sort of cutting the cord...what are your setups

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by swordfish5736, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    i'm finally going to start ditching cable tv. I've currently got cox whole home DVR system that i was hoping would be better than there old setup but it seems worse.

    I've seen a few mentions of the silicondust HDhomerun system but have a few questions for those of you that use them or have a different box.

    On there website the prime box says its only window's 7 compatible. At least for now i'd like to get a cablecard capable box which leaves me to the prime. However i dont have a windows 7 capable machine and would prefer to not have to run a VM on my mini or imac in order to interface with the box for recording. Is there a solution to make the prime box record to OS X? or is that not possible.

    Your setups, thoughts/recommendations would be greatly appreciated
  2. davids8477 macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2008
    You say you are cutting the cable - does that mean you are going to an antenna?

    If so then I recommend the HDHomerun. I am using 2 of them and they work great. I use EYETV as the DVR - again works great. I'm all MAC.
  3. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    According to the Prime's product page, here, it works with "DVR Applications". That should include Elgato's EyeTV which is a Mac product. The caveat is that it only works with "copy-freely" content. Each cable system has different policies on how they mark their broadcasts. The technical meaning of "copy Freely" is CCI = 0x00 - see Wikipedia.

    You would need to check with your cable provider to see what channels would be copy-freely. From a quick search, it looks like FiOS has most channels open, but other systems are much more locked down. Everything I saw was from 2010 or earlier, so definitely check with your provider.

    Oddly enough, the Prime says it works directly with Elgato's iPad app, without needing a Mac in the middle. No reservations about copy-freely there, since the app is just showing live content - not trying to record it at all.

    Apparently Windows Media Center is somehow able to ignore the CCI settings on the broadcast, so they can just call it compatible without worrying about your cable system working or not.
  4. maturola macrumors 68040


    Oct 29, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    My setup is as follow.

    1 HTPC (Main TV and a Media Server for the rest of the House), 1 Roku, 1 Apple TV (jailbroken).

    I got my HTPC as my DVR (kind of), I got all my media in there (Movies, Music, TV Shows). I buy the blurays/DVDs and ripped them or buy the shown online. I got Hulu, Crackle, iHeartRadio, GooglePlay, Netflix and I run plex for my local media.

    For the othes TVs, I got Plex, Hulu, Neflix on the Roku and Apple TV.
  5. whoiare macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    mac mini main computer/media server always on
    external 3tb drive via firewire 800 houses all itunes music and movies and tv shows

    atv3 on 1080p projector. movies and tv shows ripped to itunes and ran via homesharing when screening

    atv2 on main living room tv. jailbroken to allow xbmc to watch ALL content, not just itunes stuff. Also netflix for random/obscure shows that i dont have. i run mlbtv on the ipad and location spoofer then airplay to either ATV.

    any content worth playing on the ATV3 is already in mkv format, and two simple software programs subler and identity make it itunes ready in under 5 mins a movie

    also to note i havent CUT the cable completely....i have charter cable internet and for an extra $10 a month i get basic cable. the ONLY real reason for this is so i can watch sporting events(football) and the mrs can watch lifetime.
  6. swordfish5736 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    I'm undecided if I want to go to OTA channels or cable card and keep a subscription. When I called the cable company I had every intention of ditching the tv subscription completely. However, my current Internet pricing is at a "discount" because I have a tv package. If I go the cable card route it's 7 dollars a month more than it would be to have just my Internet at the standard pricing.

    My current setup is a mac mini as my "media server" and htpc in the living room and a jail broken atv2 in the bedroom.
  7. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    I cut the cord 2 years ago and have been very happy with my setup.

    Here's what I do:

    I have 3 TVs in the house, all with aTVs and Rokus for backup. I stream from Netflix 90% of the time, have several movies and tv shows on my media server (24" iMac, nothing special) and a lot of streamed iTunes content.

    I subscribe to MLB extra innings and have had good luck with it this season on both the aTV and Roku boxes. I use the aTV 99% of the time now, Roku is rarely turned on.

    I used to use Hulu Plus on the Rokus, but got very tired of paying to watch ads on the 5 or 6 shows I cared about - so I purchased the EyeTV/HD Homerun Dual bundle from Elgato. It's been excellent so long as it's cabled to the iMac - wireless it's just too much to throw HD content around your network (even 5Ghz N) and expect there to be no loss. So I ended up cabling it, setting EyeTV up to record my shows on the free basic cable that comes with my cable internet connection.

    That free cable - the first few channels that normally broadcast OTA - can be seen in HD and record just fine (YMMV, Im on Time Warner). EyeTV records, exports and dumps those programs into iTunes so they are ready to watch on any of my TVs via aTV usually the next morning.

    I use a program called VideoDrive to tag videos in iTunes - for cover art mostly.

    I'm very happy with the setup, and it works extremely well for me.
  8. swordfish5736 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    Yea I noticed the iPad compatibility. They just don't mention whether there is a Mac solution to DVR. Worst case I could run a win 7 VM for recording but I feel like that will just complicate things more.

    From the reading I did cox blocks most non-local channels
  9. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    The Mac solution is Elgato EyeTV, and it's very good. It just won't let you record anything that isn't set to allow 'copy-freely' - or that's my understanding, you could check their support site for more info.

    I use HDHomeRun (not prime) for over the air with EyeTV for DVR and it works well, most of the time. every now and then the EyeTV App will lock up and I have to restart it. It's pretty rare - I notice it, but it hasn't made me want to go looking for a different solution...
  10. ssgbryan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002
    How would you do live sports?

    That is the ONLY reason I still have cable.
  11. floyd000 macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2011
    I have a headless Windows 7 box recording OTA via Media Center - rock solid. I usually log into Media Center virtually through a MacMini. Aside from the occasional hiccups with reception it works very well. I particularly like the commercial skip that I installed on Media Center.

    No cable and don't miss it at all. I occasionally buy tv shows and movies via iTunes or Amazon. Don't currently have Netflix but have in the past.

    Re: Sports = excellent excuse to go to local sports bar...
  12. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    We cut the cord a couple of months ago. It's just Netflix (via Apple TV), OTA TV and our movie collection in our Theater. No DVR.

    We couldn't be happier. I thought my wife would have a hard time with it but she really likes not having cable. Of course, neither one of us care about sports so we don't have that issue to deal with.
  13. jerkstore99 macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2010
    I was hesitant to cut the chord for the same reason, but there are workarounds for live sports.

    Antenna for OTA hd for ABC games, ESPN3 on xbox for ESPN games, optional NBA season pass to stream all games

    Antenna for OTA hd for Fox games, ESPN3 on Xbox for ESPN games, optional MLB season pass to stream all games

    Antenna for OTA hd for Fox, CBS, and NBC games. WatchESPN app (log in given to me by a friend) for Monday Night Football. Optional iOS Sunday Ticket package (purchased through a friends Directv account for streaming all games)

    NCAA (football or basketball)
    Antenna for OTA hd for Fox, ABC, CBS or NBC games. Espn3 on Xbox for huge selection of ESPN games. Go to a bar for march madness opening weekend.

    There is very little you miss from cutting the chord. TNT has a streaming option for their NBA games but I wasn't a fan. Ditching Directv saves us over $100 a month, so if I am ever going to miss a game that I really want to see I just head to the local sports bar or a friends house. The $1200+ a year savings is enough to keep the wife from ever complaining if it comes to that.
  14. ssgbryan macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2002
    I don't watch most american sports - The TV timeout is a crime against nature, right up there with the DH.

    I follow soccer (worse yet, I am a EuroSnob - sorry, but after watching EPL, Ligue 1, & La Liga, MLS just pales in comparison - although it is getting better.)
  15. swordfish5736 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    college football and basketball are my biggest concerns and would be the only reason i'd go with a cable card setup over OTA.

    For some reason i was under the impression at least with my cable provider(cox) that a lot of the espn online content is only available to those with a cable subscription...As others have said though it is an excuse to get out of the house to a sports bar
  16. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    The problem with cutting the cord is there is no one box that rules them all. I've looked into it, and I'm leaning towards a combination of:

    Mac Mini
    Blu-ray player
  17. Philpug macrumors member


    Jul 19, 2011
    Reno, Nv

    I am in the process of cutting my cable out. I just ordered a Mofu Leaf for my TV broadcasts. ESPN will be the main thing I will miss. I will have to catch Dexter when it comes on iTunes later.
  18. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    My TV setup is strictly the Apple TV. I have a 2 in the bedroom and a 3 in the living room. Between Netflix and iTunes, I have all the entertainment content I could want.

    I tried Hulu plus on Xbox for a week, but canceled it. I've been spoiled with Netflix having no commercials at all. I loathed even having one or two commercials with Hulu.

    Plus I have a Bluray player for my fleet of discs.
  19. swordfish5736 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    Yea. I thought about a TiVo but you are stuck paying $15 a month for there "service"

    I'm leaning towards the hdhomerun with OTA and figuring out sports when the time comes.
  20. Navdakilla macrumors 65816

    Feb 3, 2011
    My setup is as follows

    27" 2011 iMac (mostly always on, about 14 hours a day)
    3 tb external drive with all my music/movies/tv shows, encoded with handbrake, metadata added with subler, all put into itunes. (This initially was a PITA, however now it's really easy and simple)
    2tb Time capsule with 3 tb external for backups and wireless internet

    I run everything through the apple tv3 (netflix etc), also have all my movies/music/tv shows at my fingertips when I sit down.

    I couldn't fully get rid of cable, since I need my live sports. But other than that, I use the apple tv for everything

    Note: sometimes there is a movie I rip that I want to watch ASAP and don't have time to encode/add to itunes. I used the AirVideo iOS app and direct the movie through the apple tv for that. Works great!
  21. monkeylui macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    A Galaxy far, far away
    I cut the cord a year ago. We use the Roku for Netflix & Hulu +. We still get local hd channels, so occasionally we'll watch those. I do have an apple tv as well so I can stream movies from the MacBook to it.

    In my daughters room is an apple tv & she watches Netflix or the kids movies from the MacBook. She's 5 and complete knows how to use it. Amazing. I have an extra Roku I'm going to hook back up in my sons room. Took it out during school time. He's 8 & also very good at using the Roku & apple tv.

    In my wife & I's room I have the Xbox & ps3 & apple tv. Mostly use the apple tv to stream via AirPlay from the iPad via the MacBook or for Netflix. Xbox will let me watch Netflix or Hulu +.

    All of our movies are on the NAS in a closet that iTunes reads & again we can stream to the apple tvs.

    Also a ps3 & Xbox in the loving room, but don't use those for video consumption.

    Oh, & I'm one of the few males you'll ever meet who doesn't watch sports. So that's why I have no hesitation in cutting cable.
  22. vtstarck, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012

    vtstarck macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2009
    I cut the cord 8 months ago and haven't looked back.

    I use my Apple TV for:
    Hulu - Mirrored from my iPad
    iTunes Show Purchases that arent on Hulu/Netflix

    I also get local broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.)

    The only things I miss are HBO and Showtime.

    EDIT - I also buy my iTunes shows using gift cards which I purchase for 20% when I can find sales. Combine that with the discount you get for buying a Season Pass, and I get the shows usually for 30-35% off.
  23. 2020mike macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2012
    Fox Soccer tv, I signed up at the end of April to check it out before going a full season and enjoy it very much. I use the FoxSoccer2go app on my ipad and watch it on tv through the Apple Tv. I do the same with MLS' app. Also you can use watchespn to catch their weekly EPL game of the week plus some Bundesliga, Serie A and Dutch football.

    Fox Soccer though comes at a premium. Looking at about 160-180 for a year. Although you get about 6-8 games through them plus you can watch other games on their website 24 hours after they run. MLS you'll get at 60 a season but im sure you dont care about that since your a self admitted Euro Snob. watchESPN is free if your cable provider is apart of their provider mafia.
  24. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    If you want to use a cablecard (so that you can tune in non-network stations), you can't go all-Mac, but I've been very happy with my setup:

    - SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime w/cablecard
    - Windows 7 PC running Windows Media Center

    If you're not using your Mac Mini for anything other than as a media server (likely running iTunes?) I would recommend installing Windows 7 on a separate partition and booting into that. Make sure you use a version of Windows 7 that includes Windows Media Center. You can then run the Windows version of iTunes if you'd like.

    In my case I've got a couple of XBox 360's in the house which can interact with WMC and play live TV, recorded shows (all stored on the central Windows machine), and even schedule new recordings.

    But if you can live without live TV in the other rooms, you can do the following: On the Windows Media Center 'server', install the Plex server app and/or AirVideo server (they each have pros/cons). Then, get familiar with a Windows script called WTV-MetaRenamer. It will move/rename the TV recording files (which have a .wtv extension) into a TVShowName/SeasonNumber directory structure, as well as append the TV show episode name at the end of the filename. If you're using Plex server, Plex can then store all of the metadata about the show in its central repository. Then comes the fun part...

    On your iPhone/iPad, install the Plex and/or AirVideo app. With the Plex app, you'll see all of the information about your TV shows. You can play them on your iPhone/iPad as well as stream them to the Apple TV using AirPlay.

    One important caveat: Windows Media Center utilizes DRM on the TV shows that get recorded. This works based on how the cable operator flags them. I have Comcast and most channels are marked as 'copy freely' which is important. I believe that Verizon does the same. But Cox may be different. If they mark the channel as 'copy once' (or something like that), the AirVideo and Plex server apps can't decrypt the DRM, so you won't be able to stream the shows to your iPhone/iPad/AppleTV.

    FYI, the Plex and AirVideo server apps do on-the-fly transcoding of .wtv files to MP4 format. If your Mac Mini has an Intel i5 chip, it should have no problem doing this without breaking a sweat. If it's older, I don't know.

    If you want to archive your TV shows for a long period of time (and/or don't want to have to pipe shows through your iPhone/iPad to get them to the AppleTV), you could also run an app called MC-TVConverter. It's actually a package of a bunch of freeware apps, with a single GUI. With this, you can schedule it to 'watch' the WMC recorded TV folder and convert (e.g., using Handbrake) your TV shows from a .wtv format to an .mp4/m4v format, retrieve metadata, and add it to your iTunes library. The end result will be smaller files which can then be streamed directly using just the AppleTV (no AirPlay needed). Of course, you can also stream them wirelessly to your iPhone/iPad. I've experimented with this, but do not currently use it.
  25. swordfish5736 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    The mini serves as my plex server, plex client, bd ripper.

    At least for now I'm going to go with an OTA setup. Maybe if I decide to go cablecard I'll build a windows box or go the boot camp route. Does the silicondust work thru a virtual machine?

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