Options for OTA HDTV recording?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Subw00er, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Subw00er macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    I am interested in getting rid of DirecTV service and just using my MacMini for recording local stations (fox/nbc etc) to get the shows I want. I hardly ever watch normal TV anymore and when I do, its just for local stations. In fact, I've recently found myself just loading up Hulu and streaming tv shows through my Mac mini to my TV, and it works well, but the interface requires grabbing a mouse, which sucks! I primarily currently use Frontrow for viewing content and love the simple setup/usability, the VOB movie preview, etc.. I just like how its SIMPLE.

    Is there a Hardware/Software solution that has a program that I can run that has a TV guide so I can auto record local stations that are being received Over The Air (OTA) from a HDTV antenna? I know I will need to buy a piece of hardware to physically connect the HDTV antenna to the MacMini - I'm assuming its some sort of coax-usb adapter

    So, ideally, I set up the software to record the show, it saves it to my Frontrow movies folder and when I want to watch my new show, I just load up Frontrow and watch it..

    Possible?! My budget is sub $300 to accomplish this.

    Perhaps it makes sense to get a separate set top box that supports Hulu and VOB/DIVX/MPG and bypass my MacMini?
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Try Elgato EyeTV; not sure if it has a TV guide like app though.
  3. DaveNinja macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2005
    the EyeTV comes with a year of TV Guide. after that its 20 bucks a year to use the tv guide menu. but there might be free options as well.
    EyeTV is like 120-150 bucks from what i've seen.
  4. Subw00er thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    I looked into it. Looks pretty good so far.

    Does it integrate into Frontrow, or can I at least save the files in a folder shared with front row. or does it store them in a proprietary format, or otherwise annoying setup? :)
  5. speedwaygirl macrumors member


    Apr 30, 2010
    I use the Hauppauge 1212 DVR. Right now my son uses it to record his XBOX 360 gaming, and I use it to record my cable, but it would work for over the air recording, too. It captures via Component cables, but I have over the air going into my HDTV that I could capture via component, so seems like it would work. Great device!!!
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    It simply records the stream in its native signal. In the US, most broadcasters use MPEG-2 with Dolby Digital. The software has an export function where it can transcode to iTunes, which will then show up in Front Row.
  7. Subw00er thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    Ok, but if I save it in its native MPEG-2 format to a folder which I've set up Frontrow to access, will it play? OR does it require transcoding? Does it give me a preview or anything pretty to look at, or just "asdfasdf9a8sdfasd8223234.mpg" as a filename?!
  8. mangrove macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    FL, USA
    Just a thought. No hardware solution comes to mind except the Elgato idea. The Yahoo Entertainment App for iPad has a button where you tell it your type of TV service and zip code (can't remember if that was all) and it downloads a complete TV guide for you.

    Since I have cable, do not remember if it has OTA as an option. But possibly this might work somehow for you to at least get the Schedule at your fingertips through an App onto your Mini. Maybe it can do more?

    Maybe that's a bad idea-just trying to help.
  9. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

    Jun 11, 2010
    I have been using eyetv 250 for years and I can't imagine being without it now.

    Your recordings will be labelled "live recording" with thumbnail images in the eyetv program window. That's without the tv guide feature which has expired for me. I don't know about front row integration ( i never use front row..).

    The eyetv software is quite well designed and functions flawlessly in my case.

    You may want to visit the "eyetv lounge" on elgato's site where you may get more precise answers to your questions since it is used by users as well as employees.
  10. Subw00er thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    So, I've been researching this all day.. Thanks so much for the quick comments. What I'm going to do is get the elgato hybrid (and the h.264 accelerator doohicky as well. I have a due core mac mini, but it cant hurt I guess, and its within my budget to add it). I found a reference to a mod to get the interface into frontrow (http://code.google.com/p/pyetv/) I dont know if it will work, but worth a try. It looks sort of complicated.

    I dont mind paying the $20/year for the guide, especially if it names the files accordingly, seems fair enough. They're doing a $15 gift card now for itunes, so thats gets me mostly through two years of guide I guess.

    All the reviews seem to love the Hybrid, and note its good quality, assuming your antenna is decently positioned to receive HDTV channels. I have an old RS antenna I'll try first, but if it doesnt work, I'll get the highly regarded Antennasdirect c2 for $100:

    Wish my luck!

    BTW, Mr. Savage, is the 250 model a predecessor to the hybrid, but also has the accellerator in it? I didnt even see it on the elgato site anymore.
  11. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

    Jun 11, 2010
    No, the 250 was available at the same time as the hybrid but was just a more full-featured device (built-in tuner and s-video etc.) but didn't have the accelerator built in, if you're referring to the turbo hd thingy? You should def check ebay for a 250 as you may find one cheap on there now that it is (recently) discontinued. I've attached a screenshot of eyetv running with its program and live tv window open so you know what you're looking at:

    Attached Files:

  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    No, it won't. The Eye TV files are stored in a container that Front Row does not recognize. You'd have to transcode.
  13. Subw00er thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2010
    I was just reading a review of the hybrid and it said that the new eyetv software now is embedded into frontrow! I guess you hold down a button for a bit and the interface changes to the eyetv instead of Frontrow?! I think that may just be the usability kick I was looking for without having to mess with pyetv.

    How does the tuner in the 250 benefit you if the software acts as a tuner?! Does that mean it can act as a standalone device? Why was it discontinued?

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