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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 02-17-2009, 02:58 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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New system - what do you suggest?

I am a real novice when it comes to what is needed for a HTPC. So, let me know what you have that was easy to install, configure, and works with Directv.
I realize that the big stopper is the satellite TV but I do not have a choice being so far out in the country. Currently, I am building a Vista machine with plenty of speed and capacity so that will never be an issue. Do you have a formula that is working for you? Please, I need your help.
Thanks,
Ralph
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2009, 03:04 PM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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First in foremost do you want hd or sd?

What are your specs you are considering?

Going to use extenders or pc only?
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2009, 03:05 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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sorry, need to be more specific

HD all the way.
One dedicated PC running one TV.
thanks,
Ralph
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  #4  
Old 02-17-2009, 03:08 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLUCKYHD View Post
First in foremost do you want hd or sd?

What are your specs you are considering?

Going to use extenders or pc only?
I warned you that I am a real novice. What do you suggest? I have a new big screen on order and being shipped as I write. I have a friend building an HTPC for me and I have directv. That is the extent of the limits. What you you have that works? I would rather not experiment. I need to record, playback, pause, rewind, and basically build my own TiVo with tons more capacity.
Thanks,
Ralph

Last edited by ralfeez; 02-17-2009 at 03:10 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2009, 04:35 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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You will need to get an HD-PVR to record in HD from the DirecTV receiver. They are are not inexpensive but it is the only HD option you have for DirecTV.

You will probably want to record more than one thing at the same time on occasion and may also want to add a second tuner as well. Instead of adding another DirecTV receiver and HD-PVR you may want to consider getting a ATSC reciever and a antenna to record the major network shows with. The HD HomeRun and Hauppauge 2250 are good options. These tuners do two at a time recording. What you can get with over the air broad casts is dependent on your area but most areas get all the major networks.

With a OTA tuner and a HD-PVR you should be able to record two network broadcasts and anything else on DirecTV all at the same time. It would be rare when you would not be able to record everything you want with a setup like this.

You will need a remote control as well and the Hauppauge products always come with one. You can add a USB-UIRT as well and use just about any universal remote as well.

Make sure you friend pays attention to the fans in you HTPC. A typical PC can be noticeably loud when stored next to the TV. Something to control the fan speed will usually deal with this without any negative effects.

Lastly: Think about how you will connect the PC to your TV. Buying cords locally is usually expensive. Order whatever HDMI cords etc you need to connect to your TV online now. monoprice.com is a good choice.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2009, 04:53 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Thank you SW this is a good start. So do you believe that this setup combined with SageTV will give me the basic functions of a TiVo? Pause, Rewind, channel control, etc. etc.?
thanks,
Ralph
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWKerr View Post
You will need to get an HD-PVR to record in HD from the DirecTV receiver. They are are not inexpensive but it is the only HD option you have for DirecTV.

You will probably want to record more than one thing at the same time on occasion and may also want to add a second tuner as well. Instead of adding another DirecTV receiver and HD-PVR you may want to consider getting a ATSC reciever and a antenna to record the major network shows with. The HD HomeRun and Hauppauge 2250 are good options. These tuners do two at a time recording. What you can get with over the air broad casts is dependent on your area but most areas get all the major networks.

With a OTA tuner and a HD-PVR you should be able to record two network broadcasts and anything else on DirecTV all at the same time. It would be rare when you would not be able to record everything you want with a setup like this.

You will need a remote control as well and the Hauppauge products always come with one. You can add a USB-UIRT as well and use just about any universal remote as well.

Make sure you friend pays attention to the fans in you HTPC. A typical PC can be noticeably loud when stored next to the TV. Something to control the fan speed will usually deal with this without any negative effects.

Lastly: Think about how you will connect the PC to your TV. Buying cords locally is usually expensive. Order whatever HDMI cords etc you need to connect to your TV online now. monoprice.com is a good choice.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2009, 04:54 PM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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For a novice I would recomend use of extenders and not having the pc in the living room

1. you don't have to worry about having the codec issues/playback problems that can come from a pc
2. your pc down's have to have power to process th hd leaving it alone to do the commercial skipping

As other stated hd-pvr is your only option and get a directv box that has serial port as that will be the best option to control it.
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  #8  
Old 02-17-2009, 05:01 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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more info please

Sorry for being so dense Plucky, but could you explain this. Are you suggesting not having a PC? Sorry, I am not following you.
Thanks,
Ralph
Quote:
Originally Posted by PLUCKYHD View Post
For a novice I would recomend use of extenders and not having the pc in the living room

1. you don't have to worry about having the codec issues/playback problems that can come from a pc
2. your pc down's have to have power to process th hd leaving it alone to do the commercial skipping

As other stated hd-pvr is your only option and get a directv box that has serial port as that will be the best option to control it.
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2009, 05:31 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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Regardless you will still need the PC.

There are two options for setup.
1. HTPC with everything all on the same machine.
2. Sage Server with a Sage Extender.

With the extender you would still need the PC to record and store your shows but the playback would be handled by the extender. With this setup you would be able to put the PC anywhere in the house and even use it as you desktop PC. (It has to be connected to a hard wired network) The benefit of this approach is that you can have a small box near your TV that has all the functionality of SageTV without some of the setup hassles. It will be enery efficient and dead silent. Many people have found that having a dedicated server to record shows and store them is more stable than have everything on the same box. Also getting the PC to play back HD content perfectly can be challenging.

The negative to the extender in your case is the extra $200. The extender probably makes the most sense financially in a multi room setup. You can add an extender to another TV for at least $100 less than building another PC. In you case you still need the PC plus the tuners and hard disk. Since the Server only option does not reqire a lot of power a lot of people use older PCs they have laying around to offset the cost difference.

The other negative to the extender is that it is not a PC. There will be certain online content that you can not watch with it and you can't surf the web on it. It will also not play BluRays directly although there are ways around that. Sage is currently trying to add more online content such as Hulu but there is no way they can ever support everthing.

There are plenty of posts listing the pros and cons of both. In you case unless you have a old PC to use I don't see a negative to getting started with the PC only and adding the extender later after you begin to play with. This initial investment is about the same and you will likely not have any significant issues getting playback to work well on new hardware. Just make sure the video card is decent and has HDMI output. If you find the PC is loud or unreliable you can always add the extender and not be out any significant extra cash.

I personally do not have an extender but run a dedicated server with Microsoft Windows Home Server with Sage. I have dedicated client machines on each TV. I started out with everthing on one box and have found the server setup to work well. My old setup was actually very stable but I wanted some of the other benefts of WHS. The extender was not an option when I bought my equipment and if I was starting out today I would probably get them instead of all HTPCs at each TV but I think I would still want to have my main TV as a HTPC.

Last edited by SWKerr; 02-17-2009 at 05:40 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2009, 05:43 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Simplification

Okay let's simplify this for my feeble little mind:
- Samsung 52inch - on its way soon
- HTPC case - already have
- HTPC motherboard, RAM, BluRay player, etc. - already have
- surround sound system Dolby 5.1 - already have
- Directv service - already have
- Directv HD receiver - still need (which one?)
- tuner card?
- video card?
- universal remote?
other????
Does anyone have a working system that is recording HD through Directv? Exactly what does it include?
thanks,
Ralph

Last edited by ralfeez; 02-17-2009 at 05:45 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #11  
Old 02-17-2009, 06:17 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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I like the idea of the extender, now that I have looked it up to see what the HD Theater is and how it works. I do not see any others listed, are there others?
- So, for my system I need to pick up a Hauppauge HD-PVR?
- and one more tuner for OTA broadcasts?
- SageTv
- other?

thank you,
Ralph
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  #12  
Old 02-17-2009, 07:51 PM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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The hd200 is your only option unless you find a hd100 on ebay.

I would go hdhomerun for the ATSC tuner
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2009, 08:00 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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- Samsung 52inch
- Surround sound system Dolby 5.1
You will enjoy this setup the only thing you need to consider is how you will hook up the Sage device PC or extender. HDMI is usually the best choice.

- HTPC case - already have
- HTPC motherboard, RAM, BluRay player, etc. -
If you want to use it as a server a HTPC case may be somewhat limited when it comes to expansion. Should still work. Standard Case and CPU fans along with the power supply can be loud enough to notice when watching TV.

- Directv HD receiver - still need (which one?)
You do not need the DVR and other than that I do not think you have an option. I think the current one is the H21.

- tuner card
Must Have Tuner: HD-PVR, $200
Option1 OTA Tuner: SiliconDust HDHomeRun $160
Option2 OTA Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit $150
Option2 OTA Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 without remote $110 (Extender only)

- video card
Not required except for setup on a headless server setup. (Extender)
Look for one without a fan.
Option1 - Radeon HD 4350 $40
Option2 - Built in motherboard?
Option3 - nVidia cards do not support native audio in this price range so I would not recommend them. You can run a cable to the card from the motherboard if it has the correct connection.

- universal remote
Logitech Harmony Remote - $110 and up depending on version. (You will love it and you can get it for less if you look for deals and are patient)
Option1 - Extender comes with a remote but it will not also control you TV and the Samsung remote will not control the extender. Any universal remote that has a learning function will work for both.
Option2 - USB-UIRT $50, Can program it to work with any remote you have around. Not really necessary but will give you the most flexibility.
Option3 - The HD-PVR and the 2250 both come with remotes(2250 has MCE remote). They will work fine. MCE remote and Event Ghost will work Great.

other????
Gigabit Network equipment, 10\100 will work but is not ideal.
HD files are large, lots of disk space.
after the sage install consider adding:
SageMC, comskip, other plug-ins

OS:???
Vista, XP, WHS(extender only)

Last edited by SWKerr; 02-17-2009 at 08:04 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-17-2009, 10:15 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Getting closer....

To-do list:
- Will the HD100 work or is the setup too old to do any good?

- Directv HD receiver - okay H21 it is...I will order that.
- tuner card - Must Have Tuner: HD-PVR, $200... ordering this

Order the best of these:
Option1 OTA Tuner: SiliconDust HDHomeRun $160
Option2 OTA Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit $150
Option2 OTA Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 without remote $110 (Extender only)

- video card -
Ordering, one but the motherboard does have an eight channel built in. What do you think?
Option1 - Radeon HD 4350 $40
Option2 - Built in motherboard?
Option3 - nVidia cards do not support native audio in this price range so I would not recommend them. You can run a cable to the card from the motherboard if it has the correct connection.

- universal remote
I definitely want an all in one setup for the remote:
Logitech Harmony Remote - $110 and up depending on version. (You will love it and you can get it for less if you look for deals and are patient)
Option1 - Extender comes with a remote but it will not also control you TV and the Samsung remote will not control the extender. Any universal remote that has a learning function will work for both.
Option2 - USB-UIRT $50, Can program it to work with any remote you have around. Not really necessary but will give you the most flexibility.
Option3 - The HD-PVR and the 2250 both come with remotes(2250 has MCE remote). They will work fine. MCE remote and Event Ghost will work Great.

other????
Gigabit Network equipment, 10\100 will work but is not ideal.
HD files are large, lots of disk space.
after the sage install consider adding:
SageMC, comskip, other plug-ins

OS:
Vista Premium

Thank you,
Ralph
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  #15  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:27 AM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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To-do list:
- Will the HD100 work or is the setup too old to do any good?
Yes, if you can find one there are lots of people with this setup that rave about it. There are some benefits to the new one over the original.

OTA Tuner:
Best(HD HomeRun), Best Deal(HVR-2250 without without remote $110)

It depends. Both are dual tuners which means you can record two shows at once. You can get a single tuner for less money. The HDHomeRun only does digital capture while the HVR-2250 will also do analog capture but unless you have cable this is probably not important. The other difference is that the HDHomeRun is a network device and can be plugged in anywhere in the house. The HVR-2250 is a card that must go in the PC. I have the HDHomeRun and love it. I think most people would consider the HDHR top of the line. Since you plan on getting the HD-PVR you will have a remote so you can order the HVR-2250 without remote at only $110 and save some cash. I know someone with the HVR-2250 and they say it works great.

- video card -
Radeon HD 4350 $40

- universal remote
Look for deals on the Logitech Harmony Remote. It will work with our without the extender.
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  #16  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:36 AM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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There is one more thing to consider. The HD-PVR will need to change the channel on the satellite receiver. It comes with a IR blaster that will do this for you. It is basically a device that mimics you remote control. A lot of people (myself included) use a special USB cord that will plug into the PC and the receiver in place of the IR blaster. It is rare but occasionally the IR blaster may not change the channel correctly. You can always add this later if you find you have an issue.
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  #17  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:47 AM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Oooo oooo...tell me more about the USB cord. I would rather not have issues and if I end up having the extender in the same room as the PC then I will want to use it.
Thanks,
Ralph
Quote:
Originally Posted by SWKerr View Post
There is one more thing to consider. The HD-PVR will need to change the channel on the satellite receiver. It comes with a IR blaster that will do this for you. It is basically a device that mimics you remote control. A lot of people (myself included) use a special USB cord that will plug into the PC and the receiver in place of the IR blaster. It is rare but occasionally the IR blaster may not change the channel correctly. You can always add this later if you find you have an issue.
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  #18  
Old 02-18-2009, 08:07 AM
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lovingHDTV lovingHDTV is offline
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If you want to build a PC I'd read this also:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post14239742
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  #19  
Old 02-18-2009, 08:26 AM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Good suggestion Dave. That is actually how this all got started for me. That and the itch to have more control over my system than what Directv was offering.
Thank you,
Ralph
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingHDTV View Post
If you want to build a PC I'd read this also:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post14239742
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  #20  
Old 02-18-2009, 02:06 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Okay just a recap for anyone following development:
- Samsung 52inch - on its way in two days
- HTPC case - Apevia from NewEgg- $69
- HTPC motherboard - Asus at NewEgg - $73
- 4Gb RAM
- Quad Core CPU
- BluRay player/DVD recorder
- surround sound system Dolby 5.1 - already have
- Directv service - already have
- Directv HD receiver - H21 on its way
- tuner card - Hauppauge HD-PVR
- OTA tuner card - none yet but may add later
- sound card - none yet - will use motherboard connection for now.
- video card - Radeon 4350 - on its way
- universal remote - Logitech Harmony 880 - on its way
total (without TV) so far is about $650

thanks,
Ralph
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