Using my Mac Pro as a DVR

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rokeneer, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Rokeneer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    #1
    Hi.

    I have a first generation Mac Pro quad core (2x 3Ghz dual core Xeon). I would like to use my it as a DVR to record tv, and would like to do it using a PCI Express tuner/capture card. Does anybody know of any good tuner/capture cards out there that would work with my Mac Pro (OS 10.6.8)? Also, what software would I need to record it? I have adobe master collection CS5 as well as final cut express (not sure what version).
     
  2. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #2
    elgato EyeTV

    There are compatible tuners from other manufacturers, not sure about PCIe though... Most of them are external.
     
  3. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #4
    I think the black magic will work. I'm just sick of paying time Warner 13 bucks a month for the stupid DVR that can't even hold 10 shows. I'd rather put that money towards the card and some nice hard drives for the Mac Pro.
     
  4. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #5
    The Black Magic won't work without a cable box or cable dvr, and even then there might be issues.

    Keep in mind that there is currently no solution that lets a Mac record HD cable from Time Warner. That includes the EyeTV (which is SD only on Time Warner.)
     
  5. Topper, Jan 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012

    Topper macrumors 65816

    Topper

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    #6
    I don't know from Time Warner, but....
    How about using Elgato's EyeTV HD?
    They claim you can download HD content from the cable dvr to your Mac.
    It uses the cable dvr's component video output for HD. It will give you 720p or 1080i video.

    Elgato EyeTV HD
    .
     
  6. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #7

    What is the point of the cable box or DVR? I have a regular (DVD) DVR that has component outputs, but time Warner's just sucks. It has the cable connection and the yellow video output with matching l/r audio. Nothing else
     
  7. yomibro macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2008
    #8
    I use Elgato EyeTV software and SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual to record HD programs on my MacPro, it's a dual tuner network device so I can record two programs at a time and I've been happy with the results for the past 4 years.
     
  8. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #9
    That'll work ok, but you need to keep the cable box.

    You need a cable box with an HDMI connection to plug to the Blackmagic card.

    Even then, won't make a great DVR. You'll have to change the cable box channel by hand.
     
  9. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #10

    I have an extra dvr sitting around my house (mine not time warner's). It has a composite output. Would I be able to run the wall cable to that, run the composite from that to the Mac Pro input, and then run an HDMI from the computer output to my tv?
     
  10. blueroom, Jan 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012

    blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #11
    Not sure what you're hoping to achieve with that setup. Composite is pretty poor quality by todays standards, any conversion will only make it worse.

    Anyway, as best I can guess you want to record video from your cable company and play it back later on your Mac. You'll need EyeTV (there isn't much else for OSX out there) and a CableCARD tuner (an HDHomeRun Prime is one of the few choices available and it connects via Ethernet)

    A much worse choice but would more or less work would be a Slingbox. This has the IR blaster needed to control your existing DVR. The video quality will be lacking as the NTSC SDTV composite source quality is a standard from early last century.

    PS many folks are ditching the cable for an OTA DVR + Apple TV2. Hellofa combo and it's what I've been using for more than two years now.
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #12
    The purpose of the Time Warner (TW) cable box or TW DVR is to descramble the encrypted signal for display or recording. Not any DVR will do, and if your DVR isn't from TW it probably won't work. It will work if it has a cable card slot, in which case you get a cable card from TW and insert it into the DVR.

    The EyeTV HD plus MP can act as a DVR assuming you can get a TW cable box with compatible outputs, but you will be limited to stereo audio at best. Also your EyeTV software and your MP will have to always be running. This is a problematic solution that is prone to errors. I know this from experience.

    If you can tolerate the occasional missed show and glitch, and the operational hassles, then it will work. But it is not optimal and not nearly the smooth experience you would get from even a crappy DVR from TW.
     
  12. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Location:
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    #13
    Couple of things to know about EyeTV
    1. it doesn't support multiple sources (it does support dual tuners but same source only)
    2. $20 yr TV guide subscription required after the first year.

    It does do iPad / iPhone transcoding so that's cool.
     
  13. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #14
    The HDHomeRun Prime does not work with OS X. Currently no CableCard based tuner does.

    The iPad HDHomeRun Prime client does not support any HD channels, even.

    If you have HD cable there are zero good options right now for Mac. Honestly, the OP's best option would be to get a Windows Media Center box with CableCard. (I use a TiVo, which works pretty decently.)
     
  14. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    Arizona
    #15
    I've been using an EyeTV Hybrid for a couple of years and am satisfied with its performance. I typically watch and/or record analog and clearQAM HD from Cox cable. The Hybrid varies from barely OK to not to bad at all on analog but is excellent on clearQAM whether SD or HD.

    I don't record a lot but EyeTV's recording and editing software works well for me. Most of my watching and recording is done on a late 2008 MBP 2.4 C2D with 8GB RAM and a WD Black HD. There doesn't seem to be a quality difference between TV recorded on the MBP and on my 2010 MP quad with 24GB RAM.
     
  15. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #16
    I'll just pitch in here that I don't subscribe to HD programming, nor do I plan to. I'm just fine with SD. As for having to have the computer on, thats fine for the little bit of TV watching I do. Also, I don't need any decryption from time warner as I have in the past, when I've had DVR problems, run to the TV straight from the wall socket, and had no problems.
     
  16. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #17
    As mentioned there's no simple OSX solution. Have you looked at Slingbox for a possible solution?

    Lets say you have a composite AV capture card (you'll need to buy something as the Mac doesn't have the hardware required built in). Elgato makes some popular OSX composite capture USB dongles.

    Here's what you need to consider...
    How do you plan to initiate (start / stop) the capture?
    Do you want to have your Mac standby or just let it chew through electricity 24/7?
    I assume you've already preprogrammed the DVR schedule.
     
  17. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #18
    I think I'll just go with the Black Magic Intensity Pro. I think it's best for what I want to do.
     
  18. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #19
    It's certainly a very nice capture card. Should do the trick for recording whatever happens to be playing on your DVR.
     
  19. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #20
    If you're not doing HD, get an El Gato. The Black Magic Card doesn't directly connect to your cable, and it can't act as a DVR. Any of the Eye TVs will work better.
     
  20. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #21
    As for Elgato vs Black Magic, I want a PCIe card, not just another box to fight with.

    As for software for Black Magic, I have final cut express and premiere pro. Both software that will work with it for capturing. It also comes with it's own software for recording.
     
  21. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #22
    Errrr. The Black Magic isn't going to change channels or find shows for you. You're still going to have to record using your Time Warner DVR, and then import the shows using the card in real time. All you're doing is an extra step that's going to take an hour.

    The only thing that's actually going to do what you're asking is an El Gato. I'm not honestly even sure why the Black Magic card was suggested. I don't think you've even said your Time Warner DVR even has an HDMI connection either.

    Either way, the Black Magic card still requires another box on your desk.
     
  22. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #23
    Thats the point. I'm ditching my time warner DVR and replacing it with my own which I can branch the composite out of to the computer and then HDMI from computer to TV. I'll just change the channel on my DVR. No problems there. It's nicer than the time warner one.
     
  23. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #24
    Alright, but you're aware you're going to have to sit at the machine and manually record each time a show comes on, right?
     
  24. Rokeneer thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 27, 2011
    #25
    Yes I am. That's what I do anyway. Plus I have a scheduler On my DVR (not TW's) for when I'm away
     

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