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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 01-18-2010, 08:22 AM
null_pointer_us null_pointer_us is offline
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Upgrading 2x PVR-500 to 2x HVR-2250?

System:

- Windows Vista (32-bit)
- SageTV Media Center 6.6.2
- Intel C2D E4400 (2x 2.0 GHz, can hit 2.6 GHz o/c if needed)
- P31-A7 (P31 + ICH7)
- 2 GB DDR2-800
- ATI Radeon HD 3650 PCI-E (512 MB)
- 2x PVR-500 (total: 4 analog sources)


Upgrade:

- 2x HVR-2250 (total: 4 hybrid sources)


1. Are there any known issues with 2x HVR-2250, or incompatibilities with this setup?

2. Can the above system play back Comcast QAM HD (MPEG-2 60fps 720p, and some 1080i) smoothly?

3. Is there any tweaking I should do to reduce CPU load during HD playback?


Note: There are no third party decoders installed; just Vista, ATI Catalyst, and SageTV Media Center.

Last edited by null_pointer_us; 01-18-2010 at 08:40 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2010, 09:01 AM
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heffe2001 heffe2001 is offline
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I don't know about #2 or 3, but I'm running 2x 2250's under WHS without any issues (I just made sure I'm running the drivers that were supplied with the card, anything newer causes blue-screens on my setup). I'm running 4g in my machine, which some people have had issues with, but these cards are supposed to not have the 4gb problems that the older cards have. Under Vista you can probably use later drivers than I'm using, which should help with some of the QAM issues I've seen people post about as well.
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2010, 09:28 AM
Clift Clift is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by null_pointer_us View Post
System:

- Windows Vista (32-bit)
- SageTV Media Center 6.6.2
- Intel C2D E4400 (2x 2.0 GHz, can hit 2.6 GHz o/c if needed)
- P31-A7 (P31 + ICH7)
- 2 GB DDR2-800
- ATI Radeon HD 3650 PCI-E (512 MB)
- 2x PVR-500 (total: 4 analog sources)


Upgrade:

- 2x HVR-2250 (total: 4 hybrid sources)


1. Are there any known issues with 2x HVR-2250, or incompatibilities with this setup?

2. Can the above system play back Comcast QAM HD (MPEG-2 60fps 720p, and some 1080i) smoothly?

3. Is there any tweaking I should do to reduce CPU load during HD playback?


Note: There are no third party decoders installed; just Vista, ATI Catalyst, and SageTV Media Center.
The Radeon HD3650 should be able to playback MPEG-2 HD without any problems. Any tweaks you would do would be within Catalyst Control Panel, but those shouldn't be necessary. A C2D should be more than enough also. Just make sure you have the latest drivers from ATI, and that you use the EVR Renderer in SageTV. Regarding decoders, I am using The ArcSoft decoder that came with the HD PVR for MPEG-2 and H.264. On another client I am using Cyberlink PowerDVD 8 for H.264 and the Microsoft DTV-DVD Decoder but that's for Windows 7. The SageTV Decoder works well enough for some people, so you can try that.
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Capture Devices: HVR-2250, 2x HD PVR 1212
Clients:
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3x STP-HD200
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2010, 12:45 PM
null_pointer_us null_pointer_us is offline
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Thank you! That's exactly what I was looking for. Some HD shows I copied onto the server played back with around 30% CPU usage, which should be fine.

The new tuners will arrive sometime this week.

We're feeding them with two newly-constructed cables coming straight off an existing 8-way distribution amp (i.e. the same setup as my ATI HD 650, which is working fine). I made these cables myself out of quad-shielded RG-6 plus some compression connectors, in the hope of eliminating any possible issues.

Unfortunately, when everything was finally connected, signal quality was horrible. After a lot of troubleshooting, we determined the connectors were to blame: (a) attaching them to the cable required extreme force, (b) the copper conductor made little contact with the jack, and (c) the connectors had a tendency to come loose (from the jacks) over time.

Signal quality improved dramatically after replacing all the connectors with a different brand (fixing issues a, b, and c), but I'm still not entirely happy with the result. Is it possible my cables are still causing problems? I realize that the PVR-500 are not exactly the best sources, especially with the analog coax connections.


Problems:

- Very few channels (e.g. 12) have diagonal stripes of differing brightness.

- Many channels (e.g. 32) are blurry (especially text).

- Many channels (e.g. 37) have color bleed, especially around text.

- Still images seem to jitter (e.g. rapidly move up and down 1 pixel or so).

(Playback is being tested on a PC-compatible HDTV, in a window, with no upscaling.)


Troubleshooting:

- There is sufficient copper conductor (1-2 mm) protruding from the connector.

- The white insulator is flush with its hole inside the connector.

- The shield braid is folded back over the black cable coating.

- The shield foil is left over the white insulator.

- No part of the shield (braid or foil) is anywhere near the copper conductor.

- The small sleeve of the compression connector fits snugly between the shield foil and braid.

- The TV feed does not change when the wires are jiggled or the connectors are loosened.


Will the above problems likely go away when we upgrade to QAM (i.e. digital) on the HVR-2250's, or is there some underlying problem that I should eliminate before the upgrade?
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2010, 06:00 PM
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Tiki Tiki is offline
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I can tell you that in my area, since moving to mostly digital (only channels 2-20 are still available with an old analog TV without a STB), Comcast has let the quality of the analog channels go way down. I have a 13" analog TV in the kitchen that is still on the old analog cable feed and everything is a little snowy, while my TV's and capture cards that use digital get clear signals.

Having said that, if you want to isolate whether the problem is your capture card or the cable/connectors, try plugging the same cable directly into a TV. If the quality is poor with both the capture card and the TV, I'd blame the cable. If the TV is clear, but capture card is fuzzy, I'd blame the card.

This assumes you are looking at the same channels in the same formats on both (you don't want to compare the HD-digital version of the channel on the TV to the SD-analog version of the same channel on your capture card).
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Capture Devices (8 tuners): Colossus (x1), HD-PVR (x1), HDHR Prime (x2)
,USBUIRT (multi-zone)
Source:
Comcast Cable
Primary Client: Server Other Clients: (1) HD200, (1) HD300
Retired Equipment: MediaMVP, PVR150 (x2), PVR150MCE,
HDHR, HVR-2250
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  #6  
Old 01-19-2010, 04:04 AM
scat scat is offline
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null_pointer_us

I use both tuners
I have 1 - PVR-500 and 1 HVR-2250 and I have Comcast cable here in Jacksonville,FL.

I do agree with Tiki about
Quote:
Comcast has let the quality of the analog channels go way down.
but the HVR-2250 is absolutely beautiful for the HD channels, I was using DirecTV HR20 dvr prior to being laid off Nov. 2008 and using Comcast now.
I am using the driver: 090717_22x_7.6.27.27198.prerelease
you can find it here: ftp://haupauge.com/Support/HVR2250/

Just in case you need it: How I remapped my QAM channels on a HVR 2250

and from the forums here: http://forums.sage.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=35678

Quote:
when adding the Hauppauge 2250 to SageTV
It seems the setup wizard only detects I have 2 analog tuners
and never asks me to select the source info for the digital tuners.
Am I missing something?

Select the Analog tuner. The next question will ask you
if you will use it to tune Analog, Digital or QAM. It's an all in one tuner.
Scat
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1 250GB Seagate hd (OS), 1 500GB Seagate hd (Music,Pictures), 1 Samsung Spinpoint 1TB hd (Sage recording),
Tuners: 1 Hauppauge PVR 500, 1 Hauppauge HVR-2250
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit, Sage 6.6.2.218, Eventghost 0.3.6.1486, Java 1.6.0_11, Harmony 880, USB-UIRT
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:05 AM
null_pointer_us null_pointer_us is offline
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Thank you for commenting on Comcast's analog quality. It's good to hear that it's not just my setup. There's an old Comcast HD box here -- we've used the thing maybe ten times in the past few years because SageTV is so much more convenient -- so I'll plug the new lines into the box and see what happens.

The HVR-2250 order will arrive tomorrow. Thank you, scat! My ATI 650 has the same weird problem with being labeled an analog capture card even after I've set up the digital source. Luckily it doesn't affect recording. The driver link should come in handy; I've suffered quite a few driver issues in the past.

We ran into massive problems with playback last night. While watching a 2 hour HD clip I'd copied from my ATI 650 computer, SageTV crashed around the 43 minute mark. Reopening SageTV and skipping to that point in the file crashed SageTV again with some little error message boxes.

At that point, I tried to use Windows Media Player, but it skipped a bunch of frames every few seconds and the audio was frequently distorted. This is the home video server, which means it often has several instances of comskip running (via DirMon2). I'll have to look into lowering the priority level.

My guesses so far are:

- The (passively cooled) GPU overheats during long HD playback sessions.
- Windows Media Player wasn't using GPU acceleration (or not as much of it).

(There was also an incident involving my wireless mouse receiver crapping out and a large plate of wings ended up face down on the carpet, but I won't get into that. Let's just say the middle of a season premier is not the best time to be troubleshooting computer problems. )

I'll be updating the SageTV software -- my bad, it was actually running something like 6.5.9 -- and looking into the CPU/GPU issues above. I may also remove the configuration files (except for Wiz.bin) since this folder has a long upgrade history.

This copy of Vista is only at SP1, so I'll be updating that, too, at some point.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2010, 09:28 AM
null_pointer_us null_pointer_us is offline
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There were more playback problems last night. While playback is stable, crashes occur while repeatedly seeking during HD playback. I think EVR is unstable on this computer. I am switching from EVR to VMR9, so we'll see what happens.

The driver CD included with the HVR-2250 was a joke. It appeared to install fine, displayed the driver entries it was supposedly modifying, and then told me to restart. However, upon restarting Windows prompted me to look for drivers (again). No compatible drivers were even found on the CD. I had to install the 1.2c CD from Hauppauge's website, followed by the driver update (from 27223 to 27323).

Channel preview (using EVR) during the initial QAM channel remapping was extremely flaky. The preview video feeds sometimes wouldn't display anything until I hit the remap button even though the audio would play fine. Occasionally, the SageTV interface would become unresponsive for 1-2 minutes. It was very frustrating.

Recording seems to work fine (so far). Picture quality is superb! Channel remapping went well, despite the flaky preview window. The HVR-2250 tuners detected even more channels (and had more reliable reception) than my ATI HD 650, so my worries about signal quality seem unfounded.

Overall, I'm happy with the result. I wish I could have installed both HVR-2250 cards, but sadly the passively cooled 3650 uses a huge two-slot heatsink (and slot cover) that covers the last PCI-E slot on the motherboard. For now, we'll have to settle for 1x PVR-500 + 1x HVR-2250. The vast quality difference between the analog SD of PVR-500 and digital SD of HVR-2250 here is immediately noticeable.
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3650, hvr-2250, pvr-500, qam, vista


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