Not all is perfect in High Def land. As you may recall, I purchased an EyeTV Hybrid to accessorize my Mac Mini in anticipation of the release of AppleTV. I’m trying to build a high def streaming media center to be able to bypass TiVo and enjoy HDTV recording on my Mac. Today’s post is the complaint post. It’s about all the little bits that are bothering me about my setup with EyeTV and the Hybrid. All these problems occur under normal EyeTV/Hybrid operation running under a standard installation of Tiger. I’m ignoring any flaky behavior I observe while running EyeTV under developer preview operating systems.
The channel listings don’t always update. Having channel listings that you can browse and select for recording is one of the key selling points of the EyeTV software. Unfortunately, those listings are not consistent. Although I have not had any problems downloading standard analog cable listings, I’m running into repeated problems keeping digital over-the-air broadcast listings up to date. No amount of restarting the computer, restarting the program or selecting “Update TitanTV Guide” has worked in terms of updating the program guide. Right now, I’m trying to see if I can fake the program out by messing with the global Application Support folder, but so far no luck. Instead, I have to launch a browser, navigate to TitanTV and download “tvpi” files from the TitanTV site. I can then load these schedules into EyeTV for future recording. This is a complete pain.
Don’t “touch” the computer while recording. My 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo with 1GB RAM is “underpowered” when it comes to HDTV recording. Any interaction with the system taxes it beyond what it can handle, producing breaks and interrupts in the recorded data. To produce a clean recording, I have to set the schedule and then leave the computer alone until the recording completes.
The program can get confused. The other day, my iPod export of an EyeTV show finished just as another show was due to start recording. Guess what happened? Nothing. The program missed the recording and never started, instead getting hung up in an odd “about-to-start-recording” mode. I have owned a TiVo since 2000. It has never gotten so confused between playback and recording that it missed a show.
The iPod output tags are confused. For whatever reason, when EyeTV exports video to iTunes, the episode name is set as the “Artist” and the TV show is the “Name”. This results in episodes of SpongeBob being called “SpongeBob Squarepants” as part of a TV Show called (for example) “King Krusty”.
In-program export is fracking slow–and incompatible. Using MPEG Streamclip to convert video is approximately an order of magnitude faster than EyeTV. It’s insanely and unnecessarily slow. And the iPod video it produces often doesn’t even sync to my iPod without reconverting through iTunes or QuickTime.