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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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  #1  
Old 01-01-2009, 12:42 PM
rmac321 rmac321 is offline
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Realistic Minimum System Specs - FAQ or chart needed

(Yes, I've searched, so if it exists, please point me to it because I couldn't find it)

With analog OTA about to disappear and cable moving more and more to QAM, how realistic are those minimum specs on the SageTV website? My test computer exceeds those specs, but my testbed system is a dog and will never get WAf.

Because there are a number of different ways one might use SageTV, it would be very beneficial to have a chart of minimum system specs. It's clear a server only system receiving already encoded streams and sending streams to be decoded by an extender/client needs far less horsepower than a fully dedicated HTPC, but what are the various shades of gray in between?

How about starting a chart that could be part of the faq so people know just what the system they already have can do. Many of us want to try out SageTV on a test system first (establish a little WAF?) but we need a little guidance on what we can reasonably do with that idle desktop machine in the corner.

For instance, in my case, what is needed for:
1) a server receiving 2 ATSC OTA streams from an HDHR and feeding HD extenders
2) same as as above but feeding placeshifters

A chart/faq could have all kinds of variations of internal/usb tuners, quantity of tuners/streams, combinations of onboard encoding/decoding, etc.
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2009, 12:54 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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There are so many possible configurations it gets pretty complicated for sure.

Here's the minimum requirements though

I agree a chart would be nice.

Quote:
1) a server receiving 2 ATSC OTA streams from an HDHR and feeding HD extenders
2) same as as above but feeding placeshifters
It shouldn't take too much to handle HDHR recording. Placeshifting however is somewhat CPU intensive and that requires more horsepower.

What are the specs of your current PC?

Last edited by Brent; 01-01-2009 at 12:56 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2009, 12:22 PM
RayGannon RayGannon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmac321 View Post
For instance, in my case, what is needed for:
1) a server receiving 2 ATSC OTA streams from an HDHR and feeding HD extenders
2) same as as above but feeding placeshifters
I was initially using an Intel D201GLY2 motherboard which had a 1.2 ghz celeron , 512 meg of RAM, and 2 SATA laptop hard drives. It was able to record 2 HD streams from my HDHomeRun and play back a third HD stream to my HD100 extender. Video and audio were fine but the menus were sluggish and I had to reboot it about once a week. This was running Windows XP and drew about 36 watts peak and something like 21 watts idle. I would consider this an absolute bottom end for your situation.

I wanted to add another HDHomeRun and comskip so I upgraded to an Intel DG45GC motherboard with a Core2 2180 processor running at 2 GHz, and 2 gig of RAM. I also upgraded the media hard drive to a standard 3-1/2" SATA due to bandwidth issues on the laptop drive. This setup presents no noticable quality problems when recording 4 HD streams from the HDHomeRun's while also feeding a fifth HD stream to the HD-100 and a sixth HD stream to a placeshifter client. The network numbers wouldn't seem to add up but the latest firmware for the HDHR's apparently strip subchannels and filler from the stream sent to Sage. The menu system is very snappy even under this heavy load. This setup is also running Windows XP and draws about 52 watts peak and 33 idle.

Not a chart but yet another datapoint and possibly directly related to your situation.

Last edited by RayGannon; 01-02-2009 at 12:29 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2009, 08:02 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmac321 View Post
1) a server receiving 2 ATSC OTA streams from an HDHR and feeding HD extenders
See my sig below. The second machine has recorded 4 HDTV feeds and 2 SD feeds and did playback without moving the CPU out of the 5% numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmac321 View Post
2) same as as above but feeding placeshifters
Again, I know the second machine can do placeshifting, as the biggest holdup is the very narrow upload pipe of the DSL my dad's house has. That is also while using Hamachi, which also uses the CPU.

If your machine is on a local network, the local machine does the video decoding (same as a client), so there really isn't a CPU issue again.

BTW, I'd ALWAYS suggest a dual core CPU these days, mainly just so the machine doesn't die when some process goes wild.
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  #5  
Old 01-04-2009, 11:49 PM
rmac321 rmac321 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent View Post
There are so many possible configurations it gets pretty complicated for sure.

What are the specs of your current PC?
My specs are admittedly barely above those listed (Athlon 700, 512Mb), but they are above and this was just to be an initial test of SageTV. I guess part of my surprise was that the software itself runs pretty slow on old architecture, before you ever get to streaming anything. Add to that the fact that even though the intent was to create a headless server, you need to be able to use the video to get it setup before you add clients and placeshifters. With that in mind, I'd prefer they published a higher minimum spec.

FWIW, I hadn't intended to test on a system so close to the minimum, but the system I intended to test on was mysteriously dead when I pulled it out of the corner.
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2009, 03:52 AM
rmac321 rmac321 is offline
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HD Extender - no additional load on server?

I added the MediaMVP tonight and as expected, the server can't handle the extra load. Do I understand correctly that the HD extender would not add any load to the server? I still have to buy my license, so I could get the HD combo to get things working until the server is upgraded.

FWIW, the MVP/server combo does fine on the SD OTA's, just not the HD's. Unfortunately most of our locals don't offer an SD subchannel, just HD.
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  #7  
Old 01-05-2009, 08:26 AM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmac321 View Post
I added the MediaMVP tonight and as expected, the server can't handle the extra load. Do I understand correctly that the HD extender would not add any load to the server? I still have to buy my license, so I could get the HD combo to get things working until the server is upgraded.
Its not accurate to say the HD extender doesn't add any extra load to the server, but it certainly adds minimal load to the processor. I think it adds a bit of memory overhead to the server. 512 megs might be cutting it close if you ever get a lot of recordings and/or imported videos/music. 1 gig is probably plenty. And, of course, your hard drive can only read and write so much at once, but I doubt you'll run into that problem (particularly if you've switched to 64K clusters).

Quote:
FWIW, the MVP/server combo does fine on the SD OTA's, just not the HD's. Unfortunately most of our locals don't offer an SD subchannel, just HD.
The MVP can only play back SD TV. So, when you try to watch a channel in HD the server will transcode the video file from HD mpeg2 to SD mpeg2. This is pretty processor intensive, and takes something on the order of 2Ghz Pentium4/Celeron or a 1.5Ghz Core processor just to do it on low quality. If you want to placeshift HD, or feed MVPs with transcoded HD, I would recommend a pretty powerful server- at least a 2GHz Core2 duo.

Last edited by reggie14; 01-05-2009 at 08:28 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-05-2009, 08:29 AM
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webwalker webwalker is offline
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Another datapoint for you:

Athlon64 2ghz, 1gb RAM. IDE disk at AT/133. Sage Server only, with Comskip running.

Two HDHR streams and a single HD-PVR150 encoder, no problem (but the HDHR has a dedicated network link.)

If you are having some problems across your network with the HDHRs clogging traffic (or just eating in to the outbound bandwidth badly enough to be noticeable) this is a cheap solution that isn't hard to set up.

Of course, with hundreds of channels available via DirecTV and ATSC OTA combined, I can't find material that is good enough to merit using all of the tuning devices at the same time. But I've tested it and found this setup stable.

Transcoding, however, takes forever...but based on the ability to keep the power footprint as low as possible on this system...I'll take it. I just wish XP automatically shifted speedsteps on the CPU core based on load, which would really pull the power down even further.

Anyway, there's another $.02 for you.
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