Will EyeTV let me turn an iMac in to a dedicated TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by adrian.oconnor, May 23, 2009.

  1. adrian.oconnor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Nottingham, England
    #1
    Hello all,

    I have a quick question:

    Can EyeTV (Diversity) on an iMac replace a real TV + PVR as our primary (in fact only) television?

    We want to step down from our current Sony TV to a 20" white iMac. Mostly, this is because it'd look better in our lounge - big black televisions just look out of place in our house. We could also use front row for iTunes and iPhoto, which'd be nice.

    Anyway, our current setup works pretty well, despite being quite old. We get 14 days programme information and we can record two channels at once. We get 60-70% signal strength from an aerial in the attic.

    My questions really boil down to this:

    Can EyeTV work in full screen in a manner that makes it comparable to a dedicated PVR?
    If so, can the mac be 'woken' by the Apple remote and directly get in to EyeTV full-screen (I guess a bit like hitting menu opens Front Row).
    What about recording shows and the Mac going to sleep? Obviously we don't want it to be up and running 24/7 - can EyeTV wake the the Mac wake up to record a show and then go back to sleep?
    Is it reliable? I.e., does it ever fail to record or get in a state that requires rebooting?

    I suppose really, my question question ultimately is:

    Will my wife be able to use this setup to watch EastEnders without wanting to smash it to tiny pieces? Will it be as good as or better than what we have?

    Any help/experience is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Adrian
     
  2. ilovebananas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    england
    #2
    Yes
    I have been using EyeTV+Mac Mini+32"LCD for over 2 years. Very simple. Just set eyetv to run on startup.
    The eyetv remote is great and the full screen interface is dead simple. You will need access to a mouse/keyboard for advanced setting/use.
    EyeTV can wake your imac (even start it up if it is totally off), combined with power saver function you can set machine to sleep once recordings have finished.
    Make sure you get eyetv 3.

    Look at using PLEX. Front row is to fussy about what it plays. Plex will take you a while to setup but is superb once running.

    Ask if you need more help

    Sorry but forgot to address some of your questions in earlier post.

    Get a package with the eyetv remote. It is much easier to control the program with it than the apple remote (not enough buttons).
    In two years of using I would say the software has been as perfect as it can be. The odd "hang" and probably crashed/needed reboot about 3 times.
    I would recommend maxing out your systems RAM as you can use 50% of the installed RAM as a buffer. This lightens hard drive load and I find it smoother. I recommend 2GB as your buffer (about an hour of timeshift) so you would need 4gb of total ram.
     
  3. adrian.oconnor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Nottingham, England
    #3
    Thanks for your answer -- that's what I wanted to hear! I think the EyeTV Diversity comes with a remote, and I'll certainly have a good look at Plex.

    I'll also certainly max out the RAM, but do you have any idea whether I'd be OK with a G5 rather than Intel? As far as I can tell, DVB is already MPEG encoded so uses very little CPU to record/playback, just lots of disk space.

    Cheers
     
  4. ilovebananas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    england
    #4
    My mac is an intel one but the processor load is virtually nothing. I think the tuner does most of the work. So a G5 should be fine.
    Yes it does take up a lot of disk space. However you get a built in editor/convertor that lets you archive recordings as H264 massively reducing the size (elgato just use quicktime functions in eyetv but it works really well.)

    However I know that G5's are very slow at H264 encoding. If you intend to do a lot of archiving (I now have over 700 films all recorded in ipod ready format), I suggest you look at getting an elgato Turbo264 (try and grab the older model from ebay it is a lot cheaper). This is basically a dedicated usb processor that really flies when converting into H264.

    Yes diversity has remote, that is what I am using.
     
  5. afd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Scotland
    #5
    I have an iMac G5 2.0GHz eyeTV diversity and turbo264. I don't use it as a TV replacement though, mainly for recording TV and converting it to watch on main TV with an apple TV.
    I find that watching TV in full screen the video "stutters" every so often. I don't think the iMac G5 is quite fast enough for a complete TV replacement.
    Having said that recording with the EyeTV, editing out the adverts is much more preferable than fast forwarding through them.
     
  6. ibglowin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    #6
    Hope this isn't a show stopper....

    EyeTV has only one tuner so you can't record 2 shows at once or record one show while watching another one live on a different channel. You can record a show and watch a recorded program at the same time. I suppose you could buy two of them and have two instances running in order to record two shows at once somehow.
     
  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #7
    I agree with everything you said except this. The eyeTV remote would be great if not for a simple problem - it needs an unobstructed line of sight to the eyetv unit. Since a mac mini's usb ports are on the back, the remote doesn't have that line of sight. Thus, my eyetv remote is effectively useless.

    You say you have a mini - how do you not have this problem? :confused:
     
  8. ilovebananas macrumors member

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    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    england
    #8
    Get a USB extension cable. Then just blue tack the tuner to top of mini with the ir eye pointing toward you. I had a 10 cm one that came with a wireless adaptor. Perfect!
     
  9. afd macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Scotland
    #9
    EyeTV diversity has two tuners.
     
  10. afd macrumors 6502a

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    Scotland
    #10
    And all of the Mac users I know prefer red wine....
     
  11. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #11
    Hmm. I thought it needed direct bus power?
     
  12. ilovebananas macrumors member

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    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    england
    #12
    I didn't say a hub just a simple extension cable.
     
  13. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #13
    FWIW, I use EyeTV 3 with the network-based HDHomeRun tuner (which has two tuners). One instance of EyeTV can handing recording from two tuners simultaneously. (I've read where if can actually record from four tuners simultaneously, but I've never tried that personall). :)
     
  14. ibglowin macrumors regular

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    Jul 1, 2005
    #14
    We could use one of those across the pond.......

    Very nice!
     
  15. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
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    #15
    I've tried it out and it's working perfectly. Looks a little less neat and tidy, but the increased functionality is well worth it. thanks!
     
  16. ne0star macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #16
    I know where you are coming from on this front mate. I'm currently doing the same research. I have bought an eyetv diversity for my mac book pro to see how it works on the possibility of replacing my Sky with a mac mini.

    My wife is in no way stupid, but she isn't really into technology the way I am so expects things to work in a non fussy way. I think anyone who is heavily into technology tends to me a little bit more forgiving to the little 'quirks'.

    Although Sky's hardware isn't much cop their software is very easy to use.
     
  17. adrian.oconnor thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Nottingham, England
    #17
    I agree entirely. My wife definitely wouldn't want to fiddle about with a computer just to watch TV, (although maybe she would if it does something really clever - like remove adverts for her). Has your wife given the EveTV a go yet? If so, how did she get on with it?

    I've actually just bought an EyeTV diversity - hopefully I'll get some time to play with it tonight. I'm a bit disappointed, because the Egato website claims there's an aerial splitter in the box and there isn't, so I'll only have a single channel to play with for now... I think I'll get round that by buying a two-way splitter/booster from Maplins, and hopefully that'll improve the quality.
     
  18. ibosie macrumors 6502

    ibosie

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    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #18
    I find EyeTv 250 plus gives a much better picture than Diversity. When we replaced the G4 iMac in our house a few years back it became the TV, so nice to be able to throw away ugly, horrid television sets!
     
  19. ilovebananas macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    england
    #19
    Just to try and make things easier for those new to eyetv.
    If you want to make Eyetv "wife friendly". Go to preferences and in general tab check the first two options, then go to "fulll screen" tab and check all 3 options. Finally just to be sure, right click the eyetv icon in dock and select "open at login"
    Now every time you start machine, eyetv will autorun and be full screen.
    Pretty easy and the full screen interface is very good.

    Hope this helps
     
  20. ne0star macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #20
    I haven't let the wife loose on it yet as I'm still getting my head round it myself.

    My Diversity did come with the splitter mind. I ordered it from the apple store.

    I nearly bought the EyeTV250, but its not a dual tuner which is a must if its to replace Sky+

    So far I really like EyeTV, but there are issues, especially around dual tuner support.

    1st off in Sky+ or any dual tuner PVR. If you are watching a channel, and then click record Sky will start to record that program, and you are free to navigate to another channel.

    This isn't the case with EyeTV. If you click the record button, then try to switch to another channel it will bring up a messagebox stating that you cannot change the channel unless you stop the recording, and me and you both know thats 'wife frustation no1'.

    The problem is it doesn't multiplex the two tuners in a single window. EyeTV maintains two independentant tuner windows which isn't exactly intuative. If you want to move to another channel, you either have to go into the guide and select it, or use the picture in picture to flip the windows.

    The other couple of issues I have, which aren't faults, but would be a big miss for me personally from Sky, is in Sky if you press the left / right arrows while watching a channel you can navigate through whats on next for the entire day, and even set programs to record. In EyeTV you once again have to go into the guide. Its the same for 'program info'. In Sky, press the 'i' button while watching a channel,and it will bring up the program synopsis. Once again to get this in EyeTV you have to go back into the main guide.

    I think my main niggle with EyeTV so far is it has some very advanced functionality, but a lot of the basic stuff you use everyday is a bit fiddly. This isn't helped by the cheap and nasty remote they give you with it, and I don't think the apple remote is well suited to a full PVR. To this end I have ordered a Logitech Harmony 525 remote which i'm hoping will help on that front.

    One thing I do really like is the integration with Front Row using the PyeTV plugin. In fact the whole Front Row aspect is the reason I really want this to work, as I have a lot of paid itunes content and its very easy to use.

    Its a shame Apple still dont offer AppleTV's ability to rent and purchase itunes content through front row on other macs. If you could do that on a mini it would be a no brain purchase for me.

    Dont get me wrong I can see why they offer appleTV as a lot of people wouldn't pay the price of a mini, but why can't they offer the same functionality on the mini? I can already buy and rent stuff through itunes, so why can't they give us the same front row functionality as AppleTV?

    So i'm still slogging on with it all. I haven't decided yet whether I will take the plunge and ditch Sky, but I will keep you updated on how I get on.
     
  21. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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  22. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #22
    Unfortunately, Plex and Boxee don't give me any of my local shows, so they're fairly worthless in that situation (whereas EyeTV rocks). :eek:
     
  23. motownflip macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2007
    #23
    I see a lot of you are not from the U.S. How are the U.S. users liking eye tv?
     
  24. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #24
    i like it alot
     
  25. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #25
    x2. I use it with the HDHomeRun. I really like being able to take my MBP anywhere that my home WiFi reaches and being able to watch live TV!
     

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