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Three Mac Mini/EyeTV technical issues

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
The three functional issues I have yet to figure out (My build thread):

1. The Mac Mini (mid-2007, 2.0GHz, 500GB 7000rpm, 4GB) is hooked up via a DVI to HDMI cable. At 1080p, it defaults to having the left edge of the screen cut off - I can't see the Apple menu. If I switch to 720p, it doesn't work with my receiver powered on (Onkyo TX-SR608), so I turn the receiver off and the receiver can pass through the 720p to the projector. I can switch it back to 1080p and everything lines up right. But the next time I flip on the receiver, it cuts off the left edge again.

2. I'm not sure how to properly configure the audio from the Mini - I have a TOSLINK cable going from the Mini to the receiver, but I feel as though sound quality is poor. Netflix sounds much better from the PS3. I've tried making changes in Audio MIDI setup but I usually end up losing sound altogether.

3. I have an EyeTV hooked up to the Mini. I got this amplified antenna but my reception is still poor-to-nonexistant in my basement room. What are my options for getting a reliable signal to the computer for DVR functionality?
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post

1. The Mac Mini (mid-2007, 2.0GHz, 500GB 7000rpm, 4GB) is hooked up via a DVI to HDMI cable. At 1080p, it defaults to having the left edge of the screen cut off - I can't see the Apple menu. If I switch to 720p, it doesn't work with my receiver powered on (Onkyo TX-SR608), so I turn the receiver off and the receiver can pass through the 720p to the projector. I can switch it back to 1080p and everything lines up right. But the next time I flip on the receiver, it cuts off the left edge again.
The Intel GMA 950 graphics with your old Mac Mini is borderline for 1080p and overcharges the CPU.
It will NOT reliably work on HD programs with 1080p, although it should work on regular digital TV.
If the Mac Mini -> DVI -> HDMI -> Projector [which one ?] works properly @1080p, your issue is likely related to the EDID return path from the Projector to the Mac when going through the TX-SR608. It may or may not be solved using Gefen HDMI Detective Plus (between the Mac and TX-SR608). But considering the price of this item, you have better make sure it is not some setting within the TX-SR608 which creates the problem.
Quote:
2. I'm not sure how to properly configure the audio from the Mini - I have a TOSLINK cable going from the Mini to the receiver, but I feel as though sound quality is poor. Netflix sounds much better from the PS3. I've tried making changes in Audio MIDI setup but I usually end up losing sound altogether.
Check that EyeTV Preferences are set to "Digital Out" (and not "System").
Quote:
3. I have an EyeTV hooked up to the Mini. I got this amplified antenna but my reception is still poor-to-nonexistant in my basement room. What are my options for getting a reliable signal to the computer for DVR functionality?
Proper antenna going to your tuner ? Or long USB cable (<10m) going from Elgato tuner to basement ?
post #3 of 8
Going through an AVR is always tough, even if you had a built-in HDMI port; with that old a Mini if you can connect video directly and only route audio to the AVR I think you'll be much better off. The Gefen that geeji helpfully links to has solved the issue for lots of people here but, can you really justify spending another $129 on an intermediate device (that you may or may not ever need again) just to get an old and these days, a largely inadequate, Mac to work in your setup? Better to sell that Mini off (or repurpose it within your home) add its value to that $129 and upgrade to something newer, better designed to function in a home theater context, like a 2010 or 2011 Mini. Why do I suggest that? Because you mentioned EyeTV.
Quote:
I have an EyeTV hooked up to the Mini. I got this amplified antenna but my reception is still poor-to-nonexistant in my basement room. What are my options for getting a reliable signal to the computer for DVR functionality?

Ditch OTA and get cable? Seriously, if a better antenna in different locations doesn't get you better line of sight to the towers or less interference, that's all you can do. (I'm on the wrong side of my building from the towers, don't have access to my roof, and cannot get reliable OTA no matter what I do.)
Quote:
The Intel GMA 950 graphics with your old Mac Mini is borderline for 1080p and overcharges the CPU.
It will NOT reliably work on HD programs with 1080p, although it should work on regular digital TV.

I'll rephrase what he said: The Intel GMA950 in your Mini is borderline for 720p, can barely drive an old 720p native HDTV properly and even with your RAM maxxed out cannot run EyeTV properly. It's just not up to the task, wasn't up to it back then, certainly not now. You need at least a 2.2-2.4 C2D with better graphics than the GMA950 to do a decent job deinterlacing 1080i content with EyeTV. Forget watching "live TV," and forget watching sports, at all, even if you set EyeTV to its second best setting.
Quote:
I have a TOSLINK cable going from the Mini to the receiver, but I feel as though sound quality is poor. Netflix sounds much better from the PS3. I've tried making changes in Audio MIDI setup but I usually end up losing sound altogether.

Which OS version are you running? Is it only Netflix audio that doesn't seem adequate--what about EyeTV? iTunes? a front end like XBMC or Plex? Can you verify you're getting digital audio correctly from those sources, i.e. do the DD 2.0 and DD 5.1/DTS light up when they should given the video source?

You should know that Netflix audio isn't a standard across all platforms and devices,so NF within a browser on a Mac often isn't as good as the same Netflix title via an Apple TV or PS3...
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

Going through an AVR is always tough, even if you had a built-in HDMI port; with that old a Mini if you can connect video directly and only route audio to the AVR I think you'll be much better off. The Gefen that geeji helpfully links to has solved the issue for lots of people here but, can you really justify spending another $129 on an intermediate device (that you may or may not ever need again) just to get an old and these days, a largely inadequate, Mac to work in your setup? Better to sell that Mini off (or repurpose it within your home) add its value to that $129 and upgrade to something newer, better designed to function in a home theater context, like a 2010 or 2011 Mini. Why do I suggest that? Because you mentioned EyeTV.

That's been in the back of my mind for a while. Minis like mine seem overvalued, so I could sell it and fund most of a new Mini.
Quote:
Ditch OTA and get cable? Seriously, if a better antenna in different locations doesn't get you better line of sight to the towers or less interference, that's all you can do.

No cable - I've never had cable and I don't plan on starting. There are just a couple of OTA shows I'd like to keep up on, but it's not worth shelling out $$$ for cable. At worst, I'd just get a Hulu Plus subscription.
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Quote:
I have a TOSLINK cable going from the Mini to the receiver, but I feel as though sound quality is poor. Netflix sounds much better from the PS3. I've tried making changes in Audio MIDI setup but I usually end up losing sound altogether.
Which OS version are you running? Is it only Netflix audio that doesn't seem adequate--what about EyeTV? iTunes? a front end like XBMC or Plex? Can you verify you're getting digital audio correctly from those sources, i.e. do the DD 2.0 and DD 5.1/DTS light up when they should given the video source?
You should know that Netflix audio isn't a standard across all platforms and devices,so NF within a browser on a Mac often isn't as good as the same Netflix title via an Apple TV or PS3...

Running Lion. I'm far from an audiophile, but Netflix is the only place I've noticed it, though I have no basis for comparison as I haven't listened to music from any other source and I don't use a front end. I don't recall if the DD symbols light up, but when I lose audio it's system-wide, and it stays that way until I revert whatever I changed in Audio MIDI setup.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geeji View Post

Check that EyeTV Preferences are set to "Digital Out" (and not "System").

Audio loss is system-wide, not just EyeTV.
Quote:
Proper antenna going to your tuner ? Or long USB cable (<10m) going from Elgato tuner to basement ?

What would you consider to be a proper antenna?
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post

... What would you consider to be a proper antenna?

Depends on the distance and direction to the transmitters you want to receive from. See http://www.tvfool.com/

Craig
post #7 of 8
I have been reliably recording OTA from the whopping selection of 6 channels we have available in Calgary on a G4 mini using EyeTv and an HDR. I don't use the mini for playback, only as an iTunes server.

After punching your address into TV fool and determining the direction and frequencies of the stations you want, then you can pick an antenna. I use an AntennaCraft U4000 4bay bowtie in my attic.

The digitalhome.ca website has an excellent antenna selection PDF posted as a sticky in the over the air OTA forum.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link!

If I were to install an in-attic antenna above my garage, what would be the best way to get that signal down a couple of floors to my basement? My house is wired for cable, but I only use the cable line for my high speed internet. Can I utilize the existing cable infrastructure?

I already ran new 120V circuits to the basement for the theater from the main box in my garage, so there are paths made down to the basement, but they're right new to active AC wiring. Is that a deal breaker for running coax through those same passageways?
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