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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
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.