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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:43 AM
Overclockme Overclockme is offline
Sage User
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 11
HD PVR - codec problems (I think)

I think I am in CODEC purgatory and need help.

I have been using Sagetv software since version 1 or 2 (been so long, I dont even remember). My setup has continued to evolve and even grow a bit over the years as Sage has grown. just prior to this latest change my setup was as follows:

WINTV HVR-1800 (added 1 month ago)

Windows client machines
Windows Placeshifting machines
Mac Client machine
Mac Placeshifting machine

Media MVP Extender (standard)

Sagetv 6.4.8 Windows version

AMD Athlon 3700+ X2, Windows XP HE, 1gb ram

All was working fine. When I added the HVR1800 I had thought I could use my cable box to get digital recordings but have learned that doing so the HVR1800 will actually record in standard definition.. okay Im good with that for now since I only have the standard version of the extender not the digital one.

I purchased the HD-PVR the other day in the hopes of setting it up for digital figuring when the HD extenders are available I will have the HD content all ready. (Rev D device)
I tried both drivers (1.03 file version as well as the new ver 1.1).
Ver 1.1 caused chronic freezes.

I learned a few things though:
1.) My Macbook pro wont be able to playback digital video
2.) My Media MVP wont be able to playback digital video
(I can live with both of these for a bit or at least until I can get an HD extender)

However, I can't get video to play on the server machine. - I get the "unable to render video" error that I believe is codec related.
I also get the "unable to render audio" error when trying to play the HD content using the 6.4 client on my windows box.

I know these are all codec issues and I have tried every solution I can find on these forums -
(H264 in properties file set to Arcsoft codec, hardware acceleration on and off, Mpeg2 = Sage, Intervideo, Cyblerlink decoder, set all audio codecs to defaults, tried different combos)

I am assuming perhaps I just dont have the RIGHT codecs on my systems.

As I am sure most anyone can tell, I am not a computer novice, but REALLY don't know what I am doing when it comes to AV settings and setups. I mostly execute what I find on these forums even when I don't fully understand it, and have always managed to make things work.

Anybody got an idea of how to break this down and get it working? I'm stuck and don't even know what to try next.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:36 AM
bastian74 bastian74 is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 136
Drag one of the video files onto graphedit and see which video decoder it says you're using.

My system is very picky about what is installed, regardless of the codec merits.

For example, if cyberlink and arcsoft are installed at the same time, nothing works, regardless of merit setting. It doesn't make sense to me.

With just arcsoft installed all is fine though. You'll have to do a lot of trial and error.
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Old 10-25-2008, 03:15 PM
Overclockme Overclockme is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 11
Thanks.. that helps I think.. ffdshow is what is showing as the video codec for the hd content files.. so now I guess I just have to figure out how to make that NOT be the codec it uses...

I don't see anything in the properties file...

Anyone? Anyone?
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:59 PM
bastian74 bastian74 is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 136
In the properties of ffdshow under "codecs" you can choose which codecs ffdshow is used for. Dissable h.264 and it wont use that one any more.

If you have multiple codecs that support the same video compression you can adjust their merits to make one preferred over the other. But I've had only partial success with the apps obeying the merit.

Dissable h.264 in ffdshow and restart graphedit and see what it uses now.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:17 PM
Overclockme Overclockme is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 11
Okay right again.. now it shows it is using ArcSoft as the decoder for both audio and video...

It still wont play back on the server though..

As for the Windows XP pro machine running the client, does that have to have the arcsoft codec installed on it, or does it run off the one on the server? The error message I get on the client machine is that the playback wont work because of the audio rendering....

I appreciate the time your taking to walk me through this...
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:25 AM
opusinteractive opusinteractive is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 29
This should get everything sorted out for your HD-PVR issues. This is assuming you are running WinXP or Vista in either standalone or Client-Server setup. This is also assuming you are using SageTV v.6.4.8.

1. On The machine that the HD-PVR connects to, shut down Sage completely and stop the SageTV service if it's running

2. Install ArcSoft Total Media Extreme that came with the HD-PVR on client and/or standalone XP/Vista machines.

3. If you did not do so already, download the beta 1.1 HD-PVR driver here.

4. Update the drivers for the HD-PVR using device manager (you don't need to uninstall old ones or use hcwclear)

5. Download the SageTV Beta Beta Demux filter here.

6. On Standalone or client machine - Go to directory C:\Program Files\SageTV\Common

7. Rename to

8. Copy downloaded beta into same folder

9. Verify these settings are in client's properties file. Add them if they don't exist.

videoframe/aac_audio_decoder_filter=ArcSoft Audio Decoder HD
videoframe/h264_video_decoder_filter=ArcSoft Video Decoder

This should be pretty much bulletproof to get you video and audio from the HD-PVR.

If you get studdering/freezing and you are using VMR9 with FSE Enabled on a WinXP machine, try adding/changing these settings in the client's properties file:



If you still have studdering or freezing after channel changes, disable FSE, restart sagetv, switch to Overlay.

If you still have issues, submit a ticket to support because they're smarter than me.

Last edited by opusinteractive; 10-26-2008 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:26 AM
bastian74 bastian74 is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 136
I'm not sure about the client/server. I usually just map a drive to the sage box and launch the files over the network. So in my case, the client is the one that has to have the codecs.

You might try installing ac3filter if you don't have it already, it handles dolby digital audio decoding, though the arcsoft audio decoder should as well.
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:36 AM
opusinteractive opusinteractive is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 29
Was editing that as you were calling out my goof.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:48 AM
Overclockme Overclockme is offline
Sage User
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 11
Thanks so much Opusinteractive and Bastian. I had actually gotten the thing playing on the client last night. I just installed the TME codec on the client machine and it worked. This morning I went back and followed your instructions to see if I could get it working on the server (although my server is in the basement and I almost never watch on it, it would be nice to be able to when I am working down there, especially since I can't yet watch HD on a macbookpro with sage).

Steps 1-2 no problem since I had already installed TME codec and software on the server...

Step 3-4 I skipped for now since the last time I installed the 1.1 on my rev D PVR it froze every 90 seconds or so. Once I know its working otherwise, I may try this again. If I am not mistaken the major upgrade on this driver was the 5.1 audio. For now I am just using the 2 channel audio.

Steps 5-8 Done...

Video will play on the client.. but still cant play on the server.
Graphedit says audio and video are both using the Arcsoft codec.
Settings are:
Renderer- VMR9
MPEG2 Decoder - ArcSoft
MPEG4 Playback - SageTV
(for MPEG2 Decoder I tried Overlay, and for MPGE4 tried Directshow, no good either - Yeah I know, I'm just pushing buttons and really dont understand what I'm doing in some of these areas.. lol)

I'm psyched that the video will play now on the client. I will try your fix for the stuttering when I get home (it mostly plays smooth over GB LAN, but when it comskips, it gets stuttery for a few minutes, unless I pause it for a few seconds then resume)

And HOLY COW my mac Placeshifter is working too (well sort of)! It always worked for the standard def content. But this is the first time it has worked for HD .TS files. The playback is in slow-mo lol. Is that because of the speed of the connection (I am on Panera Bread Wireless)? Anything standard Def is playing back fine.

Thanks again.
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codec, hd-pvr

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