    who knew when they said released by summer they meant in the southern hemisphere.

    there is still a cable card model scheduled to be released sometime soon also.

    it will supposedly remove the copy protection flags that are included in cable broadcasts that keep most computer based DVRs from being able to record.
     
  4. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Some background:

    The HD Homerun (current/old version is the HDHR3-US) is a device that takes takes input from either an OTA antenna or a clear QAM cable TV signal (i.e.: unencrypted cable), and sends that to your router as streaming mpeg2. Basically: you plug your coaxial cable from either your antenna or your cable tv source into the HDHR, and then connect the HDHR to your router via ethernet cable. Your router then makes that streaming video signal available to other devices connected to your network.

    For mac users, the simplest option is to use ElGato's EyeTV 3 software. That software on your mac will recognize the HDHR's two tuners over the network, and let you watch and record two high-definition shows (1080i or 720p depending on the channel) at the same time, right on your mac. EyeTV can then send the recorded video to iTunes so that any Apple TV in your house can easily stream the recorded shows.

    Now, here's the rub: the recorded video in EyeTV is in mpeg2 format because that's what the HDHR3 outputs. That high-definition mpeg2 has a very high bit-rate; too high to be able to stream to your Apple TV and have it process and play it without stuttering. So the solution has been to have your EyeTV task your CPU to transcode the mpeg2 video to mpeg4 (h.264), a much lower bit-rate compressed format. As a comparison, a typical 1080i 1-hour show might take up 8 GB of space as mpeg2. That same show would take up ~2 GB of space. EyeTV's "export" feature does this transcode automatically (if you set it up to do so), importing the compressed h.264 version into iTunes. But this process of transcoding takes a long time. On my 2009 Macbook Pro (2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo), a 1 hour show takes typically over 2 hours to transcode, and tasks the CPU making other operations on the mac a bit slower. From my wife's perspective, the end result is that we can't watch a show we've recorded until the next day. This is acceptable for us, but not ideal.

    In comes the newly announced HDTC-2US. (Announced to be in development last January at CES (ex:http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/08/silicondust-announces-two-new-hdhomerun-network-tuners-with-tr/ ), finally available for pre-order as of a couple of weeks ago (link in original post))
    This is the same device as the HDHR3-US, with the added features that it 1.) supports DLNA, and 2.) transcodes the video stream on the fly.

    So, instead of outputting mpeg2, you can now output mpeg4 (h.264) directly out of the device. So the video stream arriving at your mac is already transcoded! Hence it should be instantly streamable via iTunes without having to wait and task your computer to do the transcode. The HDTC-2US has already done it for you!

    Of course you don't have to use the EyeTV - iTunes workflow. You could just stream the video from the HD Homerun directly to your iPad or iPhone using an app like InstaTV (http://instatv.org). And with the new version having the transcoder and DLNA compliance, this opens up a whole host of new devices that will be able to access your live OTA or clearQAM video stream!

    (I don't work for silicon dust. I'm just a happy user of their product.)

    More info available on the SiliconDust forums:
    http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15822&start=30
     
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #5
    Sounds great! I wish there as a native Apple TV app though that would support some kind of "watch TV now" activity. I wonder if my Sony smart(ish) TV could access it directly via DLNA...

    This would be great for me as I am a household that has no cable or satellite. I've survived so far on Netflix, iTunes streaming and a little bit of OTA TV. But my TV is not in an ideal place for the antenna to be aimed at the local transmitting towers, so I get very poor reception right now. Maybe 3 local channels on a good day. The best place for an antenna would be my attic, but then I'd have to deal with lots of coax, boosters, etc. And that's just for one TV, what if I want to service several TVs?

    But if I could put one big antenna upstairs, hook it to one of these boxes, and have TV-over-IP all over the house, well that would be fantastic.
     
  6. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I just moved my antenna from TV room to my attic. Lucky for me my house was pre-wired for co-ax by the previous owner. All I had to do was install the antenna in the attic, and then purchase a distribution amplifier for $30 (this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PI09SE/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ). The reception is WAY better, and the amplifier gives you a very strong signal on multiple coaxial outputs with long cable runs to each of the different rooms. Right now I have that one antenna feeding three devices: my living room TV, my bedroom TV, and my HDHR3. If you can get your antenna in your attic and run the cable, I highly recommend. Should take you a weekend or less I would think.

    I think that is indeed the idea. The HDTC-2US just needs to be wired to your antenna via co-ax and to your router via ethernet. After that, anything on the network (wired or wireless) that supports DLNA should be able to access the program stream. (I have no experience with DLNA myself.)
     
  7. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    OP: Thanks for the heads-up on this. Very disappointed with how SiliconDust has handled this release. Especially disappointed that I, and several others, have begged them (in their forums) for updates/information on this new line of boxes and they've been silent, only to then allow Newegg to effectively announce the first box. And I just happened across this thread today, which is after Newegg's pre-order discount has expired. To be honest, that doesn't really impact me anyway, since I really want a 4 tuner (3 tuner, minimum) cable card version. Still no news on that.

    I'm also worried about just how good the transcoded content is going to look. Will the hardware chip be able to do high quality on-the-fly transcoding? If the end result is of noticeably worse quality, then these new boxes will be of little interest to me.

    Comcast could solve all of my problems by doing the transcoding work, and sending MPEG-4 out on the lines. Supposedly they already push out MPEG-4 on some channels in some markets. Then I could just keep my older HDHomeRun boxes and be happy.
     
  8. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Yeah I agree Silicondust has not done a good job marketing this at all. It seems like there are people in that company trying to market/announce (they have a twitter account and a Facebook page where they have had sporadic/cryptic mini-announcements), but there is no cohesion. As you say, the Newegg listing and promotion has come and the promotion is already over, and SiliconDust never even mentioned this new product as being available anywhere on their website, with the exception of some buried posts in the forums.

    I saw your comment about this in the Silicondust forum. I share one of the respondent's suspicions that this lack of fanfare may have something to do with the new partnership with Simple.TV. (Which itself is an interesting development. . . don't think it's for me but it would certainly be convenient.)

    I'll let you know if the on-the-fly transcoding works as hoped after I get the box in December. Crossing my fingers. That's the main reason I'm buying this.
     
  9. dgalvan123, Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013

    dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    FYI:

    For those of you who use EyeTV, note that according to ElGato tech support, EyeTV 3 will not support the new HD Homerun devices. It is a "feature request", but can't tell us anything else at this time.

    See my e-mail exchange with ElGato support below:

    Me:
    Them:
    Me:

    Them:

     
  10. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 16, 2008
    #10
    tl;dr of the above post:

    ElGato doesn't officially support the new models, and they don't know whether they will work with EyeTV or not, but don't expect them to.



    I'll try the new HDTC-2US with my EyeTV3 software and report back whether it works or not.

    I expect that EyeTV will just see it as a regular HDHR3 device, and it WILL work. But it might not work with the transcoding feature. But I won't know until I try, mid December.

    If EyeTV doesn't work, another option is MythTV. Once the recordings are on your mac or external hard drive, all you'll have to do is point iTunes to them, as they will already be in h.264 format. So the only reason we need EyeTV or Myth TV is to accept the program streams and schedule recordings.
     
  11. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    More news:

    A representative at silicon dust has confirmed that the new model DOES work with EyeTV (even though EyeTV doesn't officially support it). But that the transcoding feature currently does not work with EyeTV, so the new model will basically behave the same way as the previous model until Elgato makes some software changes to EyeTV.

    See this forum for more details:
    http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=15938
     
  12. nws0291 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #12
    Not a chance that this happens. Copy protection doesn't prevent recording. It limits the playback terms of said recordings. Messing with the CCI flags would swiftly open SD to huge lawsuits.
     
  13. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 16, 2008
    #13
    Agreed. I think the previous commenter was confused. What these tuners CAN do, however is access unencrypted ("clearQAM") signals from cable companies.

    So, for example, if you have time warner cable for internet, but not for cable TV, you should still be able to plug the co-ax in to this device and get those channels that TW doesn't bother to encrypt. I did this a few years ago when I first got HD Homerun and EyeTV, with time warner, and it worked ok. For some reason TW didn't encrypt the local network affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CW, FOX), but also didn't encrypt Discovery Channel or AMC. However the signal was somewhat erratic, so I switched to OTA. If you do use clearQAM, you are completely at the mercy of the telecom operator. If one day they decide to encrypt those channels, there's nothing you can do about it.
     
  14. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Toronto, Canada
    #14
    The HDHR4-2US is not available for purchase yet. I'll buy two as soon as I can get them in Canada.
     
  15. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    #15
    not confused.
    please re-read my post.

    currently the only PVR software that handles the CCI flags is windows media center.
    cable card means it will have access the encrypted channels also.
    what i heard is that that the transcoder will handle the flags, and then stream h.264 without the flags. not sure where i saw this. So while it doesn't strip the flags outright, that is the end result.

    As a long time mythtv user (7 or 8 years) who has now transitioned over to HD recording. this is something i've kept an eye on, as time warner manhattan encrypts and sets "copy once" on everything but the local channels. (at least from what my research on the internet says, i don't have a cable card tuner so can't test the CCI flags, but I can confirm they are all encrypted)
     
  16. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Apologies.

    So then, to be clear, you are talking about using an HD HOMERUN tuner on encrypted cable channels for a cable service to which you have a paid subscription for cable tv?

    If so, then yes this has been available for a while via cable card HD HOMERUN and other devices.

    If not, and you mean decrypting cable channels when you do not have a cable subscription, then I'd be very skeptical that the the device could do that, as it would indeed probably be illegal.
     
  17. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    #17
    yes you would still need a cablecard to decode channels, and you would need a subscription from your cable provider for those channels.

    what i'm refering to is the ability to use a computer based DVR program besides windows media center if your cable company sets the copy flags.
    more info here

    CCI flags are not the same as encrypted channels.
     
  18. nws0291 macrumors 6502

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    #18
    My post had nothing to do with encrypted channels. The cablecard as you mention would handle the decoding. The CCI flags will not be able to be bypassed period. You will not be able to stream them with the new HDhomerun on anything but a WMC extender. It especially sucks for you as you mention time warner sets the flags on all stations but the locals as the are legally not allowed. For example Comcast only flags the premium stations like HBO.
     
  19. 2010mini macrumors 68040

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  20. Delmar macrumors 6502

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    #20
    DITTO:apple:
     
  21. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    #21
    So basically with that little box I can hook it up to an antenna and my iMac and have a DVR for all over-the-air programming I can get? I'm about to cut the cord (or the satellite dish), so this could be up my alley. Right now my plan is using Hulu and the CBS iOS app to get all the local primetime shows. This would be great for live sports that won't be on Hulu or any app -- and much cheaper than the bazillion dollars we all pay a year to watch mostly broadcast programming.
     
  22. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Yes there is more news on this:

    1. The release data has been delayed until 1/1/14. (was originally listed as 12/12/13.)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815345014

    So I'll have to wait a few more weeks to get my hands on it.

    2. This device has been formally announced and re-named by SiliconDust as the "HD Homerun Plus" (model name: HDTC-2US). There is now a nice information sheet and a series of questions/answers on the newegg site above, and on the silicon dust main page, here: http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/hdhomerun/

    Note there is another new model, simply titled "HD Homerun Dual" (model name: HDHR4-2US), which is slated to be released at the same time. This device is the direct successor to the current model (HDHR3), with the main difference being that the new version supports UPnP and DLNA, while the current model does not. The new "Dual" does NOT transcode, that being the only difference between it and "Plus".

    3. I queried Elgato tech support (the people who make the EyeTV software for mac), and was told that they know nothing about the HDTC-2US except for what SiliconDust puts up on their website. Therefore EyeTV will not officially "support" this product when it is released (though they took my query as a "feature request" for EyeTV). See this thread for details:
    http://www.silicondust.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15822&start=30 (my posts with copy-pasting of my exchange with Elgato are about halfway down the 3rd page of the thread)

    I then queried Silicondust tech support, and a representative ("jasonl" on the silicondust forums) actually tested the HDTC-2US with EyeTV on a mac, and found that it does indeed work with EyeTV. EyeTV just thinks it is an HDHR3 (The current version of HD Homerun device, which EyeTV does officially support).

    But. BUT! While EyeTV will work with this new device, the transcoding feature of the HDTC-2US does NOT work with EyeTV, and it won't work until Elgato modifies their EyeTV software to toggle on the transcoding feature (which is set to "off" by default). EyeTV just gets the uncompressed mpeg2 stream from the device, just like it does now with the HDHR3. Thus, I expect that when I replace my current HDHR3 with this HDTC-2US device in early January, I will see absolutely no change/improvement when using EyeTV, since I won't be able to activate the transcoding feature.

    Note that the HDTC-2US, like the HDHR4-2US, has the added benefits of supporting UPnP and DLNA, which the current device, the HDHR3, does NOT do. This means that, while the transcoded (H264) stream won't be available to EyeTV on the mac (at least initially, due to Elgato's lack of support), other iOS apps that can access the HD Homerun Plus independent of a computer via DLNA likely WILL be able to use that feature. The one SiliconDust is in close collaboration with is called InstaTV Pro. I've never used it, but sounds like the developer of that app is working hard to make it support the transcode feature soon after it is released. (See above linked silicon dust forum, where jasonl says as much about InstatTV Pro.)

    My sense is that Elgato is not strongly motivated to go out of their way to modify EyeTV to support the transcoding feature. They pretty much have a monopoly on the mac as far as user-friendly DVR software goes. And they haven't cross-promoted with Silicondust for a couple years now, preferring instead to sell their own EyeTV HD hardware product, while SiliconDust is now partnering with Simple.TV (that's worth a whole other thread). https://www.simple.tv

    So I'm left with the question: If I want this transcoding feature for my current mac-based DVR setup, and EyeTV won't support it. . . what will?

    Looks like MythTV is my only option. jasonl says it will require an update to support the transcoding feature but that is "in the works". Never used MythTV before, and I hear it's a pain, but I might play around with it after I get the device.

    For those of you with Windows machines, NextPVR and Windows Media Center are both expected to support the transcoding feature out of the box.

    ----------

    Yes. I (and others) have been using the current version HD Homerun device (the HDHR3 to do just that for the past few years. It works great.
     
  23. 2010mini macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Thanks for the info.

    So since Elgato doesn't support H.264 stream, can iMovie be used to record H.264 streams from the new Homerun Plus?
     
  24. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    No. iMovie does not have a built-in way to access a network tuner. It is just a video editing/cataloguing application.

    Now, once you get a recorded stream from the HD Homerun Plus onto your mac in a .mov or .mp4 or .m4v file, then you can import it into iMovie to edit as you please. But iMovie will not connect to the HD Homerun device. The only two Mac applications that can do that (that I'm aware of) are EyeTV (by Elgato; user-friendly) and MythTV (I have not used it, but reportedly not user friendly).
     
  25. 2010mini macrumors 68040

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    #25
    I looked into MythTV and it is not user friendly at all to set up. There is also Torc which was developed by a former MythTV programmer.
     

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