My Digital Macintosh Life Update

by Erica Sadun

So the new HDTV arrived yesterday afternoon and was back at Costco before the day was out. The LCD display was corrupted. Phone calls and internet seraches suggested it wasn't fixable. A Costco rep told me to return it to a store and reorder online, which I did. Curiously enough, Costco can not credit purchases back to a credit card. You must take cash or a Costco Cash Card in exchange. Which brings up nefarious opportunities for anyone looking to earn frequent flier miles on their credit card. (I use a normal card, with no special deals on it.) On the bright side, even the standard definition TiVo output looked marvelous on the thing and having composite-in looks like it was a very good choice. I never got a chance to hook up the Mac Mini though during all the trouble-shooting.

In the meantime, I'm still struggling to create a workflow for EyeTV to MPEG Streamclip to iTunes. I need to design a way (probably through AppleScript, but I'm open to other suggestions) to search through all my EyeTV recordings to see which ones are new, and to convert them into MPEG-4 overnight and get them into iTunes. The "see which ones are new" is the easiest part. Since all EyeTV recordings are bundles, I just have to "touch" a file in each bundle after converting to MPEG-4. What I'd really like to do is edit out all the commercials from a bunch of recordings at once and then schedule the conversion as a queue of jobs. It's not yet happening.

I continue to have problems recording ATSC shows in their entirety using the EyeTV. Shows, which I know are entirely free-to-air, keep breaking in the middle with a warning about being "Encrypted". Very frustrating, especially since I want to be able to use the Mini/EyeTV as the TiFaux for AppleTV and the HDTV set. My HDTV antenna is a couple of years old, but I can't imagine that technology has changed all that much in this time. Is there something I'm missing here?


Rob Pettengill
2007-01-25 17:46:09
When your ATSC recordings break with the "Encrypted" warning, does this happen at commercial breaks? Is it possible that some of the commercials are sent out with the "broadcast flag" bit set and that the Mini or EyeTV is honoring this by stopping the recording?
Erica Sadun
2007-01-25 19:44:34
Rob: Good point! I'm recording 30 Rock tonight and so far no "Encrypted" warnings during the commercials (or the program either so far). I'll keep watch and report back.
Randy Stewart
2007-01-25 19:58:45
hmmm.... I've never seen that over the air. How is your signal strength and quality?
Erica Sadun
2007-01-25 20:37:29
I'm using the Hybrid. For whatever reason, I recorded both 30 Rock and the Office tonight without any problems at all. However, when I switched to the CW (which is only about 4 miles away from here), I get the interruptions--and "Encrypted" definitely happens mid-broadcast and not just during commercials. You'd think that with the station being so close that the reception would be perfect!
John Oeffinger
2007-01-25 20:40:14
Erica, which EyeTV are you using? I picked up the EyeTV Hybrid today thinking my ever-reliable EyeTV 200 was on the funk with snowy screens. It wasn't. The Mini could not acquire the cable signal from the Hybrid, but when I switched back, the EyeTV 200 had it crystal clear. I did figure out what caused the snow.
2007-01-26 05:38:48
I just wanted to add a comment as I, like many here, am setting up a mac mini as a media center and have a tip for others.

I had my Mac mini connected to my AV Receiver (Harman Kardon 445) which has HDMI switching. I set everything up and all worked well, however, when I shut off the receiver and later powered it back on, the mac wouldn't display anything. It turns out, when the receiver shuts down the hdmi lines, the mac detects this and shuts off the display (I don't know the technical details yet of what is happening). The only way to get the mac to redisplay, was to put it in sleep and wake up again. I found a device, the Gefen DVI Detective, which you put between the mac and your display. Once set up, the mac always thinks it connected to the display so you can shut off the lines on the other side if you want. Works perfect.

Regarding the conversion of TV shows, can you also use the "Enable Folder Actions" to watch the EyeTV folders to trigger the conversion? While EyeTV supports a full screen mode too, I find it still clunky to go from Front Row to EyeTV full screen. I wish Apple provided a method for 3rd parties to tie into Front Row, especially since they don't have their own DVR solution.