Author Topic: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions  (Read 10672 times)

Offline kand8979

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EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« on: November 21, 2006, 07:46:22 PM »

I've been searching the net and several forums for detailed user opinions on the EyeTV.

If anyone using the software could give me some info on the following it would be much appreciated.

In relation to Scheduling from the Guide -

 - Can Recordings be set from the full screen menu to repeat each week for the same show?
 - Padding of Timers - Is this setup as a default option? Five Minutes Before and After each show?
 - Recording two shows together, aka merging of timers eg Futurama at 7:00 and Simpson's at 7:30
 - Is it possible to setup to scan the guide for Series and set recordings? Eg Always record The Simpson's whenever its on.

Also
 - Any opinions/experience on Dual Tuner Setups such as the EyeTV Diversity or dual EyeTV DTT.
 - Can you record two channels and watch something previously recorded?

Basically I'm looking at using a Mac Mini as a Media Centre to replace my current equipment.

For TV currently I use a Topfield 5000 and love its functionality but am looking at upgrading to HD and given the reported price of the new 7000 HD Model this seems to be a more flexible option pending the results of the above questions.

Thanks, appreciate any constructive opinions.

Offline Likkie

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2006, 02:27:55 AM »
- Can Recordings be set from the full screen menu to repeat each week for the same show?
 - Padding of Timers - Is this setup as a default option? Five Minutes Before and After each show?
 - Recording two shows together, aka merging of timers eg Futurama at 7:00 and Simpson's at 7:30
 - Is it possible to setup to scan the guide for Series and set recordings? Eg Always record The Simpson's whenever its on.

Also
 - Any opinions/experience on Dual Tuner Setups such as the EyeTV Diversity or dual EyeTV DTT.
 - Can you record two channels and watch something previously recorded?

Basically I'm looking at using a Mac Mini as a Media Centre to replace my current equipment.

For TV currently I use a Topfield 5000 and love its functionality but am looking at upgrading to HD and given the reported price of the new 7000 HD Model this seems to be a more flexible option pending the results of the above questions.

Thanks, appreciate any constructive opinions.

Hi There,

I am currently using an Intel Mac Mini 1.66 Core Duo with with 2 EyeTV DTT sticks as a media centre.  It also has 2Gb RAM and an external 320Gb HDD connected via firewire.  I also have a Topfield 5000PVRt.

If you are going to, I would strongly recommend you bought  the more powerful 1.8 GHz mini, which wasn't available when I bought mine, if you want to record 2 programs and watch 1 concurrently.

I have not actually done that, but when playing back a program that was recorded simultanously with another there is a very slight jerkiness that I can only put down to a lack of horsepower.

Playback of a program that was recorded whilst the other tuner is idle is perfectly smooth.

Padding of timers for both before and after an event is user definable but only on a global level not on a per-event basis.  This is prefectly acceptable to my mind.

Recording 2 shows one after the other doesn't work that well with only 1 tuner if you have timer padding for before an event, the first recording finishes early to allow for the padding of the next event.
With 2 tuners this is handled beautifully, as the second recording is handled by the other tuner, if its available, so both events are recorded with the desired padding at each end (Something Topfield should take note of).  It is during the over lap period that I noticed the jerkiness I mentioned earlier.

I haven't found a way of scanning the guide to automate the set up recording of series. This is not an issue for me as I use PIMP to schedule recordings and the favourites option in there takes care of that very nicely.  GOOD ONE ICE TV!!!!

I am running the video at 1280*720 via DVI to my plasma panel.  The image quality is excellent.  It took a little bit of fiddling to get it right using an excellent tool called DisplayConfigX which allowed me to set up video display modes that where not available by default.  I cannot recommend it highly enough and it cost something like US$10.

I also should say that I still use the Topfield mostly.  The rest of the houshold are used to it.  It is easy to use especially for general TV viewing.  EveTV is very nice, but when you are not using it as a recorder and just want to flick around the channels it is a little cumbersome.  For example, there is no way to quickly view the info for a program, whereas on the Topfield you can just press the (i) key twice to view a program synopsis, you can't do this with EyeTV.  You can display the Now and Next info after returning to the the full screen menu and clicking the remote about 5 or 6 times but that is very disruptive.

I just checked and there does not seem to be a way to schedule repeat recordings from the full screen program guide but as I said I do this via PIMP favourites anyway.

Whilst I am quite happy wth the Mini I still don't think its quite there yet, its very close but I won't be getting rid of the Toppy yet.

I hope this is useful, if you have any questions gimme a holler,

Cheers,

Likkie.


Offline Marc

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2006, 01:13:18 PM »
I have an almost identical setup to Likkie (scarily close! even a 320gb external drive!).

Everything Likkie has said echos my feelings exactly. EyeTV isn't 100% as a media center that's used by non-techy people, but it's very, very close and getting better at a fast rate. Dual HD tuners works with no issues, as does padding.

I know most of your questions have been answered, but I thought I'd quickly run down the list.

Quote
Can Recordings be set from the full screen menu to repeat each week for the same show?
No. I'm sure it's on the way and we'll have the PIMP series record working VERY soon.

Recordings can be set from the full screen menu though.

Pure speculation on my part: I think Elgato have big plans for EyeTV 3 and what we're seeing in version 2.3.2 is just a stop gap, even though it works well.

Quote
Padding of Timers - Is this setup as a default option? Five Minutes Before and After each show?
Can be up to 30mins. I have 2mins before and 20mins after.

Quote
Recording two shows together, aka merging of timers eg Futurama at 7:00 and Simpson's at 7:30
I haven't done a lot of that, but I'm pretty sure the padding is lost, and the shows stop/start on schedule if they can't be padded. That's pretty much the best that can be done.

Quote
Is it possible to setup to scan the guide for Series and set recordings? Eg Always record The Simpson's whenever its on.
Nup. I don't know what Elgato have planned, but PIMP will allow for this soon. Eventually we plan to add "smart" search record too. So you'll be able to say "record everything with "sailing" in the title, description, and title or description". The recordings will be prioritized so that things you've set by hand take precedence. I hope that makes sense. This will be for all PIMP enabled devices (MCE and EyeTV).

Quote
Any opinions/experience on Dual Tuner Setups such as the EyeTV Diversity or dual EyeTV DTT.
I don't know what else to say but... works as advertised :)

Quote
Can you record two channels and watch something previously recorded?
Yes. I'll need to test it here to see if I get the same glitches as Likkie. I haven't really seen any glitches, but I don't always record HD (to save on HD space).

Offline kand8979

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2006, 04:30:09 PM »
Thanks for the responses.

I guess what I'm looking for is HD with the same functionality as my Toppy.

I watch a lot of TV and merging of timers is important because more often than not I'm already taping something on another channel at the same time.  Currently I'm using JustEPG on the Toppy which is a very elegant solution and is smart enough to merge adjacent timers.

Provided I'm willing to drive this system partially via Keyboard/Mouse it may not be a deal breaker.  I'll just have to manually schedule timers for the overlapping shows.

Likkie - The jerkiness problem you described while recording two shows - were they HD or SD? That would definitely be a deal breaker for me on SD.  Are you sure a more powerful Mini would solve the problem?

Offline Likkie

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2006, 10:23:10 PM »
Likkie - The jerkiness problem you described while recording two shows - were they HD or SD? That would definitely be a deal breaker for me on SD.  Are you sure a more powerful Mini would solve the problem?

The recordings are SD, I don't bother that much with HD at this stage my plasma panel isn't really up to it.

The jerkiness is very slight but noticable to me, I had never noticed it until I got the second tuner.

I don't often actually record two programs concurrently, but I do record a number of shows in succession and I pad events 5 mins before and 15 mins after.  When playing them back, for the period where the event's padding overlapped during recording, a very slight jerkiness is apparent to me.  Its difficult to explain exactly how it looks.  Jerkiness, which is much stonger than I would like, is the only word I can think of to adequately describe what I perceive.

I don't KNOW that it is due to a lack of processor power, it is a hunch.  I hope so because that's fixable whereas USB bus and Firewire/HDD speed are pretty much fixed.

I have one other peeve regarding EyeTV too, and that is that recordings are not saved in a way that is easily accessible via Front Row.  HRMF!!

Cheers,

Likkie
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 10:26:42 PM by Likkie »

Offline peteru

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2006, 11:37:25 PM »
I found that the playback quality is pretty average to poor, even on a Quad Core Xeon Mac Pro with 4GB RAM and Cinema HD display. Must be a software issue, since the box I used is the current Apple flagship product and should have more than enough grunt.


Offline Marc

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2006, 11:14:17 AM »
Maybe what you guys are seeing is an interlacing issue??????

I haven't noticed any problems here. Are you using a CRT or LCD Peter?

Offline Daniel Hall at IceTV

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2006, 11:20:11 AM »
I watch a lot of TV and merging of timers is important because more often than not I'm already taping something on another channel at the same time.  Currently I'm using JustEPG on the Toppy which is a very elegant solution and is smart enough to merge adjacent timers.

Just out of personal curiosity, what is the advantage of merging timers?

I've never really found the need. I use JustEPG as well on the Toppy but don't use any of the hard padding options that it has, just the soft padding of the ICE_EPG_Loader TAP.
Regards,

Daniel.
CTO.

Offline kand8979

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2006, 01:37:42 PM »

Merging timers is important in the following scenario

   Channel 10
   7:00 Futurama
   7:30 The Simpsons

Instead of setting two separate timers for Futurama and The Simpsons with a pause in the middle I set one timer starting at 6:55 finishing at 8:05. I could set two timers using two tuners but when something is on another channel at the same time that doesn't work.

What I like about JustEPG is when I set the Simpsons recording in the above scenario it will ask me if I want to merge it with Futurama.

In terms of usefulness I use it all the time - in my current schedule I have about five different merged timers.

Offline Daniel Hall at IceTV

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2006, 04:04:01 PM »
Instead of setting two separate timers for Futurama and The Simpsons with a pause in the middle I set one timer starting at 6:55 finishing at 8:05. I could set two timers using two tuners but when something is on another channel at the same time that doesn't work.

I can sort of see what you mean, but does this mean that you are using 'hard' padding on your recordings?

Also when you talk about a pause between recordings, does this mean there is actually a gap of 1 min? Or just that one recording ends and then the next one starts?

Generally I just set two separate recordings, nothing gets missed when one recording ends and the next starts straight after it, the only padding being used is the 'soft' padding of the Ice Tap, so in this scenario Futurama doesn't get padded and records from 7:00 until 7:30,  then the recording for The Simpsons goes from 7:30 until 8:20 (as long as there is at least one tuner free at 8pm) as I have padding set to 20 mins currently.

Offline Marc

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2006, 04:51:39 PM »
Generally I just set two separate recordings, nothing gets missed when one recording ends and the next starts straight after it, the only padding being used is the 'soft' padding of the Ice Tap, so in this scenario Futurama doesn't get padded and records from 7:00 until 7:30,  then the recording for The Simpsons goes from 7:30 until 8:20 (as long as there is at least one tuner free at 8pm) as I have padding set to 20 mins currently.
That's what I do. It means you might have to watch the last 2 mins of Futurama in The Simpsons recording.

As far as I'm aware, the change over to the new recording happens in a matter of seconds. I haven't noticed any gap worthy of a mention.

Offline kand8979

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2006, 08:34:16 PM »

That's what I do. It means you might have to watch the last 2 mins of Futurama in The Simpsons recording.

As far as I'm aware, the change over to the new recording happens in a matter of seconds. I haven't noticed any gap worthy of a mention.

Thats the reason i do it - nothing worse than having to go searching for another recording to watch the last two minutes of a show.

And in a lot of cases it's far worse than a few minutes - like ten or twenty for anything on after a reality show.

I've also found in the past that I do miss more than a few seconds during the changeover.

Offline peteru

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2006, 10:08:41 PM »
Maybe what you guys are seeing is an interlacing issue??????

Nope. The de-interlacing is OK to average. This is an issue with keeping an even and accurate frame rate. I'm seeing frame drops, similar to what one would see in a poor NTSC/PAL conversion. I've seen this kind of problem in software that takes a very simplistic approach to matching the MPEG clock reference to the system clock. The two clocks slowly drift apart and once the error is too great, the playback code just makes a correction by jumping forward in the stream or pausing.

Quote
I haven't noticed any problems here. Are you using a CRT or LCD Peter?

Perhaps you are more tolerant or happen to have a system clock that is more accurate.

The Apple Cinema HD is an LCD monitor, but is not a source of the problems. Quicktime MPEG-4 files are fine, because they don't need to be synchronised to the broadcaster clock.

« Last Edit: November 24, 2006, 11:47:47 PM by peteru »

Offline Marc

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Re: EyeTV - Actual User Opinions
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2006, 11:56:48 PM »
I haven't noticed any difference between playing files in QuickTime or EyeTV, or viewing TV via my set top box on the same screen.
Either I'm not noticing it, or something's very different about our setups!

Btw, I have a lot of respect for the EyeTV developers... I believe it's the same team who worked on Toast originally.


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