Ultimate Mac DVR, 3 records at once! HELP!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rschapel, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. rschapel macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Hello every one, I am working on a project to create a the ultimate MAC DVR. We are looking to capture 3 seperate channels at the same time off a cable (we need to record the news on all our local news stations) Seems like there are not many people doing this, well I can't be sure, but the companies I have tried thus far have seem confused when I asked about mutiple units recording at once. We need decent quality, not awesome, but good. We'll worry about HD in a couple of years. The software we use to schedule will also need to be able to handle 3 units scheduling. While money is always limited we have been granted a reasonable amount to do this project.

    Please also list the specs you on the power mac you would purchase to do this.

    Thanks for your help on this.
  2. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    How about using three Mac Minis, three EyeTVs, and three Firewire Drive/Hub enclosures? That way you have a dedicated computer and drive for recording each channel, and if one of them goes down, you can still use the other two. It's cheaper than a single Power Mac as well. You can also coordinate them with Applescript if you need to start them at the same time. I remember this one example where I got my two Macs to talk to each other over Ethernet.
  3. rjphoto macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2005
    Sounds good to me

    You might want to add an additional unit to compile and edit the segments together that you are trying to catch. All of the Mac Mini's networked to your 4th unit. Sweet.

    Sounds like something I had to do several years ago but on VHS before we had the opion of DVR or HDR.

    I was working for a marketing department and the boss wanted to know if our company was even mentions in the local news every day...3 channels, 6am, 12noon, 5pm, 6pm and 10pm. I had to record all of the programs and scan them and edit out any stories about our company. Tedious? I wish I had this kind of tech back then...
  4. kwajaln macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2004
    Wow that must have really sucked . . . :(
  5. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    Well, you could go with 3 minis, and 3 EyeTVs, coming in at $2,700-ish, no keyboards, no displays, just the minis and the converters. OR, there's a refurb dual 2.7GHz PowerMac available on the Apple store. Stick three AlchemyTV cards in there for a total of $2,658. You can't use a new PM yet, as the AlchemyTV requires PCI or PCI-X, and PCIe isn't backwards compatible. You'd still need a display with that, but only one.
  6. rjphoto macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2005
    Can the 3 AlchemyTV cards record to the same hard drive at the same time?

    I would think you would need a truck load of RAM too.
  7. rjphoto macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2005
    What made it worse (but better quality...Ha. Quality from VHS!) was that the edit decks would only accept SP mode tapes. That made the replay/search slow. 3X max.

    The searching was everyday and editing was only when we were in the headlines, good or bad.
  8. rschapel thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Ok I did talk to a support person over at miglia, they wanted to sell me their newer product, and I am fine with external, so I didn't think this would be a problem (though should I pick up an extra firewire card?). The issue though is they are not sure if I can handle 3 units on the same machine.

    I see where you are all going with the seperate macs, but to be honest thats just a hassle. It would be much easier if it was just all on one unit. I can handle the cost of one larger nicer mac. We are already planning on putting a scsi(LVD) card in it and hooking it upto an disk array (JBOD) and making our selves a nice disk array to the store the shows.

    Ahh Crap.. even the powermacs only have 3 expansion slots. ugh, looks like external is the name of the game. (three internal DVR's with a SCSI card, no fit...)

    Perhaps divide and conquer is the name of the game here.... I could set something up to save the media to fourth control unit, a nice powermac with the SCSI(LVD) drives attached.

    hmmm which way to go....
  9. rjphoto macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2005
    Go with the 3

    3 Mac Minis won't take up as much space as a PM tower. hook them up with a USB KVM switch to one monitor and keyboard set up, put them on the network and you're set. If one breaks you've still got two going...the other way if THE one breaks you're toast.
  10. rschapel thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Right now I think we are going to price out 2 Mac mini's and one PowerMac, the power mac to be the editing station with one capture device hooked upto it, and 2 more mac mini's doing the capture on the other channels. We'll get a 5 port 10/100 switch, link them together, use something like VNC to control the mac mini's. Now I need to figure out the best external capture device.

    Any suggestions on the EYEtv 200 vs EvolutionTv ? I like firewire a little better most of the time, but would be pleased to hear any suggestions.

    Any other ones I should consider?
  11. macbaseball macrumors 6502a


    Feb 27, 2005
    Northern California
    I'd go with the EyeTV. They have award winning software, and I can see why because it's really well put together.

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