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  #1  
Old 10-22-2009, 03:01 AM
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Acer Revo + MythTV = bye bye SageTV?

Having just bought the new Acer Revo R3610 Nettop soley for the purpose of using it for XBMC I started to look at other alternatives, and it struck me that if I defected to MythTV I could still have what I have with SageTV, but cheaper.

This is only based on a very quick look at MythTV features, but it strikes me that with these new Nettops and the increasing support for VDPAU, SageTV could be in serious trouble.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2009, 04:18 AM
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If you say so. Let me know how playing back HD recordings on the Revo goes for you. Because I have no issues with the HD200.

Gerry
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2009, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gplasky View Post
If you say so. Let me know how playing back HD recordings on the Revo goes for you. Because I have no issues with the HD200.

Gerry
I could be wrong, but I don't forsee any issues, with VDPAU the Revo will do 1080P without breaking a sweat.

This wasn't meant to be a disrespectful post to SageTV, more an observation, and maybe a wake up call. Considering they're a commercial outfit I have found they're development process somewhat slow and lacking.

Don't get me wrong there's some very good stuff here, and I chose SageTV over everything else last year, but it seems to me it's right on the edge of being either No.1 or just top 10, and at the moment there are a lot of other solutions overtaking them fast. This is just another example of them getting left behind.
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2009, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElGato View Post
Having just bought the new Acer Revo R3610 Nettop soley for the purpose of using it for XBMC I started to look at other alternatives, and it struck me that if I defected to MythTV I could still have what I have with SageTV, but cheaper.

This is only based on a very quick look at MythTV features, but it strikes me that with these new Nettops and the increasing support for VDPAU, SageTV could be in serious trouble.
How so? The Revo is the same cost as the HD200, but will surely be significantly more work to get running, since you'll have to get linux installed and the drivers configured. And even then, you're close to "locked in" because you can't run just anything on there and have it work for video. I think Myth is the only client/server PVR system like that out there other than Sage.

Plus you'll have to get linux installed and configured on the server.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2009, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElGato View Post
Considering they're a commercial outfit I have found they're development process somewhat slow and lacking.
I have found exactly the opposite.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2009, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElGato View Post
I could be wrong, but I don't forsee any issues, with VDPAU the Revo will do 1080P without breaking a sweat.
It will do the resolution no sweat but how well? And actually it was the non-1080p resolutions that the previous model had issues with. When I read the MythTV wiki on VDPAU MythTV VDPAU
And see all the config scripts, fixes for the Ubuntu repository, compiling, caveats, troubleshooting (I like this one)
Quote:
Tearing of the OSD over a perfect video playback can be avoided by stopping playback, exiting playback, and re-starting playback of the stream. (No idea why this works..only that it does.)

To prevent vertical and horizontal tearing of the image when viewing live tv or recordings, run the following to disable X Composite Extension (may also cure the all white/gray OSD):
I'll admit I'm not a Linux guy and maybe this is all business as usual for Linux. And I know there are more media-friendly distributions (Linux Mint Gloria 7) that tries to ease some of the driver issues.

But if you ask me I would see a lot of sweating heading in that direction. Just my 2 cents. I know people have been very successful with Linux in Sage and also successful with MythTV.

And your model lists for $330 so it's more expensive than my HD200.

Gerry
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Last edited by gplasky; 10-22-2009 at 06:49 AM.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2009, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
How so? The Revo is the same cost as the HD200, but will surely be significantly more work to get running, since you'll have to get linux installed and the drivers configured. And even then, you're close to "locked in" because you can't run just anything on there and have it work for video. I think Myth is the only client/server PVR system like that out there other than Sage.

Plus you'll have to get linux installed and configured on the server.
The Revo R3610 works out a lot cheaper for me, less than 160 for a dual core 330, plus the software is free. As for config, I feel the set up process is fairly similar. Granted for an OOTB experience SageTV has the edge, but for the likes of the rest of us who like to tinker and tweak, it's about the same.

Again, I'm not trying to knock Sage, but just feel it's dragging it's feet a little, especially the UI.

FYI, just installed XBMCLive in less than 10 minutes, and it's playing everything I want right now from my Home Server, so I could've saved 100's on software alone.
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2009, 08:59 AM
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Let's be clear, do you care about TV functionality or are you purely looking for a media playback solution? I think that changes things somewhat importantly (there are quite a few more good options if you don't care about TV).
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2009, 09:49 AM
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It might be the end of SageTV for a very select few like yourself. But I don't see this as a significant threat to SageTV. The biggest threat to SageTV is the simple Cable DVR. As the cable companies throw in more features and get them networked it makes it harder to convince consumers that the extra time/cost is worth it. We're not there, but that would be my opinion of a real threat - not MythTV or nettops or any other more-complicated solution.
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2009, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
Let's be clear, do you care about TV functionality or are you purely looking for a media playback solution? I think that changes things somewhat importantly (there are quite a few more good options if you don't care about TV).
TBH, I wrote this from a purely playback POV, and I take your point about the TV side of things, this is what lead me to SageTV in the first place.

I do care about the TV side of things, but then in the UK with the satellite and cable providers supplying an idiot proof service, and SageTV not catering for UK TV so much I guess it's a different ball game over here.
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2009, 01:10 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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It has been about two years since I tried MythTV but I expect it will make you appreciate Sage.

If you actually buy the the machine it is only $30 to add a Sage Client.
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2009, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElGato View Post
TBH, I wrote this from a purely playback POV
Well, if that was the case I wouldn't need Sage either. Just load Windows or Linux on a box and plug it into your TV. Yah, you'll have to load a bunch of software, configure drivers, etc first though. I personally hated keeping up on that stuff.
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  #13  
Old 10-23-2009, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent View Post
It might be the end of SageTV for a very select few like yourself. But I don't see this as a significant threat to SageTV. The biggest threat to SageTV is the simple Cable DVR. As the cable companies throw in more features and get them networked it makes it harder to convince consumers that the extra time/cost is worth it. We're not there, but that would be my opinion of a real threat - not MythTV or nettops or any other more-complicated solution.
Ditto. I think tht DVR users can be divided into two camps: those who use what's provided by the cable/Sat company and everybody else. The first category is probably much bigger than the second, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
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  #14  
Old 10-23-2009, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ElGato View Post
MythTV features, but it strikes me that with these new Nettops and the increasing support for VDPAU, SageTV could be in serious trouble.
I built a comparable Zotac based Ion for for the express purpose of switching back from SageTV to MythTV. I switched from MythTV to SageTV for the HD100, and I really, really miss some of the MythTV features (time stretch, better view into upcoming recordings, more reliable recording software, no java, much more responsive UI and ff/rew than SageTV on an HD100).

The problem is that MythTV still cannot handle proper playback of telecined material. If the broadcaster is telecining a 24fps show in a 1080i/30 stream, or a 24fps show in a 720p/60 stream, MythTV gets confused by the repeat flags, and keeps adjusting the framerate. This leads to glitchy, unacceptable playback. In my area, NBC and CBS do this, as well as our Fox affiliate (for non-primetime syndicated shows). So while my ION will play back all sports, all PBS, ABC and Fox (just Fox's primetime) well, it is unacceptable for NBC, CBS and syndicated shows on Fox and other networks.

Note that this is a bug in MythTV (and XBMC, etc), and not ION. The same recordings will play back fine using 7MC. See http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/dev/319838 for a description of the MythTV bug. This has been known about for years, but never fixed. I've been in contact with the devs, and they don't have time to fix this. I've been looking at the code and trying to figure out how to fix it myself, but its a bit beyond me (I mainly do network drivers and know nothing about video decoding).

So I'm basically screwed because I live in a market where broadcasters use advanced encoder settings, and the ION is currently gathering dust, and my HD100 is still in use.

Drew
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  #15  
Old 10-23-2009, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewg View Post
I built a comparable Zotac based Ion for for the express purpose of switching back from SageTV to MythTV. I switched from MythTV to SageTV for the HD100, and I really, really miss some of the MythTV features (time stretch, better view into upcoming recordings, more reliable recording software, no java, much more responsive UI and ff/rew than SageTV on an HD100).
The HD200 fixes and speeds up a lot of this. To some, the HD100 to HD200 upgrade was minor. To me, it was night and day difference.

However.....more reliable recording software? What is unreliable about Sage?
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  #16  
Old 10-23-2009, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by drewg View Post
more reliable recording software
I'm VERY surprised by that.

Quote:
So I'm basically screwed because I live in a market where broadcasters use advanced encoder settings, and the ION is currently gathering dust, and my HD100 is still in use.
This is standard everywhere, the only formats widely in use for broadcast (including cable and satellite) are 60p and 60i, yet most content that's not live or documentaries is 24fps film rate, so almost everything is telecined.
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  #17  
Old 10-24-2009, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
I'm VERY surprised by that.



This is standard everywhere, the only formats widely in use for broadcast (including cable and satellite) are 60p and 60i, yet most content that's not live or documentaries is 24fps film rate, so almost everything is telecined.
Yes, all 24fps item is telecined. I believe he was discussing the act of actually Flagging the stream properly as FILM material (which is SUPPOSED to tell the decoder to de-telecine the material). Some decoders (such as MythTV) don't seem to work right with that flag set.
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  #18  
Old 10-24-2009, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by valnar View Post
The HD200 fixes and speeds up a lot of this. To some, the HD100 to HD200 upgrade was minor. To me, it was night and day difference.
I was thinking about upgrading to an HD200. Unfortunately, the HD200 seems to have some of the same problems that MythTV has, if the telecined material doesn't use a normal cadence. See the HD200 stutter thread (http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44399)

Quote:
Originally Posted by valnar View Post
However.....more reliable recording software? What is unreliable about Sage?
I get glitches in my recordings which correspond to other SageTV activity. Let's see I'm recording show "A" from 8pm -> 9pm. Then at 8:18, we've got the kid in bed, and sit down to start watching something. Whenever I go to watch that show "A" that was recording at 8 -> 9, there will be a glitch in the recording at 8:18 that corresponds to the "heavy" HD100 activity (power on, entering recording menu, starting to watch something). I NEVER had this problem with MythTV on the same hardware (single 3GHz P4, single disk, older Ubuntu Linux, multiple PCI tuner cards).

My ass-umption is that there is some slowness that keeps Sage from draining the tuner cards buffers in a timely fashion, and some of the show just gets dropped on the floor, rather than transferred to disk. I've tried different JRE versions (and the IBM JRE seems to be more reliable for me than any Sun JRE), as well as increasing the Java heap size. All of that seemed to help a little, but the issue is still there. I also updated the server to a newer dual-core 2.5 GHz athlon64 with a software raid array. That helped a little, but not much. And don't get me started on JRE nonsense. I've never had Sage stable with Sun JRE 1.6, only 1.5. Switching to the IBM from the Sun JRE led to a subjective speedup of about 50% of the HD100, and seems to have reduce the glitches in my show.

As a final insult, Sage will reliably miss the first recording scheduled on some channels after a restart of the software (eg, stopping the recording service, and re-starting it OR after a reboot). The only way to avoid the missed recordings is to make sure to either schedule a dummy recording, or to watch live TV. MythTV never, ever, ever missed any recordings.

I'm running 6.4.8.1, which I realize is not the latest. I probably need to upgrade at some point. The upgrades make me nervous. I'm always worried I'll be hit with some worse bug, and I have no idea how to safely roll back to an older version.

Drew

Last edited by drewg; 10-24-2009 at 01:57 PM. Reason: specified PCI, and not network based tuner cards
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  #19  
Old 10-24-2009, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
This is standard everywhere, the only formats widely in use for broadcast (including cable and satellite) are 60p and 60i, yet most content that's not live or documentaries is 24fps film rate, so almost everything is telecined.
Not really. Most of the older encoders in use will not use the mpeg2 repeat frame flags. For example, our PBS station does not use them. Fox network broadcasts do not use them. As far as I can tell, they're not in use at all in some markets.

When MythTV encounters telecined material it will

1) flip interlacing on and off repeatedly
2) claim that the show is ~51 minutes long for every 60 minutes of content, since it uses some frame counting technique and goes by 60fps or 30fps, when the actual frame rate is different
3) have glitchy playback

Some newer encoders seem to be doing something strange where there is no regular repeating pattern to the telecining, and this causes even HD200s to stutter. See mpeg frame dumps from 2 different markets in the Hd200 jitter thread: http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44399

Drew
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  #20  
Old 10-24-2009, 03:10 PM
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Interesting, didn't realize that. I've never had any issues with either of my HD200s.
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