Question: TV tuner for the iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by acoustictones, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. acoustictones macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #1
    I will most likely end up buying my first Mac this year (hopefully sooner than later), but a qustion in regards to some features that I have loved on some of my PC setups that I don't see on the iMac.

    In the past I have owned a few PC based computers that have built in TV tuners, and I have REALLY liked this feature. Many of Sony's, Dells, HP's and other PC systems have this feature, and although that is not for EVERYBODY it is something that I would really like on any new system that I buy. And due to my budget I can only aford to have one system at a time.

    So my quesiton is as follows:

    Is this something that is available on an iMac, or something that can be added? And if so where would I get this add on and ball park what would it cost me? Can this be done or is this something that is simply only available to PC based systems, and if so why?

    And just in case it comes up, I would love to NOT own an actual TV. So I am hoping that this system would be able, just like my old Sony system with it's built in Tuner could, act as both my computer and "TV" system. I'm just not interested in having a TV at all.

    I am looking at purchasing a new 24" iMac system.

    And just in case it matters I will also be using this system for both audio and video editing. I plan on using both Logic and Final Cut Pro.

    Thanks for any help or information.

    --------------------------------------

    Edit: Additional information

    The only TV that we watch at my home is simple and/or basic cable. Meaning that we do not have, use or need any kind of box.

    To get TV in our area we NEED to pay for Cable, and this is also how I get my internet. We simply run a single cable from the wall to our TV for TV, and via spliter we run a 2nd cable line to our wireless modem for my internet access.

    Hope that helps.
     
  2. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #2
    What type of TV do you get? Cable? Digital cable? Satellite?

    I've been using Elgato's EyeTV for the last year on my various Macs. It's a little USB stick with a coax-cable input on the other end. Orig. came with "adequate" software that would let you schedule recordings (as well as edit and then export them). Since then, that software's been updated and looks a lot better, but I haven't sprung for the upgrade yet.

    None of the USB tuner solutions I've seen for either the Mac or PC work well with TV that requires a set-top box (i.e. digital cable/satellite).

    I've been using the free HD over-the-air channels from my local broadcasters with my EyeTV, although analog cable should work fine too.

    Elgato has a newer solution out called HomeRun or something like that. It's a dual-tuner box that sits off by itself that streams TV over your network to your Mac. I like the idea of it not having to be directly connected to your computer, ... would mean I could roam around my house with my MacBook Pro and watch stuff. :)
     
  3. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #3
    The only TV that we watch at my home is simple and/or basic cable. Meaning that we do not have, use or need any kind of box.

    To get TV in our area we NEED to pay for Cable, and this is also how I get my internet. We simply run a single cable from the wall to our TV for TV, and via spliter we run a 2nd cable line to our wireless modem for my internet access.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #4
  5. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #5
    Wow, the EyeTv looks like a very good option.

    Does anyone see Apple eventually (sooner than later) adding some type of built in tuner for their iMac? Just curious on thoughts. I would never wait to purchase something based on this since there seems to be some good external options, but just curious why Apple hasn't added this as of yet.
     
  6. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #6
    Apple makes far too much money selling individual TV shows to people on iTunes to ever consider giving out TV tuners with their machines.

    I have an eyeTV set up here and it truly is excellent. Sure, it's not quite as good as Media Center on Windows Vista but it's quite reliable and gives good picture quality. I use a DVB-T tuner (you don't get DVB-T in the USA) for digital over the air TV in the UK. The latest eyeTV software update has vastly improved the interface and it's a great product overall.

    The only thing which I'd really love to see is better integration with Front Row.

    Certainly worth whatever low price they charge for the units nowadays. Here is a screenshot I just took of eyeTV running:
    [​IMG]

    Don't hesitate, just buy it!
     
  7. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #7
    I just checked out everything over the EyeTV web site, and it looks as though it would only cost about $150, and based on what I read it looks as though that would be all I need (does seem to require anything else...just install the included software, plug it in to a USB port, and hook it up to my cable, and I'd be good to go...correct me if I'm wrong).

    Although I love the idea of having the tuner built in to my system, like I have had in the past, I can't see any reason why this wouldn't be a great solution.
     
  8. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #8
    I have a USB Tuner sold under the brand name of PINNACLE.


    Looks to be the Elgato under a different name, Elgato Eye TV Lite is the software that comes with it and it's $50 for the upgrade.

    I bought mine at Best Buy, and we use it on a Basic Cable system, and from time to time play with receiving Broadcast HD TV.

    It also has a input for S-Video and Analog Video as well.

    It's a great option, I keep it attached to the Cable Coax and just plug it in when an extra TV is needed!!!!

    I think retail is $129 but I got it on sale for $90
     
  9. wilfried macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #9
    You can save a few bucks by ordering from Amazon for $130, no shipping, and no tax most places.

    I use it for broadcast TV, and HD looks gorgeous on a 24" alu iMac. The only problems I have are reception related (I had line of sight to the broadcast antennas and perfect reception until they blew them up). The new software is quite capable, and allows you to schedule recordings from TitanTV's website, edit, and export to various formats and resolutions. I can now get rid of my antediluvian TV set, which doesn't really work anymore anyway.

    One thing I'd make sure of is if it can handle unscrambled digital over cable. This bit confuses me, and I don't have cable, so didn't bother to figure it out. I know it can only play analog if you require a cable box. Analog would look fine if I didn't know any better, but it's hard to go back to after seeing HD, though I have to for some stations.

    I'm quite happy with mine, it's cheaper than a TV set, and having TV on my computer saves me a lot of space I don't have in my teeny tiny apartment.
     
  10. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #10
    I love seeing these possative comments, and it's really encouraging. I was really afraid that this would be a KEY feature (at least for me) that I would lose by going to an iMac. I see A LOT of pluses to finally making the change since I can run both Windows and Max OS's on one system, but I also really wanted to be able to use this as my primary TV and DVD base system.

    So this is looking better all the time.
     
  11. evillageprowler macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #11
    I have no personal experience with this product (since my computer-based tv tuner/recorder devices are attached to PC's), but I would look at the Plextor ConvertX product. It has the ability to natively record in mpeg-4 (as well as other popular formats), which is useful for playback on your iPod.

    EVP
     
  12. Italchef macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Maple, Ontario
    #12
    I have the Elgato Eyetv Hybrid. Very easy to set up. I split the cable coming out of the wall and attached one end back into my cable modem and the other into the hybrid. My main concern was that the split would affect my cable modem speed etc. but there has been no affect on it whatsoever.
    Living in Canada, the eye tv software does not recognize the listings as it does in the States, but you are still able to manually record and play back.
    The system works well for me, as I'm able to watch/record my favorite shows while working on my iMac. Quality from my basic cable is satisfactory and I have not tried using an antenna to receive HD content.
    Good product.

    Mick
     
  13. BaronvdB macrumors 6502

    BaronvdB

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    #13
    i switched to and iMac from a sony vaio media center pc and also missed watching tv on my computer while surfing the net....i just bought the eyetv 250 plus with the eyetv 3 software (which came with it)...i've only had the chance to use it a couple of times but so far I love it...my picture quality also appears to be better then it was on my sony.
     
  14. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #14
    Better? Cool :D I'd even settle for "as good". The quality on my Sony was plenty good for my needs.
     
  15. jcvmf214 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    #15
    I gotta say I am intrigued by this Elgato Eyetv Hybrid. CAn you cut out commercials ?
     
  16. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #16
  17. Cudadown macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #17
    I bought the pinnacle HDTV mac stick at bestbuy for 139.00. This thing works great. I have at&t uverse which is digital iptv and I just set the tuner software to channel 3 and have the uverse cable box sitting next to the mac. Works flawlessly. Beautiful picture. 400 channels of goodness.
     
  18. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #18
    Interesting. It's good to know that the Pinnacle system also works on your Mac. I just Googled it to find a few online retailers that sell it, and one retailer was only showing that it was Windows compatible. So that's good news that it also works with your Mac.
     
  19. pjarvi macrumors 65816

    pjarvi

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    Round Lake, IL
    #19
    Another thumbs up for Elgato and EyeTV. I got rid of my TV about 4-5 years ago, and haven't looked back since. I've been using EyeTV for close to 2 years and love it.

    The only problems I have are with the TitanTV program listings, which tend to have erroneous data or missing channels. I attribute that more to problems with Comcast than the people that run TitanTV though.

    Recording with EyeTV is extremely simple, and the latest version (3.0) reportedly adds the ability to automatically record all episodes of a particular show so that you don't have to manually select each one.

    I've also used by tuner to transfer movies from VHS. Very simple.
     
  20. cfs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #20
    I sthere a minimum system requirement that you know of?
     
  21. Gerg macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    #21
    I have an EyeTV 200, which I used with my Mini and now my iMac. The 200 is nice because it handles the video encoding itself, and doesn't rely on the computer's processor. That was especially nice with the Mini.

    You can remotely schedule shows to record with the TitanTV guide, and the new version of the software allows for 'smart' recording. Type in "Formula One" and it will record any show that matches that. A bit like Tivo, from what I can figure out.
     
  22. cfs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #22
    Thanks Greg. I 'll look into it. I may have a few questions after researching though.

    -cfs
     
  23. acoustictones thread starter macrumors member

    acoustictones

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Minnestoa
    #23
    This is all very good news and I'm really glad I posted the question. I really assumed that I would get a lot of negative opinions on a 3rd party system like this. I didn't really realize that these system would work as well as many here have stated. Like I said, I was really happy with the built in tuner on my Sony, and really happy that it doesn't sound like I will like this any less.

    So thanks one and all.
     
  24. cfs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #24
    https://mail.cfsmass.org:8384//changeurl.47555.cgi?mbx=MainI have researched EyeTV by Elgato but I could not find any answers to my questions. Maybe someone here knows.

    Where does the USB device pick up the TV signals for the computer? Do you need cable or satelite for this?

    Is there a per month charge?

    Thanks,

    cfs
     
  25. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #25
    The USB device has a built-in tuner.

    If you live close enough to the broadcast TV towers in your area, the USB device can pick them up without anything else attached to it.

    If not, there's a coax input on the USB device that you can use to attach an antenna, ... the same type of antenna you'd put on a TV if you were trying to get broadcast TV.

    There is no monthly charge for the USB device or the software, although when the make major changes to the software, you have to pay to upgrade your version (if you want it).
     

Share This Page