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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Is it possible to watch tv on a mac?

Is it possible to watch tv on a mac?
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mustafa
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Aug 13, 2003, 04:51 PM
 
I was wondering if there was a way to watch and record TV on my mac?
I've heard about El Gato but you can't watch fullscreen without getting distorted images? So my second question is there a way to watch TV fullscreen and without distorted images?
     
Developer
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Aug 13, 2003, 04:58 PM
 
You need either some Firewire DV thing, or a PCI TV card.
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roders
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Aug 13, 2003, 06:01 PM
 
Theres a couple of freeware app's that u can use with PC PCI TV cards, the Elgato works quite well, the image is compresses, but in Mpeg 2 format so it should be ok (I used to own one) remember a normal TV's res is actually less than 640X480 so if your TV window is bigger than this the picture won't nesercarily any clearer (as I guess it's upsampled) also the bandwidth of USB1 means the image has to compressed.
Formac make a firewire Tv tuner which should/might have better picture quality.
     
awaspaas
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Aug 13, 2003, 06:12 PM
 
For watching TV, the difference in quality between the USB EyeTV and the firewire Formac isn't that great because, remember, this is broadcast TV we're talking about - not a high-res source at all. Viewing EyeTV fullscreen on my 19" monitor from across the room looks no different from having a 19" TV. If all you want to do is watch and record TV, I'd say that the Formac is overkill - there's no way to "improve" TV resolution, and since it stores recorded video as DV (I think) the file sizes would be prohibitively large to store yourself up a good library. The EyeTV has pretty decent quality - it has low- and high-quality modes, and the filesizes are much smaller, and shows can be burned directly to CDs to make video CDs.

You're worried about "distortion" - sure you can see some MPEG artifacts in the EyeTV picture if it's fullscreen and you're right up to the screen, but a fullscreen TV picture is so blurry anyway I don't even notice it unless I think about it. Across the room or several feet away from your computer (the only time I'd argue fullscreen is even necessary) it's not an issue.

My recommendation: capturing high-quality video/DVD type stuff, go with the Formac. Watching/recording/archiving TV, I recommend EyeTV.

ps... EyeTV is the best $200 I've ever spent for my computer!
( Last edited by awaspaas; Aug 13, 2003 at 06:18 PM. )
     
ckohler
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Aug 13, 2003, 06:15 PM
 
Originally posted by mustafa:
I've heard about El Gato but you can't watch fullscreen without getting distorted images? So my second question is there a way to watch TV fullscreen and without distorted images?
This all depends on what you personally consider "distorted". I have an EyeTV and I can tell you with great enthusiasm that it is by far one of the best computer peripherals I have ever owned (PC or Mac).

The quality of the picture is more than acceptable at full screen. Look, unless you are some kind of devote videophile who won't settle for anything less than HDTV, you're not going to have a problem here. It's about the same quality as a Tivo set at basic quality.

I once considered other options such a overlay TV cards and super expensive DV TV devices but I eventually put my head on straight and realized those were overkill in both quality, usability and price.
     
Arkham_c
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Aug 13, 2003, 06:15 PM
 
Just remember that TV is 640x400 resolution, so the only way to watch it full-screen without pixelation is to (a) decrease screen resolution or (b) interpolate subpixels to try and make it look better. Most TV tuner thingies (including ElGato's EyeTV) offer to interpolate the video for you if that's the route you want to take.
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Samanoske
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Aug 13, 2003, 06:23 PM
 
PC PCI wont work ... afaik .. only some models with some roms on some macs with some OS .. or well ... I have 3 PC PCI cards ... none of em works .. maybe I am to lame - or the french secam is not supported or my tv cable in my apartment is damaged anyway, hard to find out - damnit!

neva support Formac .. as OS x was released they didn't make a ProTV card driver . although it was one hell of a bestseller - and they didn't giva a f*** with the excuse -> betta buy the 400 firewire thingy ... thnx formac

luckily my boss had also a ProTV card. so my company completely stopped buying formac products ..
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MacManMikeOSX
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Aug 13, 2003, 06:32 PM
 
I used to use ATI's Xclaim USB TV until I switche to X, they havent updated the drivers yet they still sell it.
     
mustafa  (op)
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Aug 13, 2003, 07:28 PM
 
Thanks for the resoponse
I wanted to record and burn the video onto to a dvd or vcd
     
iRebound
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Aug 13, 2003, 07:55 PM
 
what you wanna try is televio

it's a TV PCI card for OS X and comes with a remote
     
hadocon
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Aug 13, 2003, 09:42 PM
 
Originally posted by Arkham_c:
Just remember that TV is 640x400 resolution...
Actually NTSC is 720x480 @ 29.97fps, PAL is 720x 576 @ 25fps.

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Laurence
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Aug 14, 2003, 11:59 AM
 
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Actually NTSC is 720x480 @ 29.97fps, PAL is 720x 576 @ 25fps.
--------------------------------------------------------------------

It is 720x480, but with a 0.9 pixel aspect ratio, which means that since computer displays have square pixels the NTSC size is interpreted as either 648x480 or 720x534, the latter being the prefered size.
--Laurence
     
GORDYmac
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Aug 14, 2003, 12:36 PM
 
No TV signal is going to look good on a computer monitor when viewed at full screen.
     
kaboom
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Aug 14, 2003, 08:33 PM
 
Originally posted by iRebound:
what you wanna try is televio

it's a TV PCI card for OS X and comes with a remote
I second this.
I actually bought a Televio and am very happy with it.
It has a cable TV in, an FM radio, IR remote control, and it can record and save shows in various formats.
The only thing missing it TiVO-like ability.
You can't set it up to record shows that you want, however, if you want to record while you're watching, it works fine. Though I'd probably recommend a faster Powermac for recording. My 867 G4 drops a few frames when recording at 640x480. At half size, it works perfectly.
Also, the software is not terribly intuitive but once you get over the learning curve, it's ok.
Definitely worth the $150 that I spent.
     
Ed De
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Aug 15, 2003, 07:43 PM
 
No TV signal is going to look good on a computer monitor when viewed at full screen.
Wrong. I also have the televio card and am very happy with it, especially compared to the USB solution I had been using before - MyTV2GO. Full screen on a 19" monitor is crisp - not as good as a dvd, but certainly good enough. It doesn't look like a small image that's been stretched fullscreen.

record and save shows in various formats
Just out of interest, what compression do you find works best? For sound and vision? I'm looking for the best filesize / picture quality / not dropping frames solution (obviously can't have all 3, second 2 are most important). I've spent some time trying different types but haven't really come to any conclusions.
     
SteevAK
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Aug 15, 2003, 10:02 PM
 
Here's another vote for EyeTV. I'm really glad I bought it. I've been happy with the quality too.
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kaboom
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Aug 16, 2003, 02:45 AM
 
Originally posted by Ed De:
Just out of interest, what compression do you find works best? For sound and vision? I'm looking for the best filesize / picture quality / not dropping frames solution (obviously can't have all 3, second 2 are most important). I've spent some time trying different types but haven't really come to any conclusions. [/B]
I'm still experimenting myself but I find that JPEG A seems to work nicely. MPEG 4 seems to be the worst.
Also, I've found out that if you 'renice' the Televiso app in the Terminal to -20 it helps with the dropped frames.
     
awaspaas
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Aug 16, 2003, 03:13 AM
 
Originally posted by Ed De:
Just out of interest, what compression do you find works best? For sound and vision? I'm looking for the best filesize / picture quality / not dropping frames solution (obviously can't have all 3, second 2 are most important).
EyeTV has it already compressed for you!

/EyeTV Zealot
     
iRebound
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Aug 16, 2003, 04:41 AM
 
Originally posted by awaspaas:
EyeTV has it already compressed for you!

/EyeTV Zealot
but EyeTV can only do mpeg 1, but the televio can do any format that quicktime supports.

the software isn't as good as the eyetv's but it will get better. they're working on a time record feature
( Last edited by iRebound; Aug 16, 2003 at 04:57 AM. )
     
iRebound
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Aug 16, 2003, 04:53 AM
 
one thing i'm scared of the televio tv tuner card is that they might go out of business like ix Micro because i have a useless ixTV card right now.

and my ATI Xclaim TV is useless under OS X. back in the days when the Xclaim USB first came out, ATI said that they will support OS X. but look at it now. damn.

i seem to have bad luck with the tv tuners
     
pelorus
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Aug 16, 2003, 08:28 AM
 
I use an Eskape myTV/fm. It works. That's all.
     
angelmb
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Aug 17, 2003, 02:34 PM
 
I have Televio since June, it works great and the folks at Meilenstein are very nice giving you support and advice.
     
clarkgoble
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Aug 19, 2003, 07:58 PM
 
If you had a HDTV receiver Apple has software to play it and record it on the Mac via a firewire cable.
     
Titom
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Sep 28, 2003, 03:44 PM
 
Just got eyeTV. Haven't triied it yet, will very soon :-)
     
hadocon
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Sep 28, 2003, 03:53 PM
 
Originally posted by clarkgoble:
If you had a HDTV receiver Apple has software to play it and record it on the Mac via a firewire cable.
What software is this?
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SupahCoolX
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Sep 28, 2003, 09:29 PM
 
Any of these Firewire of USB devices work well with video games? (I have a laptop, so the Televio card is not an option).
     
motti
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Sep 29, 2003, 08:57 AM
 
I have a Hauppauge WinTV in my G4, wouldn't say that it works great but I can watch tv
     
midwinter
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Sep 29, 2003, 10:25 AM
 
Eye TV and Toast 6. You can burn all the mpeg-1 DVDs (with menus and everything) you can stand.
     
:XI:
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Oct 25, 2003, 04:17 PM
 
Originally posted by motti:
I have a Hauppauge WinTV in my G4, wouldn't say that it works great but I can watch tv
Just wondering what app you used and if you did anything special?
     
Boondoggle
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Oct 25, 2003, 04:26 PM
 
If you had a HDTV receiver Apple has software to play it and record it on the Mac via a firewire cable.
Can you get a HDTV reciever without a monitor and with a FW port? That would be Xelnt. Especially with the Cinema HD display...

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motti
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Oct 27, 2003, 05:23 PM
 
Originally posted by :XI::
Just wondering what app you used and if you did anything special?
I had to install the Bt8xx.kext kernel extension and the iTV app, I hope this will still work with 10.3 which will hopefully be available in Switzerland by the end of this week...
     
bugs
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Oct 27, 2003, 05:56 PM
 
There's more than watching and recording--there's editing. Unless you start and end your recording at exactly the right time, and don't mind the commercials, pledge breaks and boring parts, you will want to edit your recordings.

EyeTV makes it easy to not only cut out what you don't want, but also to save still and moving clips from larger videos.

I've edited files larger than 2 gigglebytes without a problem, though it takes about 4 minutes to render the changes I make.

The programmers have updated it when necessary and will listen to your suggestions for improvements.
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gorgonzola
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Oct 27, 2003, 06:24 PM
 
People have already explained what the various options do and don't do, so I'll skip that. I use EyeTV and recommend it.
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Switched2Mac
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Oct 27, 2003, 08:30 PM
 
EyeTV from El Gato

I love this device.

This along with TitanTV make it almost TiVo like (which I also own). Connects via USB and the software works perfectly under Panther (use v1.3).

Saves as MPEG1 so it plays as .MOV in QuickTime or rename the file to .MPG and play it on Windows systems easily.

Great to build up your Southpark, Simpsons, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 collection!

Why collect MP3's when you can collect the videos instead?!?!

The video editor is simple and easy. It works perfectly and since the device is USB, you can use it with virtually any MAC down the road.

TV signal is usually crappy compared to your monitor, of course. And I have only Basic Cable which is not good at all. I have seriously considered upgrading to Satellite or Digital Cable to get perfect quality recording.
( Last edited by Switched2Mac; Oct 27, 2003 at 08:37 PM. )
     
   
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