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Old 04-25-2011, 11:17 PM
King of Bayonne's Avatar
King of Bayonne King of Bayonne is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Ceton, SageDCT, and FiOS ***SUCCESS***

I thought I'd document my (very) recent success here in an effort to help others.

BACKGROUND:

Up until a week ago, I was running SageTV 7.1.5 beta on a homebuilt server getting its feed from Time Warner digital cable. Well, after years of waiting, FiOS TV is finally available in my neighborhood (just outside beautiful crime-free Albany NY). I ordered a Ceton InfiniTV 4 and FiOS TV service. As of this morning, I have everything working 100% and it is the proverbial cat's ass.

HARDWARE:

My SageTV server is a homebuilt Frankenbox based on a Supermicro C2SBC-Q motherboard, Pentium E5200 CPU (2.5 GHz), and 4GB of memory. The system boots from a 250GB SATA drive and has 3 x 1TB 7200RPM SATA drives for recording storage. All disks run off the on-mobo SATA controller.

My tuner complement was 2 x Hauppauge HVR-2250, giving me four simultaneous channels. Clients are 2 x HD200 and a couple of Placeshifter clients, mostly on laptops. The OS is Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1.

All of this stuff was working properly and was rock-solid for years. It has a high SAF (Spousal Approval Factor).

ORDERING THE CETON INFINITV 4:

Once I got confirmation that FiOS TV was truly available for ordering, I immediately placed an order for an InfiniTV 4 with Cannon PC, expecting a long lead time. To my surprise, I received my card within about 8 days of ordering (!!!). Needless to say, I was happy.

ORDERING FIOS TV:

Ordering FiOS TV was about as cut-and-dried as you might expect: call and order the service. I got two hi-def STBs of the non-DVR variety (natch!) and one CableCard for the Ceton. I got an install date scheduled four days from my call.

FIOS TV INSTALL:

I have had FiOS Internet service at my house for about four years, and I wired the entire house with Cat5e and RG-6 when I built it, so the STB install went VERY fast. Unfortunately, there was an administrative issue with the CableCard (they had just gotten an order into the warehouse but the cards hadn't actually been added to the system so they couldn't be paired/activated) so the tech had to return a few days later to complete the install. As soon as he left, I reconfigured the Verizon-supplied router to basically just serve as a MoCA media access device for my existing network, a la "Option 6" as described here, to support the STBs. I then verified that all network connectivity was working, the STBs could call home to get guide and PPV info, etc. So far so good.

CETON INFINITV 4 INSTALL:

On the morning that Verizon was returning to finish the CableCard install, I shut down my SageTV server, removed one of the HVR-2250s, and replaced it with the Ceton card. I booted the system, manually stopped the SageTV service, and installed the lasted software install package available from the Ceton web site (1.1.0.8-20110309). I then used the Ceton diagnostic tool to install the latest release firmware (1.0.3.2).

Next, I followed Ceton's instructions for installing and verifying the tuner under Windows Media Center (yes, without a CableCard in place). The only hiccup I had with this is that my server uses server-class on-mobo video, which 7MC's Digital Cable Advisor felt was not good enough to support video playback. So I used the nice little hack found here to convince it otherwise. Now Windows was all set for serious CableCard fun.

When the Verizon tech arrived with the Cable Card, he simply handed it to me. I installed it in the Ceton and used the diagnostics app to verify that it was working. The tech used the info provided by the diagnostic app to establish pairing and authorization for the card. Within ten minutes I had green lights across the board... test-tuned a few channels and I was in business. The tech rode into the sunset.

ADDING THE CETON TO SAGETV:

With the SageTV service still stopped, I made a backup copy of the SageTV install folder "just to be sure", then installed SageDCT v1.4. It installed just fine, and simple tests from within SageDCT indicated that things were working. I used the SageDCT tool to generate the include parameters for the Sage.properties file. I pasted those parameters to the end of my Sage.properties file. Just for grins, I also went into Device Manager and enabled bridging for the Ceton card in the Advanced tab of its driver. (I don't know if that was strictly necessary or not, but there was some discussion about this in other threads in this forum, so I did it.)

Finally, I started the SageTV service and then launched the SageTV GUI. Went into the video sources configuration and there were my four new tuners, just waiting to be configured. After selecting Verizon FiOS Digital. I had to do some manual editing/tweaking on the program list, but in relatively short order I had all four tuners configured and ready to go Went into Live TV and tuned some channels to verify that things were working. I was stoked.

...AND THEN, THE PLOT THICKENED...

In an effort to maintain a high SAF for the new configuration, I stress tested it by recording six HD channels simultaneously (four InfiniTV channels plus two on the HVR-2250). Much to my chagrin, about a minute after the scheduled recording start time, all four InfiniTV tuners had "beige !" errors indicating that recording had been interrupted. The tuners did recover and finish recording their shows, but of course those recordings were "broken" and fractured over two different .TS files. This behavior was repeatable.

As others have done in other threads, I tried all combinations of older/newer versions of SageDCT, InfiniTV firmware, etc. Every combination had problems, either the interrupted recordings, or "spinning circle of death", etc. I was bummed... so close and yet so far.

CETON TECH SUPPORT TO THE RESCUE

I created an account for myself on the Ceton support site and submitted a trouble ticket. I described the problem I was seeing, mentioned that others in the forum mentioned possible better success with a currently-beta firmware build, and asked that I be given access to the beta firmware. Within 24 hours I received a reply and authorization to use the beta firmware (1.0.3.4 beta), which I was told "solves some problems similar to the one you are seeing."

I updated the firmware, rebooted my server, and re-ran my experiments. With no other changes, THINGS WORKED PERFECTLY. Six error-free simultaneous HD recordings. I repeated this four or five times and it worked 100%!!! w00t!!!

I then viewed some of the test recordings to verify that the audio sync was correct, that Comskip had run correctly, etc. All recordings looked fine.

A WORD ON FIOS AND COPY CONTROL FLAGS:

I subscribe to the FiOS "Extreme" programming package (one step down from the uber "Ultimate" package) and do NOT have any sports or movie packages. I won't claim that I have looked at EVERY channel, but I did spot-check about fifty channels using the InfiniTV's web interface, and every channel I checked had the copy control flags set to "Copy Free" (00). So, at least for the FiOS package I am using in my area, I am somewhat confident in saying that all of the channels I receive are fully copy free. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but at least that's a data point for you.

SUMMARY:

The combination of SageDCT v1.4 and the 1.0.3.4 beta firmware seem to be the key for reliable operation of the Ceton InfiniTV 4 under SageTV 7. Obviously, I've only been using this setup for a very short time, but it seems stable and capable of meeting 100% of my expectations when used with FiOS TV.

I'll update this thread periodically as I have longer-term experience with this combination.


KoB

Last edited by King of Bayonne; 04-26-2011 at 07:57 AM.
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