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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 05-12-2020, 10:03 PM
mike1961 mike1961 is offline
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Dual / Quad HD Capture Cards

Are there any good dual or quad HD capture cards that work with SageTV? I have an HD PVR but that is external and only has one tuner. I'm wondering if there are any good dual/quad capture cards that also do hardware encoding like the HD PVR preferably internal but external is also fine if it is dual or better yet quad. I'm just wondering what's out there.
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2020, 06:49 AM
icmoney icmoney is offline
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I use the Hauppauge WinTV QuadHD internal tuner card with my SageTV. Have never had a problem with it after several years of service. Works great and seems to lock in on a channel faster than the HDHomerun I used to use.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2020, 07:06 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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My personal preference is to use external tuning devices, especially network attached tuners like the HDHRs. The reason for this is that they can easily be shared amongst different PCs, it is way easier to move a tuner from PC A to PC B, and it is easier to use in Virtual environments as you (kind of) have in unRAID.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2020, 08:35 AM
jpwegas jpwegas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1961 View Post
Are there any good dual or quad HD capture cards that work with SageTV? I have an HD PVR but that is external and only has one tuner. I'm wondering if there are any good dual/quad capture cards that also do hardware encoding like the HD PVR preferably internal but external is also fine if it is dual or better yet quad. I'm just wondering what's out there.
I doubt you will find a card that does both tuning of digital signals (i.e. ATSC or CableCard) AND allows you to set or change the quality of the recorded stream. Those signals are already in a digital format, so the card can just save or stream the existing signal after some "minor" processing steps. Re-encoding the signal at a new quality would increase the device cost because additional hardware is needed to do the re-encode of the already digital signal.

--John
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Old 05-13-2020, 09:50 AM
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Telecore Telecore is offline
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Silicondust used to make the HDTC-2US, a dual OTA tuner that could transcode to MPEG-4; I noticed it is not on their web site anymore. I have used this, and a quad HDHR and I used to have the Hauppauge QuadHD. The Silicondust tuners have an advantage in that their streams can be sent through OpenDCT. This allows them to be transcoded or re-muxed. Re-muxing does not take a lot of CPU and "cleans" the streams which allows them to be watched with the SageTV miniclient.

EDIT: Sorry, just realized the original question was about capture cards, not the QuadHD
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Last edited by Telecore; 05-13-2020 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telecore View Post
Silicondust used to make the HDTC-2US, a dual OTA tuner that could transcode to MPEG-4; I noticed it is not on their web site anymore. I have used this, and a quad HDHR and I used to have the Hauppauge QuadHD. The Silicondust tuners have an advantage in that their streams can be sent through OpenDCT. This allows them to be transcoded or re-muxed. Re-muxing does not take a lot of CPU and "cleans" the streams which allows them to be watched with the SageTV miniclient.

EDIT: Sorry, just realized the original question was about capture cards, not the QuadHD
Yup they drop it and been down grade the number of product
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2020, 11:08 AM
jpwegas jpwegas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telecore View Post
The Silicondust tuners have an advantage in that their streams can be sent through OpenDCT. This allows them to be transcoded or re-muxed. Re-muxing does not take a lot of CPU and "cleans" the streams which allows them to be watched with the SageTV miniclient.
I believe you can also create an OpenDCT profile that would re-encode the stream to a new format or quality, although that probably requires a lot of CPU if you have multiple streams recording at once. That would be a software solution to Mike's use case.

--John
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2020, 02:41 PM
mike1961 mike1961 is offline
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A long time ago, we all used to have single or dual Hauppauge or Nvidia or other capture cards with hardware encoders on the capture card and you could specify the quality in sage This would allow us to capture any station on the cable box. We still have that today as a single tuner such as the Hauppauge HD PVR. What I'm asking is if there are any dual or Quad HD PVR capture devices with HD mp4 encoders that will do the same as these cards do.

Ideally, I think it's best to have something like one HD HomeRun or Hauppauge Quad PVR which will get you all the copy freely stations and then you most likely won't need 4 or 5 cable boxes even when you need to record that many programs at the same time. Then you still might need one or two cable boxes for the premium channels. That's why I think it would be nice to have a dual HD PVR.
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Old 05-13-2020, 04:45 PM
JustFred JustFred is offline
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Originally Posted by mike1961 View Post
A long time ago, we all used to have single or dual Hauppauge or Nvidia or other capture cards with hardware encoders on the capture card and you could specify the quality in sage
Don't get hung up on the "hardware encoder" aspect. The purpose of the encoder was to convert "old school" analog inputs (i.e, composite or component) to a digital signal. Since the advent of ATSC/ClearQAM (with their native digital data stream), the encoder is rarely needed.

Quote:
This would allow us to capture any station on the cable box. We still have that today as a single tuner such as the Hauppauge HD PVR. What I'm asking is if there are any dual or Quad HD PVR capture devices with HD mp4 encoders that will do the same as these cards do.
For analog capture (needed to connect to a cable box) Hauppauge also sells the Colossus PCIe capture card. It provides basically the same function as the HD-PVR. But in both cases, picture quality is inherently inferior to capturing an end-to-end digital stream. And forget about capturing 5.1 audio.

Quote:
Ideally, I think it's best to have something like one HD HomeRun or Hauppauge Quad PVR which will get you all the copy freely stations and then you most likely won't need 4 or 5 cable boxes even when you need to record that many programs at the same time. Then you still might need one or two cable boxes for the premium channels. That's why I think it would be nice to have a dual HD PVR.
Then consider installing 2 Colossus cards in the PC. That would save some real estate compared to 2 HD-PVRs. But it still has the same cabling mess and loss of video quality, plus the cost of renting cable boxes. Admittedly, with Time Warner, you may have no other choice than to go this route.

One of my Sage systems (on TWC) has 2 HD-PVRs + 2 cable boxes for the stuff only available on cable, plus a rooftop antenna and 2 HVR-2250's for the OTA channels. CableCARD is useless on this system, because most TWC/Spectrum channels aren't Copy Freely. In the 3 years of using the STBs/HD-PVRs, it's been a hassle. Spectrum is constantly meddling with their cable boxes (firmware upgrades, etc) and the setup has been far from reliable. I have to run a nightly script that reboots both the STBs and the HDPVRs. Plus another script that constantly monitors the Sage log files for when the STBs choke up and refuse to output video, requiring a manual restart. What grief..
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2020, 04:55 PM
mike1961 mike1961 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustFred View Post
Don't get hung up on the "hardware encoder" aspect. The purpose of the encoder was to convert "old school" analog inputs (i.e, composite or component) to a digital signal. Since the advent of ATSC/ClearQAM (with their native digital data stream), the encoder is rarely needed.
But -with spectrum it is needed because so many channels are not copy freely and that's the problem. Unfortunately when you live in an area where you can't get OTA with any antenna due to mountains you are somewhat limited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustFred View Post
Spectrum is constantly meddling with their cable boxes (firmware upgrades, etc) and the setup has been far from reliable. I have to run a nightly script that reboots both the STBs and the HDPVRs. Plus another script that constantly monitors the Sage log files for when the STBs choke up and refuse to output video, requiring a manual restart. What grief..
I fully agree - spectrum is a real pain - it's no wonder why so many are cancelling their cable subscriptions. But, if I go satellite then I need a cable box for every tuner and that's even more clutter. But, with that said, I'm curious if satellite streams are mostly copy freely?
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Old 05-13-2020, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1961 View Post
But -with spectrum it is needed because so many channels are not copy freely and that's the problem. Unfortunately when you live in an area where you can't get OTA with any antenna due to mountains you are somewhat limited.



I fully agree - spectrum is a real pain - it's no wonder why so many are cancelling their cable subscriptions. But, if I go satellite then I need a cable box for every tuner and that's even more clutter. But, with that said, I'm curious if satellite streams are mostly copy freely?
There are no satellite “streams”. There is no cable card for satellite. You need a STB to tune any satellite channels. If you want to record in HD, your only choice is the HD-PVR or a similar device that captures either HDMI or Component outputs from the STB.

I’m not aware of any device like this that can capture multiple things at once, but even if there were, you would still need one STB for each channel you wanted to record at the same time.
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  #12  
Old 05-13-2020, 06:07 PM
mike1961 mike1961 is offline
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I know of one card that I believe captures 4 HDMI at once but it's horribly expensive.

Thanks for all the input.
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