EyeHome is ALIVE!

The EyeHome is ALIVE! Working again after a few months now without it.

The main issue was a dead power supply. I couldn’t find a spare. In the end I found that the PSP charger, which is also 5V fitted and worked.

Initially I had an issue with finding the 10.5 Mac but after changing the IP address on the Mac it did work.

As I now have an 802.11n Ethernet bridge under the TV the streaming worked really well. No buffeting or stuttering.

Now need to get the EyeHome software running on 10.6 that looks a little more complicated.

Introduction to video on your TV from your Mac

I still have a video recorder under my TV, in the main as it has a clock!

I have not used the VCR to record for over five years now, the Elgato 410 connected to my Mac is my way main method of recording TV shows.

However I much prefer watching TV on my TV than watching it on my computer.

So how do I get the recorded video from the Mac to the TV?

Over the years I have used a variety of methods, depending on need, speed, wireless connectivity, even DRM. I have used DVD-Rs, EyeHome, video streamers, PS3, Mac mini, iPod touch, iPhone, iPod, MacBook Pro… each has its advantages and disadvantages. Over the next few weeks I will be talking about, showing and explaining how and why I use all these different methods.

Picture source.

The EyeHome, it lives…

Back in October last year my EyeHome stopped working. I assumed has had happened before that the transformer had broken again.

What I did back then was ask Elgato and they replaced the transformer for me, however according to their website they can no longer provide replacements.

I was hoping to find a replacement for my EyeHome, but after having a good look around, trying even to use the PS3, in the end I decided that the only possible replacement was a Mac mini and even that was a compromise and not a real replacement.

I did try and find a replacement transformer, but though I thought I had found a potential supplier, it wasn’t clear which transformer I should buy for the EyeHome.

So for most of this year, the EyeHome was sat in the office and I waited paitently for Elgato to make a replacement…

Yesterday I started tidying  up the office and I “found” the EyeHome and started to pack it into a box when I looked at the power supply input, noticed it said 5V and started to wonder…

The PSP power supply looked like it could fit…

It does fit…

It does power the EyeHome…

It lives!!!

EyeHome Replacement

Since my EyeHome stopped working, I am guessing it was the transformer again, I have been thinking about a possible replacement.

Choices are limited, Elgato no longer make the EyeHome or any type of replacement.

You can buy uPnP devices, however my experiences with the PS3 make me wary of purchasing a uPnP media streamer.

I am supposing the obvious choice is the Apple TV, however I am not sure if I can connect it to my TV. I don’t have an HDTV, so the connectors won’t really work with a SCART television.

So do I upgrade my television so that I can use an Apple TV?


Going to try and see if I can find an EyeHome power replacement.

EyeHome stopped

I really do like my EyeHome media streamer and it look like it has stopped working (again). It’s at time like these why I remember why I blog, when it didn’t work before I was advised by Elgato to leave it off for a long time, so at the moment it is unplugged and (probably) cooling down.

The EyeHome is now four years old (which is a long time in consumer electronics) and starting to show its age.

Sadly Elgato no longer make the EyeHome device, so I will need to look for a possible replacement. The key issue will be, can it play the raw MPEG2 recordings from Elgato?

In the interim I am using MediaServer from Twonky and streaming to a Sony PS3, but this doesn’t work with MPEG2 files, works fine with the MP4 iPod versions which the EyeTV creates, but these take a long time to export.

So if I can’t find a media streamer which works with MPEG2, I may just invest in one of the Elgato turbo.264 USB devices to speed up the encoding.

EyeHome can’t find my EyeTV content

If you have been reading recently you will know that I have upgraded my iMac to Leopard.

The majority of software and applications I use seem to have been working fine.

However last night I decided to use my EyeHome so that I could watch a recording of Merlin I had made earlier using EyeTV.

However the EyeHome could not find my EyeTV recording, and I knew I had some. The EyeHome could find video in my Movies folder and other content across the iMac but not the EyeTV recordings.

I did remove the relationship between the iMac and the EyeHome, restart the EyeHome application on the iMac, but no joy.

In the end I used Wi-Fi Access instead. One of the features of EyeTV following an update (version 2.5) was the ability to stream recordings wirelessly to an iPhone or an iPod touch. It’s simple to turn on, just go to the relevant section in the EyeTV preferences.

EyeTV Wireless Access Preferences

What this does is once EyeTV has finished recording a TV programme, it will automatically convert the recording into a format which will play on the iPod touch or the iPhone. This is then made available over your wireless network via a web interface.

So using an iPod touch I connected it to the TV, browsed to my EyeTV recordings using the URL given in the EyeTV preferences and played the recording.

This worked well (and the quality is better than the BBC iPlayer version).

Having enjoyed the episode of Merlin, I now wanted to work out why the EyeHome couldn’t find the EyeTV.

I did find this on the Elgato website.

If you are using EyeTV with EyeHome, then EyeHome thinks your EyeTV Archive is in the Library folder for your User account. In reality, it’s probably in the Documents folder, or somewhere else that you chose via the Recording Preferences in EyeTV. Due to this error, EyeHome can’t find your EyeTV recordings without help.

A symbolic link, that points from the true EyeTV Archive location, will solve the problem – name the link “EyeTV Archive”, and place it in the Library folder ( ~/Library/EyeTV Archive). In other words, put the link here:

Open the Hard Drive

Open the Users folder

Open the folder that’s named after your User account (it may have a House icon).

Open the Library folder

Place the link called “EyeTV Archive” in the Library folder

Most users can do this using SymbolicLinker.

In this way, you keep the EyeTV Archive wherever you like, but EyeHome will find a link to it in that Library folder.

My solution is going to be to move the default folder to the Library.

What is interesting is I am almost 100% sure that I did not change this preference and if I had I would have not put the archive in the Documents folder, but put it in the Movies folder.

This was a fresh install of EyeTV as when I upgrade an OS or change computer (or in this case change hard drive) I usually start with a vanilla fresh OS install and then add my applications as and when I need them. This avoids clogging the computer with applications I used once or rarely, and usually avoids problems following you around from the previous install to the new install. A good example of this is that my Canon printer now prints everytime.

Lets hope EyeHome works fine now.

Serving media through the home

I really like my EyeHome device. I’ve had it a few years now and even had it fixed in Germany one time when the power supply failed. Changing to 802.11n made it much better and more capable of showing content from my Mac on my television.

It’s such a great concept I did wonder if I would be able to serve media to other devices and not just the EyeHome.

This came up recently when I put a Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) under my television which can act as a uPnP device and serve content from an appropriate media server. Not only that, but you can pair a PlayStation Portable (PSP) with the PS3 to be able to access the PS3 remotely.

A plan was starting to form…

If I could get the PS3 to access content from the Mac, I could then watch it remotely on the PSP. The PSP didn’t like accessing content direct from the Mac, so this could work, couldn’t it?

The first issue was getting some media server software running on the Mac, the EyeHome software didn’t work; and though Elgato make a uPnP software product, EyeConnect, it appeared from the Elgato website that the PS3 as a media extender was not in the list of supported extenders, and there were a few reports in the Elgato forums which kind of put me off. There is a 30 day trial, so I might give it a go later.

What did come out in my research was Twonkymedia.

The PacketVideo MediaServer enables you to share your multimedia throughout your home. It is available for many different platforms and interworks with a large variety of client devices including XBox 360™, Sony PS3™ and Sony PSP™. TwonkyMedia requires fewer resources and is faster than other UPnP media servers, and provides more features that help users enjoy large media collections.

Installed and ran it…

Worked very well.

The PS3 picked up the iMac which I was running the software on.

The PSP picked up the PS3 – though I believe that the PSP can access the media direct, but I was trying to be clever!

I tried a few other devices.

The iPod touch through the web interface could access the media.

My Nokia N95 could access the server, and the media.

A Nokia N810 could access the media, it just couldn’t play it!

Overall I was impressed, very likely to pay the €30 it costs.

Hack your Apple TV (kind of)

Interesting device has been released by Apple Core, LLC, the aTV which is a USB device which you can use to “hack” your Apple TV.

aTV Flash is a USB flash drive that inserts into the AppleTV and will upgrade it to do all kinds of new things. The software installs automatically, and no modification or coding is required. Also, it will NOT void your warranty.

Key Features:
– Play most video formats (DivX, Xvid, AVI, WMV, RMVB + more)
– Play DVD files WITHOUT converting them
– Sync, organize and watch non-iTunes video files
– Browse the web with a Safari based web browser
– Rent & watch Hi-Def movies from Jaman.com
– Stream media from UPnP(v1) media servers
– View local weather forecasts
– View RSS Feeds
– Enable SSH access
– All original Apple TV features remain intact

Certainly looks interesting and the web browse facility is certainly something I would use.

Seriously now thinking about getting an Apple TV and one of these. Certainly could be an EyeHome replacement.

Pleaaaasssee be a little faster!

I have no idea why, but my iMac can be so slow at times…

This is a 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with 2 GB of RAM, so I am guessing that this really should be a fast computer, certainly faster than my old G4 PowerBook!

However at times it slows down to a real crawl, so slow that all I get is the spinning beachball of death!

However all is not lost I know why.

I run too many applications at once and I run them hard.

For example I will usually have three browsers open all with multiple tags. I also visit sites which have lots of javascript and ajax in them (such as WordPress blogs and Jaiku).

I do run a few PowerPC legacy applications (namely Word and Firefox).

I will have iPhoto and iTunes running in the background as well.

I would suspect that running EyeTV and EyeHome in the background also adds to the load.

So it’s not really the iMac’s fault, I know it’s all mine!

In theory what I should do is run a single application only and then open the others as and when I need them.

In theory that is a good idea.

In reality I don’t work that way.

Maybe I need a stack of computers with multiple spaces on a single monitor that allow me to work the way I want to without loading the lot so much so slow it right down to a crawl.

Ouch, it’s hot!

After not using it for a while, I decided that I would move my Mac mini from under the TV and move it to another room and use it as a web server.

I never really got round to using it as a TV computer, or media centre or anything really. An old CRT television is never much cop for showing a computer screen so was always using VNC to control it and if I am doing that I might as well use the laptop I am using to control the mini to do my computer stuff.

As a media centre it failed, as the Mac mini could not cope with the streams that the USB EyeTV device provided. The EyeTV relied on the mini for encoding and could it do it, no, not very well.

I also found that I rarely watched TV which I wanted to pause if I got interrupted, for things I did care about I had already recorded it already on the iMac and was watching it through the EyeHome.

However after I moved it I realised I must have turned the Airport off, so I connected it back to the 802.11n Airport Extreme by ethernet and VNC’d back in.

Now here’s my advice, if you leave a Mac mini on top of an 802.11n Airport Extreme, be aware that both will get too hot to handle! The Mac mini’s fans were going like they were going to take off.

It’s incredible how hot the 802.11n Airport Extreme gets, what does it do which means it get’s so hot?

Well the Mac mini is now in a cooler place acting as a temporary web server.