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OS X Businesses Media Operating Systems Television Apple

HDTV Comes to the Mac 24

konfoo writes "Elgato just announced the availability of their FireWire DTV ATSC receiver (ATSC is the USA standard for digital and high definition television), EyeTV 500, at a price of around $350. It can be used in tandem with TitanTV to get EPG data and pick shows to record. Now Mac owners too can view and record those hidef broadcasts. On a sidenote, lets hope that the broadcast flag and other efforts don't squelch cool new products such as this." We reviewed the original EyeTV USB a year and a half ago. Since then, their product line has expanded, with all other models sporting FireWire, and covering a variety of analog and digital TV sources.
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HDTV Comes to the Mac

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  • scriptability (Score:5, Informative)

    by OmniVector ( 569062 ) <see my homepage> on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:26PM (#9592917) Homepage
    I talked to some of the elgato people at the WWDC booth about eyetv. My favorite thing about this system is it easily scriptable via apple script, and all the hdtv files are just straight mpeg2 (easily accessible). I hope with Tiger they support automator and give metadata based on tv show recordings.. Will make tv recording that much easier.
  • by jdbo ( 35629 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @12:38PM (#9593064)
    While I can only testify to the effectiveness of their USB recorder, I feel the need to give a big thumbs-up to the company that has made my TV watching both more efficient and enjoyable.

    At some point in my theoretically $-solvent future I plan to upgrade to one of the FW-based options, and the HDTV version looks pretty schweet. :)

    That said, particular "advanced" options I'd like to see in the EyeTV software (which is fundamentally similar in interface across hardware versions) include some degree of automated commercial-marking/trimming for archived programs, either based on templates (many shows commonly feature commericals at consistent breakpoints during the broadcast, which obviously lends itself to a template-based solution), or recognition of particular image(s) (many networks use consistent "bumpers", which can be used (via image-recognition) to mark the beginning and end-points of commercials.

    Given a chunk of time it's possible that I could put something like this together on my own (yay for EG using standards-based video!), but given the current success of their interface efforts, I'm confident that any set-up which they integrate would be superior to any external hack.
    • by MacFury ( 659201 ) <> on Friday July 02, 2004 @06:35PM (#9596321) Homepage
      My idea is to provide an online database of a shows total duration and the when and how long the commercials are. This is communicates with a client video player. When the client records a tv show, meta data is stored about the shows channel, time it was broadcast and show name.

      A user can then watch the show and mark when commercials begin and end. This information is sent to the server's database.

      That data is then available to everyone who has recorded that show. They can choose to skip over previsouly defined commercials or watch the entire recorded video stream.

      It would have to have a decent userbase to be useful, but I've seen worse ideas come to life. :-)

      • I hadn't really thought about the shared db issue, I think that's a good idea... there are some general issues around broadcasting/syndication that add complexity to the set-up - different edits of shows in syndication (different content edits/different commercial insertion points), determining the "start point" for the show - still, nothing that can't be overcome (once it's understood that this is a bit more complex than, say, CDDB).

  • g5 only (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now Mac owners too can view and record those hidef broadcasts.
    Only if the mac owner owns a powermac g5 because its the only mac that can play back 1920x1080 mpeg2 files.
    • Re:g5 only (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rand310 ( 264407 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:30PM (#9593696)
      No, not just a G5, but a Dual Processor G5 in order to view full screen HD records. Though it scales for us without such beautiful machines (thick wallets).

      I'd really like to know how useful this box is. I'd love to watch TV on my Mac, but I'm not even sure how many "over-the-air" channels I have anymore, much less HD channels...

      oh well
      • Re:g5 only (Score:4, Interesting)

        by foidulus ( 743482 ) * on Friday July 02, 2004 @05:03PM (#9595709)
        Elgato makes other, more affordable models that hook up through USB or firewire. While you may not be able to make the highest quality recordings(which would require some cpu power to avoid loss), you can still get decent quality. If you have a powermac g4, you can also look at this [], which has the added advantage that you can play console games on it, well you theoretically can with the external devices, but because there is a 1.5 second delay from when the source comes in to when it displays(which doesn't matter much for tv) playing games might not be much fun.
    • Only if the mac owner owns a powermac g5 because its the only mac that can play back 1920x1080 mpeg2 files.

      Which is why the method I use [] with an old 266 G3 is preferable to me: the HD stream is recorded on the computer, but the TV's tuner does all the decoding work. Granted, I'm doing OTA recording, but that's what I watch so that's what I do.
    • ...and there are just so many places broadcasting 1080p!

      Hopefully this thing can also handle 720p and all that?

  • by jeffehobbs ( 419930 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:07PM (#9593449) Homepage outlined in this excellent hint right here [] from

    This presupposes you can get the hardware HDTV box from your cable company, but that's usually only a nominal fee (+$10 a month).

  • by awtbfb ( 586638 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @01:38PM (#9593809)

    Come on people. This isn't fancy technology or a proprietary format. Do your homework [] and implement it already. Closed captioning has been vaporware for too long on EyeTV.
  • HD PVRs (Score:2, Funny)

    by dthree ( 458263 )
    I can think of one industry that must love them: hard drive manufacturers.
  • I think these have great potential, if only they could be combined with an IR blaster or directly connected to enable control of a cable or satellite box. Right now, I stick to TiVo because it performs flawlessly with Dish satellite TV, so I can get Sopranos etc.
  • DIY HDTV on your Mac (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @04:44PM (#9595539)
    check it out....not for the meek [] - all you need is a Comcast HD box w/FireWire and a smattering of developer apps...oh, and considerable hard drive space wouldn't be a bad idea either :)
  • Here is the dvb driver/viewer for Mac OS X in Australia.

  • Already Done (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Glendale2x ( 210533 ) <{su.yeknomajnin} {ta} {todhsals}> on Friday July 02, 2004 @07:35PM (#9596696) Homepage
    I've been doing this for about a year already []; with existing hardware. Firewire to Mits TV and I'm recording. Works with any FireWire enabled HDTV tuner out there.
  • ATI HDTV PCI Card (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Friday July 02, 2004 @11:26PM (#9597644) Homepage


    Why doesn't ATI simply write some Mac OS X drivers for the HDTV Wonder []...? After all, they know how to write video drivers - how hard could it be?

  • I am after their V100 or something, the PAL mpeg 1 one for cable TV (usb) and know what? I can't buy it.

    I thought it will be cheaper and more clever to buy it instead of giving my Philips 6 head NICAM VHS to service for tuner fix, with CC in my hand from Istanbul I tried to buy it...

    There is NO possible way! All their online stores, all the search, froggle, search... I couldn't buy the damn thing. No international shipping.

    Besides all, congratulations to them for releasing it for m

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.