Are all Elgato / EyeTV and other Mac-based external OTA HDTV tuners discontinued? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-22-2013, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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First post, but have done some extensive research over the last few days. I'm trying to cut the cord using a spare mac, but I can't seem to get off the ground. I've been aware of EyeTV for a while and went to check it out, but none of their external tuners seem to be available for sale in the US (including Amazon - where I can find used, but not new). Same with Haupagge, and all other references I was able to look up.

 

I'm fine going with a used model, but wondering why the market seems to have suddenly dried up, and hesitant to invest in a technology that may be past its prime... Anyone know of a product compatible with Mac / OSX that is still viable and easily available? 

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post #2 of 17 Old 10-22-2013, 08:03 PM
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IMO, EyeTV is a poor software platform. Elgato has effectively abandoned it; they just haven't announced the fact!

If you have some experience with the command line, MythTV via MacPorts using Silicon Dust's HDHomeRun is an option. Myth is a very full-featured personal video recorder system and very stable on OS X. You can get dual-tuner versions of the HDHomerun that work quite well with North American broadcast HDTV. Going forward, you'll need a $25/year SchedulesDirect subscription for guide data but they have a free trial.

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/MacPorts

http://www.silicondust.com/products/hdhomerun/atsc/

http://www.schedulesdirect.org/

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(Disclaimer: I maintain the Myth stuff on MacPorts.)
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-22-2013, 11:14 PM
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I tried to go to myth a few months ago and there was an issue with macports myth backend referencing out of date files and compile failed, is that fixed? Any recommendations for alternative for InstaTV Server for Windows, didn't get in before the pro version got pulled from Apple Store. TVHeadend doesn't run off my Synology 1813+ at this point which was my other attempt of dumping WMC.

Would love to switch to just OS X for PVR, currently have a WMC PVR and InstaTV Server on one MacMini and another Mac Mini with Plex Server and iTunes Server in OS X.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-23-2013, 05:28 AM
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When I was trying to set up an HTPC I found Myth difficult to figure out and never was able to get it working. EyeTV is still the only option that works out of the box. It definitely is not perfect but it works well. Its major problem has to do with the scheduling service they use but I have noticed it has improved over the last year. I now run an older and a new silicon Dust HDHomerun with EyeTV. I does look like Elgato discontinued their external tuners. I think you will find that once you start down this road you will want at least dual tuners and the HDHomeruns are now where near twice as much as a single tuner stick. If you want to go the Silicon Dust three tuner with cable card route with EyeTV be sure to read up on it. There have been several threads talking about problems with the three tuner version and EyeTV.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-23-2013, 09:32 AM
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I liken EyeTV to Quicken on my mac...it usually does what you need it to do, but it's almost never updated and all of the competing products are *okay* at best. I've yet to see something that compels me to dump my EyeTV/Comskip/Scripts setup and go another direction.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-23-2013, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
IMO, EyeTV is a poor software platform. Elgato has effectively abandoned it; they just haven't announced the fact!
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You can get dual-tuner versions of the HDHomerun that work quite well with North American broadcast HDTV.

Both of these statements are true.
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wondering why the market seems to have suddenly dried up, and hesitant to invest in a technology that may be past its prime... Anyone know of a product compatible with Mac / OSX that is still viable and easily available?

Whatever market there was for El Gato with EyeTV dried up because 1) most people don't record ATSC, they don't even know what it is and 2) cablecos have steadily and progressively cracked down on the channels they passed along in the clear, which is what most of us here were recording. But, if all the OP wants to record is ATSC in OS X on his Mac and not deal with either Myth or Windows and he doesn't care about CableCARD or premium channels, he can still do what he wants very easily and relatively cheaply--the older HD Homerun dual ATSC tuners are abundant and can easily be had for relatively little on eBay because everyone wants the CableCARD versions. Shop around for a cheap used EyeTV tuner that includes the software...which works with the Silicon Dust HD Homerun tuners...and you're all set, if you shop well probably for less than $100 total, that's one HD Homerun dual tuner, one cheap El Gato USB stick tuner, the EyeTV software plus a year of TV Guide. If you're satisfied with network shows this still is a viable way to cut the cord...keep your internet access though so you can still supplement with streaming and downloading.
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I'm fine going with a used model, but...hesitant to invest in a technology that may be past its prime

Don't be hesitant, you just want to record ATSC, you should be able to do that quite well for some time, certainly enough time to earn back your $100 investment many times over.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-23-2013, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks chefklc, pvr4craig and everyone that has replied - I'm going to look into the used route. Appreciate everyone taking the time to reply!

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post #8 of 17 Old 10-24-2013, 05:27 AM
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If you are shopping for used HDHomeruns be sure you know what you are getting. I am not saying the newer ones are any better than the older they are just slightly different. The older grey ones need two coax inputs. The newer black ones only need one coax input and are about half the size as the older ones. I have one of each and they perform exactly the same. Just saying if space is a real premium or you are uncomfortable splitting coax get the newer version. If these are not an issue then the older version should work just as well.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-24-2013, 11:15 AM
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Not that it applies in this case, but for us cable EyeTV users it was always nice having two tuner inputs on the older models, one for ATSC, one for cable...
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-24-2013, 01:14 PM
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That is an interesting setup. I didn't think you could set up the tuners with different sources and have EyeTV recognize that.
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post #11 of 17 Old 10-25-2013, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph S View Post

I tried to go to myth a few months ago and there was an issue with macports myth backend referencing out of date files and compile failed, is that fixed? Any recommendations for alternative for InstaTV Server for Windows, didn't get in before the pro version got pulled from Apple Store. TVHeadend doesn't run off my Synology 1813+ at this point which was my other attempt of dumping WMC.

Would love to switch to just OS X for PVR, currently have a WMC PVR and InstaTV Server on one MacMini and another Mac Mini with Plex Server and iTunes Server in OS X.

I haven't had any reports of failures with Myth on MacPorts in the past couple of months; either 0.25 or 0.26.

I don't know what InstaTV Server is or does.

Craig
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post #12 of 17 Old 10-25-2013, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

... Whatever market there was for El Gato with EyeTV dried up because 1) most people don't record ATSC, they don't even know what it is and 2) cablecos have steadily and progressively cracked down on the channels they passed along in the clear, which is what most of us here were recording. But, if all the OP wants to record is ATSC in OS X on his Mac and not deal with either Myth or Windows and he doesn't care about CableCARD or premium channels, ...

Just to note, MythTV supports the HDHomerun Prime and thus CableCard with the proviso that Myth can only record content that is not copy protected (ie copy freely). AIUI*, US cable companies are not very consistent in their use of the copy protection flag--different regions of the same cableco may mark the same content protected in one area and copy freely in another. The MythTV wiki entry:

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Silicondust_HDHomeRun_Prime

A MythTV user has accumulated some information the copy protection status in various areas:

http://www.ronfrazier.net/mythtv/cci/index.php

Craig
* I'm in Canada so no CableCard.
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-08-2014, 09:35 AM
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I'm using a Hauppage 950q that you can still buy brand new and works great with EyeTV. Just set it up on a couple of Macs recently.

http://www.amazon.com/Hauppauge-1191-WinTV-HVR-950Q-Personal-Recorder/dp/B001DEYVXO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389198911&sr=8-1&keywords=hauppauge+950q
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-21-2014, 12:32 PM
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post #15 of 17 Old 05-07-2014, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post


Don't be hesitant, you just want to record ATSC, you should be able to do that quite well for some time, certainly enough time to earn back your $100 investment many times over.

So I went two different routes simultaneously when TWC encrypted all their formerly clear QAM stuff. You can check the the TiVo to Mac thread for the cable route.

I also installed an antenna, and found, to my dismay that while it worked fine on the Toshiba HDTVs tuner, it practically didn't work at all on the EyeTV 500 (I got something like 6 out of ~ 60 channels), didn't work well on 1 out of the two tuners in the same (old version) HD HomeRun box but did work quite well with an EyeTV USB stick that had been sitting there unused for years. Bottom line, I've gone from 3 to 2 tuners. I guess I could buy new (used) EyeTV compatible tuners, but how do I know in advance if they will work well with OTA/ATSC or not?

Keeping the TiVo with its luxury of 6 tuners and first rate streaming to my iPad is very tempting, though being in the clutches of TWC and soon enough Comcast is not.
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-08-2014, 07:52 AM
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but how do I know in advance if they will work well with OTA/ATSC or not?

I don't think there's any way to predict what would happen because reception is influenced by so many factors beside your tuner that are unique to you…your distance from the towers, the congestion and density of a thriving metropolis versus a flat plain, how high up you are, which side of the building you're on, then there's the particular characteristics of the antennas themselves. Even though I'm only a couple of miles as the crow flies due south from our towers and that most of them are on one of the highest points in Northwest DC, which in theory should be good for reception, I'm on the wrong side of my building (diametrically opposed to the towers) in a very low area, on a lower floor of our 10 story building so that everything sails right over me. I can't put anything on the roof nor have anything extend out from our windows. Which means I'm limited to at best angling indoor uni-directional antennas sharply left or right to try to pull a signal down and back in to me. It's practically impossible for me to do in any meaningful day to day way…it's a tool I still keep in the bag, though, to be able to get a single channel on those very rare occasions when my cable goes out and there's something I need to see live, like a network football game.

I have a feeling the only thing you can do is try out different model tuner and antenna combinations…what works well for others might not work well where you are.
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-13-2014, 02:54 PM
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Agree with chefklc... you cannot know which unit's tuner will work with your setup. However, IMO, once you've made the antenna a constant (installed it in the location that gives best reception for any given tuner), any different tuner's reception failure of a channel that works perfectly with the original tuner would be due to the new tuner's sensitivity/selectivity. Making antenna tweaks (height, orientation, location) that improve the new tuner's reception will damage the original tuner's, assuming you originally actually attempted every (available to you) location/height/orientation to arrive at your best reception with the original tuner.
In my case, I located our antenna using our Samsung HDTV, because it was closest to the available antenna's installation location (i.e., as high as possible considering what my wife allowed, best support for our extremely high winds during winter storms, and it's on the second floor closest to the roof). I then adjusted it's orientation to best receive the most channels (that we care about) on the Samsung HDTV. I then found that my Sony HDTV's tuner received more channels, but my two TiVoHDs received less channels, than the Samsung HDTV. As I almost always time-shift our TV viewing via the TiVos (I don't watch no stinking commercials!), I made several adjustments to the antenna's height & orientation (relocation was not available due to the wind and wife factors previously described), but no joy. The best reception for every tuner was the original antenna location & orientation found using the Samsung HDTV. That left the various tuners' construction (selectivity/sensitivity) the only factor determining what channels were received. BTW: amazingly, I get a obscure public channel (KCRB in Rohnert Park, CA) that I wasn't even aware existed! Heck, I even get a Sacramento public station sometimes.
So, again IMO, be sure to buy devices that you may return if they don't work in your setup (e.g., from Costco/Amazon/etc.)

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si possis, recte, si non, quocumque modo, rem.
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