We’ve just about had it with cable TV. The monthly rates keep going up and increasingly I’m opposed to paying for channels we don’t watch. We have Apple TV which gives us a few options but TV over the internet isn’t really here yet.
We’re in the middle of the famous O’Brien stalking period where we try different options in an effort to break free from cable TV (which has happened before; then we always go back because variety). Ultimately, we’d like to have Apple provide us with an alternative, but even the best of the Mac solutions is less than adequate, and AirPlay is good for YouTube videos but not real television channels with programs we like to watch.
Remember El Gato’s EyeTV app and their line of hardware DVR devices? Those were the cable-cutting TV-watching solutions that never quite made it mainstream, despite my letters to Apple’s Tim Cook to buy the company. Instead, EyeTV became a Chinese company, so now the EyeTV app works with the same television capture devices so your Mac becomes a DVR and a TV, and thanks to Apple TV and iTunes, you can record television shows and send them to multiple devices.
So, grab an EyeTV hardware thingamajig, plug it into your cable TV connection or go OTA (over the air) and the EyeTV app becomes the DVR in your Mac. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.
EyeTV acts as a powerful Mac-based DVR app, with auto selection, scheduling, and typical playback controls, but you need to capture TV or video first, which means you’ll need an over-the-air device, or that ever present cable TV connection to get to the content so you can play it back.
The Mac and EyeTV make for a credible and capable digital video recorder. It records what you want, compresses the video properly for Apple’s devices so you can take the video wherever you want.
The math doesn’t work.
Everyone’s cable TV math works differently, but I can’t make the EyeTV solution work the way I want. The costs mount up. What you need is an Apple TV, a Mac mini (or an older Mac), The EyeTV hardware device, and the EyeTV app, and when you add it all up it’s going to cost more, even amortized over a few years, than buying a DVR or even renting a DVR forever from the cable TV company.
The EyeTV app is to die for, though, as it works as well as any DVR we’ve tried, but has plenty of features which make it a good solution for putting recorded video onto iPhone and iPad. Ultimately, what we’re looking for is television on demand, but an option for DVR functionality so we can record TV and movies and take them with us.
Apple prefers to sell us TV shows and movies, but there just might be a chink in the system, as more networks have their own streaming apps, but there’s no way to record and time shift that type of VoD.
This whole mess is ripe for some disruption, Apple style. Instead of giving away $100-billion to shareholders, Apple probably could have bought the entire entertainment industry. So, what is it that we want? Video on demand. All of it. All the time. Anytime. Anywhere. Make that happen and I’ll pay by the month forever.