EyeTV - Subscription Free DVR for your Mac

EyeTV - No Monthly Fee DVR for your Mac

Record and Time Shift Live OTA and Clear Cable HD TV

The greatest loss many cable cutters feel when cutting Cable TV, is losing their Tivo or cable company provided DVR. Unfortunately, there are hardly any commercial choices out there when it comes to digital video recorders that will record HD TV from an over the air antenna. This is the reason why many people choose to build a dedicated home theater personal computer (HTPC).

When it comes to an HTPC, our favorite solution is the Mac Mini along with an HDHomeRun Dual QAM Network tuner, along with Elgatos's EyeTV software.  This will let you record and time shift live HD TV shows, pause and resume, and the best part, fast forward quickly through commercials.

These features let you gain control over your television viewing and save so much time compared to watching conventional live TV.  The best part unlike Tivo or DVR rentals, there are no expensive monthly fees unless you want to keep the optional TV Guide service which costs $15 a year. (1st Year is Free)

Build You Own HD DVR

The three things required to build an HD DVR are an HD Antenna, plus a dedicated or shared computer like a Mac Mini along with the Elgato HDHomeRun. This combination equals subscription Free HD TV DVR goodness.

The main reason we like using a Mac for a DVR is it requires much less hands on tweaking than a Windows computer. With the Mac OS compared to Windows there are minimal malware and virus outbreaks to contend with. This makes it more like a plug and play appliance rather than a computer that needs constant maintenance, patches and updates.

Elgato HDHomeRun Network Dual Tuner for HDTV for Mac or PC

Elgato sells their software packaged with the excellent HDHomeRun Dual QAM Tuner which will let you watch and record live TV on any computer hooked to your network. We use their EyeTV software installed on a dedicated Mac Mini that also does double duty as a Plex media server for our Roku. The HDHomeRun can also be used on a a regular Mac with the included EyeTV software, or used on a Windows Media Center equipped PC. Their EyeTV software is what turns your Mac into a full featured DVR, and is currently the best DVR solution for Mac.

With it's two tuners, the HDHomerun let's you record two shows at once. Either from over the Air Antenna or from a clear cable channel. 

Clear cable are channels that are not encrypted. Many cable internet providers will give you a few open channels that you can get over your broadband connection that are not scrambled. Try plugging your cable into your TV and do a HD Channel scan and a handful of channels may show up. 

Don't get too excited, as congress recently changed the law to allow cable companies to scramble all their channels. While this may work for now, it may not work for long so an HD Antenna is really your best bet for free TV.

The optional TV guide is not required although it is a nice feature and it comes with a one year free trial. Without the TV guide one can still manually label your channels and record shows by timer which can be set up to repeat daily or weekly much like the old VCRs. The EyeTV software having gone through many updates is very stable and trouble free.

HDHomeRun Features

  • Two Digital Tuners, Anywhere on Your Network
  • TV sources: ATSC digital TV (antenna), Unencrypted digital cable TV (Clear QAM)
  • Works with popular DVR software
  • Seamless operation with multiple computers
  • Requirements: Dual core recommended for HD playback, 1 GB RAM recommended, 1-4 GB per 1/2 hour of DTV recording

Overall we have been extremely happy with our Mac Mini and EyeTV equipped DVR. When not using our Roku, it does an excellent job as a Plex Media Server, YouTube browser and for listening to and watching tons of free Internet Radio and TV channels on our Internet TV Channel List and GTVList.

Read more reviews and get best price on an EyeTV HDHomeRun DVR »