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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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Old 02-15-2007, 10:02 AM
dholmes97 dholmes97 is offline
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Can this PC do HD?

Hello all,

I've got an older computer that I used as a Sage TV PVR a couple years back: Athlon XP 1800+, Radeon 8500, 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD. But then I got an HDTV and put that computer in the closet, because I was using the Cox STB/DVR to record and watch HD. However, I'm sick of paying Cox. I'm ready to set up Sage again, but I need to get OTA HD (most of what I watch is the major networks, and I get good reception). I can't go back to SD ever again...

I've done some research, and the HDHomeRun looks like a great solution. I'm used to dual tuners, and I do have a newer MCE computer in another room (I'm trying to avoid using it at the PVR though, as it's used for all our family computing), so the networked tuner sounds like a really flexible solution. HOWEVER, I don't even know if that Athlon-based computer can handle HD. Will I be able to write the HD streams to disk fast enough? Will it have the power to play it back?

Assuming the old computer is underpowered, does using the MyHD-130 help (because it has a hardware decoder)? Or if I'm willing to wait for the HD Sage Extender, will that allow my older computer to at least store the HD (this is, will the extender completely offload the decoding of the HD)? Or is that old hardware just worthless for HD?

Thanks for your time. Hopefully this is the right forum for this kind of question.

- Dan
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:18 AM
mattdcknsn's Avatar
mattdcknsn mattdcknsn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dholmes97
I've got an older computer that I used as a Sage TV PVR a couple years back: Athlon XP 1800+, Radeon 8500, 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD.
My sage client has an old sempron 2400 in it, with nvidia 7600GS, it plays back HD fine over the network. But I have a client-server setup. It only does decoding. To record and watch at the same time I think you'll have to upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dholmes97
I've done some research, and the HDHomeRun looks like a great solution. I'm used to dual tuners, and I do have a newer MCE computer in another room (I'm trying to avoid using it at the PVR though, as it's used for all our family computing), so the networked tuner sounds like a really flexible solution. HOWEVER, I don't even know if that Athlon-based computer can handle HD. Will I be able to write the HD streams to disk fast enough? Will it have the power to play it back?
I dont have a HDHomeRun, so I cant say how that will work for you. (I think) The streams coming in from the HDHomeRun are already encoded as mpeg files, so the proc shouldnt have to work too hard to write them to disk. The bottleneck will be the Disk I//O itself. You might have problems watching a show while its recording. But I dont know your specifics. Also, 80 gigs will be eaten up fast with HD shows. The last Heros show is about 7.6 gigs in size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dholmes97
Assuming the old computer is underpowered, does using the MyHD-130 help (because it has a hardware decoder)? Or if I'm willing to wait for the HD Sage Extender, will that allow my older computer to at least store the HD (this is, will the extender completely offload the decoding of the HD)? Or is that old hardware just worthless for HD?
I dont have one so I cant tell you anything about it. Somebody else here more than likely will be able to answer that. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:48 PM
thatdude90210 thatdude90210 is offline
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It does take some % of the Cpu while it's recording. I have the HDhomerun going to my Sage server which has a p4-2.53 & an x1600. When using it to play back recorded HD files, the % CPU is about 30 to 45%. But when I use it to watch live HD (using Sagetv), it sometimes jumps to twice that %.

I also have the MyHD130 on that computer. Recording on it is a bit primitive. I would rather use the HDhomerun and Sage for recording & watching recorded shows. I only use the MyHD130 for watching live HD. Both are great products, but if I had to get just one, I would get the HDhomerun. It has dual tuners, and works seamlessly with Sage.

With an Athlon xp1800+ & the 8500 + the HDhomerun, it might be ok to just record and watch recorded shows. Watching live HD might be a problem. Btw, use Cyberlink decoder & overlay, it seems to be the best combo for ATI cards.
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Old 02-15-2007, 04:18 PM
dholmes97 dholmes97 is offline
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Thanks for the tips. My wife and kids have to be able to use this as well, so if the MyHD isn't a seamless PVR experience, I probably better not spend the time with it. I really have doubts about my ability to play back HD, but I guess if I get the HDHomeRun and my old computer isn't fit, I haven't painted myself into a corner. I'll need dual-tuner OTA HD for whatever future solution I come up with.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:23 PM
malbec malbec is offline
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I have an AMD XP 2100+ with an HD Homerun and 3 MVPs. It records shows perfectly well. Playback over the MVPs is very choppy, although some threads in the forum indicate that this will be fixed with the release of version 6.1. My work around has been to use the the plug in from Jreiki (may be mis-spelling, no offense intended) to automatically transcode the files to DVD standard quality for the channels I get via the HD Homerun. Of late I have ran into issues with the transcode working properly (hangs when it hits 100% complete and does not take the last step to completing). I am working with tech support to figure this out.

Note, I use my home office PC as the server, so I can't comment to playback of HD files on a dedicated HTPC hooked up to an HD TV directly. If that is your setup you might want to ignore these comments.
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