Yet another update about my new High Def lifestyle

by Erica Sadun

So last night I recorded Heroes in High Def, without incident. It seems as though my EyeTV Hybrid likes certain channels (like NBC) and hates others (like CBS). I live inside the city, very close to most of the transmission towers, which are all compass-wise in the same direction, so I cannot guess why some channels beat others for receptions.

The recording occupied about 7 gigabytes of MPEG-2 transport stream data. I attempted to load it into MPEG Streamclip, but Streamclip could not handle the 7 gigabytes on my 1 GB 1.66 GHz Intel core duo mini. It coughed, it gagged, it wheezed, it gave up the ghost. So I decided to edit the show in EyeTV instead.

This turns out to have been a horrible decision.

(More after the jump...)


Adam Ek
2007-01-30 11:08:24

If you are in the city and close to the transmission towers you may be having problems with multi-path reception. The antenna receives a digital signal straight from the tower by the line of sight path. It also can receive a signal bounced off one or more buildings. The two signals can interfere with each other.

It may be that the CBS signal is bouncing off some buildings near you.

Sham The Sam
2007-01-30 12:36:12
Which HDTV antenna are you using with your EyeTV?
I just received my Macworld order from Roxio (one of their bundles), and trying to figure out which works well. I'm looking at the lesser expensive indoors antennas.
Erica Sadun
2007-01-30 12:49:11
It's a GE "Futura". I talk about it here.
2007-01-30 13:29:18
probably a fps conversion problem

Mpeg 2 is by default 24 fps and it converts pretty well to 29.97, but not always. eyetv may be using hardware that works as expected... streamclip is definitely using software that may not work as expected, maybe streamclip is screwing up the fps conversion. I've seen things like this before in ALL of the major desktop video editing apps. the best thing to do is get it de-muxed in the very first step and see what that does. the fact that its MPEG is the biggest hurdle here.

2007-01-30 13:48:50
For sure, check out the various types of antenna. The Zenith ZHDTV1 has served me well, and is cheap and highly directional. I have, however, switched to a conventional set of amplified rabbit ears, with the most UHF amplification I could find for the least money, trying to pick up channels with broadcast towers in other towns. YMMV.

But your biggest problem is best summarized by Sheriff Brody in Jaws, when he so astutely observed, "You're gonna need a bigger boat".

The 1.66 Core Duo is marginal, and the internal disk drive in the mini is also. The combination of the two is likely untenable. Try using a fast (7200 rpm) drive in an external FW enclosure -- if you can lay your hands on an ethernet drive with a gigabit ethernet connection supporting jumbo frames, that would be the best solution for the mini. I believe it is ESSENTIAL to separate the eyeTV disk traffic from any other disk activity (swapping, logging, etc), especially when one is in a confining performance envelope.

The other thing to try is to downgrade to the freebee eyeTV software (version 1.8.5). There are several caveats:

1) it may not work with the eyeTV hybrid hardware, as that comes with the much better-looking eyeTV 2 software and el gato may have decided that such support was not necessary. A query to el gato should save you some time here.

2) the manner in which the video archives are encoded has changed between v 1.8.5 and v 2.x. While the version 2 software will convert old archives, there is no backward path. If you have a bunch of stuff you'd like to save, fuggedaboudit.

3) the v 1.8.5 software has by far an uglier appearance. But is IS significantly more lightweight in its requirements in the cpu department, at least on a G5.

4) I'm not at all sure that the v 1.8.5 eyeTV software even supports Intel Macs. Again, a check with el gato will save tears later.

The real solution is to put a bigger boat in the picture. Perhaps this provides an excuse to drop in a 2GHz Core Duo 2 cpu chip. Bumping the RAM to 2GB is nice, but not really necessary, IMHO.

James Murty
2007-01-30 16:02:23
for editing (cutting out ads) and demuxing DVB-T streams you should probably take a look at Project X -
2007-01-30 17:22:11
Erica, Thank you for providing us with regular updates of your HDTV experiment.
2007-01-30 20:57:03
Erica, have you tried using the eyeTV export to H.264? I think you'll find that it's a lot more tractable than MPEG2 for editing in QuickTime, and does not degrade the image quality too badly, for the reduction is size that you get. Try exporting the 7G clip to 1280x720 HD format using the H.264 encoder and see how it works. Just don't select the multiple pass option, go for the faster (rolls on the floor laughing) single-pass encoding.

And to second Greg's motion, thanks for this exploration of the eyeTV to HDTV experience.

2007-01-31 01:29:45
This will probably date me back, but try component video editing. The file size will still be big, but you can break the video up and recombine it later before converting it to MPEG-based video. IT solved some problems I had converting video in the past.
2007-01-31 07:49:54
I second Dave's suggestion. I export directly from EyeTV as H.264 constantly (literally), and even though it takes forever, it works like a charm.
2007-01-31 20:27:29
Have you tried letting EyeTV demux the stream for you? If you select "Elementary Streams" from the export options, EyeTV should give you both a video (.mpv) and audio (.mpa) file, which MPEG Stremclip seems to handle just fine for me -- if I feed MPEG Streamclip the .mpv file, it pulls in the .mpa file, too, and the audio syncs quite nicely. Keep in mind I'm doing this with standard def files from my EyeTV 200, so ymmv. Good luck!
Johanna Bartley
2007-12-13 12:47:04
Using the demultiplexing tools was a good idea. The problem appeared when you've exported your file trough two different programs, hence the delay. You can't imagine how many converters I needed to take a video from youtube and put it on my Ipod.
Canal boat holidays UK
2008-01-18 15:32:43
I agree with Dave also. Well said. :P This is exactly what I do and I always get fantastic results. Oh and “Heroes” is awesome. :D