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post #91 of 117 Old 03-11-2005, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by xmltok
Is OpenGL selected for video output? You have to set it with the older VLC as the nightly builds preferences are empty.
Thanks for the info. Yes, OpenGL is selected. (BTW, the OpenGL cube and transparent cube effects are pretty cool, if totally uesless.) I still get a significant number of dropped frames and disorienting jerkiness. It's tolerable for a few minutes but I wouldn't want to watch a full hour of stuttering video.

I wonder what the minimum MHz G4 is that can play the Mordor fly-through near the end of the LOTR segment without stuttering.

Here's the Bit Torrent link: http://www.eff.org/broadcastflag/LotRclip2-mpg.torrent

Has anybody else been able to get this segment to play back with EyeTV software?
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post #92 of 117 Old 03-12-2005, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tji
The Mini could easily handle MPEG2 HD, 720P or 1080i, if Apple enabled the MPEG2 acceleration available in the video chip. Without that, HD video might be possible, but could easily be effected by other system activities competing for resources. But, thus far there has been no indication that Apple will allow people to use this capability.
Given Apple's investment in H.264, it seems unlikely they will support hardware MPEG-2 HD decoding in the future. Since H.264 will be included into the MPEG4 protocol as "MPEG-4 Part 10" it will be in essence a replacement for MPEG2 where HD is concerned. Apple will want ISVs and IHVs to adopt MPEG-4 Part 10 immediately. Supporting MPEG-2 in hardware would slow this adoption, or worse, keep some third parties from adopting it at all. This is likely a big reason for them not releasing the necessary specifications of this hardware decoder to the public.

The big question in my mind is whether the hardware that the Apple DVD player uses to decode MPEG-2 could also be useful in decoding MPEG-4 Part 10. Since I know nothing about the hardware, I couldn't say with any certainty whether this is the case. If it indeed useful for this purpose, though, then it would be likely that future apple (and third party) software will support it. This could ultimately make the Mac Mini very viable for HD decoding and playback even in its current 1.25GHz and 1.4GHz versions.
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post #93 of 117 Old 03-24-2005, 09:01 AM
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Hey Everyone,

Since I discoverd this thread, I've been happily using my PB, and now mini as an HD vcr. I use the built-in DTV tuner on my Sharp LCD, and I play back over firewire. It works wonderfully. I use the Applescripts for Record & Stop that were posted elsewhere, to do timed recordings. Recently though I've run into an annoying problem.

Originally when I first fired this up, I had to use the virtual D-VHS remote control on the TV to change the input source of the iLink input to the DTV tuner. I only had to do this once, and from then on, the TV pretty much always copied the current HD stream on the DTV tuner out the firewire bus. My mac could just start recording.

The other day, I rearranged my firewire bus, and suddenly, now when I switch to the iLink input, it changes its input source to iLink - as in it gets ready to record from some other iLink source instead of the DTV tuner. This is extremely frustrating, because it means that I can't rely on a timed recording to actually pick up anything. If somebody happens to have flipped to the iLink input on the TV, then the TV stops copying the DTV input out to firewire, and instead copies nothing out to it - and I get an empty recording.

Has anybody else run into this? Have any of you figured out what magic to do to the TV to get the iLink input to keep it's input source set to the DTV tuner? This first happened a week ago, and after fiddling around with the firewire bus, and deleting/readding the D-VHS deck from the TV, I got it to work again. Then it happened again, and now I can no longer get it to behave that way.
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post #94 of 117 Old 03-24-2005, 10:07 AM
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avramd,

Unfortunately I don't have an answer for you. But I am interested in your setup.

What sharp LCD TV are you using? Do I understand it has firewire in and out? Can it decode clear QAM? Do you know if it will obey the broadcast flag?

Thanks,

Sean
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post #95 of 117 Old 03-28-2005, 06:21 AM
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How are you all dealing with the noise? All of these devices chained off the USB and FireWire ports are driving me crazy... WAY TOO LOUD!!!

And all the power adapters... ????

Not a clean config at all
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post #96 of 117 Old 03-28-2005, 08:07 AM
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jamesnealmartin, could you be more specific about your setup? Do you have a mini? What peripherals are attached? Which ones are specifically causing the issues?

I found that one really effective way to handle the cable mess was to use velcro strips, cable ties and twist-ties to keep it all cleaned up. Some power strips have nicely spaced outlets to accomodate the size of 'wall warts', the power brick transformers. (Not to mention grounding for your coax!)

I agree that a lot of dangly peripherals do work against the innate simplicity of the mini. And my firewire chain seems to grow every day, and soon I'll need to add a USB hub, etc. However, most of my stuff is dead silent.

I use the Mercury 922 drives from Other World Computing; they've got a nice enclosure, 8MB cache, 7200rpm drives without sounding like jet engines. The noisiest thing in my config is the mini's fan, but it doesn't kick in that often-- and usually when it does, it's because it's playing back something, so the audio drowns out the fan noise! (Or I'll shut one of the doors on the entertainment center...) Once in a while I'll actually hear the fans on my TV kick in, since it's in an enclosed armoire and only the front is open... so the heat doesn't dissipate as well.

Don't know what your AV stack looks like, but there are plenty of enclosures which deaden component noise. Some even have fans built in to help keep temperatures low...
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post #97 of 117 Old 03-29-2005, 10:37 AM
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I have the faster Mac Mini with an ElGato EyeTV 500. It is able to record HD without any issues. The Clear QAM is a nice feature, but it doesn't gain me anything. Comcast only broadcasts the music channels in Clear QAM in Colorado. No other digital or HD channels are available. I can get OTA channels and that is what I have been recording from.


I can tell you first hand that the faster Mac Mini with 512M of RAM is unable to playback HDTV without dropping frames. It is worse when attempting to playback from the live ElGato firewire feed. After recording the show, if I transcode it to lower resolution using the ElGato software, I am able to play it back at a lower resolution. This is less than ideal, obviously.

I think the only way to get the Mini to play back HD is hardware acceleration.
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post #98 of 117 Old 04-01-2005, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by the_rook13
I think the only way to get the Mini to play back HD is hardware acceleration.
It seems like the release of Tiger is getting close. So, we'll soon see how for Apple "Year of HD Video" concept extends.. Are they going to enable the hardware that already exists in most of their machines? I hope so.
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post #99 of 117 Old 04-01-2005, 10:42 PM
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I had been using a PC with DVHSTOOL to output 1080i transport streams(over firewire) to my JVC 30K for decoding then to the HDTV Via Component.

I replaced the Loud, big, ugly sony Vaio with a mac mini 1.25ghz. god I love this thing! its so quite! I have to keep checking if its on!

I use VNC to control the Mini from my laptop on the coffee table.

:) :) :)

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post #100 of 117 Old 04-03-2005, 06:07 PM
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Well, I've put a bunch of these pieces together:

The bigger Mac Mini, an EyeTV-500, an external hard drive. Plugged the EyeTV into my Comcast feed and it effortlessly found all the locals.

Problem is that it can't record without dropouts. Note that I say Record. I play back through a Roku HD-1000, and any dropouts I see are in exactly the same place at the same time on playback, no matter how many times I retry. Playing it back on the Mini (at reduced resolution), I still see the dropouts in exactly the same time/place. These dropouts had to be present at record time.

When I record, I leave the system otherwise quiescent with no playback/TV window in the EyeTV software. I've tried setting the EyeTV library to both the internal hard drive and the external hard drive.

Watching with the activity monitor, I see the system running pretty idle - the EyeTV application is taking 10-15% of the CPU, and there's a fairly constant 2.0 MB/sec disk write rate. Fairly constant, because every 20-40 seconds, it glitches with a dip then spike to 4MB/sec. I haven't correlated these, but I suspect that's when the dropouts are happening.

What in heck can I do?

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post #101 of 117 Old 04-06-2005, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by toots
Well, I've put a bunch of these pieces together:

The bigger Mac Mini, an EyeTV-500, an external hard drive. Plugged the EyeTV into my Comcast feed and it effortlessly found all the locals.

Problem is that it can't record without dropouts. Note that I say Record. I play back through a Roku HD-1000, and any dropouts I see are in exactly the same place at the same time on playback, no matter how many times I retry. Playing it back on the Mini (at reduced resolution), I still see the dropouts in exactly the same time/place. These dropouts had to be present at record time.

When I record, I leave the system otherwise quiescent with no playback/TV window in the EyeTV software. I've tried setting the EyeTV library to both the internal hard drive and the external hard drive.

Watching with the activity monitor, I see the system running pretty idle - the EyeTV application is taking 10-15% of the CPU, and there's a fairly constant 2.0 MB/sec disk write rate. Fairly constant, because every 20-40 seconds, it glitches with a dip then spike to 4MB/sec. I haven't correlated these, but I suspect that's when the dropouts are happening.

What in heck can I do?

are you recording HD via firewire?? are you using DVHSCAP or VirtualDVHS ??

whats cable box do you have?/

I found that Virtual DVHS works with Encrypted content but dvhsCap allways stops recording on me after like a minute.

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post #102 of 117 Old 04-06-2005, 08:41 PM
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I'm recording HD via firewire to an EyeTV-500, directly tuning the unencrypted QAM channels provided by my cable company. I'm using the software that came with the EyeTV to do the recording.

I found the problem, by the way. Last night, for the first time since installing the EyeTV, I happened to be watching the neighboring DCT-6208 and noticed that it was suffering the same dropouts as the EyeTV. Unplug the RG-6 cable from the EyeTV, no dropouts. Plug it back in - dropouts.

Theorizing that it was a ground loop problem between the EyeTV/Mac and all the other devices plugged into the cable, I put the EyeTV behind a high pass filter.

Problem solved.

Next, I'll run a firewire drop over to the 6208 and try VirtualDVHS and see if I can get stuff from there as well.

For now, though, the EyeTV is a great device for recording the unencrypted (local) channels, which constitutes most of what I want to record, anyway.

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post #103 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by toots
I'm recording HD via firewire to an EyeTV-500, directly tuning the unencrypted QAM channels provided by my cable company. I'm using the software that came with the EyeTV to do the recording.
toots,

I am contemplating a setup very similar to yours. Namely, I am thinking:

Unencrypted Cable QAM (or OTA 8VSB) -> EyeTV 500 -> Mac Mini -> Roku HD1000 -> Panasonic 50PHD7UY Plasma.

The only pieces I still need (if I decide to go through with this) are the EyeTV 500 and Roku HD1000.

Now, my question is, can I use the Roku to play live TV via the Mac Mini? In other words, will this setup only work for something that I've recorded and already saved to an MPEG2 file on disk, or can I also (either in a straightforward way, or by creating some AppleScript for example) play the live feed from the EyeTV software right to the Roku in realtime (or near-realitime)?
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post #104 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 09:03 AM
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mkoesel- (edited - put wrong name here first time)

I have a similar setup running now, though not using the Roku. If I were you, I would go with one of the newer networked players(I have the IO Data AVLP2, and Buffalo has a new one out based on the same chip). You cannot at this point view live TV via any networked player that i know of. The advantage, as I see it, is that one does not need the Mac to be very new or fast at all. I run my setup on a 3+ year old dual G4. I know you already bought a Mini, but for others reading this, I think any old G4 should be able to work with the Eyetv500 and stream to a netwoked player.
We watch all our regular shows in HD after editing out the ads with the EyeTV software, so I do not really miss being able to timeshift live tv that much. I just watch live TV with my old STB. You should also check out the Elgato EyeConnect software(beta) read-me. They have tested it with a few players, but it is not clear what they have tried with HD from the 500...
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post #105 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 09:25 AM
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mkoesel: My first inclination would be to say no, for the time being... though some folks from ElGato may be able to weigh in more on that.

Okay, so the EyeTV 500 is an ATSC tuner. You tell it which channel you want, and it sends the MPEG2 stream over firewire to the mini. If you're watching it 'on screen', I'm not sure whether it's using CPU to decode that MPEG2 stream on the fly ... but I'm pretty sure that's what is happening.

So instead, you'd need a way to grab that stream and serve it up over the network, like their EyeConnect software does. I've seen some folks say that they were able to use Virtual DVHS (or one of those other apps from the Firewire SDK) to grab the stream as it came out of the EyeTV 500, for example. That'd be one half of the puzzle. Then it'd be necessary to make that stream available via UPnP, which EyeConnect already does.

I've heard rumors that future versions of EyeTV may include the ability to be UPnP clients, eg allowing your computer to tune into another repository on the network. But that's the opposite of what you want.

It'd be pretty cool if you could specify the destination for the "live window" stream, much like the way that iTunes now lets you target an Airport Express with AirTunes... pick between 'display on screen' or 'serve via EyeConnect', etc.

Given that EyeTV can 'pause' live TV as it plays back, and buffers to disk, that's another awesome feature -- the ability to timeshift. And via the included remote control, you can already pause/play, skip backwards and forwards, etc...

Cool idea that you have. I wish I could say it were already possible, but I can't for sure. Might be worth asking for from ElGato... drop an email to Nick Freeman (support -at_ elgato.com) and ask whether this is possible, if not, make a feature request for it...

I agree with zmatzkin, sometimes it's nice to have already edited out all of the commercials and it only takes a few minutes. But other times, it's nice to see a show 'almost live', delaying starting it a few minutes just so you can ffwd through the commercials... like something you've been waiting a week for: the resolution of a cliffhanger, a (disappointing) basketball championship game, etc... :(


Thom Brooks
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post #106 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 10:06 AM
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So far, no, no live TV. Basically, you can find the mpeg that the eyeTV is currently writing, but if you try to open it in one of the Roku's mpeg players, you'll just get an open error, essentially indicating that one or both parties (EyeTV, roku) aren't in any mood to share the file.

Otherwise, playback on the Roku is fairly reasonable, except for the part about the mpeg ending up in an EyeTV directory that's named by a timestamp rather than something meaningful. I use MPlay on the roku, which gives me instant replay/30 second and 3 minute skip, all of which work fine.

And by the way, the playback issues on the Mac itself aren't quite as dire as everyone says.

I have my Mini connected to a CRT based RPTV, running in a 1080i resolution (actually, 1920x1008, to eliminate the vertical overscan), and the Mini's able to mostly play back 1080i material in mostly full-screen resolutions. Yeah, the CPU's pegged at 100%, and there are glitches and pauses, but I'd bet that it'd be able to keep up with 720p.

In any case, the Roku has zero problems with keeping up with the 1080i stream.

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post #107 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 10:19 AM
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Well, I asked someone about it myself (how's that for fast service, heh) and the reasoning went something like this.

Apparently UPnP is a kind of crappy standard for live streaming. It doesn't have a way to describe content of unknown length, or unfinished content, both of which you'd need for live streaming.

So there would be no way to give the client a 'moving target' for the endpoint of the program, since there isn't necessarily one (yet, ever, etc).

The software could lie, and say, "This program is 20 hours long", but a lot of clients apparently will try to do crazy stuff and read ahead, do things which are just not logical. (Or, the user might try to skip forward past the 'present time' themselves, etc.)

In addition, most UPnP clients don't play transport streams (EyeTV software does); therefore they'd have to do live, on-demand conversion from TS to PS. (I believe that EyeHome software does this for the EyeHome hardware.)

So to answer your question more definitively, you probably couldn't do stable, live TV streaming, at least not until a new version of the UPnP spec is developed. And a new one is not expected any time soon. :(
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post #108 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by toots


Otherwise, playback on the Roku is fairly reasonable, except for the part about the mpeg ending up in an EyeTV directory that's named by a timestamp rather than something meaningful.
You might want to check this out to create a more meaningful directory of stored shows. Hope it helps.

http://www.mcfarren.org/archives/000016.html
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post #109 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 10:35 AM
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Wow! Thanks.

I was thinking of writing some AppleScript to fire off some symbolic links every time a directory/file was added, but I think I'll just have this run as a cron job every hour instead.

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post #110 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 11:36 AM
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Or don't forget about this post, which discusses a new 'helper app' under development. Among its many features is an ability to create descriptively-named aliases (or softlinks, which are what I need for Virtual DVHS) from your library.

I've been receiving plenty of emails from this guy (Graham Jones) and it sounds like he's going full steam ahead. What's better, he's been in touch with ElGato, who have been very supportive of his efforts. Apparently they provided him with some pretty good info, and even custom applescript commands:

Quote:
Good news and bad news:

Good - Elgato finally got their new data structure finalized. It will be a
LOT easier and faster to parse. In addition, they have created Apple events
just for this helper app, to increase communication between the apps, and to
further enable multiple archives.

Bad - a side effect of this new structure is that I will need to re-write my
parsing routines, and go through 3000 lines of code to reflect the changes.
I have decided to do some code optimizing at the same time, to kill two
birds with one stone.

So the net effect is good news... Launch times are significantly cut (from
37 seconds with a full library down to 10-15 seconds in initial tests, even
less once compiled), and there will be many other performance benefits. But
it will set all the dates back.

My updated expectations (very much ballpark figures at the moment):

Alpha - somewhere between April 11th - 14th
Beta - around April 18th - 20th
Launch - hopefully still May 2nd or 3rd, but maybe a week later.
So if you can afford to wait, it might be worth it! I think this will be a terrific program and a great addition to our toolboxes.
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post #111 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by unithom
In addition, most UPnP clients don't play transport streams (EyeTV software does); therefore they'd have to do live, on-demand conversion from TS to PS. (I believe that EyeHome software does this for the EyeHome hardware.)
Well, the AVLP2 plays transport streams pretty well(no ff or rewind), and the Buffalo is actually mentioned as working in the read-me of the newest Eyeconnect beta(wish I had one to try). I actually play my edited Eyetv500 files directly to the AVLP2 without any modification, which is the best part! The problem is that the AVLP2 only works with UPnP servers(EyeConnect) if you have a PC in the loop. The PC version of the server sw is what is recognized by the elgato sw as a UPnP device, not the player itself. I have not tried that either, but intend to as soon as I can convince myself to lug that old piece of junk PC out of the basement.

I don't think elgato intends the eyeconnect software to be able to stream live tv, but we can always hope...

I am also very much looking forward to the upcoming helper app...
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post #112 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 07:34 PM
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I appreciate all the responses to my question. Very good and thorough info.

Live TV is very important to me, so I am probably going to keep the Mac Mini out of the picture with respect to that task. And that's just fine, since I bought it mostly for surfing the web in my living room anyhow. Although I am still tempted to purchase an EyeTV 500 just to see firsthand what the playback really looks like, I think I will either pony up the 10 bucks a month for the Moto 6412 or just spend the $300 I would have spent on the EyeTV on a good OTA HD tuner. Course, in the latter case I don't get any PVR capability (unless there's an OTA HD tuner with Firewire that I don't know about?), but at least I get HD with no additional month costs.
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post #113 of 117 Old 04-07-2005, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mkoesel
(unless there's an OTA HD tuner with Firewire that I don't know about?)
The samsung SIR-T165 has firewire - I was using it to record HD before I got the 500. I still use it if I want to record 2 things at once. But you would still not be able to timeshift as you watch live TV... And they are still fairly expensive compared to the ones without firewire... and some people have had mucho problems with them. Mine has worked well...

I think we will see some better, more complete solutions come along this year with Tiger and such...I hope anyway...Elgato must be working on this? The broadcast flag issue must be resolved, though...

Zach
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post #114 of 117 Old 04-08-2005, 06:10 PM
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I am downloading ubuntu I will report back.

Ben
How good could it be if it isn't HD?
Engadget HD
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post #115 of 117 Old 04-12-2005, 09:41 AM
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Well the cat (or Tiger in this case ;) ) is outta the bag.

http://www.apple.com/macosx/

Now is this what we have been waiting for:

http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/coreimage/

"Core Video, joining Core Image in Mac OS X Tiger, delivers a modern foundation for video services, providing a bridge between QuickTime and the GPU for hardware-accelerated video processing. This highly optimized pipeline for video presentation increases performance and reduces CPU load, freeing up resources for other operations. "

The question is, are they only talking about applying video effects (as outlined in detail on the page), or have they provided APIs that will aid encoding/decoding as well. My instinct says that the two would be intimately related but its a guess...
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post #116 of 117 Old 04-12-2005, 09:46 AM
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I think you missed this little part...

Quote:
When a programmable GPU is present, Core Image utilizes the graphics card for image processing operations, freeing the CPU for other tasks. And if you have a high-performance card with increased video memory (VRAM), you'll find real-time responsiveness across a wide variety of operations.


Core Image-capable graphics cards include:


ATI Mobility Radeon 9700

ATI Radeon 9600 XT, 9800 XT, X800 XT

nVidia GeForce FX Go 5200

nVidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra

nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL, 6800 GT DDL
Not quite sure how a non-compatible card will be optimized. I guess we will have to wait till the 29th to see the effects of the ATI 9200 on the Mini's.
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post #117 of 117 Old 04-12-2005, 11:54 AM
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You're right, I did miss that all important detail. Bummer. :(

But this is still good I think, since they mention it also being optimized for
non-GPU accelerated machines. I don't know exacly what that brings, but it might at least allow future versions of programs like VLC and the EyeTV software to be coded to run more efficiently.

At the very least, Apple is making some attempt to allow developers to harness more of the capabilities of the video hardware, even if they are only doing so for a select subset of the chipsets out there.
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