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SageTV Media Extender Discussion related to any SageTV Media Extender used directly by SageTV. Questions, issues, problems, suggestions, etc. relating to a SageTV supported media extender should be posted here. Use the SageTV HD Theater - Media Player forum for issues related to using an HD Theater while not connected to a SageTV server.

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  #1  
Old 07-29-2009, 11:31 AM
Diego Garcia Diego Garcia is offline
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Problems w/HD200

I received my first HD200 a couple of days ago. I like it, at least potentially, but I'm running into some flakiness that I need to resolve before turning the rest of my family loose on it.

I'm running it as an extender against SageTV v6.6.x (I don't remember the last digit of the release number, but it's whatever was available for download from Sage on 7/26/2009). The Sage server is running on under 32 bit Vista.

Here are the issues/problems I'm encountering:

1) It does not fail gracefully when attempting to play back a video that it apparently can't handle. Instead, the interface locks up and requires that you cycle the power to recover. The problem is reproducible. In at least one case the underlying video file can be played back successfully across the network using Windows Media Player.

2) Sometimes the user interface exhibits extreme latency, on the order of 10 or more seconds to move from one show to another on the recording list screen. The latency manifests itself throughout the user interface. I first noticed this problem after having to cycle the power to break a freeze condition described in #1 above.

3) Pulling the plug on the unit, which I did in an attempt to cure the latency described in #2, on one occasion caused me to have to redo the entire initial configuration (which was what I expected) but on another occasion did not. This is the issue I'm least concerned about, as I >>hope<< not to have to hard cycle the unit too often , but I would like to know if there's some period of time I have to wait for the internal configuration to reset to factory default. Alternatively, I'd like to know what the official method is of hard resetting the unit.

Addendum: I'd left the unit unplugged while typing this entry. After that extended "no power" situation, it displayed no latency after plugging it back in...but it didn't take me through the initial configuration process (i.e., it remembered the fact that it had been configured). So I'm now confused about why I had to go through the reconfiguration in one of the earlier "pull the plug" situations.

Now when I try to play the problem video described in #1 it does nothing. But the UI doesn't freeze, which is a good thing, and there's no UI latency.

I'd be happy to try and figure out which codec the problem file is using if that would help. It was recorded from my HDHomeRun tuner. The Recording Detail screen says it's an MPEG2-PS[MPEG2-Video 16:9 720p@60fps] file (I've left out the audio detail, but the three entries are all AC3). That's the same format as another file, also recorded from my HDHomeRun, which does play back within Sage.

4) I'd like to know how to configure the unit to play back 720p shows without zooming them to full screen on my 1080p HDTV. I realize this may be an area where there's an interaction between the TV and the Sage unit. But even when I force the extender to play back in 720p I get a full screen display...which is, naturally, a little grainy for having been zoomed .

5) This next observation is a matter of taste, but I wanted to mention that I find the constantly blinking network LED on the front of the unit distracting. Then again, it's failure to blink was useful when the unit froze as described above... .

All in all this seems like a nice addition to the Sage universe, albeit with some issues to resolve.
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:23 PM
freedml freedml is offline
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1 yup

2 yup

3 don't have that problem, but occasionally loses a setting or two I was sure I had set

4 can't comment on this one

5 use black tape
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  #3  
Old 07-29-2009, 12:51 PM
Diego Garcia Diego Garcia is offline
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LOL on the black tape! I should've thought of that!!
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  #4  
Old 07-29-2009, 01:21 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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What firmware are you on?
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  #5  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:41 PM
Diego Garcia Diego Garcia is offline
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Darn, I forgot to include that info.

I'm on the latest firmware. I did a system update on the unit as soon as I got it a couple of days ago.
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  #6  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:52 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diego Garcia View Post
I received my first HD200 a couple of days ago. I like it, at least potentially, but I'm running into some flakiness that I need to resolve before turning the rest of my family loose on it.

I'm running it as an extender against SageTV v6.6.x (I don't remember the last digit of the release number, but it's whatever was available for download from Sage on 7/26/2009). The Sage server is running on under 32 bit Vista.

Here are the issues/problems I'm encountering:

1) It does not fail gracefully when attempting to play back a video that it apparently can't handle. Instead, the interface locks up and requires that you cycle the power to recover. The problem is reproducible. In at least one case the underlying video file can be played back successfully across the network using Windows Media Player.
Contact SageTV support, they'll want to see that file. I've had files that the extender didn't like, but can't remember it hanging from that at all recently.

Quote:
2) Sometimes the user interface exhibits extreme latency, on the order of 10 or more seconds to move from one show to another on the recording list screen. The latency manifests itself throughout the user interface. I first noticed this problem after having to cycle the power to break a freeze condition described in #1 above.
Check your heap info on the System Information page. If Peak and Max are the same you might want to increase the heap setting (a search should find info on that).

Quote:
3) Pulling the plug on the unit, which I did in an attempt to cure the latency described in #2, on one occasion caused me to have to redo the entire initial configuration (which was what I expected) but on another occasion did not. This is the issue I'm least concerned about, as I >>hope<< not to have to hard cycle the unit too often , but I would like to know if there's some period of time I have to wait for the internal configuration to reset to factory default. Alternatively, I'd like to know what the official method is of hard resetting the unit.

Addendum: I'd left the unit unplugged while typing this entry. After that extended "no power" situation, it displayed no latency after plugging it back in...but it didn't take me through the initial configuration process (i.e., it remembered the fact that it had been configured). So I'm now confused about why I had to go through the reconfiguration in one of the earlier "pull the plug" situations.
Non-graceful shutdowns "often" cause stuff to not be saved, this is generally speaking of course. Sage usually does a pretty good job of saving it's config info regularly, so it's not something you should have to worry about, especially since you shouldn't be doing hard shutdowns regularly.

Quote:
I'd be happy to try and figure out which codec the problem file is using if that would help.
There are no codecs, the HD200 decodes everything internally with it's SOC.

Quote:
It was recorded from my HDHomeRun tuner. The Recording Detail screen says it's an MPEG2-PS[MPEG2-Video 16:9 720p@60fps] file (I've left out the audio detail, but the three entries are all AC3). That's the same format as another file, also recorded from my HDHomeRun, which does play back within Sage.
It's possible there's a glitch in the transport stream that threw something off.

Quote:
4) I'd like to know how to configure the unit to play back 720p shows without zooming them to full screen on my 1080p HDTV. I realize this may be an area where there's an interaction between the TV and the Sage unit. But even when I force the extender to play back in 720p I get a full screen display...which is, naturally, a little grainy for having been zoomed .
Enabling native output switching is how you stop the HD200 from scaling. When you have that enabled or the extender set to 720p it's the TV that is doing the scaling then. Your TV may or may not have a "Real" or "Through" setting that disables that. But that will mean the video will be in a small window in the center of the screen.
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  #7  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:03 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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The only issue identified by the OP that I've experienced are the hard crashes on certain media files. At least in my case, I'm pretty sure its caused by errors in the video/audio file, so I've resolved it by replacing the problematic files. As stanger said, Sage will usually take a look at files to see if there's a problem with the file or the firmware. Keep in mind just because WMP can play it doesn't mean there isn't an error in the file. Still, it would be nice if the extenders would fail more gracefully in those situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Enabling native output switching is how you stop the HD200 from scaling.
When you enable this, make sure you've enabled all the resolutions (well, at least 720p and presumably 1080i/p) in the HD200 configuration menu. If you only enabled the 1080p resolution, then (I think) the HD200 will still scale things to 1080p before sending it out.
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  #8  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:25 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Detailed Setup -> Multimedia (or Advanced) IIRC.
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  #9  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:48 PM
Diego Garcia Diego Garcia is offline
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Thanks to everyone, and especially stanger.

While the problem file does play back in WMP, I noticed that the playback stutters (although not in the same places as it did under Sage). So it's probably a bum file. I just hope the HDHomeRun/Sage combo doesn't result in too many bum files .

The JVM heap info shows as 78M/106M/400M, so I think it's not the source of that latency problem. Hopefully the latency was just a result of me mucking around with that problem file.
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  #10  
Old 07-29-2009, 03:52 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diego Garcia View Post
Thanks to everyone, and especially stanger.

While the problem file does play back in WMP, I noticed that the playback stutters (although not in the same places as it did under Sage). So it's probably a bum file. I just hope the HDHomeRun/Sage combo doesn't result in too many bum files .
Bum file or not, if it crashes/locks the extender, Sage will probably want to see it
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  #11  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:46 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diego Garcia View Post
While the problem file does play back in WMP, I noticed that the playback stutters (although not in the same places as it did under Sage). So it's probably a bum file. I just hope the HDHomeRun/Sage combo doesn't result in too many bum files .
VideoReDo might fix this. It has a stream fix tool that removes (?) bad blocks. Some people even run it after every recording! Then com skip. Cost money though, but I like it, as I love the editor.

The biggest problem with the new digital TV, is that anything that messes with the stream, creates a bad stream. With the analog cards, and a working system, the stream was always fine, even with no video input. You just had a mpeg file with snow. ;-)

But yes, send it in. They need to know how to get around the mangled stream! (do what videoredo does in real time on the extender).
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2009, 09:42 PM
farnorth farnorth is offline
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Same problem

I just recieved my HD-200 today. It is connected to my network with an HP MSS server distributing files. I have set it up in both the stand alone mode and using the latest version of Sage TV server for the MSS. And yes I did a firmware update as soon as I set it up.

Im having almost identical problems and the original poster. The unit hangs often in menus and all menus take at least 10 to 30 seconds to switch between anything. Movies thumbnails, menus all of takes waaaay to long to switch between. Im hoping to find some way to get it resolved as the unit is basically unusable this way.

And yes, black tape over the lights on the front happened about 2 minutes after I plugged it in. Wow they are annoying! My suggestion to all manufacturers is to have a switch on the unit that allows the user to turn off ALL lights on the unit.

Last edited by farnorth; 07-31-2009 at 09:45 PM.
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  #13  
Old 07-31-2009, 11:07 PM
freedml freedml is offline
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My first thought would be to set it up with a standard router/switch and see if it gets any better. There could be multiple issues in the setup of MSS that aren't compatible with the HD200.

Welcome to SageTV. It's probably the best system of its kind (the only one?) but it has many, many quirks that you'll probably learn the hard way over the next few months. I still tear my hair out occasionally and it's been over a year!

My rule #1 -- get one thing working at a time. Do things record and playback well on the server PC? Give it a few days or a week before you venture out into Extenderland. Give it a few months before you either change the UI to SageMC (which is not the same as Sage Media Center, the main software) or add Plug-Ins to your UI.

Rule #2 -- Don't be too quick to upgrade, especially the HD200 firmware. Several people have recently reported better results going back to 20090505 than using the current release, so I downgraded my 3 HD200s today and so far, so good. There is a thread with links to all the HD200 firmware versions and instructions on how to download them to a USB drive and up(down)grade your HD200.

Rule #3: SageTV sometimes acts strangely. Be patient for an hour or two and/or reboot and it might go away. One time after upgrading it didn't play, so I went through the hassle of undoing it only to find that the reason it wouldn't work is that it was too damn busy reindexing everything to do what I wanted to do.

It will take weeks and months and lots of mistakes to really figure out how SageTV works. And then you will have only scratched the surface. Enjoy the ride!
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2009, 12:10 AM
farnorth farnorth is offline
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Speed

I think you are right about the "behind the scenes" indexing. I have a large media collection (thats why I have a server), so I left it for a few hours (5) and came back to it. It seems to work fine and quickly now, so I am guessing the SageTV server for the Windows Home Server just needed to have time to index everything properly. I tried going through several tasks, changing from pictures to music to movies to setup menus, and all went speedy and worked well. Hopefully that is all it was. I agree it seems to be a good interface. As I get to know it better I am hoping to find simple ways to modify the interface for my personal needs and tastes. From reading here it sounds like that is a matter of finding add-ins.

On another note... does anyone know if there is a way to integrate MyMovies into the SageTV? I really like the way their database works and has so much meta data available for movies (I know it is designed for windows media center). Or is there something similar available for SageTV?

Thanks for the feedback, I hope all is smooth sailing from here on out!
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