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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 11-30-2010, 02:00 PM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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SageTV Setup recommendations

I have been redirected to these forums from a couple of guys over at avsforums, so if you have seen my question, I apologize.

This is a setup question for a server + HD300? Extender

Here is my current setup:

Theater room:
Sanyo PLVZ3000
Onkyo TX-SR606
Sony PS3
Sony BDP ĖS570 Bluray
Direct TV H21 Ė high definition receiver

Master Bedroom
Samsung Projection 47Ē 1080i HDTV (will be replaced with LCD soon)
Sony BDP-S270 Bluray
Direct TV HR-22 receiver/DVR

Living Room
Samsung 32Ē 480p (will be replaced with LCD soon)
Samsung BD-C5500
Direct TV standard definition receiver

I have a gigabit network, Linksys router, 1- 8 port switch, 1 -5port switch.
WD World Book Live 1TB.
I also have 2 WD TV Lives. (The reason I am considering SAGETV, these things are just paper weights.)

What I want to do is:
Distribute DVD/Blu-ray rips throughout the areas mentioned. With easy UI for my wife.

What I might like to do:
Record like a PVR. I may be switching from Direct. (Havenít decided.) Cable in our area (Charter) is terrible (customer service and quality). In other words, assume I will have the above equipment to use.

What I would like is suggestions/directions on what would be the best server setup that will work with an HD300, a link is fine.

What all do I need to start off with. Equipment, software, ripping software used.

Is it hard to add something like Diamond UI? Does the cover art and detail populate automatically?

I know it is a lot to ask for, but any help is appreciated.

Thank you for in advance for any help.
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2010, 04:36 PM
rtrski rtrski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post
(Config details snipped)
What I want to do is:
Distribute DVD/Blu-ray rips throughout the areas mentioned. With easy UI for my wife.

What I might like to do:
Record like a PVR. I may be switching from Direct. (Haven’t decided.) Cable in our area (Charter) is terrible (customer service and quality). In other words, assume I will have the above equipment to use.

What I would like is suggestions/directions on what would be the best server setup that will work with an HD300, a link is fine.

What all do I need to start off with. Equipment, software, ripping software used.

Is it hard to add something like Diamond UI? Does the cover art and detail populate automatically?

I know it is a lot to ask for, but any help is appreciated.

Thank you for in advance for any help.
I'll take a stab. Be advised I've been using Sage for almost a year now, and had built an HTPC with Meedio a couple years before that (which eventually died due to neglect on my part), but by no means am any sort of expert. So in some ways I might help calm your fears about software setup (e.g. if I can do it, anyone can).

You don't mention a computer, but I assume you've got one somewhere colocated with your routers and the like. Also don't mention actual distribution of your network - wired or wireless, and what class.

So if I assume your computer is located AWAY from media, bedroom, and living room, you would need at minimum:

1. Sage7 (Media Center v7) software on server computer
2. Ripping software a la Fengtao's DVDFab (also includes BD Rippers) or Slysoft's AnyDVD (ditto)
3. Sufficient disk space on server computer for your rips (which might imply multiple TB drives and perhaps even an external enclosure and/or RAIDing if you want to be streaming to all rooms at once).
4. An HD300 per viewing room (e.g. 3 of them). (If the server is "in" one of the 3 rooms, then you can view directly piped out from the server too and only buy 2 of the boxes.). Each HD300 comes with in essense a "client" license so you don't have to buy any other Sage software for them - just the single media center license.
5. Network connection to each HD300. Wired would be best, barring that you might be able to get by with wireless-N depending on overall network saturation (if you might be viewing in all 3 rooms simultaneously, if you are PVRing as well, etc.)

I'm not using the Diamond UI theme, but am using Serenity and while it doesn't autopopulate 'backgrounds' it does download the DVD cover art and a few inset 'fan art' images per DVD (or TV show). Configuring it and the metadata tools is about an afternoon's worth of work if you haven't done something like that before (you will find yourself having to read thru a lot of forum threads and a couple wikis to find your way) but once that's done, it should be pretty easy and mostly automatic.

I've found back with Sage v6 I spent a lot of time manually through the metadata tools 'web interface' searching out the media art on a TV show per-episode basis, because of the way I choose to organize my rip folders (e.g. I don't rip an entire DVD like "Battlestar Galactica Season 1 Disk 3" into a folder, I rip each episode to separate "SxxExx" subfolders...I'm still a file-structure-centric sort of guy instead of just trusting the database.). Since upgrading to v7 and the newer metadata tools, its a matter of seconds to assign the right metadata and fanart to TV episode rips like that (the Sage PVR recordings are auto-assigned), and DVD movies are pretty much automatic without intervention.

Then you might find yourself fiddling with networking setup to distribute the traffic as best you can, or playing around with the UI on each client end location to change the # of say DVD covers taht show up in the Videos page or whatnot to not look too busy or unreadable on smaller screens. But that can all be done directly thru the remote.

Don't forget a bit of time for perhaps programming a universal remote for each room, if you haven't done so already. The Harmony 1 had all the codes for the HD200 already available via download and I didn't have to change it when I went to the HD300.

If you do want to add PVR capability, then I'd think the HD Homerun networked tuners are great. External boxes and seem quite reliable with Sage (from v6.6 thru the present I've not had any problems with Sage controlling them or with the hardware at all). The dual-tuners are also available pretty cheap right now - check for the post from Narflex about it. Your mileage may vary though depending on OTA signal strength and antenna selection/location.

P.s. My wife is not computer savvy (she thinks she is because she uses Word, Excel, and internet browsers/webmail without much effort, but she quickly gets lost with updates, file structures, etc....I joke about the time she kept telling me she'd put something into Shared Documents folder on one computer and couldn't see it in the Shared Documents folder on the other...didn't realize she had to browse to the other computer's Shared Docs folder thru the network). Anyway, she has no problems with the Sage UI through the HD300 (or with the v6.6 UI as edited by the SageMC add-ons on the HD200). The operation with the remote control is pretty intuitive. She can select her recordings and even schedule her own (and clean up after herself by deleting what she watches!) without my assistance, and likes all the fanart and metadata as well.

p.p.s there are also addons for controlling DirecTV boxes thru sage to tune to channels and record, but I think you'd be limited to SD recording, and I've not experimented with that as we ditched our satellite service some time ago. I think it would be possible to turn Sage into your DTV PVR solution....but that probably would be beyond my level of knowledge and I bet would take quite a bit of troubleshooting before it was all shaken out.

Last edited by rtrski; 11-30-2010 at 04:44 PM.
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2010, 04:50 PM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtrski View Post
You don't mention a computer, but I assume you've got one somewhere colocated with your routers and the like. Also don't mention actual distribution of your network - wired or wireless, and what class.
I haven't built the server yet, was kinda hope someone could point me in the right direction. I have a few things I can access, RAM, BLU-RAY writer, Hard disks. But I was hoping to keep the rest of the build under $400-500.
I have wired CAT5e to all TVs. Router is gigabit as are the switches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtrski View Post
So if I assume your computer is located AWAY from media, bedroom, and living room, you would need at minimum:
It can be either, but I was hoping tower, so it would be in a separate room.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have setup universal remotes, so no problem there.

So once I rip a movie, how long does it usually take (estimate) to get it to the stage that looks like that the screen shots?

Thanks again for the input.
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:02 PM
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wrems wrems is offline
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You may find some info here about a new build:

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52212

As far as a rip showing up as a playable file in Sage it's negligible. The re-scan is fairly quick. It does depend on the overall number of media objects. A couple of minutes probably is a good estimate...
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:19 PM
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SomeWhatLost SomeWhatLost is offline
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some random thoughts...

1) don't use the server as one of the Video devices, let the server do what servers do best, sort files, crunch numbers,etc... and let the HD300's do what they do best, display media...life is just so much easier this way... sure it costs $150 for one more HD300, but its money well spent... I personally like to put $$$ into perspective, I just need to ride my bike to work for 2 weeks and I will save $150 (ie 2 fill ups of my truck gas tank), I like riding my bike to work, so getting another HD300 would be a win-win situation for me...(unless it rains/snows)... anyway, to make a long point slightly longer, you just need a good way to rationalize that extra $150 down to the equivalent of $0...

2) Server, if I were to build a new server now, I would seriously consider using a SuperMicro X7SPE-HF-D525... the Atom has barely enough horse power, but it should be enough... it uses only 13W of power... IPMI is great for a headless server... as long as you use network/USB external tuners, the only one PCIe slot shouldn't matter...

3) 4GB memory should be fine...

4) I like to use a server OS for a server... WHS works great with sage... and has some other nice goodies.... BUT XP works just as well with Sage... so really it is all about personal preference...
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:42 PM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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Somewhatlost

1) That is what I was thinking also. May start by trying one, and moving up from there.

2) That is an expensive board (showing my cheapness) $250. I would blow my budget with that.

3) Ram isn't a problem.

4) How does Windows 7 work?
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:44 PM
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wrems wrems is offline
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Others have basically mentioned this already, but the easiest setup for your sake, your wife's sake and all things considered is to utilize 1 HD300 per television set. Then you will have the benefit of a common piece of hardware at each location with the same remotes. WAF will be high with consistency.

Place your server in the basement or closet out of sight out of mind. Use the server as a server only. Less potential for problems that way. I know the Atom processor was mentioned but you really need to analyze what you might like to do in the future with Sage. Donít undercut your CPU horsepower unless you really know that you wonít want to do a bunch of other things. Comskip for example. Itís a necessity in our house, itís cpu intensive. While the Atom can handle it you may be better off going bigger...

Most of the things in Sage are not difficult to figure out. It just takes some time and a little effort. You mentioned ripping your collection and having screens like Diamond. There are several methods to getting metadata into Sage the most used one right now for all inclusiveness is BMT. Thereís a learning curve with it but looking back itís not that bad. It just takes time to get it figured out. I would also check out GeekTonic.com , Brent puts together lots of information about Sage and the various 3rd party developed plug-ins. I know he is working on a multi-part series for BMT due to come out fairly soon I would guess... You can get hooked up my SageMyMovies SMM, and get metadata through MyMovies Collection manager. Itís an ancillary database program that manages all your movie media and gives you access to cover art and descriptions and such.

Itís a lot to absorb but itís not hard. Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:54 PM
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wrems wrems is offline
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Win7 does work fine. That's what I'm using. The only caveat is that because it's a regular operating system it's easy to get carried away with installing a bunch of stuff on there that you don't particularly need. Point is don't use it for a daily use machine, designate it to be a Sage server, and try to keep it lean and mean.

If you're considering starting small and growing you may want to consider an AM3 board/processor. That way you can drop something like a $30 Sempron in it and still have the ability to drop a quad in it later if you so choose.

Also, have you thought about integrating Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and a host of other online content into the mix? If so you'll need PlayOn and that takes a lot of processing power for on the fly transcoding.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2010, 06:02 PM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrems View Post
Win7 does work fine. That's what I'm using. The only caveat is that because it's a regular operating system it's easy to get carried away with installing a bunch of stuff on there that you don't particularly need. Point is don't use it for a daily use machine, designate it to be a Sage server, and try to keep it lean and mean.
That is the plan, I just want the SAGETV, ripped movies (possible pvr stuff), maybe a limited amount of music, and a place for my wife's pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrems View Post
If you're considering starting small and growing you may want to consider an AM3 board/processor. That way you can drop something like a $30 Sempron in it and still have the ability to drop a quad in it later if you so choose.
That is a good idea. I want to build a decent server, but don't want to get carried away until I see how much we use it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrems View Post
Also, have you thought about integrating Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and a host of other online content into the mix? If so you'll need PlayOn and that takes a lot of processing power for on the fly transcoding.
I was considering it, but my PS3 and my bluray players do that if I need it. I rarely watch a movie that I don't rent from a vending machine or just buy on release day.

As for the PVR stuff, I can access my PVR from anywhere in the house, so I may just stick with that from Direct TV and switching to cable here is a no-no. Charter in Sevierville stinks.
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2010, 09:03 AM
rtrski rtrski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post
I haven't built the server yet, was kinda hope someone could point me in the right direction. I have a few things I can access, RAM, BLU-RAY writer, Hard disks. But I was hoping to keep the rest of the build under $400-500.
I have wired CAT5e to all TVs. Router is gigabit as are the switches.
That all sounds good. My server is my retasked 'old' gaming machine, so I've got 4 GB RAM and a Core2Q 6600 on a fairly vanilla motherboard (wasn't SLI or anything). Video card isn't all that important if you're not using it to render any outputs, so you can save bux there too; onboard sound level (5 vs 7 channel surround built in) also unimportant. I bet with an existing BD drive and reasonable RAM on hand, you could easily build something like that for $400-500. W7 is fine, and as you're not using the media center you don't even need the Home Premium. And the Q6600 is probably way overkill, frankly, although you would benefit from at least a dual-core. Sage doesn't eat a lot of resources just 'existing' or streaming out to the HD300s...it does all the decoding so essentially the server is just that, a file-server. The two things I would pay most attention to on your server are:

--lots of SATA connections for drives. Not necessarily that you'll want 6-8 drives in the server, though you might. But if the chipset has the channels to support 10 drives or so (e.g. some provided by the main Intel chipset, some provided by additional SATA/USB chipsets) you can try to install 3-4 in a way that you're maximixing bandwidth to them by splitting on the different channels, so to speak. My system is only SATA2 and I use the slightly slower 'green' drives; I don't think that's been a particular issue.

--good networking. Ideally two GB LAN inputs and the ability to share them for better bandwidth, or you might add an external PCI-e NIC for about $30 if there's only one onboard ethernet connection. That's more if you plan on a lot of simultaneous streaming to each HD300 and/or if you plan on both doing PVR (inputs from something like the HD HomeRun) while outputting recorded TV or DVD/BD rips.

--lastly, I'd keep a separate HD for system/programs (Sage, your DVD ripper) and for the actual media, especially if you PVR, and keep a system image backup periodically!! (W7 actually has a fairly useful builtin backup, or an Active@ utility disk can make a whole drive image; I've used the latter to completely image my OS off an old (circa 2003!) failing 40GB HDD that was my OS partition onto a newer 100GB drive and it was a perfect plug-n-play replacement after I swapped out connections. TV recording does over time pound disks and they may fail a bit quicker than those you're just 'accessing'. As others have pointed out, you'll also want to spend some time when you install the OS to trim out some of the excess (no reason to run a print spooler, turning off the automatic windows indexing, disabling a lot of unnecessary mobile device and bluetooth services, etc.).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post
So once I rip a movie, how long does it usually take (estimate) to get it to the stage that looks like that the screen shots?

Thanks again for the input.
You'll find that part's really trivial. I rip my movies (main movie only) into folders with the movie name, and the newer version of the metadata tools seems to autopopulate everything the next time the library scans (automatic interval, or you can manually scan after ripping a bunch onto disk). It took me about an afternoon to install the the various plugins and figure out what to set where in them (taking my time), but after that, it's been very simple to add movies, and there's always the web interface if you like to go in and edit the metadata you get (for example a lot of the metadata movie synopses have "written by joeblow1337Roxxor!!" sort of text at the end...I delete all that crap and sometimes rewrite some of the synopses myself if they're too fanboi-ish or spoilery, and it's a matter of a minute or so per movie to type and hit 'save').

If you have a large EXISTING library of rips done a different way you might have to fiddle a little to get the metadata updated, depending on how you chose to do your rips, but seriously - don't sweat this part at all.

Welcome to the madness!!

Last edited by rtrski; 12-01-2010 at 09:11 AM. Reason: breaking up a wall-o-txt (TM)
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  #11  
Old 12-01-2010, 10:21 AM
pjpjpjpj pjpjpjpj is offline
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Lots of good advice here, but to summarize:

-If you are only using Sage as a media server, and not to watch video, the server does not need much beef. Check the Sage software "hardware encoding" minimum requirements. I previously had an old beater machine sitting in storage that I used for my server, and it handled everything fine (single-core P4, 2 GHz, 1 GB RAM). You only need server "beef" if you are watching via the server, if you use comskip on your PVR recordings, or if you use the PlayOn plugin to get extra online content. Otherwise, if you use extenders to view and you have hardware encoding tuners, you really only need hard drive space.

-The plugins for metadata take work to get them working on their own, but installation of the actual plugins within Sage is a matter of choosing the plugin from the list of available, and choosing "install". Done.

-If you are considering using DirecTV HD and Sage's PVR capabilities, you will need a Hauppagge HD-PVR for each "tuner" you want. You will locate each of your DirecTV boxes, and the HDPVR(s) (one HD-PVR per sat box) at your server. The HD-PVRs connect via USB to the server. Without some tinkering, this is the only "official" way to get HD from a cable/sat box into SageTV. Of course, if you are using OTA, there are numerous tuner options, including (as mentioned above), the very easy, no codec issue, nearly-plug-and-play "HD Homerun".

-If you are only ever watching one of those TVs at a time, you shouldn't need more than a 10/100 network, so your gigabit will be fine (unless you install a bunch of networked tuners, like HDHRs, and they are all recording HD shows simultaneously...)

Good luck. I think you will find we are a helpful (and quite responsive) bunch!
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Server: AMD Athlon II x4 635 2.9GHz, 8 Gb RAM, Win 10 x64, Java 8, Gigabit network
Drives: Several TB of internal SATA and external USB drives, no NAS or RAID or such...
Software: SageTV v9x64, stock STV with ADM.
Tuners: 4 tuners via (2) HDHomeruns (100% OTA, DIY antennas in the attic).
Clients: Several HD300s, HD200s, even an old HD100, all on wired LAN. Latest firmware for each.
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2010, 04:02 PM
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SomeWhatLost SomeWhatLost is offline
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Quote:
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2) That is an expensive board (showing my cheapness) $250. I would blow my budget with that.
compared to what? that MB includes everything, CPU and graphics card,etc... only need to add memory and hard drives...

I would also look into an i3, good power for everything you need... still low power from an electricity point of view...

the AMD option is also good... but I am a reformed AMD fanboy... they just haven't done anything really exiting lately...
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  #13  
Old 12-01-2010, 08:38 PM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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Good luck. I think you will find we are a helpful (and quite responsive) bunch!
Wow, that is putting it lightly! I was expecting maybe 1-2 responses tops.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:47 PM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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compared to what? that MB includes everything, CPU and graphics card,etc... only need to add memory and hard drives...

I would also look into an i3, good power for everything you need... still low power from an electricity point of view...

the AMD option is also good... but I am a reformed AMD fanboy... they just haven't done anything really exiting lately...
This is what you are talking about? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...0X7SPE-HF-D525
I thought it was saying that was the processor that was needed, not what came with it. I will have to look closer now.

I will start looking closer at motherboards. May build a system and post back. Am researching the Direct PVR option as ours is slow as Christmas for some reason lately. But don't want to bite off more than I can chew. But will prepare for the future like was mentioned before. I will always assume I will use an extender at each TV.

Thanks.

Thank you.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:56 PM
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I'd throw an HDHR into your mix. You can capture 2 OTA or 2 QAM if you end up sticking with charter. Can't beat the price for a nice dual tuner.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-005-_-Product
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  #16  
Old 12-02-2010, 08:30 AM
rrhorer rrhorer is offline
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I might be repeating this but didn't see it -- if you are going with SageTV and are getting another HD300, buying them as a combo will save $25 (I beleive). I would add that a MB with onboard video is the way to go for saving both $ and power requirements. As someone mentioned, you will need more horsepower in your CPU for comskip, whcih you will definitly want if you record a lot. The quad core AMD processor in my signature is only $99.99 at NewEgg; and, if I were buying a new MB, I would get the following for its many HTPC-type features:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128444
Good luck.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:45 AM
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This is what you are talking about? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...0X7SPE-HF-D525
I thought it was saying that was the processor that was needed, not what came with it. I will have to look closer now.
yep, that's exactly it...
wonderful little board...
I used it for my unRAID box... couldn't be happier... and while I have not tried installing windows on it, I bet it wouldn't be too bad... its pretty zippy with Linux...
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  #18  
Old 01-03-2011, 08:23 PM
osx-addict osx-addict is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmix View Post
This is what you are talking about? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...0X7SPE-HF-D525
I thought it was saying that was the processor that was needed, not what came with it. I will have to look closer now.
So.. If I'm running a SageTV server only and streaming all captured/recorded content to two HD300's via wired Gigabit ethernet, will this box do the job and still be able to comskip?

Edit: I forgot to mention it would be getting the ATSC signals via ethernet as well from a pair of HDHomeRun's (the dual tuner variety -- for a total of 4 tuners)

Thanks!

Last edited by osx-addict; 01-03-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:19 AM
Bigmix Bigmix is offline
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Originally Posted by osx-addict View Post
So.. If I'm running a SageTV server only and streaming all captured/recorded content to two HD300's via wired Gigabit ethernet, will this box do the job and still be able to comskip?

Edit: I forgot to mention it would be getting the ATSC signals via ethernet as well from a pair of HDHomeRun's (the dual tuner variety -- for a total of 4 tuners)

Thanks!
From what Wrems said above, the Atom processor would be maxed out. I am still gathering parts for a server, I decided to future proof somewhat and have at a minimum dual core, but probably go quad core when all is said and done.
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