Re-tuning the EyeTV

Every few years you often need to re-tune your Freeview TV as the way the channels are organised and broadcast changes. Sometimes my TV lets me know, sometimes it’s a broadcaster that says something on air (which I usually miss) and more usually I find a load of channels missing and wonder what happened. This was certainly the case when my children mentioned missing channels on our Sony KDL48W605. So a quick check of the Freeview website and it was apparent that a re-tune was needed of the TV.

If the TV needed doing, I guessed that EyeTV on my Mac would also need to do it too. The mechanism for doing this is, is not entirely intuitive. What you have to do, is to use the EyeTV Setup Assistant.

EyeTV setup assistant

Go through the screens until you reach Auto-Tune TV Channels and then click the Auto-Tune button.

auto tune screen

So I let the EyeTV software do its job and all my channels were back to how they should be.

EyeTV EPG Problems

I can’t quite believe I have been using EyeTV 410 for over fifteen  years now and that the original Firewire based hardware is still working, though the software has gone through a few upgrades.

The EyeTV 410 has a DVB-T digital TV tuner that allows you to both watch Freeview TV on your Mac, but also record it. You can then export it to watch on mobile devices. It’s also possible to stream live TV and recorded programmes to mobile devices, not just on the local network, but it’s also possible do that over the internet.

As with Digital TVs, the EyeTV uses the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) that is transmitted alongside the video.  

I was having a few issues with the EPG as it was picking up any information from the BBC channels. I could view the channels, but no channel information was available, which meant I couldn’t (easily) set recordings, though with iPlayer I do that less and less now.

I checked for software updates, no the software was up to date.

I tried to Update the DVB Programme Guide, but that didn’t work.

Update DVB Programme Guide

I then cleared the EPG database.

Clear EPG database

That didn’t work either.

I then went through the setup assistant which is accessed through the EyeTV menu.

I then went through the setup assistant which is accessed through the EyeTV menu.

You usually use the assistant when setting up the device, but now and again I find it useful to “reset” the EyeTV settings, or when Freeview require a re-tune.

EyeTV setup assistant

Going to the Auto-Tune TV Channels screen of the assistant, I clicked Auto-Tune and let the assistant do its job.

auto tune screen

This worked and I could see the channel information for the BBC channels in the EPG.

EyeTV Mobile

I have been a fan of Elgato’s EyeTV devices for years now. They make it very easy to watch, record and edit TV on a Mac. My iMac with an Elgato EyeTV device replaced my video recorder years ago and as a result I never bought anything like a DVD recorder or similar. I use to use the excellent EyeHome to stream recorded video content to my TV, however the PSU failed and the software was never updated, so in the end I needed an alternative.

I now use two options, I encode the recordings for iPad, EyeTV then adds it to iTunes, I can then stream it through the Apple TV. Using Elgato’s h.264 Turbo HD hardware and software the conversion process is quite quick. My second option is to use the EyeTV app on the iPhone or the iPad that can access live TV and my recordings from the iMac. I can then either watch these on the iPad or using AirPlay put it on the TV through the Apple TV.

Of course all these options for using the iPad really depend on either, being at home, or using a wifi connection. If you don’t have wifi or have poor 3G (and a data limit) watching TV on the iPad.

I did quite like the idea behind the Tivizen EyeTV device.

Elgato’s powerful Tivizen device is small enough to slip into your pocket and take anywhere you go. Tivizen transmits the TV signal over to your iPad, iPhone, Mac, or PC wirelessly by joining your home Wi-Fi network or, when that is not available, by creating its own Wi-Fi hotspot. It has a small extendable antenna that receives the DTT (Freeview, or DVB-T) signal.

What did put me off was the fact that it was another battery powered device that would require charging.

It would appear that Elgato probably understand that kind of thinking as they are about to release a new EyeTV device for the iPad 2, the EyeTV Mobile.

EyeTV Mobile is made specifically for your iPad 2. Simply connect it to the dock connector and open the EyeTV Mobile app (available on the App Store). The television signal comes straight from the miniature telescopic aerial so you don’t need an internet connection. You get unlimited live TV on your iPad 2 without touching your data plan.

Using the special EyeTV Mobile App you plug the device into the dock connector and are able to watch live TV, under the assumption that you can pick up a signal using the miniature aerial. I will say previous attempts to use the included miniature aerials that came with previous EyeTV devices I have bought have generally not been much of a success. I am not that confident that with this aerial it will work as advertised… but I guess where you are will make a difference.

There is another assumption about this device and that is, well it is for me, that you watch a fair bit of live TV. To be honest I don’t watch much live TV. I think I am more interested about how this will work than whether it will allow me to watch live TV on my iPad.

EyeTV Netstream Sat

Elgato have announced  a new version of their Netstream device, the EyeTV Netstream Sat. This allows you to stream, watch and record free-to-view satellite television on any Mac or PC in the house, in full HD. If your home has an existing Wi-Fi network, you can watch live satellite TV wirelessly on a portable computer anywhere in your home or garden.

If you live in the UK then it can access the Freesat signal allowing you to access Freeview and Freeview HD channels available on Freesat.

I do quite like the fact that

  • Stream live TV over the home network to an iPad – even when your computers are turned off

At the moment I need to leave the iMac on to do this. Now I don’t actually have satellite, so would need to use the EyeTV Netstream DTT instead. However as that does not support Freeview HD and so I have decided at £230 it is more of  a luxury than essential, so I don’t mind going downstairs to turn the iMac on to watch TV on the iPad or via the Mac mini on the TV.

Hopefully one day Elgato will bring out a device that supports Freeview HD

EyeTV on the move

I wrote last week about how using my Airport Extreme with my new FTTC broadband.

I said then:

EyeTV has an iPad and iPhone App which have worked really well on my home network, but so far I have not had any luck accessing it away from home, even though it is correctly configured.

However I thought this was because:

I do believe though this is because of the remote network I was on. I have yet to try on a public wifi network and I suspect I will have better luck then.

Well when I was in a good 3G area I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised that not only did it work, but the quality was pretty good too.

Not sure how it will fit in with my 3G data cap, but now and again it will prove useful I think.

Some things now working…

As I have upgraded to FTTC and one of the requirements is that your router supports PPPoE. As a result I have replaced my old aging Netgear ADSL modem router with my Airport Extreme Base Station. I wasn’t able to use the Airport Extreme before as it did not support PPPoA, but as FTTC requires PPPoE I can now use it. As a result, it is a new(ish) router and therefore I anticipated that I would be able to do two things, one is use EyeTV remotely across the internet and two use Back to my Mac.

So what of EyeTV?

Watch, record, and enjoy live TV on your iPhone or iPad via a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. At last, you don‘t have to leave all your great TV shows at home; the EyeTV app puts the power of award-winning EyeTV in the palm of your hand.

The EyeTV app accesses EyeTV running on your Mac at home to deliver these great features to your Apple device:

  • Watch live TV and change channels anywhere (via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection)
  • Watch your EyeTV recordings
  • Browse the comprehensive Program Guide and view details
  • Start recordings back home on your Mac immediately or schedule them for later
  • View and edit your recording schedules
  • Automatically launch EyeTV on your Mac at home as needed
  • EyeTV has an iPad and iPhone App which have worked really well on my home network, but so far I have not had any luck accessing it away from home, even though it is correctly configured.

    I do believe though this is because of the remote network I was on. I have yet to try on a public wifi network and I suspect I will have better luck then.

    As for Back to my Mac, Apple says.

    Back to My Mac puts any Mac OS X Leopard- or Snow Leopard-based Mac you use within easy reach. MobileMe finds your remote Mac computers over the Internet and displays them in the Finder on the Mac you’re using. So you can connect from anywhere with just a click. Edit and save documents, open applications, and move folders. With Back to My Mac Screen Sharing, you can control your remote Mac as though you’re sitting in front of it.

    Again on my home Mac, everything seems fine.

    Well I did try and do this, however I couldn’t get my work Mac to recognise my MobileMe account and again as with EyeTV I believe this is because of the remote network.

    So near, yet not quite there.

    Mac mini Entertainment Centre

    I have managed to borrow a Mac mini, one of the new ones, and I have connected it up to my HD TV using an HDMI cable.

    After realising that I needed to change the audio output from the built in speakers to the HDMI output I was very impressed with how well it looked and worked.

    I haven’t put any content on the Mac mini so far, just streaming content from my home iMac across our 802.11n wireless network.

    The first thing I tried was EyeTV, using EyeTV 3 on both computers I was easily able to stream recordings from the iMac to the Mac mini. I was quite impressed with the picture quality, even though it is SD television. There was no buffering or stuttering which impressed me.

    I then tried Front Row and browsed my shared photographs, which looked lovely on the big 40″ HD TV.

    I then was able to browse my iMac iTunes Library from the Mac mini and was again impressed, though it made me realise I need to be better at playlists. Then I tried to stream some HD iTunes content from my iMac to the TV and fingers crossed, was it going to work?

    Yes, worked really well.

    Very impressed.

    I may have to get one for myself.

    turbo.264 HD

    turbo.264 HD

    The more I use the turbo.264 HD the more I wonder how I coped before I got it. The speed at which it encodes EyeTV recordings is impressive. So fast that when I check, more often then not I find it has finished.

    Another feature that I like is how it encodes video for the iPhone EyeTV application for live TV. The Elgato EyeTV application for the iPhone as well as accessing recordings from your Mac, will also allow you to watch live TV on your iPhone. When you have the turbo.264 HD is attached to the Mac, it does the encoding, so ensures that buffering is reduced and quality maintained.

    I am still impressed with the turbo.264 HD and recommend it.

    Update: the Mac App Store has the Turbo.264 HD software that works without the dongle, of course it is slower.

    Going HD

    Though I do like HD pictures it has taken me some time to go HD.

    In the early days there was the “battle” between HD-DVD and Blu Ray and though in the early days it looked like HD-DVD would win, my preference was for Blu Ray, so I decided to wait and as well all know now, Blu Ray won. Though with the availability of HD content via services such as iTunes, maybe physical media won’t be here much longer… well it might be in my house as my broadband connection is not the fastest in the world!

    So without any kind of HD player, why should I bother buying an HD TV so I didn’t…

    Then along came Sky HD… this meant that I could watch HD TV if I wanted to… however I didn’t fancy paying large amounts of money every month to Sky for the odd HD programme.

    Freesat promised HD without the monthly contract, but I would still need a dish on the side of the house and to be honest they are very ugly  and I didn’t see much on Freesat that I couldn’t see on Freeview that I would want to watch. Too much work really to go HD via Freesat.

    This week sees me getting a Sony Bravia HD 1080p TV.

    So why have I gone HD?

    Well Freeview HD has been switched on in my area. Yes it is only three HD channels, but they should be picked up by my aerial, so no dish.

    Combine that with the Blu Ray player I got for Christmas to replace my aging DVD player, I am almost ready to watch HD.

    I will probably (finally) get an Apple TV too, so that I can watch content from my iTunes collection on the new TV.

    All I need now is for Elgato to releaves a Freeview HD adapter.

    Upgraded EyeTV

    Just upgraded my EyeTV software to version 3.3.2 in the main as I am hoping it will solve some of the stability issues I have been having with the software.

    No major new functionality from what I can see.