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  #1  
Old 07-23-2018, 06:06 PM
Galaxysurfer Galaxysurfer is offline
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successful use of pc stick as a client

I am looking to add more clients to my network. Although I like my Asus Vivo mini pc I am hoping for just as good options with a lower purchase price. Anyone successfully used one of those? My main concern would be how much space win 10 os & its persistent updates would crowd out sagetv in the memory capacity dept.

Last edited by Galaxysurfer; 07-23-2018 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:05 AM
will will is offline
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I don't have any personal experience but it is something I thought about for a while and almost went that route. I ended up going with a mini-client Android solution, which works but not as well as a native client for Windows does.

It looks like the Intel Compute Stick CS125 would work as well as the Intel Compute Stick BOXSTK2M3W64CC.

The former costs $150 and the later is $324. Big price difference but the BOXSTK2M3W64CC has an Intel Core M m3-6Y30, 64bit Windows 10 installed, 64gb of storage and can handle 4k video while the CS125 is 32gig of storage, an Atom processor, comes with 32bit Windows 10, and maxes out at 1080p.

While SageTV extenders don't support 4k, the clients do if your hardware supports it; so I'd keep that in mind while making a purchasing decision.

The future is 4k but if you don't plan to use this stick for the next five years then I'd go the cheaper route.
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2018, 08:14 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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IMHO the best client is still an HD300 or HD200 - see if you can find a used one. Of course the downside is that it doesn't do Netflix et al, but those are a pain to do on a PC with just a remote control.
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Old 07-24-2018, 02:29 PM
rrhorer rrhorer is offline
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The Android miniclient has several benefits:
1. When it dies, unlike my HD300, it's replaceable w/o having establish a completely new setup.
2. With the addition of a basic Harmony Hub, it's pretty much an "all-in-one" solution, including 4k, assuming your hardware (e.g., Nvidia Shield) has the capability.
3. IMO, SageTV is still the best PVR solution available. The developers here have been and are the best; and their work is appreciated. But the lack of Forum activity may indicate that SageTV's days are numbered. Unlike the HD300 and, to some extent, the PC clients, the Android miniclient can be converted to other options in the future (e.g., KODI) if any of them can get their PVR act together.
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  #5  
Old 07-27-2018, 08:34 AM
will will is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrhorer View Post
2. With the addition of a basic Harmony Hub, it's pretty much an "all-in-one" solution, including 4k, assuming your hardware (e.g., Nvidia Shield) has the capability.
I've never used the mini-client on a Shield but I do use it on a decent Andorid tablet and the experience, even with a remote, is very lacking compared to a Windows Client or an HD300/200. It might be that it only works great on a few platforms, but on the tablet I see lots of bugs and display glitches.

Quote:
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3. IMO, SageTV is still the best PVR solution available. The developers here have been and are the best; and their work is appreciated. But the lack of Forum activity may indicate that SageTV's days are numbered.
Don't be so sure about that. I've worked with companies that use 30 year old mainframes that produce hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profit, not revenue, for the company. If it works, don't break it. Consider this, as of 2016 US Nuclear Silos are still using floppy disks from the 70s.
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  #6  
Old 07-27-2018, 09:00 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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There are a few worrying things here recently. Some of our most important developers have either pretty much disappeared or mused about moving away from SageTV. If development stops then we will be frozen with what we have today. In some ways that doesn't matter if you are happy with what you have. But what happens if the Android client stops working on future versions of Android (weren't there issues with Oreo)? Who will fix that? TV will be moving to 4K in the next few years - will 4K encoders work in SageTV?

Then there is just the overall evolution from linear TV to streaming services. Personally I watch more shows on Netflix, etc, than I do on regular TV channels. But SageTV is hugely useful for me for watching sports, which is the bulk of my TV watching. That can be somewhat replaced by streaming services offered by the sporting leagues, but that doesn't always have the functionality that I want and it may not be possible to get all of the sports that I want to watch.
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2018, 09:59 AM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will View Post
Don't be so sure about that. I've worked with companies that use 30 year old mainframes that produce hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profit, not revenue, for the company. If it works, don't break it. Consider this, as of 2016 US Nuclear Silos are still using floppy disks from the 70s.
The problem with this ideology is that it not only blinds you to newer technology's strengths but also the weaknesses of the "tried and true" technology that's in use. It can also prevent the new technology's weaknesses from being fixed or mitigated.

SageTV is a good example of this. I believe SageTV's reliance on an in-memory Java based database is a major weakness. While I do believe it served it's purpose well 15 years ago database technology has evolved leaps and bounds since then. The way SageTV works can't scale very well. Users ran into this limitation on 32-bit Windows. 64-bit helps due to the larger amount of addressable memory but it doesn't fix the underlying problems. The larger a library of media gets the more memory SageTV needs to store the in-memory database. So all you can do is throw more memory at it.

SageTV is a huge memory hog. I'm running on unRAID and my SageTV Docker container is currently using a little over 1.5GB of RAM, 1.8GB if you include OpenDCT. As a comparison the sum memory usage of my Plex container is just under 400MB. Both are using the very same media.

The only reason I'm still using SageTV for recording is that I've found Plex's DVR functionality to be very unreliable. I prefer Plex for playback however. It operates more efficiently and is able to use my CPU's GPU for transcoding.

Just because a technology is "tried and true" doesn't mean it's good. It just means the perceived cost to switch is much higher than maintaining the legacy technology. The same can be said for companies still using 30 year old mainframes. Just because it works doesn't mean it's good. I used to work for a company that relied on such a system. The limitations were horrible but it worked for them. They were never going to switch and are probably still using it to this day.

Even though contemporary business is dependent on technology the people at the top don't often realize their reliance and misunderstand the importance of keeping pace with technology. The companies with the most growth are cognizant of this dynamic and embrace technology. Companies that don't either shrink and die or are stagnant.
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  #8  
Old 07-27-2018, 11:40 AM
will will is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taddeusz View Post
The problem with this ideology is that it not only blinds you to newer technology's strengths but also the weaknesses of the "tried and true" technology that's in use. It can also prevent the new technology's weaknesses from being fixed or mitigated.

SageTV is a good example of this. I believe SageTV's reliance on an in-memory Java based database is a major weakness. While I do believe it served it's purpose well 15 years ago database technology has evolved leaps and bounds since then. The way SageTV works can't scale very well.
Very valid points and spot on.

My point wasn't so much that SageTV is the pinnacle of software, just that old software that doesn't get updated can still offer a lot of value for many years.

Jeff's solution for the SageTV database made sense when he wrote it in the mid 2000s - everything had to be custom made; speaking as a professional software developer myself, so much has changed in the last five years let alone 15.

I've been using the same SageTV wiz.bin now for 9 years and it is bloated. If I could just get rid of my watch history for shows that are long gone I could probably solve 8/10 problems I have running SageTV on Windows.
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  #9  
Old 07-28-2018, 03:14 AM
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stuckless stuckless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will View Post
I've never used the mini-client on a Shield but I do use it on a decent Andorid tablet and the experience, even with a remote, is very lacking compared to a Windows Client or an HD300/200. It might be that it only works great on a few platforms, but on the tablet I see lots of bugs and display glitches.
Comparing a tablet experience of one app to a tv experience, is not a good comparison. The MiniClient, because it's android can run on a tablet, but, it's not designed for a touch/tablet interface. And yeah, there are a limited # of devices that is runs well on, particularly the Shield or miBox, and possibly others. The HD200 only runs well on 1 hardware platform . In my experience, running Gemstone, the Sheild is way faster than my HD200, and as fast as my HD300s, and it has the occasional glitch. And to be fair, I've had to reboot my HD300s many times for having hiccups. In my house, I've replaced all my HD300s with Shields and miBoxes, but, I'd never consider using this on a tablet/phone (even though, it can work). And I will agree that if your content is largely mpeg2, the decoders on the HD200/HD300 is far better than those on the Android boxes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taddeusz View Post
SageTV is a good example of this. I believe SageTV's reliance on an in-memory Java based database is a major weakness. While I do believe it served it's purpose well 15 years ago database technology has evolved leaps and bounds since then. The way SageTV works can't scale very well. Users ran into this limitation on 32-bit Windows. 64-bit helps due to the larger amount of addressable memory but it doesn't fix the underlying problems. The larger a library of media gets the more memory SageTV needs to store the in-memory database. So all you can do is throw more memory at it.

SageTV is a huge memory hog. I'm running on unRAID and my SageTV Docker container is currently using a little over 1.5GB of RAM, 1.8GB if you include OpenDCT. As a comparison the sum memory usage of my Plex container is just under 400MB. Both are using the very same media.
While I agree that using an in memory database can be a limiting factor of SageTV, I think, overall, it's almost 0 impact on the amount of memory used when looking at 1.5gigs. My guess is that if we spent a year and moved the database to sqlite, or h2, we'd end up with a memory usage of 1.45gigs instead of 1.5. The largest memory usages for SageTV come from it's session management of clients and loading fanart (and caching fanart in memory). SageTV wasn't really designed for Fanart, it was added as a user plugin. When you look at how sagetv manages the client UI, you can see that it fill up memory quickly. In SageTV when it loads a 1920x1040 background it will consume about 8m in memory (no matter the filesize). Even is sagetv is scaling the UI 1280x720 the image, in memory is not scaled by sagetv. It sends it down to the clients at whatever size it was loaded, and then has the client scale the image in hardware (hardware scaling is faster than software scaling). Gemstone will software scale the images, if you configure it. I've seen some posters come in at 4k sizes, which is becoming more common. I've seen those sent down the MiniClient at full size, and it fails to load them into memory, there, but, they are still loaded and cached in the sagetv server

If you really want to see the difference fanart (and plugins) can make... just run a vanilla sagetv setup, no plugins, no fanart, but using your existing wiz.bin... and see how much memory is used.
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  #10  
Old 07-28-2018, 10:12 PM
rrhorer rrhorer is offline
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"I've replaced all my HD300s with Shields and miBoxes"

I've only replaced one HD300 with a Shield; but I can say between the remaining HD300 and the Shield, I much prefer the Shield with the Android miniclient. Does it have its glitches? I don't know of any hardware/firmware that doesn't have glitches. I had to reboot the HD300 more often than I do the Shield. For goodness sakes, I even reboot the Echo dot more frequently than the Shield.

Anyway, I didn't mean to start a debate and should probably stop right there; but Ö

The biggest concern that I have was highlighted by wayner, i.e., "important developers have either pretty much disappeared or mused about moving away from SageTV". Sean "stuckless" has done wonders for us, delivering an alternative to the HD300 that keeps SageTV functioning after our extenders die. But, it seems obvious that the fall-off in enthusiasm for Sage is taking a toll on him and the other developers. I avoided the Oreo update to no avail -- it ultimately happened without my consent. Fortunately, I have not experienced any of the issues some others have. What about the next Android TV upgrade, or the next?
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:08 AM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrhorer View Post
The biggest concern that I have was highlighted by wayner, i.e., "important developers have either pretty much disappeared or mused about moving away from SageTV". Sean "stuckless" has done wonders for us, delivering an alternative to the HD300 that keeps SageTV functioning after our extenders die. But, it seems obvious that the fall-off in enthusiasm for Sage is taking a toll on him and the other developers. I avoided the Oreo update to no avail -- it ultimately happened without my consent. Fortunately, I have not experienced any of the issues some others have. What about the next Android TV upgrade, or the next?
I think the problem has multiple causes. SageTV is a niche product within a niche market. Granted, itís a niche that appears to be growing with the help of Plex. Part of the problem is that there is a lack of developers but also, unlike other open source projects, thereís not a lot of institutional knowledge of how the code actually works. Iím not sure SageTV will be around long enough and have a constancy of developers for that knowledge to fully develop. Mainly because it was started as a closed source project and that it was open sourced so late in its life. This is really unfortunate as, imho, SageTV is in need of some major changes to modernize it.
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  #12  
Old 07-30-2018, 09:46 AM
will will is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckless View Post
Comparing a tablet experience of one app to a tv experience, is not a good comparison. The MiniClient, because it's android can run on a tablet, but, it's not designed for a touch/tablet interface. And yeah, there are a limited # of devices that is runs well on, particularly the Shield or miBox, and possibly others.
Very valid point; the mini-client is very impressive. I realize the tablet wasn't the intended device and I'm happy that it works, and honestly the glitches are minor, like the OSD stays on screen when I pause/play a video until I manually adjust the volume on the tablet.

I haven't tried the Shield or miBox just because the HD300s work so well for my family and Apple TV works for any other streaming service we occasionally use.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckless View Post
If you really want to see the difference fanart (and plugins) can make... just run a vanilla sagetv setup, no plugins, no fanart, but using your existing wiz.bin... and see how much memory is used.
That peaked my interest and I completed a fresh install of STV 9.1.8 on Windows 7 64bit. With three HD300s turned on and I am using 935MB of memory. Not a drastic difference

This is a clean install with zero plug-ins installed and only some basic configurations, like the extenders and video recording sources.


Sage does seem a litter snappier so I'm going to try doing a few basic plugin installs and see if I notice a difference over the next few weeks.
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Last edited by will; 07-30-2018 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:48 AM
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stuckless stuckless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will View Post

That peaked my interest and I completed a fresh install of STV 9.1.8 on Windows 7 64bit. With three HD300s turned on and I am using 935MB of memory. Not a drastic difference

This is a clean install with zero plug-ins installed and only some basic configurations, like the extenders and video recording sources.


Sage does seem a litter snappier so I'm going to try doing a few basic plugin installs and see if I notice a difference over the next few weeks.
Keep in mind that sagetv, being a Java server, will just keep allocating memory. I guess when I said to use it without plugins, then also try setting your max memory to 256mb (or 512mb), and see if you get out of memory issues. Personally, I run sagetv with 2gigs of memory and I don't really care if it uses all 2gigs, since, I told it, it was allowed to use that much . Some people are really picky, and they complain when Java uses 4gigs of memory when they tell it to use 4gigs of memory My point is that without fanart and plugins, sagetv can get by with a lot less memory. If you start using full clients, instead of extenders, and turn off fanart, etc, you can probably run your server quite well in 256mb of memory.
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:49 AM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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Keep in mind that sagetv, being a Java server, will just keep allocating memory. I guess when I said to use it without plugins, then also try setting your max memory to 256mb (or 512mb), and see if you get out of memory issues. Personally, I run sagetv with 2gigs of memory and I don't really care if it uses all 2gigs, since, I told it, it was allowed to use that much . Some people are really picky, and they complain when Java uses 4gigs of memory when they tell it to use 4gigs of memory My point is that without fanart and plugins, sagetv can get by with a lot less memory. If you start using full clients, instead of extenders, and turn off fanart, etc, you can probably run your server quite well in 256mb of memory.
I suppose this is likely more the fault of Java and its runtime environment rather than SageTV itself. I'm giving mine 3GB and it's using only 1.5 so I guess there's that.

Keep in mind that I'm not a huge fan of Java so I may have some bias. I also suppose that you could write a more memory efficient Java application but it might be more difficult than just slapping some code together (not saying that's what Jeff did with SageTV). Part of the problem is that, unlike other languages such as C and C++, Java relies on its garbage collector to clean up after your code rather than depending on the programmer to be knowledgeable enough to do that for themselves. The way it appears to me is that once a Java application has allocated memory it won't give it back to the system even after garbage collection.

So my SageTV Docker currently says it's using 1.86GiB while SageTV System Information says the JVM Heap Size is 757MB/1164MB/3221MB. I can also see that according to top the Java process for SageTV is using 1.813g. I realize I am giving the JVM up to 3GB to use but am I wrong to want a program to give memory back to the system once it's no longer being used? I don't think even my most egregious .NET applications are quite this bad with memory.
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:05 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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I haven't really cared about the Java usage since I went to unRAID and can throw lots of memory at the JVM. But when I ran Windows it was an issue as I have 9 TVs in the house and have an HD200 or 300 at each one and using more than 3-4 clients simultaneously could crash the server - I use Gemstone with lots of fanart so that doesn't help.

I now use 3GB for my JVM and I could probably reduce that as I don't think that I have ever used more than 2GB, even when I ran Placeshifter on every PC in the house and connected all 9 extenders.

In terms of clients - I really wish that the AndroidTV clients were the best solution but I still find that the HD200 or HD300s just work better, at least they do when you have MPEG2 content such as files from OTA tuners.
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  #16  
Old 07-30-2018, 05:08 PM
will will is offline
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Originally Posted by stuckless View Post
Keep in mind that sagetv, being a Java server, will just keep allocating memory. I guess when I said to use it without plugins, then also try setting your max memory to 256mb (or 512mb), and see if you get out of memory issues. Personally, I run sagetv with 2gigs of memory and I don't really care if it uses all 2gigs, since, I told it, it was allowed to use that much . Some people are really picky, and they complain when Java uses 4gigs of memory when they tell it to use 4gigs of memory My point is that without fanart and plugins, sagetv can get by with a lot less memory. If you start using full clients, instead of extenders, and turn off fanart, etc, you can probably run your server quite well in 256mb of memory.
I do have my heap size set to 400 so that makes sense and that's a good suggestion. If SageTV was 64bit for Windows then I wouldn't care how much memory is uses but being a 32bit application means it does have some hard limits for me.

My current hardware choices force me to use Windows

I am actually running five additional linux servers in VMs on my SageTV server - if I could I'd be running everything on linux with KVM but oh well...
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