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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 04-06-2010, 06:28 AM
mevans mevans is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London
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Is using WHS and two HDHomeruns realistic?

I recently built a WHS (see sig) to use as a file server, and trying to kill two birds with one stone, installed SageTV too.

I have to admit that this is my first WHS, and I am new to SageTV too... but I have built PCs before...

Firstly, SageTV is wonderful and obviously very powerful

However, I am experiencing slow responsiveness/jerky playback (and am doing some investigations - there are other threads on this subject).

I am wondering if I have made the right choices and therefore have a couple of general questions:

1) How realistic is it to use WHS as a file server, and as a SageTV server. i.e. presumably if you are copying files to/from the server, SageTV will soon run into problems. In reality, is this a problem? Iíll notice that I am recording to non-pooled drives to try and minimise this potential problem.

2) When streaming over a network to clients/placeshifter/HD200 is gigabit equipment essential? Especially considering that the HDHomeruns are on the network streaming to the SageTV server, which is then streaming back out again to the clients.
I am considering installing a second network card (that officially has drivers/support for windows server 2003), to have the HDHomeruns on a separate network.

3) It is my understanding that when using the SageTV Client software and the HD200, the processing overhead is minimal on the server. Is this correct? Presumably any up-scaling from SD content to 1080i or 1080p is dealt with in the client/HD200?

4) Considering none of my switches enable me to control QoS. Are there any official bandwidth requirements for HD200s?

Thanks in advance...
__________________
Server: ASUS P7P55D, Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, Antec Three Hundred, 1x TBS 6284 PCI-E DVB-T2 Quad (OTA HD 'Freeview'), 2x HD Homerun dual tuners (OTA SD 'Freeview'), WHS OS installed on Seagate 250GB SATAII, Recording to 9TB Storage Pool (64k clusters)
SageTV version: 7.1.9
HDHomerun's plugged into mobo NIC via giga switch
2nd NIC to home network
Program Guide: DigiGuide Birtles Grabber XMLTV Importer for SageTV
Clients: Two HD200, One HD300, Client on PC, Placeshifter on PC
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2010, 07:21 AM
JetreL's Avatar
JetreL JetreL is offline
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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Hey welcome to SageTV! There is a heck of a learning curve at first but once you, "Get it," you should really like it!

Overall home LAN bandwidth should *never* *ever* *ever* be a problem.. As long as you are running decent cable Cat5E (or better) and a 100/bit or better switch you shouldn't ever see any issues on your network... Gigabit can be better but I have heard of some issues with the HD200s and Gigabit with stuttering issues. (I have never seen it myself though)

Your jerkiness may be caused by the duplications of your stored files?? I have seen that issue before on my server... The setup for Sage on WHS I recommend is:

Software Raided Disk:

Store - Files and Documents, Music, Pictures, DVD Rips, Backup

Extra non-raided disk (Formatted to 64k blocks):


Store - Files you could loose and live with as well as TV recordings

I have tried many WHS configs and this one just seems to work best for me. YMMV but you can do some searching in the forums if this doesn't work well for you I know WHS is pretty well covered as well as migrating your Software Raided disk to 64k Blocks. (I personally don't recommend)

WHS is overall a good setup. It works well as a file-server and seems to plow through whatever I throw at it. Backups are a breeze and it has XP compatibility for most drivers.

Last edited by JetreL; 04-06-2010 at 07:44 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04-06-2010, 07:38 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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You should be fine with that configuration. I have that now. Granted, I have a quad core running my WHS. But that has nothing to do with file transfer. I would be that JetreL is on the right track. You have a bottleneck and either you have software raid on the recording drive, folder duplication on the recording folder, non-65k cluster recording drive or something else is eating your network bandwidth. I have two HDHRs and it works fine. I often record 4 HD programs at one time while watching a few others. I have Gbit network but not because I think SageTV needs it but because I move off recordings to convert and Gigabit makes that much more convenient. I do have a problem occasionally when backups are happening, streaming HD recordings to the old extenders that require transcoding. But that rarely happens as backups happen after midnight and I just bought 2 more HD-200's to replace 2 of the 4 old ones I have.
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Server: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz, 1333FSB), Asus P5B Deluxe MB w/Gb LAN, 4GB AData RAM, WHS, PVR-500 (NTSCx2), HDHomeRun x2 (4 QAM), HDPVR x2, 6.7 TB data pool, Comskip/SJQv3, HD200x3, SD-MVPx2
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  #4  
Old 04-06-2010, 08:50 AM
mevans mevans is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Thanks for the (speedy!) replies.

i will check duplication. but i am recording to 3 seperate 500GB drives that are _not_ in the storage pool - so this shouldn't be a problem. I have formatted with 64K blocks also (is there a way to check this?).

The network is all wired, and with CAT5e. i will go round with a tester to check that all of the terminations are ok...
__________________
Server: ASUS P7P55D, Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, Antec Three Hundred, 1x TBS 6284 PCI-E DVB-T2 Quad (OTA HD 'Freeview'), 2x HD Homerun dual tuners (OTA SD 'Freeview'), WHS OS installed on Seagate 250GB SATAII, Recording to 9TB Storage Pool (64k clusters)
SageTV version: 7.1.9
HDHomerun's plugged into mobo NIC via giga switch
2nd NIC to home network
Program Guide: DigiGuide Birtles Grabber XMLTV Importer for SageTV
Clients: Two HD200, One HD300, Client on PC, Placeshifter on PC
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  #5  
Old 04-06-2010, 11:25 AM
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JetreL JetreL is offline
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Location: Charlotte, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mevans View Post
3 seperate 500GB drives that are _not_ in the storage pool - so this shouldn't be a problem.
Yeah, silly me, I read you post once and completely skipped that part till I reread it later. I am at work and tried to fix the original post as fast as I could...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mevans View Post
I have formatted with 64K blocks also (is there a way to check this?).
From a DOS Prompt you can run: chkdsk d:

That should give you the cluster info.

Some other things you also may check are:
  • Is the stuttering happening in the same place (If so it could be a capture issue or signal instead of another issue.)
  • How full is the disk? Storage and C:
  • CPU usage (I know you have an i5 but if you are running 6 comskips you may be killing the processor)
  • Are any of the components overheating?
  • Possible failing drive. (Make sure SMART is turned on)
  • Defrag the drive (Video files are huge so do it in off peak times)
  • Punch holes in firewall for ports that Sage uses regularly
  • Is there a virus scanner running? (If you are using one and are not willing to give up the scanner then try ignoring the drives that store video and the Sage service all together)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mevans View Post
Thanks for the (speedy!) replies.
Always happy to help just remember to try to pay it forward.

Last edited by JetreL; 04-06-2010 at 11:29 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2010, 03:07 PM
autoboy autoboy is offline
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You don't need to defrag. With recording drives, it is a losing battle anyways. Format 64k which you already did.

Each HD stream the HDhomeruns pulls is 20mbit. If you are recording 4, then you are using 80mbit. The limit on my 100mbit card is about 95 mbit which means that if you try to stream just one of those 20mbit HD streams then you are out of bandwidth on a 100mbit network. The best solution is to put the 2 HDhomeruns on a 2nd completely separate network. A 100mit nic is $5 so that's a nice cheap solution.

The other solution is to upgrade your network to gigabit. My network is gigabit, but I still run into issues where I am saturating the gig network with traffic by doing large file transfers and my consumer grade gig router drops some packets from the HDhomerun and I get stutter. I can't do a completely separate network because of my configuration.
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  #7  
Old 04-07-2010, 12:32 PM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autoboy View Post
The other solution is to upgrade your network to gigabit. My network is gigabit, but I still run into issues where I am saturating the gig network with traffic by doing large file transfers and my consumer grade gig router drops some packets from the HDhomerun and I get stutter. I can't do a completely separate network because of my configuration.
You should not need an entire gigabit network. Just the server NIC going to a gigabit switch where the the HDHRs are connected. The server NIC is your bottleneck for all traffic.

But then again, if you have a newer motherboard with a 2nd NIC that is not being used, a megabit switch into the NIC and the 2 HDHRs would work too. Now that I mention it, I may give this one a go myself.
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Server: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz, 1333FSB), Asus P5B Deluxe MB w/Gb LAN, 4GB AData RAM, WHS, PVR-500 (NTSCx2), HDHomeRun x2 (4 QAM), HDPVR x2, 6.7 TB data pool, Comskip/SJQv3, HD200x3, SD-MVPx2
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  #8  
Old 04-07-2010, 04:09 PM
mevans mevans is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London
Posts: 85
Quote:
But then again, if you have a newer motherboard with a 2nd NIC that is not being used, a megabit switch into the NIC and the 2 HDHRs would work too. Now that I mention it, I may give this one a go myself.
this is what i have just configured. I now have the home network (with 3x PCs, NAS, 2x HD200's etc) running on gigabit switches plugged in to a new PCI D-Link DGE-528T (i choose this because D-Link have MS Server 2003 drivers for this NIC); and the 2x HDHomerun's plugged into the motherboard NIC via a megabit switch.

so far, so good... (he says, watching one channel, whilst recording two others)

i'll keep you posted...
__________________
Server: ASUS P7P55D, Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, Antec Three Hundred, 1x TBS 6284 PCI-E DVB-T2 Quad (OTA HD 'Freeview'), 2x HD Homerun dual tuners (OTA SD 'Freeview'), WHS OS installed on Seagate 250GB SATAII, Recording to 9TB Storage Pool (64k clusters)
SageTV version: 7.1.9
HDHomerun's plugged into mobo NIC via giga switch
2nd NIC to home network
Program Guide: DigiGuide Birtles Grabber XMLTV Importer for SageTV
Clients: Two HD200, One HD300, Client on PC, Placeshifter on PC
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  #9  
Old 04-07-2010, 04:58 PM
mevans mevans is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London
Posts: 85
Recording 4 channels, watching 2

still all good...
__________________
Server: ASUS P7P55D, Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, Antec Three Hundred, 1x TBS 6284 PCI-E DVB-T2 Quad (OTA HD 'Freeview'), 2x HD Homerun dual tuners (OTA SD 'Freeview'), WHS OS installed on Seagate 250GB SATAII, Recording to 9TB Storage Pool (64k clusters)
SageTV version: 7.1.9
HDHomerun's plugged into mobo NIC via giga switch
2nd NIC to home network
Program Guide: DigiGuide Birtles Grabber XMLTV Importer for SageTV
Clients: Two HD200, One HD300, Client on PC, Placeshifter on PC
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