Use Eyetv cable dongle to make your iMac a DVR

Discussion in 'iMac' started by michial, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. michial macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #1
    We are looking to buy the i7 27" iMac. While at the Seattle Apple Store today one of the CSR's told us about the EyeTV dongle for $149.99. It supposed to allow you to hook up your cable tv and then record like a Tivo. Anyone ever tried this or can verify it and describe your experience with it?

    I wonder if this is workable with a macmini as a side note?
     
  2. Teqnilogik macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2010
    #2
    I can't say for sure about the EyeTV Hybrid which is what he showed you but I do own an EyeTV Video Capture and it works great. It captures video right from my set-top box into MPEG-4 files I can play on my devices.

    As for the Hybrid, it connects straight to your cable line and gets the cable signal from it. It will only be able to view non-encrypted channels broadcast by your cable company. So you likely won't be able to get all of the channels you can on your set-top boxes. However, you can hook up the Hybrid to your set-top box using the included composite (yellow, red, white) cables to a set-top box and record that way. However, you won't be able to change TV channels on your iMac unless you get what's called an IR blaster that will send an IR signal from your Mac to your set-top box. It's a little confusing.

    What I do is just use a set-top box from my cable company to use as a DVR and then I capture the shows off of it I want to keep with my EyeTV Video Capture and keep it on my iMac or burn it to a DVD with iDVD.
     
  3. tbartoncv macrumors newbie

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  4. mrvanagon macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I have an eyetv hybrid I use with my imac (27" i3). It's awesome. I've had other eyetv products in the past and I gotta say, the hardware is solid, well designed stuff, the software works flawlessly and cust support was great the one time I had a problem (with an earlier model several years ago). You won't regret buying one, especially with the fantastic display on the imac.
     
  5. NicoleRichie macrumors 6502

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    #5
    friend has one hat is used with a new imac. it is pretty cool.
     
  6. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #6
    I'm a huge fan of elgato's (eyetv) products and have been using them for years. I recently upgraded to an eyetv hd, and if you have a cable box (hi def) it works flawlessly as an hd pvr. But in answer to your questions, You simply connect your coax cable feed to the dongle, the dongle to a usb port, run software set-up (very simple and nice looking ui) and your imac is now a TV/PVR––it's great for keeping a smaller live tv window running in the corner to watch while you're working etc. And yes, many people here use eyetv with the mini.
     
  7. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

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    #7
    i have a '09 eyetv hybrid, and it's not hd unlike the info on the box/website may claim because it has no hdmi/component cable input/output. the hd part refers to a digital antenna, though when i tried it, the channels were still showing up as regular, and not hd.

    for hd, you'd have to get a more expensive tuner.
     
  8. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

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    Mar 19, 2003
    #8
    All EyeTV Hybrid's (even the original OTA only one from '07) can tune into HD feeds, yours may only have been pulling down SD feeds, but that's a problem with your antenna/cable source (or you just didn't scan all the available channels).

    If you have to use component cables, you have to buy an EyeTV HD.
     
  9. michial thread starter macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #9
    So the eyetv can be used without a cable box? Can it pull ota locall hd if you just use an antenna? I think the law requires free hd ota
     
  10. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

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    Mar 19, 2003
    #10
    Yes, EyeTV Hybrid's have an OTA tuner and all (except the 2007 version) have a QAM tuner (to plug your basic cable line into). If you only need OTA, then they have a cheaper version out now which forgoes the QAM tuner (I think it's called the EyeTV One).
     
  11. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #11
    I'd definitely go with the newer EyeTV HD. I had the Hybrid originally but Comcast decided to encrypt almost every channel other than PBS and CSPAN. That meant that the only channels I could truly access were ones I had no interest in watching.

    With the EyeTV HD, you just hook up an HD cable box to it via component cables and use the USB cord to plug into your iMac. You will get ALL of your cable stations to watch, record and edit including all HD channels! As the other guy said, it's really cool to have a live HDTV window running in the corner of your huge iMac screen while you work.:D

    The EyeTV HD also dual records in iPhone format making it quick and easy to export the video to iTunes for use on an iPhone. Very satisfied with the product. The only downside is that you'll have to pay the cable company an extra few bucks per month for the extra HD cable box, but it's well worth it to me.
     
  12. michial thread starter macrumors 6502

    michial

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    #12
    Do I have to have a fancy cable box to do this or just the little one? Right now we have the HDDVR box from comcast. Can you just attach the coax cable from the wall to the dongle/usb adapter?
     
  13. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #13
    If you buy a Hybrid and just use a coax cable to the device, you will be limited to standard definition basic cable channels (2-60). That said, you will only be able to watch the stations that Comcast has not encrypted...meaning the stations that Comcast allows you to watch without one of their cable boxes.

    Recently, at least here in the Boston area, Comcast encrypted almost all stations worth watching - ESPN, TBS, TNT, Discovery, etc, etc which made my EyeTV Hybrid virtually useless for what it is intended to do.

    For that reason, I bought the new EyeTV HD which is specifically designed to work with HD cable boxes and provide access to your entire cable lineup on your iMac. So yes, you need to get another "HD" cable box from Comcast, but it doesn't have to be their DVR box which is more expensive. Just visit a local Comcast center or call them and ask for an additional HD cable box (non-DVR). This will serve as your dedicated iMac and EyeTV cable box which will allow you to watch and record everything on your iMac - standard def channels, HD channels, On Demand programming...the works. The EyeTV HD is only $50 more than the Hybrid and is a MUCH better option. Read about it on Elgato's website.
     
  14. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #14
    OP, perhaps if you explain precisely what your needs are and what you want to do (eliminate monthly cable bill, replace tv with iMac, etc.) and what you ultimately want from your iMac (SD or HD for example) you will get more exact advice on which eyetv device you need.

    Just to name two scenarios for example:

    If you are replacing a tv with a 27 inch iMac but have an HD box already you'll likely want eyetv hd to hook up via component

    If you just wanna run an extra coax to the imac, a hybrid will suffice.

    Also, another possibility is the recently discontinued eyetv 250+ (which are still kicking around ebay for pretty good deal). It has a tuner and hardware encoder built in, thus freeing up processor power unlike the hybrid, which relies on the mac's cpu.
     
  15. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #15
    The flaw in this post is that you're assuming she'll be able to watch decent channels connecting directly from coax to a Hybrid (or even an old 250 which I've owned as well). In my experience, Comcast has encrypted almost every basic cable channel so she'd be limited to stations like PBS, CSPAN and Telemundo...so the options are not equivalent. To me, Elgato shouldn't even be selling the Hybrid anymore as their customer support has even admitted to me that the big cable companies recent encryption practices on once basic cable channels have crippled this device. You need the EyeTV HD and an HD cable box to truly turn your iMac into a capable TV/DVR replacement.
     
  16. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #16
    Maybe it depends on where you live. I live in Canada and that may be the difference. I mean I can simply plug a coax cable into a compatible device ( a 250 in my case, although I've recently upgraded to eyetv HD ) and get a decent analog picture on my mac.
     
  17. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #17
    Perhaps, but I think more cable companies are following suit here in the US. They want people to have digital boxes. That said, what are your personal thoughts on the EyeTV HD? As you've read, I'm loving mine.:D
     
  18. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

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    #18
    hmm don't know. maybe i'm doing something wrong, but the thing is that my cable box is for hd (it even states that it's running at 1080).

    i've connected the same cable box to the tv, and it showed 1080, then i ran just the coax cable to the tv, and it also showed 1080 local channels. when i tried the same thing on the hybrid ('09), it wouldn't work. i keep getting standard stuff, not 720 or 1080. i've talked to elgato tech support multiple times regarding this, and was told that i'd need a digital antenna (which is what the cable to tv test was as far as i know). for some reason the same thing won't work when trying it on the tv tuner.
     
  19. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #19
    I'm thrilled with my eyetv hd––so much so that my Mac would feel incomplete without it––even though I don't absolutely need it (I have 2 other HDTVs in the house). I praise the thing so effusively to anyone who'll listen that I worry some may think I'm a shill for Elgato.

    Can't wait to see how hd recordings look on a retina display. (Don't have one yet.)
     
  20. PatriotInvasion macrumors 65816

    PatriotInvasion

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    #20
    Ha, I agree. I have the iPhone 4 and I haven't tried putting HD recordings on it due to file sizes. The export to iPhone feature in EyeTV limits the resolution to the previous iPhone - 480x320. I suppose you could try to put a 720p file on an iPhone 4 through iTunes, but I'm not sure that would work.

    You may be able to create a true 960x640 res file through iMovie and then put it on the iPhone, but haven't tried that either.
     
  21. From A Buick 8 macrumors 68040

    From A Buick 8

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    #21
    Right now if you can just attach your coax cable coming from the wall to your TV and watch TV then you will be able to do the same thing with the EyeTV Hybrid.

    Soon though your cable company may force you to use one of their "little" box's or one of their big box's to be able to watch "basic cable".

    If you are going to have the "little box" where your computer is then go with the eyeTV Hybrid and use an IR blaster to change the channel on the "little Box"

    If you are going to use one of the cable companies "big Boxes" that allow you to receive HD then you may want to buy the Eye TV HD.

    The Eye TV HD has a built in IR Blaster and it uses the component out from your cable company HD box. Please note that the Eye TV HD does not have coax input.

    Our cable company is forcing us to use the "little box", we bought the eyeTV Hybrid about a month ago and if i had known i would have bought the EyeTV HD.
     
  22. bensabio macrumors newbie

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    Sep 11, 2009
    #22
    I have a lot of old VHS tapes I want to digitize and possibly edit before making into DVDs. One way to do this is use the pass-through option on my Canon miniDV camcorder. I'm wondering if EyeTV Video Capture is another (better?) way to do this. (I don't think I'm interested in the HD version since I don't plan to record any HD video this way). Thanks for help.
     
  23. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

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    #23
    Yep, that's pretty much what the Video Capture is for. Most inexpensive eyetv option also.
     
  24. bensabio macrumors newbie

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    Sep 11, 2009
    #24
    Thanks. I appreciate the reassurance. But it still costs almost C-note, so do you have any idea if just using my camcorder pass-through function produces significantly inferior results?
     
  25. EvilC5 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 22, 2010
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    Hanover MD
    #25
    so heres my question, I just want to verify that my wires arent crossed....

    we have Fios, and they require a box on every tv in the house to receive content. so we have 1 multiroom HD DVR, 2 HD boxes, 2 SD boxes, and 2 digital tuners. the MR HD DVR is 20 or 25 a month, hd box is 15 per box, sd is 10 per box and digital tuners are 5 per.

    so I could possible cut my bill by 60/month and use my 4 apple tv's to stream from itunes what my hd dvr records and eyetv hd encodes it to?

    this in addition to my ongoing effort to back up my 400 plus dvd collection could possible mean i can reduce my cable bill by over a 100 a month! that is if my analysis is correct....:D
     

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