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#76 DavidL

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:37 PM

What would be nice is if someone could do a webinar just on SageTV complete with diagrams and additional information and record it like IVB has done for CQC. It seems like there is a lot to a SageTV system.

From what I gathered I would need:

1) PC
2) Storage Device (Terabyte or more?)
3) Video Input Card (Haupage?)
4) SageTV Software
5) SageTV Extenders
6) Home Network to tie it all together

Are you guys using stand alone Storage Devices or PCs with RAID? What do you recommend? Are you using a dedicated PC for recording?


Here is some examples on how MainLobby can interact with SageTV blending benefits from both:
http://talluscorp.co...MLSageTV_Plugin

#77 sic0048

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 06:14 PM

What does everyone use to record HD shows? the Hauppage HDPVR? On Sage's forums, there's quite a few people with issues of this freezing and needing to be reset every so often. Any other solutions?


It depends on the source. If you are watching OTA TV from an antenna (ATSC signal) or if you have cable and want to record unencrypted QAM channels, then there are a lot of options. Personally I like the HDHomeRun (HDHR for short) the best. It has two ATSC/QAM tuners built it so it will record two concurrent shows. You can set it up to be both ATSC, or both QAM, or one of each. It also is a networked device. It doesn't actually connect directly to the computer (or use a PCI slot). Rather you plug it into the network and the device streams the data to the computer to be saved. This is a more stable solution IMHO because you don't have to worry about the computer having issues with the tuner card. Something that happens a lot with PCI slot based cards.

If you want to record encrypted broadcasts (most digital cable and all 18" based satellite broadcasts) then the options are more limited. This is when the HD-PVR is very helpful. You still use the normal STB like you use now, but use the component outputs of the box and connect the HD-PVR this way. Then the HD-PVR records HD quality (up to 1080i) via the component outputs of the STB. It has gone through a digital to analog conversion (component outputs are HD quality, but analog in nature), so there may be some signal loss. But I have one and the results are very good.

Another potential option if you have DishNetwork is to get a R5000 set to box. These are modified boxes that allow you to record directly from the STB using a USB connection. This maintains the pure digital material (ie it doesn't get converted to an analog signal like the HD-PVR requires). So the end result might be slightly better. But the R5000 boxes are rather expensive. They use to work with DirectTV, but since they changed to MPEG4 boxes, they don't work anymore. So they are pretty useless for DirectTV subscribers (I think they still work on the SD material, not none of the HD material).

Hope that helps.

#78 IVB

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 06:38 PM

What would be nice is if someone could do a webinar just on SageTV complete with diagrams and additional information and record it like IVB has done for CQC. It seems like there is a lot to a SageTV system.


Keep in mind that my architectural diagram is valid for SageTV too, just delete the HA stuff. I'm happy to do a webinar walkthrough of it and record it if there's any interest.

I no longer use any CQC screens with SageTV info on them as I'm strictly a SageTV UI&Extender in the FamRm, so I can't show off that stuff. Once Beelzerob gets the "CQC within SageTV" working, i'll have that back. Until then, i'm content to use the laptop for the CQC/HA stuff, and the Extender for TV stuff, it's a lower overall power consumption path.

Here's that diagram for those who haven't seen it:

Posted Image

#79 Work2Play

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:07 PM

so progress stalled on my machine because I can't get it to take an OS now that I loaded the 1.5TB drives and turned on RAID... even with the floppy (yeah, I found a floppy drive)... bluescreens every time now. I was considering just biting the bullet and using Vista instead since that has built-in support for my RAID card supposedly, and doesn't have the 2TB limit as I understand it. I have an unboxed vista ultimate laying around my office somewhere, so that was my plan...

Any opinions one way or the other about that? Reliability, etc?

And Question 2: I'm quite bothered by the fact that the Sage remote doesn't power the TV... for WAF, she has to still have just 1 remote, and we need to be able to get extras - that are fully featured. And by that I don't mean fancy ones - we hate our Harmony... we want something that can do everything the Sage is meant to do easily, and control the TV power/volume and/or amp volume - as the Tivo does. Any suggestions there? For an example, in both the bedroom and the livingroom we have his/hers remotes, with a couple spares in case they're needed.

I'm still just trying to get the basics together - then I'll worry about the other HD... if I can get just the ClearQAM channels to work that'll be a nice solution for us - then I'll worry about getting the rest of the DTV content (I get ClearQAM from my basic cable).

#80 IVB

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:42 PM

The remote issue you discuss is the #1 reason i'm using the MX850. Well, an old MX800 in the MBR, but I hate the lack of a discrete center (select) button, which the MX850 is much nicer about. I've got an MX850 in the backroom for the H/T, but $200 is so much damn $$ to spend just for a remote for the MBR.

But at least that way I can program it so that there's an on/off and TV volume control. Plus, I've set it up so that it also controls CQC, and will do non-SageTV stuff (ie, turn on & tune XM channel 20 in the MBR).

#81 CollinR

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:47 PM

And Question 2: I'm quite bothered by the fact that the Sage remote doesn't power the TV... for WAF, she has to still have just 1 remote, and we need to be able to get extras - that are fully featured. And by that I don't mean fancy ones - we hate our Harmony... we want something that can do everything the Sage is meant to do easily, and control the TV power/volume and/or amp volume - as the Tivo does. Any suggestions there? For an example, in both the bedroom and the livingroom we have his/hers remotes, with a couple spares in case they're needed.


The extenders can use just about any remote, so if you like the Tivo remote use that. The config for this is under detailed setup, if you use a remote with toggle codes make sure to press each button twice while learning.

Yea it's that easy, the remote doesn't learn but the client does. :) It now supports RC6 remotes too (Windows Media Center) AFAIK.




One of the biggest things with the HDPVR while on the SageTV forums is you need to figure out if the user has a hardware extender or a PC client. Decoding it's output basically has to be done in hardware if you want decent results so on a PC you need specific display adapter and codecs for sucess. The early versions did have an overheating issue.

#82 MavRic

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:56 AM

Are you trying to install Windows Home Server by any chance? I had a lot of trouble installing WHS on my new PC and had to turn AHCI off to make it work...since i wasnt doing raid that was ok for me...but for you that would be a problem i guess.


so progress stalled on my machine because I can't get it to take an OS now that I loaded the 1.5TB drives and turned on RAID... even with the floppy (yeah, I found a floppy drive)... bluescreens every time now. I was considering just biting the bullet and using Vista instead since that has built-in support for my RAID card supposedly, and doesn't have the 2TB limit as I understand it. I have an unboxed vista ultimate laying around my office somewhere, so that was my plan...

Any opinions one way or the other about that? Reliability, etc?

And Question 2: I'm quite bothered by the fact that the Sage remote doesn't power the TV... for WAF, she has to still have just 1 remote, and we need to be able to get extras - that are fully featured. And by that I don't mean fancy ones - we hate our Harmony... we want something that can do everything the Sage is meant to do easily, and control the TV power/volume and/or amp volume - as the Tivo does. Any suggestions there? For an example, in both the bedroom and the livingroom we have his/hers remotes, with a couple spares in case they're needed.

I'm still just trying to get the basics together - then I'll worry about the other HD... if I can get just the ClearQAM channels to work that'll be a nice solution for us - then I'll worry about getting the rest of the DTV content (I get ClearQAM from my basic cable).



#83 Work2Play

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 10:42 AM

No, not doing WHS - considered it early on. Most of my problems came down to BIOS settings, RAID limitations, and the fact that my array is huge.

I broke down and loaded Vista Home Basic. Along the way I discovered an incompatible BIOS setting that probably would've let me install XP if I really wanted to, but I still had the problem that there's no way I could get all my drives under 2TB because the Intel onboard RAID only lets you have 2 drive arrays, and when you make the second, it automatically uses whatever is left - so if the first one was 2TB, the second one would be 2.2TB, and XP had issue with that.

So I went with Vista Home Basic - stripped down without that fancy aero effects or anything. I carved out enough of a system partition that my remaining data partition would be no larger than 4TB, as that seems to be the point where Vista choked, or at least it seemed so on early testing. Also when I first got into Vista, it wasn't letting me create logical drives over 2TB - but at least it was seeing the available space... I couldn't find any way in the GUI to convert to GPT partitions, but I did find you could do it from the command line using DISKPART - select disk 1 - convert GPT. Then it let me make a giant 4TB partition.

Got it all loaded over the weekend and got the HDHomeRun up and running and threw a bunch of shows in the favorites so we can start getting some things stockpiled - then I'll hook the HD Extender up to the TV and see how the wife likes it. It's running on the end table right now in the LR - needs to graduate to the big-screen TV.

I will say mapping Comcast's QAM channels is a PITA - and I still missed one of our favorites, so I'll have to tweak on that later. Next decision is whether to grab another DTV box for $5/month and try using that, or bumping up my comcast to include an HD Box - $50/month more now, but could save me $20/month if all works out and I ditch DTV.

For anyone still reading, I do have a question for the masses - how many people use an HTPC vs. an extender for the livingroom? I respect Dan's advice to skip that and go with an extender, but there's still a nagging part of me that would love to have a single device/interface for everything SAGE related, the ability to get to XM (through Tiversity or something like that), blue-ray, netflix streaming, hulu, itunes video, ElkRMS perhaps, etc - all from one place. I'd continue to keep the Sage server separate, but still struggling a little with that one. I'm also definitely worried about control issues. I do already have a PC hooked up to the TV, but it's just a basic business-class desktop - but I could add remote control to it and whatever software I want - right now we hardly do anything with it. Is something that simple a total pipe-dream?

Edit: I will add that my wife is pretty technical... hell, she has a computer sciences degree - I don't! So while she's lost most of it now that she's out of the field, she can handle the basics pretty well - but we won't want windows messages getting in the way, or to have to grab the keyboard at some point while trying to watch a show to fix something - that would irritate us. We want the basic functionality - being Tivo/Sage, to be almost appliance-like.

#84 sic0048

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:29 PM

While I have only used Sage Extenders in my setup, I believe that once you get the computer client set up and working like you want, it will still be the same Sage screen that the extenders use. So I don't think the end user knows the difference between using an extender and an computer client. But, getting the computer working right, with all the pieces you want to add will take time.

Consider your experience with the RAID. I know it is not related to Sage useage, but the fact remains that there are so many variables in setting a system up like this that it can be frustrating if something does go wrong. Now it could be that you hook everything up and add all the pieces you want and everything works fine. You get smooth playback without any studdering and everything is fine. But if it isn't fine, that is when it can take tons of time to figure out. Meanwhile the WAF is taking a nose dive.

While you may not have all the options with the extenders, at least it seems to work out of the box.

#85 IVB

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 01:59 PM

I pulled out the HTPC and put in an extender, primarily due to power consumption. But, I am bummed about the inability to to Netflix WatchNow. BluRay ripped still seems to be a PITA, and XM is doable via other means (ie, CQC can catch remote codes and I can start up stations that way). I don't use Hulu, but I'd imagine that would be a bummer as well.

However, I don't miss the random video issues that I had with the HTPC. Plus the lower power bill is nice.




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