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Old 01-17-2007, 03:54 PM   #1
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TV on a Mac laptop

Orders are to get a portable Mac with at least a 17" screen that can also function as a TV/DVD/CD. Web casting would be nice, too.

Can it be done?

I never heard of watching TV on a Mac.

Yes, the boss says it has to be a Mac!
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:18 PM   #2
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I believe so!

I talked with a 'Mac Genius' at our local Apple store about just this. (I was also looking at the laptop). There is a little box that you plug your cable into and that connects to the laptop. I don't remember what he called it... a dongle? something like that. I don't think you can do it without cable, but I am not sure. This can also be done with a PC and I think some have the capability built in. Keep us posted! (pun intended) Pam
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:18 PM   #3
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If you are buying new, looks like you will need a MacBook Pro 17"
Apple - MacBook Pro

By the way, nothing compliments an Airstream better than a shiny silver Mac laptop!

I've got the 15" Powerbook and use it for playing back (full screen) tv shows purchased on iTunes. You can download these shows before your trip or otherwise you will need access to a strong WiFi signal (or other internet connection) on your travels.

The Mac laptops come with DVD drives, so you are all set for watching DVD's.

If you regularly camp in places with reasonably strong WiFi (RV Parks) there is a new device that will stream tv shows directly from your house to a remote laptop (Mac or PC). Its called Slingbox (Sling Media - US Home)

For example if you have a Tivo or other DVR, slingbox will allow you to access the menu remotely and play back shows to your laptop. Again, you will need a reasonably strong internet connection. I haven't bought a Slingbox yet - I've demo'ed one and was very impressed. It can scale quality of playback to the strength of your connection - very slick imho. This will be on my 2007 "wish list" (along with stuff like a generator, but that's a different thread all together!).

Mac's are pricey - but well worth the investment - good luck!
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistral blue
Orders are to get a portable Mac with at least a 17" screen that can also function as a TV/DVD/CD. Web casting would be nice, too.

Can it be done?

I never heard of watching TV on a Mac.

Yes, the boss says it has to be a Mac!
Yes it can. Gadgetat here on the forums has written a book about this kind of stuff. It's "The Digital RV". Check out his website and send him an email if you have additional questions.

Gadget is a cool guy, I met him at the NEU "Spring into Camping" Rally last year and ran into him again at the 2006 International. He also appeared to be stalking my folks as he showed up in two of the same campgrounds they were in when they traveled from AZ to OR for International.
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:20 PM   #5
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Maybe something as simple as one of these would work for your Mac;
eBay: USB 2.0 TV Tuner & Video MPEG Capture Box with Remote (item 230079394693 end time Jan-19-07 08:01:28 PST)
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:24 PM   #6
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eyetv (Elgato Systems) allows you to receive tv signals on your mac laptop and otherwise turn it into a DVR.
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:30 PM   #7
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I can't find the reference now, but I thing Apple showed a little square silver box at CES they called "Apple TV" that could hook up to any recent Mac.

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Old 01-17-2007, 04:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
I can't find the reference now, but I thing Apple showed a little square silver box at CES they called "Apple TV" that could hook up to any recent Mac.

Lamar
Apple announced "Apple TV" at CES (Apple - Apple TV)

I don't think this is really required for watching tv on your mac on the road though - since you can do everything it does already on you Mac laptop (with itunes).


Scott
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smccollister
eyetv (Elgato Systems) allows you to receive tv signals on your mac laptop and otherwise turn it into a DVR.
Have to agree -- elgato makes a couple of products that are probably what you want:
  • the EyeTV Hybrid, with aluminum finish! (List ~$150)
  • the EyeTV 250, which has hardware encoding and video conversion capability. (List ~$200)

A buddy has the EyeTV 250 and really likes it. You'll have to compare the two to decide (and then let us know what you got!)

Cheers,
-jd.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:41 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Yes you can.

Mac is a great choice and yes you can do TV. EyeTV is currently the best choice.

If the boss relents (not my reccomendation), a PC laptop running Windows Media Center is all you need to do cable. You'll need add-ons to do broadcast TV.

Good luck.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:10 PM   #11
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Should I go for both the Eye TV Hybrid and the Slingbox Pro?
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistral blue
Should I go for both the Eye TV Hybrid and the Slingbox Pro?
If you just want to receive, watch and record broadcast signals on your mac laptop, then EyeTV should do the trick. Keep in mind that you need to be somewhere where you get a broadcast tv signal OR have cable tv hook-ups. If there is only 1 channel being broadcast where you are camping, then you only get 1 channel to watch.

Slingbox allows you to access your cable/satellite and Tivo (or DVR) remotely - but that requires a dependable internet connection.

If you are mostly boondocking (without internet and little/no tv reception) then I would load up the laptop with tv shows and movies from itunes (at home before the trip) and bring a bunch of dvd's - and have some way to recharge the battery (generator) while you are camping.

Hope that helps,

Scott
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smccollister
If you just want to receive, watch and record broadcast signals on your mac laptop, then EyeTV should do the trick. Keep in mind that you need to be somewhere where you get a broadcast tv signal OR have cable tv hook-ups. If there is only 1 channel being broadcast where you are camping, then you only get 1 channel to watch.

Slingbox allows you to access your cable/satellite and Tivo (or DVR) remotely - but that requires a dependable internet connection.

If you are mostly boondocking (without internet and little/no tv reception) then I would load up the laptop with tv shows and movies from itunes (at home before the trip) and bring a bunch of dvd's - and have some way to recharge the battery (generator) while you are camping.

Hope that helps,

Scott
Scott, you are a HUGE help. She-who-must-be-obeyed is going to love what you have provided here. Everyone else has been great, too, but somehow YOU knew that we (I) want to get a Honda 2000i generator as well! Little did I know when I started this thread that I would be given such an utterly beautiful quid pro quo situation to exploit!

Many thanks to all who have contributed here. Let the negotiations begin!
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:53 PM   #14
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Digital RV Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by myboyburt
Yes it can. Gadgetat here on the forums has written a book about this kind of stuff. It's "The Digital RV". Check out his website and send him an email if you have additional questions.

Gadget is a cool guy, I met him at the NEU "Spring into Camping" Rally last year and ran into him again at the 2006 International. He also appeared to be stalking my folks as he showed up in two of the same campgrounds they were in when they traveled from AZ to OR for International.
MBB, I went to the Digital RV forum and registered (for free of course) and left a post. When I used their search function for Eye TV I got a little bit of info. When I searched for Sling box I got nada. When I get something there I'll share it here.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:43 PM   #15
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hi mistral blue...

i've got the 15 inch intel mb pro and watch dvds on it occasionally when boondocking or in bed in the a/s...

it is ok but for the money and IF intended as a replacement for the tv i'd look at the imac in 20 or 24 inches....

Apple - iMac

this is a sweet screen, the equal of a sony lcd. and for 1900$ you'd have a computer, tv screen, dvd player and so on...

i've seen the tv interface sold now at the apple store (not the new product yet 2b released) and it works fine. it is the elgato product i think...

but on the 20 or 24 it's so much better!

i've already go the sony wega lcd so the imac will have to wait...but the sony only uses 80watts so using it with a small inverter while boondocking uses very little juice...

take a look at the imac...

of course having the laptop TOO is pretty nice!

cheers
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:59 PM   #16
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I use the EyeTV with my Macbook. Only had a few occasions to use it, but it is easy to use. The picture is fine on cable. I have also connected to the wingard TV antenna, but didn't have the greatest reception in that particular spot. I use the Macbook as the complete entertainment center, TV, music, DVD's. The picture isn't very big, but I have a small trailer anyway.
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Old 01-18-2007, 07:50 AM   #17
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Any idea on the wattage of a MacBook Pro?
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:26 AM   #18
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According to the tech spec on the apple website. 85 Watts max input.
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:59 AM   #19
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My vote is for the EyeTV Hybrid. It will allow you to tune regular over the air and cable standard defination TV, as well as unencrypted HDTV over the air and cable AND it doesn't require any other connections besides a USB connector on your laptop.

I'll be getting one for my Macbook sometime later this year. I really want it for the HDTV.
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Old 01-18-2007, 09:56 AM   #20
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the mb pro uses about 80-85 watts...

but it does double duty as a space heater...

cheers
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