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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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  #21  
Old 02-18-2009, 02:11 PM
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lovingHDTV lovingHDTV is offline
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Very good, now to figure out what codecs you need to playback all those good recordings.

I'm very interested as to the input on this as I'm specing my own new HTPC myself.
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  #22  
Old 02-18-2009, 02:25 PM
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TorontoSage TorontoSage is offline
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What model/price CPU?
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Getting Sager all the time...

Displays: Panasonic 65" P65S2 & 50" PX77E plasmas, 19", 26" & 32" LCDs, 4 HD200s
Source: 2 HD-PVRs, Rogers Toronto SA 8300HD PVR, 4250HD firewire tuned, WHS, SageTV, Sonos 1xZP100 & 3xZP120 wireless audio, Gigabyte GA45-E45-UD3R mobo, 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo E5200 (2MB L2), Nvidia GeForce 96400GT, 120GB OS drive, 1 & 1.5 TB WD Caviar Green, Mushkin 2GB DDR2 800 SDRAM, El Cheapo case, Corsair 520HX modular Power Supply.
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  #23  
Old 02-18-2009, 02:28 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Revised:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
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 - AMD Phenom - $110
- 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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  #24  
Old 02-18-2009, 02:30 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingHDTV View Post
Very good, now to figure out what codecs you need to playback all those good recordings.

I'm very interested as to the input on this as I'm specing my own new HTPC myself.
Please explain further. Do you mean that after all of this, I still won't be able to watch the recordings? Ugh! No one mentioned that.
Thanks,
Ralph
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  #25  
Old 02-18-2009, 02:31 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Can you point me to more info?
Thank you,
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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  #26  
Old 02-18-2009, 03:00 PM
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lovingHDTV lovingHDTV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
Please explain further. Do you mean that after all of this, I still won't be able to watch the recordings? Ugh! No one mentioned that.
Thanks,
Ralph
The HD-PVR records encodes the shows in h.264 format. To play that on the PC inside sage you need a codec. I know there are a couple out there, but I've not followed them so don't know which one works "best".

Additionally if you want to play back blu-ray DVDs on the PC you need software to do that.
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  #27  
Old 02-18-2009, 03:09 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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where from here

Dave,
Where do I go from here then? Obviously it does me no good if I cannot watch the recordings. Are these freeware? Do you have a link for more info?
thank you,
Ralph
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  #28  
Old 02-18-2009, 03:17 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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The HD-PVR will come with software that will install the ArcSoft codec you need. For $40 you can upgrade that software to the full version that will also play BluRays.

If you buy a BluRay drive it will come with software that will playback the BluRay disks. I have recently switched from the Cyberlink software that came with my drive to the full version of Total Media Extream that comes with the HD-PVR. The Cyberlink worked fine but it had some annoying behaviors and it was worth the $40 to me.

You are still good.

Last edited by SWKerr; 02-18-2009 at 03:46 PM.
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  #29  
Old 02-18-2009, 03:38 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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thank you SWK I feel better.
Ralph
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  #30  
Old 02-18-2009, 03:45 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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There are two options that will work for changing channels with the USB cord.

One is the Paterson Device: The price has recently gone down to $35.
http://www.patersontech.com/

Since com ports are few and far between you will still need another cord to convert the serial port on the Patterson to a USB port for your PC.

The other option is to use two of the USB to Serial cords together along with a null modem. This approach should work for you but not all USB to serial converters have a chip that is compatible with all DirecTV receivers so you need to be very specific about what you order.
I have a guide on how to do this. (Just update the links to Monoprice.com)
http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/show...DirecTV+serial

Since you need to get a USB to Serial cable anyway I would just go ahead and order a second one and the null modem for only $10 more and give the cheaper solution a try. If you can not get it to work order the Patterson.

Again this is not required you can use the IR blaster that comes with the HD-PVR. Just tape it below the IR sensor on the receiver.

Last edited by SWKerr; 02-18-2009 at 03:50 PM.
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  #31  
Old 02-18-2009, 03:52 PM
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lovingHDTV lovingHDTV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
thank you SWK I feel better.
Ralph
agreed, another worry off the list.

Last edited by lovingHDTV; 02-18-2009 at 04:02 PM.
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  #32  
Old 02-18-2009, 04:13 PM
horton99 horton99 is offline
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Experimenting Required.

Some of your statements concern me. You said that you would rather not experiment. That will be a problem with Sagetv and HTPC. There will be some experimentation involved unless your buddy can set it up for you. I would just hate to see you buy all this and then not be happy with having to experiment. I would say a minimum of 20-30 hours to get it all setup like you want it. Sagetv is not a prepackaged, works out of the box, dummy proof device. You will need to:

1. Install and Configure Sagetv (Sounds simple but can be time consuming)
2. Get the HDPVR configured and connected.
3. Get the OTA tuner configured and channel list and program guide working.
4. Get the remote functioning to control SAGE.
5. Customize the remote (not as easy as it sounds).
6. Make sure that you do not have any cooling issues (May not be able to place HTPC in the entertainment center and close the door.
7. Get the remote to controlling Directv receiver.
8. Make sure that sage will play everything that you are recording.

And probably a minimum of 10 other issues. If this does not sound like fun then you may want to stick with Directv DVR. Don't get me wrong, I love Sage, and my wife finally likes it too. But I have spent many hours getting everything just as I want it.

I don't want to discourage you because any problem that you have can be resolved with some patience and asking on this forum, but it will take some time to get to where you are wanting to go.
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  #33  
Old 02-18-2009, 04:56 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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not plug and play?

Horton,
I realize that this is not a plug and play system. I do have a little background knowledge, so I won't be too lost. The only reason that I mentioned it not being experimental is that I would rather spend time talking to people that had already setup a working system integrating with Directv. Posts suggesting, "why don't you try..." are a waste of time for the reader and for me. It would be fine if it had never been done before, but I would rather not have to reinvent the wheel if someone already has done it. Do you get what I am saying?
thanks,
Ralph
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  #34  
Old 02-19-2009, 12:33 AM
HD_davester HD_davester is offline
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A scalable SageTV server - Stability is KING

I've been using SageTV for almost 5 years. I've used XP-Media Center and found it very pretty, but opaque. The SageTV folks have been responsive and continually surprise me with their accomplishments.

I started with the PCI Hauppage cards and the "Server as Client" model with Video out through a NVIDIA card.
A PVR150, then added a PVR350.
What a toasty box that was. All those cards and disk drives as well!
Over time, I added 2 PVR-USB2 encoders.

Heat is your biggest threat, and it's directly related to just how noisy the fans will be in operation. I've killed 2 Graphics adapters before I stopped using the "Server as client" model, some 8 months ago. All viewing is over the network now. And all my user complaints stopped. No more futzing with the video driver. No more excess heat generated by a GPU.

My current config consists of:

Q6600 Quad core
4GB fast memory (Never uses more than just under 1GB)
2 TB external SATAII disk (Divided into 8 250GB volumes)
2 HD-PVR encoders - One to a Comcast DCT2000 and the other to a DCH3200
1 Plextor ConvertX TV402U
1 PVR-USB2
1 Dual HDhomerun encoder (on private network)
1 USBUIRT

Clients -
2 HD100 boxes
2 MPV boxes
1 PC "full" client
1 PC Placeshifter client

I did spend four days getting it all working, watching net stats, debugging the USBUIRT setup.

And I learned some things:

1. I'll never use a PCI card encoder again. Ever. One bad day and the bugger will lock up the whole deal. Simply not worth the extra heat or trouble.

2. Hot servers mean fan noise. Get the hottest components OUT of the server box. I went with external SATAII drives. No fancy stripes, just good fast 500GB drives with 16M cache. I work with disks for a living so I'm most picky there, because I know that part matters for Sage and the clients. These are the hottest (and most sensitive to heat) components that DON'T have to live in the server box.

3. Use HDHomerun network encoders to REPLACE my old analog encoders. Put them on a SEPARATE, PRIVATE network. No need to compete with the clients for NIC bandwidth. 2 HDHomerun encoders, encoding at the "Great" quality setting will use about 20% of the pipe. I should be able to add 4 more, for a total of 6 encoders of this type.

4. You really will use all 4 cores in the processor.

5. You really won't need/use more than 2GB of server memory.
Find the fastest you can afford. You will need to bump some settings to *really* get use of the memory you have.

6. Network infrastructure matters. Cheap switches suck. I telecommute to work over the same infrastructure as my client net. I've got VOIP over that same net. I use a cisco 851 router and HP2512, HP2524 and HP1800 switches. I have a whole box of Dlink and SMC switches that work for other things, but failed to play well with heavy usage. I got the 2 25xx series for under $100 each on EBay. Best $100 I've spent for network switches. They can be checked and administered via a web-browser. Leave flow control off on the server and client ports.

BTW: I'm *very* impressed with the HDhomerun device. Excellent quality in the captures. Easy to install. Easy to put on a private network. Mapping the correct call-sign to the correct channel and getting the EPG data to populate the schedule will drive you to the edge of insanity, though.
I've ordered two more anyway. It really is the ideal way to connect to an encoder. While USB is better than PCI, USB still has issues and recovery is almost non-existent. And FORGET recovery when that PCI card takes a dive.

So in my setup, stability is KING. While I enjoy getting the upgrade working, I don't want to mess with this again for a while. Too many eyes over my shoulder asking "are we there yet?". But now I'm prepared for the digital change-over. And I'm finally moving off USB for encoders that don't use a cablebox. And it works great.
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