Build your Own DVR

O’Reilly has a great and easy to follow step by step for building your own DVR with existing equipment you most likely have already waiting to be used. I had never heard of HackTV, the app that does most of the tricks, but after reading the piece and seeing it in action, I was reminded of my PowerMac 8500 AV, which at the time boasted a blazing 120MHz PPC processor and didn’t I just think it was the coolest. It came with an application that allowed you to monitor and record any video or audio source connected to the machine which was totally cool at the time (summer 1995). Actually it really was a very cool machine and included as the AV implied all the (analog) audio and video in and out connectors to capture and post content out of the box. Today, you have to buy equipment to do the lifting, and the Mac mini is certainly no different.

HackTV is actually an application that works in OS 9 and X and definitely gets me thinking once again what Apple might be hiding up it’s sleeve. The technology from a software perspective is certainly there… it’s up to a nice companion for the mini to do the rest. By the way… HackTV can be controlled by AppleScript which means some glue through iCal could enable the scheduling of recordings.

I’m quite sure that the EyeTV 200 can do much that is described in the article and am looking forward to testing it out when I get one for review. It boasts PVR as well as a D/A connection for capturing video like the separate bridge devices mentioned. The main difference aside from dedicated encoding hardware is the the EyeTV can capture in MPEG2 and HackTV is capable of recording directly to MPEG4 (H.263 for now). EyeTV can export captured content to MPEG4, but not record to it directly – at least today.

— Jonathan Greene

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