How do I record a digital (HD?) OTA broadcast with a MBP?
September 9, 2012 9:21 AM   Subscribe

The last time I watched a TV broadcast, it had rabbit ears and I was 12. How do I record (ideally in HD) this week's PBS broadcasting of the Ring Cycle?

I've got a recent MBP and can get access to a Canopus Bidirectional Analog/Digital Video Conversion ADVC110 Firewire Converter.

My local PBS station is WNET-13 broadcast from NYC and I'm very close, so I should have no problem with reception. TV Fool data on local stations. (I don't remember any reception problems when I was a kid either.)

Do I just need an HDTV tuner? Recommendations?

Do I just hook it up to the firewire converter? That seems rather silly since I'd be taking a digital HD signal, converting it to analog with the tuner, then back to a digital signal to record it on my MBP.

Hardware I can get sometime Monday in the metro-NY area would be best, though I have no problem ordering something with overnight shipping as long as I can get it all up and running Tuesday evening after work before the 8:00p broadcast.

I figure I'll be able to reuse this to record future broadcasts that match my interests so hopefully this will be more than a one time thing. Besides, the idea of recording something off the TV is kind of nostalgic. Almost as fun as mixed tapes off the radio.

I've got a gift certificate to the Met but I'm still saving up to see the Ring in person. Thanks!
posted by Brian Puccio to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a newish HD flat-screen which I think has a DTV converter (I used to have a separate converter for the old tube television, now it's gone), and a set of bunny ears that looks like this but is from back in the day before digital TV.

I live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. I get Thirteen just fine.

This anecdote predates digital TV, but Thirteen has been the only channel I could reliably get on any TV, anywhere in the city, with any ridiculous tinfoil antenna setup.

In terms of recording, I have no idea. I haven't tried to record TV without some kind of Tivo setup since VCRs were the preferred way of doing it.

There is a possibility that all of these performances will eventually be available to stream on Probably for a limited time, but there's a lot of software out there for screen captures of video. If you want to know more about that, feel free to memail me or follow up in the thread.
posted by Sara C. at 9:46 AM on September 9, 2012

I'm well versed in using the Internet to get TV shows (capturing streaming video, netflix, hulu, iTunes and some less than legit methods that we don't talk about at MeFi), so I'll be good if it pops up there, thanks much, Sara!
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:31 AM on September 9, 2012

Quick and dirty solution: use a HDHomerun to receive the PBS broadcast and then record it with VLC or one of the commercial programs recommended by SiliconDust? You can later transcode the MPEG2 to H.264 to save space.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have an Elgato EyeTV 250 run to a splitter from our cable modem connection (we don't subscribe to cable, but local HD channels come in unscrambled). Picks up and records HD PBS fine. The EyeTV software includes scheduling functionality.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on September 9, 2012

If useful to know, it is hooked up to a four year-old MBP, which seems to do a fine job with EyeTV software. I'm recording to an external hard disk via eSata, not to the internal SSD.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:06 PM on September 9, 2012

I use an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid with my iMac. Bought it in 2007, and it's still going strong. Comes with Elgato's EyeTV DVR software and a free one-year subscription to TV Guide for the listing data. You have to pay something like $20/year thereafter for the TV Guide service.
posted by Nothlit at 6:50 AM on September 10, 2012

I grabbed an Elgato HDHomeRun from B&H since ground shipping arrives overnight. It should be here tomorrow and I'll hook it up to an antenna. Thanks all.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:27 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, everything got here. However, it turns out that even though I'm 20 miles from the antennas at the top of the empire state building, I can only pick up channels 2, 4, 5 and 9. No 7, 11 or 13, so no opera for me. Anyone want a used HDHomeRun?
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:28 PM on September 11, 2012

Do you have cable? Have you tried a splitter on your cable connection, and searching the unscrambled digital channels, if so?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 PM on September 15, 2012

Yup, I've got cable internet, I get nothing when I plug the coax line that's in the cable modem into the TV. Thanks!
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:55 AM on September 27, 2012

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