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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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  #41  
Old 01-13-2005, 07:00 PM
DFA DFA is offline
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Jeff:

Thanks very much for the note.

Even before your post, I tried Sage at playing back STB TS file directly and got lots of video and audio drops. It did not do this for the same SD and HD files after converting from TS to PS with "HDTVtoMPEG2" utility. But based on your comment about the updated DEMUX, I will try again and work with it some more. This would greatly simplify things not to have to do real time conversion of TS --> PS. Same for DVB project I would think.

The MSft DEMUX works very well with TS streams I've captured from the STB but needs a "TS Info Parser" filter ahead of it or the MS DEMUX must be configured by the application for TS and what Program and PIDs are of interest. For SPTS, the Info Parser needs no intervention for SP and passes the PID values to the DEMUX. I've been using the nVidia "TS Info Parser". It should be noted that even though there are only the video and audio PIDs in the STB TS, the PID values are not constant from channel to channel on the STB; at least in my case. However, for all channels the PMT PID is assigned the value of "1394" as in IEEE-1394. I have been analizing the captured streams from my SA STB via FW with TSReaderLite.

The TS streams from the STB via FW should have no sub-channels; at least I have not found any from my provider for the channels I've looked at and analyzed. Everything I've looked at from the FW is SPTS (Single Program Transport Stream) with single video and audio PIDs and with no null packets as opposed to an ATSC-TS. Therefore, I guess the bit rate is somewhat variable w/o null packets. Is this a problem for the Sage DEMUX?

DFA
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  #42  
Old 01-17-2005, 12:55 PM
DFA DFA is offline
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Hi:

Time for an update.

To summarize, I have been experimenting with Sage to play TS streams directly as well as building a successful graph to convert TS to PS.

I have found that the Sage DEMUX will directly play HD TS w/o issue but oddly has problems playing SD transport streams. When playing SD TS the playback is plaqued with video and audio dropouts.

I have also been working on constructing a graph that will convert TS to PS real time. I found and tried the Sage MUX filter in the graph but it had a bad video/audio sync issue. I then got hold of the Cyberlink MUX filter. No video/audio sync problems with it. During initial testing, it seemed that the graph with the CL MUX worked fine for SD TS streams but could not handle HD TS conversion. However, it seems that I may not have taken VPP out of Sage when I tested for playback of converted HD streams. I have warned others about this in a previous post in this thread but seems I keep shooting myself in the foot with VPP by forgetting to drop it out of Sage before testing HD streams; TS or PS.

Anyway, it seems I have a working graph for SD and HD TS --> PS real time conversion.

As a reference, I have placed a few recent posts in this older thread here; the last 5 posts being relevant. There is also a JPEG of the working TStoPS graph in that thread if interested.

It seems mikbro was able to make TSReader appear as network encoder for Sage. If that is the case, I do not see why the same can not be done for Graphedit. Graphedit has "play", "stop" and "pause" functions. Using Graphedit as the network encoder would allow for using and experimenting easily with different filters and such. Zoomplayer also allows for custom filter graphs but is more complicated. I like to employ "kiss" whenever possible and Graphiedit is pretty simple yet allows flexability.

Since I know nothing about setting up network encoders for Sage, I am at a loss from here. I am soliciting anyones help at this point on how to set Graphedit up as a network encoder or if not doable, perhaps Zoomplayer or any other app that can play a custom graph.

Anyone?

DFA
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  #43  
Old 01-17-2005, 01:37 PM
LegolasX21E LegolasX21E is offline
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my scientific atlanta box has firewire but I don't. It also has two USB ports. Dose it output through these. or are they for a usb remote control? (sorry can't get the modle number right now)
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  #44  
Old 01-17-2005, 02:39 PM
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All this is in regard to taking MPEG2 Transport Streams (TS) on Firewire equipped STB's to the HTPC via Firewire (IEEE-1394). USB port(s) are probably not active on your SA and if so I do not know what would be there or its use.

DFA
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  #45  
Old 01-17-2005, 05:38 PM
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The USB port are for the ability to connect a keyboard for changing channels. I've wondered if it would be possible to just connect a USB cable to the pc and write an app that sends the keyboard commands to the STB similar to the serial port equipped STB's. But if we can get FW working in Sage, we eventually could add the STB control via FW as well.
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  #46  
Old 01-17-2005, 06:17 PM
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sleonard:

Did not know that. Is this true for the SA3250HD? Any USB KB?

DFA
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  #47  
Old 01-17-2005, 08:19 PM
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That's what I was told by one of the few Cox techs that seemed to have a clue. I think it was also mentioned in the manual but I can't remember for sure. And yes, it was the SA 3250HD that we were discussing.

I still haven't got FW activated yet. Cox re-sent the update but it didn't get through. After a couple of days I found that my signal was too low for SW updates. Just finished running two more cables to my Sage closet so I could get rid of a splitter. Signal level is now strong and waiting for the magic updates to happen.
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  #48  
Old 01-18-2005, 12:11 AM
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It seems like FW has been an "ever widening circle" thing for a lot of people. For me, it caused me to go from W2K to XP which is not trivial for stripped, tweaked HTPC's. Also had my little CableCo fiasco but that's a given anyway.

Hang tough and it will come around. The unknown and anticipated thing is to see how many HD channels are unencrypted for you.

Another plea: anyone know how to set Graphedit up as a network encoder for Sage. If mikbro could do it for TSreader, it seems feasible for Graphedit. Cayars? Still tuned in at all on this thread?

DFA
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  #49  
Old 01-18-2005, 07:06 AM
Cayars Cayars is offline
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Still tuned in but highly busy with two active projects (STV & DVDBurner) and soon to be with a couple of other projects I'll be releasing in the near future.

I'm playing a little here and there on this from time to time but don't have the time to dedicate to it.
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  #50  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:16 PM
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Hi everyone:

No posts here for a while and the thread has drifted out of site but things have been moving forward and have been busy on this project. AND I have some GREAT news.

That's right; Firewire SD and HD recording and playback in Sage is a done deal!

The big piece of the puzzle was solved by Anders Nolberger. He picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. As I suspected and hoped, he was able to modify his DVB Network Encoder plugin he has created and create a "Universal" Network Encoder.

The Universal Network Encoder (UNE) executable is named "SGraphRecorder.exe". This network encoder has far more reaching value and importance than just the "STB Firewire (IEEE-1394) Support" project. As the name implies, it is "universal". You can plug any Graph file (*.GRF) created by MS graphedit into it and it will use and run it; the graph must contain a "dump" filter that will accept file name changes. I initially had some difficulty finding a dump filter with the right behavior but found a later version of Cyberlink's that does the job. I am ofcourse using a graph for "Firewire capture device TS-to-PS" for converting and directly recording SD and HD streams from the STB. The UNE also includes a method to send channel change events to Girder for channel control. Unfortunately, Sage disables all local channel change schemes and plugins for network encoders; even local network encoders. So this is a very important inclusion by Anders. We were having a little difficulty with the Girder control part of it but think that is resolved as of this writing but have not had a chance to test out this last little hurdle.

Anders will be posting the SGraphRecorder and source code. He has my thanks x 1E6. Remember, the UNE will permit others to easily experiment with other capture devices that are not recognized / supported by Sage. This should prove to be a GREAT tool.

On another note, I have also modifed the installation INF file for the STB driver that can be found on the AVS Forum web site. In that thread, you will see that more than half the posts are in regard to people having problems installing the driver. Not surprising since they are forcing a Tuner Subunit "TYP_05" device to install as a Tape Subunit "TYP_04" device that is not even enumerated in the INF. If you have not yet installed this driver, DON'T. I will later post a modified INF that works w/o issue and properly registers the device.

Stay tuned for more info and things you will need to do this yourself. This is just an announcement.

Regards,
Dane Anderson
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Last edited by DFA; 01-25-2005 at 07:08 PM.
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  #51  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:21 PM
mikesm mikesm is offline
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Wow, if this works this is a MAJOR advance for the SageTV platform. No other DVR package can do this, not MCE, not even MythTV. Quite outstanding!

Have you used this to capture analog channels encoded by the box to SD video too?

Thanks,
Mike
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  #52  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:33 PM
DFA DFA is offline
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If it works? IT DOES WORK! I am using it. I am recording HD and improved quality SD. I can do all channels 30 and above.

Consider that now with our PVR-250, the STB decodes a digital MPEG2TS stream, down res's (scales) it if an HD source, analogs it to S-Video, we capture it, re-encode it, write it to disk then decode it and up scale it. Any wonder PQ suffers?

As this proves out, I intend, over time, to move everything that is not encrypted to the FW path. The PVR-250 I expect to relegate to nothing more than a fall back for encrypted channels. That is my hope. Everyones's mileage will vary on this and some will be disappointed depending on the provider.

DFA
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  #53  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:39 PM
mikesm mikesm is offline
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DFA, sorry, I didn't mean to imply it didn't work!

Congrats indeed, this is a great advance forward! I gather you aren't changing channels through firewire, but through girder and an IR emitter?

What STB's have been used with this plugin? I think if people could report successful integrations with each STB, the MSO providing service and that STB's firmware revision it could be helpful for folks trying to get it working in their own contexts.

Thanks,
Mike

PS I gather it captures multichannel sound too, and that it passes through Sage to an SPDIF port?
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  #54  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:46 PM
DFA DFA is offline
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I know, your statement was rhetorical but the excitement made me jump on it just the same. The beauty of the UNE is it does not care about about what STB or any other capture device you decide to use. It only needs to be a DirectShow device that presents itself in GraphEdit.

The Matsushita (MEI) tape driver has proven to work with the Motorolas and Sicentific Atlanta's STB's. That just about covers everyone with a digital STB with a FW port.

PS: That is correct, channel change is through Girder using the "Internet Event Server" (IES) plugin. Theoretically, channel change can be done directly through the FW link. There is some Linux source code that comes with MythTV for doing this but would need porting and more work. I expect further progress and refinements as time goes on and popularity shows. Anders is going to release the source so other code warriors can expand and improve as needed.

DFA
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  #55  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:55 PM
Cayars Cayars is offline
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Just to make sure some people don't get the wrong impression I wanted to comment. Please don't take this as being negative as it's not meant to be but...

For those of you that this works for GREAT. BUT, for most people it's not going to be very reliable until we have the "cable card". I know in my Comcast area hardly anything is available that's not encrypted and/or 5Ced. I know some people have cable companies that are running more "open" then they should but this isn't going to last.

What I found to be really annoying when playing with graph edit on my DTC 6200 was the fact that some shows could be recorded just fine and other shows couldn't. It was hit or miss. There isn't anyway of telling if the show is going to record properly or not a head of time using the EPG as I don't know what the 5C/Encryption is going to be on that show.

So this CAN be huge for some people and it WILL be HUGE when we have cable cards available, this isn't going to be a reliable source of capture for most people. I know I wouldn't be able to use it.

So again, I don't want this to come off negative, I just don't want people to think this overcomes their cables companies encryption because it doesn't.

Keep an open mind and assume it won't work, but if it does work for you then consider yourself LUCKY. Have a beer and watch some recorded HD!!!
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  #56  
Old 01-25-2005, 05:03 PM
DFA DFA is offline
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Cayars:

That's right and as I said in previous post #52: "...some will be disappointed depending on the provider." But it costs NOTHING to do this.

Also, consider its usefulness beyond the FW project. The UNE is not limited to just that.

And it should be noted that for those providers that are lax about encryption there are as many providers that are encrypting when they should NOT.

Also note the UNE does not use the "Graphedit" application. Graphedit is only used to create the graph that the UNE will use. The UNE has it's own code for running and controlling the graph. The graph plugs into the UNE via a dot INI line item.

Can't rain on this parade. Just check the size of the AVSForum thread for HTPC Firewire capture (42 pages and 835 posts as of this writing). Wait till they get wind of this. I might even expect some of those experimenting with CapDVHS and have a lot of free and clear channels to consider purchasing Sage if not already users of the product.

DFA
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  #57  
Old 01-25-2005, 05:42 PM
Cayars Cayars is offline
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I wasn't trying to rain on anyone's parade.
I just wanted people to enter FW recording with the proper perspective. That is all.

I'm very much familar with Graphedit and what it's used for.

Again, I'm not sure what AVSForum would have to do with this. If you read the thread (I follow it) you'll good a very good glimps of reality when it comes to FW capture and all the issues people are dealing with. It's got nothing to do with the capture mechanism, but everything to do with 5C/encryption. Capturing the data is not hard to do at all, it's getting good data that's the problem!

It's HIT or MISS for people, and that's all I was trying to say. Is it worth trying? ABSOLUTELY!!!

I'm not trying to take anything away from this project at all and I do see the universal nature of it.
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  #58  
Old 01-25-2005, 06:24 PM
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I don't know if this will work in other areas, but here in Austin, TX Time Warner encrypted everything. After several people called them to ask why, they changed their policy and only encrypt premium channles.

YMMV
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  #59  
Old 01-25-2005, 06:38 PM
DFA DFA is offline
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Exactly. The pedulum can be found in both extremes, neither of which is correct. Encryption of premium, PPV and VOD channels should be the norm. That leaves a lot free and clear.

DFA
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  #60  
Old 01-25-2005, 06:42 PM
mikesm mikesm is offline
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I agree that the 5C issue isn't going to go away, but there will be many who are in areas where most content is not encrypted, and this will be a boon to them. I wouldn't hold out much hope for a PC version of cablecard - I understand there is all kinds of special goo around integration of cablecard in XP MCE, so this may not be easily dealt with. Still, even in that case, the foundation for a universal plugin that has been released will make cablecard integration into Sage much easier.

Thanks,
Mike
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