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  #1  
Old 06-29-2009, 08:55 PM
gregmac gregmac is offline
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Recommended setup

I'm a long-time MythTV user, considering switching to SageTV. Mostly, I'm unhappy with the UI, and the horrible music player. I've been looking at XBMC, but it's PVR integration leaves a lot to be desired (in that there is almost none).

I've been toying with the idea of SageTV, and have a good friend who really likes it. I do like the concept of a $200 extender.

I'm very very confused on what I should use as a platform, however. I'm basically equally comfortable in both Windows and Linux (10+ years as a user/programmer on both platforms, user of Windows going back to 3.1).

I really dislike there is no trial of the Linux version, which means I have to set up a new Windows box to even give SageTV a shot at all. I'm really not sure which is better however. I have commercial skipping in MythTV, and I don't want to go without that - does it work equally well on Linux via Wine? Any general recommendations on the old Windows vs Linux debate, without considering skill/familiarity? (Most of the threads I've read seem to come down to "use whatever you work best on")

My only capture card now is a PVR-150, which works great on Linux. I'd like to eventually add an HD card, probably something with component inputs. I'd prefer to buy something that works on Linux, regardless of what I end up doing software-wise (just to support that sort of thing), but am I going to run into a situation where I'm paying a serious premium for that, or possibly just not finding compatible hardware? I'm thinking the most likely use for this is hooking up to external digital cable or satellite, hence component (or other HD) inputs.

I'm also confused about the Client vs Placeshifter thing - from reading forums, it seems like Placeshifter puts CPU load on the server, Client puts it on the client (and can play DVDs). I just purchased an Asrock ION 330 for a media client, and I'm very pleased with it and will likely purchase more. It has HDMI and optical audio outputs, DVD, almost silent, and very low power usage. This means one of my requirements is supporting this. If I install Client, can I use the local DVD player in it? I'd prefer Client either way, since it seems stupid to put CPU load on the server and let this thing sit close to idle. It also seems there is no Linux Client, for some reason? Can the full Linux Media Center be used as a client (it's still cheaper than a Windows license + Client)?

Not having a Linux Client is a huge negative in my mind, since Linux is ideally suited to a system like this. If there was a media extender that had a DVD player, it would negate the need a bit, but it's nice to have local DVD support without having extra equipment, and having to fuss with multiple inputs and universal remotes.

Are the HD extenders more like placeshifters, in that they generate decoding CPU on the server (and thus I need to beef up the server as I add extenders), or are they doing local decoding? I also really hate the default UI -- SageMC looks far superior. Does it run on extenders? Mostly I'm concerned with having a consistent UI and experience.

Thanks for thoughts and opinions, and sorry if this has been discussed to death. I can't really find specific answers in any recent threads, a lot of the information is 2-3 years old, and even I can tell some of it no longer applies.
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2009, 09:17 PM
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Djc208 Djc208 is offline
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I'll hit the ones I can.

The Windows/Linux choice is a personal one. I prefer Windows because everything has Windows drivers, and they usually get patched and upgraded first, plus you have more software options, but since you know your stuff you may be better able to get Linux to work for you. Personally I use WHS on my Sage server for it's backup and "pooling" features.

The only device currently supporting component inputs is the Hauppage HD-PVR. Again the windows driver's are hit and miss but have gotten a little better, not sure the same applies for the Linux versions.

Placeshifter is designed to be used outside your home network. The program works with the server to stream the media at the fastest bitrate the connection can support. It can be used inside the network without transcoding, and uses a different license scheme than Client. The placeshifter machine still does playback but does not run the interface directly, it's streamed from the server (basically a remote desktop version of SageTV).

Client is the same as the Server software without the recording functions built in.

The extenders use the same license as the placeshifter software, however they work like Clients in that all the work is done on the extender with the server just streaming the media.

SageMC and most of the other add-ons and interfaces will work on the Extenders just fine. Ironically most of them are just specialized hardware running a custom version of the Linux software.
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Server: Core 2 Duo E4200 2 GB RAM, nVidia 6200LE, 480 GB in pool, 500GB WHS backup drive, 1x750 GB & 1x1TB Sage drives, Hauppage HVR-1600, HD PVR, Windows Home Server SP2
Media center: 46" Samsung DLP, HD-100 extender.
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Laptop: HP dm3z, AMD (1.6 GHz) 4 GB RAM, 60 GB OCZ SSD, AMD HD3200 graphics, 13.3" widescreen LCD, Windows 7 x64/Sage placeshifter.
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2009, 06:16 AM
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wrems wrems is offline
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You can use the HD200 extender to playback DVDís just fine. They have no physical DVD drive, but your collection can be ripped to the server rather easily. Additionally, you can utilize your serverís DVD drive to play back a DVD at any extender in your house. Youíll need a program like anydvd on the server and add the DVD drive as an import path. Not always the most convenient option depending on the location of your server but a definite way to save money on hardware.
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  #4  
Old 06-30-2009, 06:27 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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I would just like to tell you that I am very happy with WHS. I chose it for it's capabilities outside of Sage as was previously mentioned.

Automatic PC Backups
Data Pooling
Data duplication across drives

It is as advertised, a home server. It performs all the tasks I need it to in addition to Sage.

There is a learning curve to WHS but with your background you should pick it up just fine as I did. Make sure you read up on WHS here for installation notes because it is not a standard WHS install if you want to use it with Sage. 120 day trial. Trial to full version requires a reinstall but maintains your drive pool.

Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 06-30-2009, 10:18 AM
gregmac gregmac is offline
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I do like the concept of WHS drive pools (I do something similar on my Linux system now, using JBOD and symlinks to map everything to one unified location). By the sounds of it, it makes more sense to go with WHS for the server. I'm confused about this trial though: are you talking about a trial of WHS, or of SageTV? I can see a trial of WHS would require re-install, but I hope a sage trial doesn't require reinstalling the OS?

Thanks for the tips with DVD. I don't actually want to rip my entire collection, they're fine as DVDs. It would be nice though to not have to put a DVD in in the basement to watch it upstairs (not very girlfriend-friendly). I like that ability if I get HD-200s, but for at least my one ION 330 in the living room (which has a DVD player built in), I'd like to be able to make use of it. Still unclear the best route here: placeshift can't do local DVDs (I don't think?), Client/Linux doesn't exist, Client/WinXP would work, full SageTV/Linux not sure..
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  #6  
Old 06-30-2009, 10:46 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmac View Post
I'm confused about this trial though: are you talking about a trial of WHS, or of SageTV? I can see a trial of WHS would require re-install, but I hope a sage trial doesn't require reinstalling the OS?
Trial of WHS requires a reinstall. Sage does not require reinstall of the OS. However, if you have to reinstall WHS, you will have to reinstall Sage. Sage is nothing to worry about though. Check out the FAQ for how to do this and keep all of your settings.
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  #7  
Old 06-30-2009, 11:33 AM
gregmac gregmac is offline
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I figured, that makes much more sense. Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2009, 09:03 AM
ltburch2000 ltburch2000 is offline
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I switched from MythTv to SageTV and am quite satisfied.

One hitch I have not worked out is that 5.1 recordings don't playback in 5.1 they playback in stereo even though I know my setup can playback in 5.1 (worked in mythtv)

Comskip works fine under wine. I had to write my own shall script for running it and cleaning out old .edl and .log files.
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  #9  
Old 07-09-2009, 04:51 PM
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loomdog32 loomdog32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmac View Post
Thanks for the tips with DVD. I don't actually want to rip my entire collection, they're fine as DVDs. It would be nice though to not have to put a DVD in in the basement to watch it upstairs (not very girlfriend-friendly). I like that ability if I get HD-200s, but for at least my one ION 330 in the living room (which has a DVD player built in), I'd like to be able to make use of it. Still unclear the best route here: placeshift can't do local DVDs (I don't think?), Client/Linux doesn't exist, Client/WinXP would work, full SageTV/Linux not sure..
The ION 330 is a nettop, with a Intel Atom CPU, correct?? If that is the case, Sage Client would not be up to par on the device.. There are some people "testing" netbooks for use with PlaceShifter.. Results didnt look too great..

It looks like there is gonna be a BluRay verson of that device (ION-330BD) hmmm..........

Since you are familar with linux, I would stick with linux.. Test Sage on a Win box first to see if you like it. If linux drivers are avail for your hardware, then your set.

Quote:
The only device currently supporting component inputs is the Hauppage HD-PVR. Again the windows driver's are hit and miss but have gotten a little better, not sure the same applies for the Linux versions.
The HD-PVR is a USB device. It converts the A/V stream into a MPEG4 compressed stream. Hauppauge does not support this device in linux currently. There are other capture cards with component inputs. Blackmagic Intensity Pro
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