Stream Live HDTV from Your Mac
Subject:   But what about SD?
Date:   2007-02-20 12:04:12
From:   dogzilla
First, my setup: 1.83 ghz Core Duo Mini, 512mb RAM, EyeTV Hybrid connected to cable input, EyeTV recordings on external 1tb firewire drive.

I tried this on my machine up to the point of trying to view the stream locally on my VLC but - as I expected - it did not work.

Here's why: very quickly after purchasing ran into a major limitation of the Hybrid (and of the Miglia TVMini HD) - it does not create a buffer for regular analog TV. Since it doesn't create a buffer, there's no file that CyTV (or VLC) can publish, therefore CyTV and VLC can currently *only* stream out HD when used in combination with the Hybrid or any other tuner that relies on the system for encoding will have this limitation. Additionally, the Hybrid doesn't receive ClearQAM (free HD via cable), so unless you have a digital antenna connected to it, there's no way to receive any HD, and consequently no way for this VLC setup or CyTV to work.

The issue seems odd - I can record SD with no problem. If I was willing to start a recording and devote hard drive space to effectively creating my own unlimited "buffer", I could stream live TV using this solution. But the drawbacks are considerable: I would have to set this up again every time I used it (there would be no "standard" name for the mpeg file) and it would consume a significant amount of hard drive space depending on how long I left it running. I don't understand why ElGato didn't at least include the option to buffer SD TV and allow the user to decide whether the performance hit was worth it or not.

Lastly, you mention in the article that this will work with SD and HD. I know that there are some Mac-compatible products that have hardware encoders for SD, and some that have hardware encoders for HD, but I don't know of any that do both, although I'm very interested in finding one. Could you let us know which product you're using and if this works for you in SD as well?

Thanks in advance.

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  • Erica Sadun photo But what about SD?
    2007-02-20 13:20:12  Erica Sadun | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    I'm pretty sure the Hybrid you already own can tune and digitize both SD and HD. As for needing to record, until Elgato adds a consistent buffer scheme for both SD and HD, you won't be able to skip the step in which you have to start recording to make this trick work.
    • But what about SD?
      2007-02-20 14:39:36  dogzilla [View]

      The Hybrid can tune SD, but the only way it can stream (either with this hack or via CyTV) is if you start a recording and then go through the steps described here every time. For HD, you can create an alias to the live buffer, but the only HD the Hybrid will receive is via ATSC, and then only if you buy an antenna and connect it to the cable input (disabling your coax connection) and switch the box into digital mode (which disables any other input mode).

      So overall, the Hybrid isn't really a viable solution for this except in very limited circumstances and for very limited needs/wants. I suppose it's cool accomplishment, but it's definitely not "living-room production-ready". I can't imagine having to go through all these steps to, say, record "Lost" or expect my wife to be able to record the Oscars this way.

      I'm kinda bummed about that. There doesn't seem to be a viable solution for this on the Mac side, although there seem to be individual products that can accomplish pieces.