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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 10-30-2019, 10:42 PM
FriscoJohn FriscoJohn is offline
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A Little Help From My Friends

Apologies to the Beetles but the title says it all.

I've been searching the forum for a couple of weeks trying to answer a simple question and I have to say I'm more confused than when I started:

The question: "What is the best currently available Sage compatible USB OTA video tuner? (See bottom of post for equipment specs)."

The context is that I want to be able to record local OTA stations, particularly a channel called "Movies" which shows a better selection of classic movies than Turner Classic Movies.

I've looked at all the dedicated OTA DVR's--Tivo Bolt, Amazon Fire ReCast, Tablo Quad, Channelmaster Stream Plus, AirTV, etc--and nothing comes close to SageTV. Still the best after all these years!

I picked up a cheap HP laptop at Walmart on sale for about $250 and my plan is to use it as a dedicated OTA DVR running Sage. I have an old Hauppage HVR 1250 tuner card that works great on the desktop but is no help with the laptop which of course doesn't have any card slots.

Looking at the many posts about the Hauppage and Silicon Dust USB offerings it seems like people have had problems with just about all of them.

Is anyone using a USB tuner that "just works"--easy install, works with Sage, runs without problems for weeks at a time, etc? If so, please tell me what it is.

Thanks in advance.

John

(HP laptop 15-bs2121m, Celeron N4000 processor, SageTV 9.0.14.568, 64K Windows10 Home)
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2019, 05:58 AM
Carlton Bale Carlton Bale is offline
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I havenít found a USB tuner that fits your needs. I highly recommend the Silicon Dust network tuner option. If the laptop doesnít have an ethernet port, you could use a USB-to-ethernet adapter. There really is no reason to go USB for the tuner unless youíre planning to travel with both laptop and tuner/antenna.
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2019, 08:04 AM
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tmiranda tmiranda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlton Bale View Post
I havenít found a USB tuner that fits your needs. I highly recommend the Silicon Dust network tuner option. If the laptop doesnít have an ethernet port, you could use a USB-to-ethernet adapter. There really is no reason to go USB for the tuner unless youíre planning to travel with both laptop and tuner/antenna.
+1.
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2019, 10:13 AM
JustFred JustFred is online now
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A SiliconDust networked tuner is great when no internal card slots are available.

But given recent events in your area (extended PG&E power outages), a USB tuner does have the advantage of staying alive as long as the laptop battery does. The Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD USB tuner works fine with Sage. Beware that the RF coax hanging off a USB stick can be a liability... very easy to dislodge the USB stick from it's connector, depending on where the laptop is situated.

And beware of cheap laptops in general. Although Sage doesn't need much compute horsepower, the combination of that wimpy Celeron CPU and (I'm guessing) a slow 5400 rpm hard disk might not be up to the task. YMMV.
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2019, 05:44 PM
Denali Denali is offline
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The Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD USB tuner works fine here also.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2019, 08:53 PM
FriscoJohn FriscoJohn is offline
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Thanks all for your input. I just found a screaming deal on a Hauppauge 950Q WinTV-HVR USB stick on Amazon ($30). I'll report back after it comes and I've had a chance to try it out.
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2019, 10:10 AM
TGsell TGsell is offline
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Best OTA tuner

Silicon Dust HDHR Quattro works great with my OTA -- I was having a problem recording 4 programs at once with the older SD tuners but this one seems to handle it fine with little or no pixelation.
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2019, 01:24 AM
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EnterNoEscape EnterNoEscape is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FriscoJohn View Post
Thanks all for your input. I just found a screaming deal on a Hauppauge 950Q WinTV-HVR USB stick on Amazon ($30). I'll report back after it comes and I've had a chance to try it out.
I hope you have a good experience with that model. I used one of those a while back for ClearQAM and it was fairly reliable. The only reason I recall that I stopped using it was that the HDHomeRuns were just easier to set up for SageTV. Namely, when it came to mapping stations, the HDHomeRun would have my channel mappings saved external to SageTV, so it was never a problem to re-add them. Since you're looking at OTA, you won't have this problem.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2019, 11:55 PM
FriscoJohn FriscoJohn is offline
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Progress Report:

The $30 Hauppauge 950Q WinTV-HVR USB stick works great. It's very sensitive--picks up 30 Bay Area stations solidly with an 8X12 inch flat stick-on the-wall indoor antenna. Sage setup was easy, however Sage sees it as a single tuner rather than a dual tuner. I believe other people have found this to be the case as well and it is not a deal breaker for me since I almost never watch one channel while recording another.

My bottom of the line HP laptop with its wimpy Celeron processor runs SageTV without any problem and the video quality is first rate.

Only one problem that has occurred--I can't view closed captions while watching through the Sage player. They are there and they look fine when I view Sage recordings through VLC, I just can't view them through Sage.

I've had problems viewing CC with Sage in the past and was able to fix the problem by using an ATI codec as my mpg video decoder in Sage (check my earlier posts for details). I tried to install the ATI codec on the laptop and was apparently successful but SageTV couldn't see it so I couldn't select it as my mpg decoder.

After puzzling over this for a day I think I know what the problem is. I installed the 64 bit version of SageTV on the laptop and the ATI codec is a 32 bit codec (it worked fine with the 32 bit SageTV on my desktop).

When I have a little time I'll uninstall the 64 bit SageTV and install the 32 bit one and see if it will let me install the ATI codec and if this will give me closed captions on the laptop.

I'll report back soon.

Thanks all for your suggestions.
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2019, 07:17 PM
FriscoJohn FriscoJohn is offline
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Success!

I replaced the 64 bit version of SageTV with the 32 bit version. Then I was able to install the ATI MPEG Video Decoder as the MPEG2 Video Decoder. With this installed and using EVR as the Video Renderer I get excellent closed captions on the OTA channels.

The result: An OTA DVR that outperforms all those on the market for less money.

Thanks everybody for your input!
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  #11  
Old 12-26-2019, 12:25 AM
FriscoJohn FriscoJohn is offline
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Hanging Crepe Prematurely???

I'm seeing lots of sadness and nostalgia around here as people get ready to bid goodbye to their Sage setups. Lets don't hang crepe prematurely!

I think Sage will be reborn as a first rate OTA recorder with great appeal to the cord-cutter market. As you'll see from this thread I started out with a bottom of the line laptop ($250 at Walmart), added a Hauppauge 950Q for $35 and a $19 flat plate indoor antenna and voila, a top of the line OTA recorder greatly superior to anything on the consumer market.

It sits there drawing only a few watts and quietly services all my SageTV extenders--a couple of HD200's and an HD300. Great WAF as we have used SageTV for years.

In the San Francisco area there is a plethora of OTA channels, all the network stuff, needless to say, plus 4 channels of PBS, and a couple of channels that run classic movies 24/7. Better selection of classic movies than TMC in my opinion.

Thanks to the commercial skip capabilities of Sage the commercials become a trivial issue and it's as good as watching the movie on a DVD.

As more and more people cut the cord the demand for such a machine will snowball. I foresee a great revival of interest in Sage once the word gets out about what a great OTA solution it is.
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  #12  
Old 12-26-2019, 01:20 AM
VCRUser VCRUser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FriscoJohn View Post
Thanks all for your input. I just found a screaming deal on a Hauppauge 950Q WinTV-HVR USB stick on Amazon ($30). I'll report back after it comes and I've had a chance to try it out.
I've used two of these for years, and they work well. I use them with a desktop, not a laptop, but since the connection is USB, it shouldn't matter.
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  #13  
Old 12-26-2019, 12:31 PM
nyplayer nyplayer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FriscoJohn View Post
I'm seeing lots of sadness and nostalgia around here as people get ready to bid goodbye to their Sage setups. Lets don't hang crepe prematurely!

I think Sage will be reborn as a first rate OTA recorder with great appeal to the cord-cutter market. As you'll see from this thread I started out with a bottom of the line laptop ($250 at Walmart), added a Hauppauge 950Q for $35 and a $19 flat plate indoor antenna and voila, a top of the line OTA recorder greatly superior to anything on the consumer market.

It sits there drawing only a few watts and quietly services all my SageTV extenders--a couple of HD200's and an HD300. Great WAF as we have used SageTV for years.

In the San Francisco area there is a plethora of OTA channels, all the network stuff, needless to say, plus 4 channels of PBS, and a couple of channels that run classic movies 24/7. Better selection of classic movies than TMC in my opinion.

Thanks to the commercial skip capabilities of Sage the commercials become a trivial issue and it's as good as watching the movie on a DVD.

As more and more people cut the cord the demand for such a machine will snowball. I foresee a great revival of interest in Sage once the word gets out about what a great OTA solution it is.
I think Channels DVR has taken the steam out of SAGETV with TVE and great remote access. I see more and more SageTV users on the Channels Forum and moving over to Channels DVR ... Now that they offer XMLTV input I am sure you will see more users go over to Channels DVR.
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Last edited by nyplayer; 12-26-2019 at 12:34 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-26-2019, 11:13 PM
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tvmaster2 tvmaster2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyplayer View Post
I think Channels DVR has taken the steam out of SAGETV with TVE and great remote access. I see more and more SageTV users on the Channels Forum and moving over to Channels DVR ... Now that they offer XMLTV input I am sure you will see more users go over to Channels DVR.
$80 a year for Channels DVR, is that correct? Equals $800 in the time Iíve been running Sage.
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2019, 12:01 PM
nyplayer nyplayer is offline
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Originally Posted by tvmaster2 View Post
$80 a year for Channels DVR, is that correct? Equals $800 in the time Iíve been running Sage.
I saved some of my Clients lots of money by suggesting Philo and ChannelsDVR instead of paying for cable. Also is SageTV really attracting new users ? I see prominent users leaving all the time. SageTV is just not attractive to new users.
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  #16  
Old 12-27-2019, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by nyplayer View Post
I saved some of my Clients lots of money by suggesting Philo and ChannelsDVR instead of paying for cable. Also is SageTV really attracting new users ? I see prominent users leaving all the time. SageTV is just not attractive to new users.
but doesnít the HDHomerun app view live tv for free, and has a DVR subscription for much less then Channels DVR price is?
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  #17  
Old 12-28-2019, 05:08 PM
nyplayer nyplayer is offline
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Originally Posted by tvmaster2 View Post
but doesn’t the HDHomerun app view live tv for free, and has a DVR subscription for much less then Channels DVR price is?
But it does not record from Steaming Services like Philo Youtube etc... With the HDHomeRun App you need Cable to record channels like CC, MTV, VH1, CMT, BET, TVLAND, PARAMOUNT, LOGO, SUNDANCE, AMC, BBCA, IFC, WETV, HALLMARK, HALLMARKMM, OWN, DISCOVERY, FOOD, ANIMAL-PLANET, HGTV, TLC, TRAVEL, INVESTIGATION-DISCOVERY, DIY, COOKING, SCIENCE, AHC, DESTINATION-AMERICA, DISCOVERY-LIFE, MOTORTREND.

To record locally and view these all you need is a $20 dollar Subscription from Philo and a subscription to Channels DVR... and a Quatro if you want OTA.
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Last edited by nyplayer; 12-28-2019 at 05:17 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2019, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyplayer View Post
But it does not record from Steaming Services like Philo Youtube etc... With the HDHomeRun App you need Cable to record channels like CC, MTV, VH1, CMT, BET, TVLAND, PARAMOUNT, LOGO, SUNDANCE, AMC, BBCA, IFC, WETV, HALLMARK, HALLMARKMM, OWN, DISCOVERY, FOOD, ANIMAL-PLANET, HGTV, TLC, TRAVEL, INVESTIGATION-DISCOVERY, DIY, COOKING, SCIENCE, AHC, DESTINATION-AMERICA, DISCOVERY-LIFE, MOTORTREND.

To record locally and view these all you need is a $20 dollar Subscription from Philo and a subscription to Channels DVR... and a Quatro if you want OTA.
Some of the earlier posts about TVEverywhere with Channels DVR indicated that the picture quality was very poor. Has this been fixed, or do you still get much better picture quality using a cable add tuner with real cable tv?
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2019, 05:25 PM
nyplayer nyplayer is offline
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Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
Some of the earlier posts about TVEverywhere with Channels DVR indicated that the picture quality was very poor. Has this been fixed, or do you still get much better picture quality using a cable add tuner with real cable tv?
I have not seen poor quality it depends a lot on your ISP.
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  #20  
Old 12-28-2019, 05:29 PM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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Channels DVR has a handful of important things going for it right now (a couple that NYP has already mentioned):

1) Active developers that charge an ongoing fee for their product, which is a good thing. They are always present and very responsive in the forums. They are also very brave for taking on the level of service that they have, maintaining all these different TVE features is going to be a constant headache for them.

2) The remote access using various devices is very well done. If you have a vacation home or are away from home a lot, grab a $25 FireTV stick, a short HDMI extension cable, and you'll have all of your media wherever you get the stick connected to the Internet. No Internet connection, watch on your phone.

3) TV Everywhere (TVE) support. If you already have a cable account, or other account that's TVE friendly, then you'll get about 80% of your cable TV with TVE acting as a streaming tuner in Channels DVR. If you don't have a cable TV sub, then there are numerous other streaming options that you can sub to monthly, like Youtube TV (visit their forum for other services that are supported). It's important to understand that not all networks provide access to their streams from the Internet, like most local networks, so you won't get everything with TVE.

4) Tuner support is a bit limited, but they do support Silicondust's stuff, which is wise. For example, you could use a HDHR Quatro (or even one of the good old original beige 2-tuner models for that matter) and an antenna to supplement your TVE content if you wish, and fill the gaps of the missing local channels.

I'm not trying to sell their product here, because there is a lot of important stuff missing, and much of the interface doesn't make a lot of sense. The interface seems to appeal to a younger generation, a lot of cover-art and such, but it's currently not possible to get a simple list of recordings that you can watch on an client device. In fact, the entire interface doesn't feel like something that a PC, Linux, or other user would find particularly useful, so I'm not sure who their target market is.

I do know that there aren't a lot of options left for software like this in active development and I'll continue to support their efforts to see where it goes. The part that must be hard for them is how much effort they put towards things like TVE support, and we've learned that things like this can come and go pretty quick.

The one real plug that I'll give for CDVR is that it's only $80 a year, and I just run it right along side of SageTV. For me, that is a fairly reasonable cost to at least have my media on the go, even though the presentation is a bit odd.
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