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SageMC Custom Interface This forum is for discussing the user-created SageMC custom interface for SageTV.

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2009, 12:21 PM
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Pirin Pirin is offline
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No "Live HDTV" on HD200; underpowered PC problem?

Before I forget, here is what I am running;
  • HD200 with the latest firmware (as of 09/01/2009)
  • SageTV for Windows v6.6
  • Windows XP w/ SP3 and all updates
  • Don't remember the Java version (no java updates ready, though)
  • Using SageMC (again, probably the latest as of around 09/01/2009)
  • Pentium 4, 2.2GHz CPU
  • 768 MB RAM
  • 250GB hard drive
  • ATI X1600 Pro video card
  • Hauppauge HVR-1600 tuner card

Ok, I know that I don't meet the minimum CPU specs for HD in SageTV, but I read somewhere that the 3 GHz requirement is if I want to playback video on the computer. I actually have no desire to do that, I just want to stream the video to the HD200 for playback. Since the HD200 does the decoding and displaying, I hoped that I would be fine. Mostly, this seems to be true.

So, here is my situation. Everything is configured and up and running; I have both the analog and digital sources (with QAM) setup for the HVR-1600. I can record tv show in both analog and digitial HD just fine. I can even playback both types of recordings without any issues; there is no stuttering or anything with 1080i playback with the HD200. However, when I try to watch "Live TV", only the analog channels display on my tv. I can change the channels with the HD200 remote: channel 5 will show up just fine, but when I change to channel 5.1 with the channel up button on the remote, I only see the overlay which tells me the program information. There is no audio or video at all. I let it sit there for about 30 seconds, and I still see nothing. If I press the channel up button again, channel 6 tunes in just fine, so the HD200 is not locking up.

I realize that "Live TV" is not a live stream from the cable company, but is actually done by SageTV recording the content to a file and then streaming the file to the HD200. I am assuming that my channels 5 and 6, which are standard definition, take less CPU power, so simultaneous recording and playback isn't maxing out the CPU. Am I correct in assuming that recording an HD stream directly to the hard drive and then playing it back simultaneously is too much for my CPU? Is it a memory issue and not CPU load issue? I didn't think of checking the task manager for CPU and memory usage until now, and I am at work and cannot check at the moment.

If I just need more memory, that is inexpensive enough; how much would be a safe amount?

If my machine is not powerful enough to do this, then I am hoping that people here can recommend minimum specs for me to be able to do the following simultaneously:
  • Record one standard definition program on the HVR-1600
  • Playback one HD show in 'Live TV' mode on the HVR-1600 (so recording and streaming)
  • Possibly record a second standard definition program on a WinTv-PVR250 (I have this card but have not yet installed it)

Keep in mind that all video playback is desired to be through the HD200 and not the actual SageTV server itself.

I am looking for the least expensive route, as the wife isn't going to be too happy if my $200 project turns into a $700 project. However, I don't want to be too stingy and waste money on a system that just won't quite cut it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

* moved; test w/o any customizations active before posting outside the customization forums. *
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2009, 02:14 PM
brewston brewston is offline
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I've just built a new server with a Via C3 1.3Ghz CPU in it and can playback live HD on my HD200. I have got 1GB of memory and have increased the Java heap size to 512MB though. Task manager should give you an idea if you're short of physical memory or CPU cycles

Tim
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2009, 08:13 PM
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mikejaner mikejaner is offline
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Like Brewston indicated, you don't need horsepower to do LiveTv with either of the SageTV Extender models. You could do what your doing with a Pentium II if you really wanted to. In your case, since you can record both sources, this is an interesting one. It seems it might be something with the way the guide data is set up. Did you copy the lineup for the QAM channels, or did you tell it to use the same guide data as the analog channels? This may not be any help but it's worth a shot, to try to make the QAM stations separate, by copying the lineup. SageTV could be getting confused there. Again this is weird since it works for non livetv based recordings. I would also try to contact SageTV support for this one.
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2009, 09:09 AM
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Pirin Pirin is offline
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Thanks for your responses Tim and Mike!

It is good to know that my hardware is not the likely culprit. (I did check task manager when the system was simultaneously recording both an analog and digital program. The CPU usage fluctuated between 7% and 16%, while the memory commit charge was fixed at 496MB.)

I had 3.5 hours worth of shows set to record last night, so I only got a chance to check on a few things after work. I discovered quite an interesting issue...

The first thing I did was change my STV from SageMC back to the default (mostly because of the Mods moving my post). It turns out that when I try to tune in channels 2.1 (CBS) or 5.1 (NBC), I now get 'No Signal' displayed on the screen instead of just a blank screen. I then ran through all of the ClearQAM HDTV channels and found that 7.1 (ABC) and 32.1 (FOX) work in LiveTV mode.

So, I went to the channel setup for my tuner, and I get 0% signal strength for CBS and NBC, but I get 80% signal strength for ABC and FOX. Huh? This isn't an antenna, but actual Comcast cable. Why would the signal strength be 0%? Maybe Comcast moved the channels to a different frequency? I didn't get a chance to delve any further. Luckily, all the programs I setup to record last night were on either ABC or FOX, so they all recorded. I will try to remove the digital source and then re-add it with a new channel scan. I will also try to tune in the ClearQAM channels with Hauppauge's WinTV software. I hope my tuner card isn't shot, it's not even a month old.

It just seems weird that at the beginning of the month, when I set this all up, the channel scan detected all 4 ClearQAM channels. I didn't actually try watching TV before last night, as the fall season hadn't started yet. So, something in the last 3 weeks, I lost CBS and NBC. Does comcast ever change their station frequencies and then send all set-top-boxes an update, or are the frequencies usually fixed? Hmmm. I guess I have a bit more work ahead of me. Thanks again, guys, for confirming that my hardware should be adequate.
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  #5  
Old 09-22-2009, 09:18 AM
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mikejaner mikejaner is offline
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Sounds like you are on the right track. Your tuner card is probably fine, since it can tune the other channels. I have seen Verizon FIOS (my provider), change the local stations around a few times, and I wouldn't put it past Comcast either. They don't really have incentive to keep you happy, unless you have a cable box, which would know where to tune the channels once they move.
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2009, 09:52 AM
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Opus4 Opus4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirin View Post
I will try to remove the digital source and then re-add it with a new channel scan.
Lots of cable providers move channels around (some seem to do it regularly) -- all you need to do is rescan for channels; you don't have to remove & re-add the tuner.

- Andy
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2009, 10:17 AM
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Pirin Pirin is offline
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Ok, so now I am confused!

I got home last night to fiddle with the "lost" channels, and wouldn't you know it, all channels came in just fine. I didn't do anything except try to tune the channels in again (I was going to write down their frequencies before rescanning the channels again). So, nothing to fix now.

I am glad that it is working, but a little concerned about the issue. I just wish I knew what the problem was. Maybe there was an interruption in service from Comcast? I just hope it doesn't happen again.

Thanks to everyone for their input.
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2009, 10:20 AM
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Opus4 Opus4 is offline
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You could have borderline signal quality from too many splits, preventing the tuner from tuning the channels. Or, if you have an amp on your cable line, it could be an overpowered signal. There have been past posts about both issues. Or, it could be raining outside & your cable company needs to repair a line somewhere, like happened to me.

- Andy
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SageTV Open Source v9 is available.
- Read the SageTV FAQ. Older PDF User's Guides mostly still apply: SageTV V7.0 & SageTV Studio v7.1.
- Hauppauge remote help: 1) Basics/Extending it 2) Replace it 3) Use it w/o needing focus
- HD Extenders: A) FAQs B) URC MX-700 remote setup
Note: This is a users' forum; see the Rules. For official tech support fill out a Support Request.
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