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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 07-23-2008, 12:58 PM
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phelme phelme is offline
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HD-PVR as network encoder problem

I've got a problem with shows being broken up into multiple chunks because my HD-PVR as encoder is starting and stopping. I've got a thread about it here where I'm exploring the possibility of the DirecTV receiver being the fault. Now I'm wondering if it's the HD-PVR itself.

I figure it's one of these:
  • the DTV receiver
  • the HD-PVR is faulty
  • the video cables are loose/bad
  • drop in network traffic
I've already eliminated the network as a possibility through testing.

I'll be looking at the video cables today as I've been able to determine that the HD-PVR automatically stops if the video signal drops. But it's kind of chicken and egg: is the HD-PVR stopping first and then the SageTV server sensing that telling it to stop/start again or is something else causing it first? The logs don't make it clear.

I'll also be running lengthy records via the ArcSoft Capture software today too to see if I get the drops. So far, this only seems to be a problem with the HD-PVR as network encoder within SageTV.

The HD-PVR as encoder combination seems to be less fault-tolerant than previous Hauppauge stuff I've used. I didn't see this kind of behavior before.

Is anyone else using the HD-PVR as an encoder and seen this problem? Or suggest another way to test this? I've got an email into Hauppauge about it.

(Sorry admins, this is kind of a duplicate of the DTV thread, but I wanted to grab some HD-PVR eyeballs)
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Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL

Last edited by phelme; 07-23-2008 at 01:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2008, 02:17 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phelme View Post
I've got a problem with shows being broken up into multiple chunks because my HD-PVR as encoder is starting and stopping. I've got a thread about it here where I'm exploring the possibility of the DirecTV receiver being the fault. Now I'm wondering if it's the HD-PVR itself.

I figure it's one of these:
  • the DTV receiver
  • the HD-PVR is faulty
  • the video cables are loose/bad
  • drop in network traffic
Well, starting at the beginning, if your recordings are broken (multiple -# files for the recording) then it's highly unlikely that it's the DTV receiver. If it were that that were dropping out, I'd expect a contiguous recording with black parts in it (or something like that).

Likewise for the video cables.

I suppose it's possible the HD PVR will stop recording if the input signal flakes out, but I wouldn't expect it. (OK, I see below now that it does drop the recording, but I still wouldn't expect the STB to stop, nor would I expect the cable to be a problem).

Here's a question, are the HD PVR and STB plugged into the same outlet? If not, it's possible a ground loop is throwing off the HD PVR.

Quote:
I've already eliminated the network as a possibility through testing.
How did you do that. Along those lines, how are you using the HD PVR as a network encoder? Do you have SageTV setup as an encoding server?

Quote:
I'll be looking at the video cables today as I've been able to determine that the HD-PVR automatically stops if the video signal drops. But it's kind of chicken and egg: is the HD-PVR stopping first and then the SageTV server sensing that telling it to stop/start again or is something else causing it first? The logs don't make it clear.
Well probably the easiest and maybe best test would be to connect a display to the loop out on the HD PVR and then start a recording and watch on both the loop display and the recording to see if when the recording dies, if the loop out dies as well. If not, then you know the input did not die.
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2008, 03:55 PM
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phelme phelme is offline
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The HD-PVR is basically a drop in replacement on a network encoding PC that has had a PVR-150 card for about 18 months. I may have had a couple of broken-up shows over that time, but nothing like this where 85% of the shows are spread over multiple files.

I'm going to keep looking into the networking too because, well, you just never know. I've run a couple of iperf tests for an hour each and never dropped any packets. there's nothing in any of the event logs network related for either encoding machine or Sage server. I'm going to keep a Remote Desktop connection open and see if it drops as an additional test. An event is logged if RD does fail and I'll see if the times match up with the Sage log for HD-PVR restarts.

Looks like the SEEKER on the Sage server checks the connection with an encoder about every 5 minutes and restarts HD-PVR when it notices there's a problem. Anyone know if that's how it works? Based on some of the gaps of time it looks like the HD-PVR has stopped well before the Sage server notices the outage which is why I still think it's some inter-play with the HD-PVR and the video signal. Or this particular HD-PVR is just flaky.

I ran ArcSoft Capture for about 90 minutes and didn't see any breaks. If you pull the video cable during a recording capture, the red recording LED does go out (and the fan stops! ) until you plug it back in at which point the red LED (& fan) comes back on. Upon playback, TME shows a blue screen briefly at the point the cable was pulled; it's only brief not matter how long you have it unplugged because the recording is stopped until the signal is up again.

My replacement DirecTV box came today (that was quick... good eBay seller ) so I'll swap that later this afternoon and see what happens.
__________________
Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL
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  #4  
Old 07-23-2008, 05:46 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phelme View Post
The HD-PVR is basically a drop in replacement on a network encoding PC that has had a PVR-150 card for about 18 months. I may have had a couple of broken-up shows over that time, but nothing like this where 85% of the shows are spread over multiple files.
But is that running SageTV as an encoding server?

Sounds like the encoding wasn't that reliable before, I'm guessing there's some sort of networking issue there, maybe a CIFS problem that wouldn't show up in iperf.
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2008, 07:00 PM
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phelme phelme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
But is that running SageTV as an encoding server?

Sounds like the encoding wasn't that reliable before, I'm guessing there's some sort of networking issue there, maybe a CIFS problem that wouldn't show up in iperf.
There are two PC's that are network encoders (HD-PVR on one, PVR-USB2 on the other) and then a third PC that is the actual Sage server. There is also an HDHomeRun on the network too and never had a problem with that. There is no actual tuner running on the server itself if that's what you're asking. The network has been great up until now; been running this way for about a year and a half. I think the couple of times that I had issues with either of the network encoding PC's was when the DirecTV boxes themselves had frozen and need to be rebooted.

I'm looking into creating various PerfMon alerts now to monitor the network interface. But I still think something else is going on. For instance why haven't we had any issue when this particular network encoder when it's acting as a Sage client? Wouldn't it also fail if the network went down, even briefly? Haven't seen that.
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Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL
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  #6  
Old 07-25-2008, 06:22 PM
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phelme phelme is offline
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Does anyone know if it's possible to decrease the time interval when the Seeker checks the status of the recordings (that's when it checks the fileLength to determine if it's changed)? Right now it appears to be set at 5 minutes, if i could cut that in half at least then I wouldn't be losing as much of a show as I am now when the encoding fails. I'm wondering if there is a property for this.
__________________
Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL
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  #7  
Old 07-25-2008, 06:54 PM
nyplayer nyplayer is offline
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phelme,

One way to eliminate the network is to set the NetWork Encoder to record to a local drive where the HD PVR is located. That way if you get full recordings then you know it's your network.

Set this property

mmc/encoders/your encoder number/forced_video_storage_path_prefix=
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  #8  
Old 07-25-2008, 08:06 PM
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phelme phelme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyplayer View Post
phelme,

One way to eliminate the network is to set the NetWork Encoder to record to a local drive where the HD PVR is located. That way if you get full recordings then you know it's your network.

Set this property

mmc/encoders/your encoder number/forced_video_storage_path_prefix=
Good idea, I'll have to try that. I have used that property to try different recording drives on the (across the network) main Sage server. Currently I'm trying to record the HD-PVR locally to its own SageTV server (i.e. not as a net encoder). So far it's been running several hours without a problem.

I guess my main complaint is there is nothing in the Sage logs or Windows event logs to indicate a failure of any kind. Sage normally does drop an entry in the log if it has any kind of network file access problems. There haven't been any entries like that. I've got the network_encoder_debug flag turned on now but it's returned nothing but detailed file size requests at 5 minute intervals which I already knew about.

A better watch on what the tuner in the encoding machine is doing would help too. As it is, you can lose up to 9 minutes of a show with the current failure checking mechanism.
__________________
Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL

Last edited by phelme; 07-25-2008 at 08:19 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-27-2008, 10:42 AM
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phelme phelme is offline
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Is anyone using the HD-PVR as a network encoder successfully?
__________________
Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL
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  #10  
Old 07-28-2008, 12:38 AM
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phelme phelme is offline
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As another experiment, I connected my HD-PVR directly to the main server today. Recorded 6 hours straight without a hiccup. I also ran overnight tests recording locally to the network encoding server itself. Also no breaks. So I think it's safe to say something is definitely flaky when the HD-PVR is run as a network encoder with 6.4.5 that causes it to simply stop recording. At least on my system. Not sure if it's Sage or the HD-PVR drivers. Guess I'll file a bug.

My other Hauppage devices (150 & USB2) continue to work fine as net encoders.

The good news is at least, my HD-PVR itself works great!
__________________
Server: AMD 9600 Phenom on XP, Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM, 2GB RAM, 320+250+500 GB SATA drives, HDHomeRun Prime, HD-PVR x.5.1, Paterson serial
Client/Encoder:AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, ATI X1650 XT, nMediaPC case, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Cyberlink/ArcSoft decoders, USB-UIRT
Client/Encoder: AMD 3800+ X2, 512 MB RAM, 6150 graphics, nMediaPC case, ArcSoft decoders
Client: HD300, Asus Pundit P1-AH1, AMD 3800+ X2 CPU, 1 GB RAM, 6150 graphics, ArcSoft decoders
Backup: Synology
SageTV version: FINAL

Last edited by phelme; 07-28-2008 at 12:42 AM.
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