Originally Posted by mstone
Have you ever used an eyeTV?
It is a pretty sweet technology. It has nothing to do with bunny ears unless you want it to. You hook up your cable or any NTSC video source to it and it plays TV on your Mac.
Elgato used to be good but the cable companies' (Comcast in my case) drive toward encrypted digital channels for all cable broadcast signals (both analog and HD) has pretty much blown Elgato away. I have three of the older analog/digital Elgato tuners that still work fine but no longer are hooked up to my cable. To view and record HD shows on two iMacs and a MacBook, I'm now using three small flat indoor amplified HDTV antennas, which will pull in several dozen ATSC channels in the Chicago area.
Before 2010, Comcast was pretty much unencrypted except for some of the premium services like HBO and Showtime. Then they began to encrypt most everything except the local HD broadcast signals from the OTA (over-the-air) stations, as well as their analog channels. In 2012 they proceeded to encrypt everything. In addition to their rental DVR cable boxes that were needed for HDTVs, now we needed a separate box for everything. They're called DTAs (Digital Transport Adapters), and of course they're renting those to customers, too. Today, if you want to watch anything here over cable, you must have a set top box. The tuner built into the TV is totally useless, unless you want to forego cable and use your own antenna.
When Comcast encrypted everything, I bought the indoor antennas and switched the Elgatos to them instead of cable. I still find plenty of OTA content that I like and record to one of my Mac hard drives. I can then play any of those shows from any of the Macs on any TV in the house, using the AppleTV connected to that TV and Airplay. Not so lucky with the other HD content, which I'm limited to recording and playing on the one Comcast DVR hooked up to our home entertainment center.
The current eyeTV tuner products are crippled compared to the old days. You probably would need a separate HD box from your cable company, since common set top boxes like the Motorola DCH3416 only allow one set of outputs to function at a time. If you're using an HDMI output to your TV, the 3416 won't allow you to use a component output to an eyeTV device at the same time.
If you want to assign blame, look to the cable companies. They have always gone into spasms over piracy and they want to make sure they collect every last dime for the cable content going into your home. What gives them nightmares is that someone like Apple might disrupt their industry, and they've been doing their best to slam the door shut on any of that.