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  #1  
Old 05-06-2006, 07:44 AM
bmcraig bmcraig is offline
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Just Learned of SAGETV and have some questions.

I am a TIVO user. My wife and I are building a home and I was wanting to network all TVs for TIVO viewing when I discovered SAGE TV and it looks like the way to go. I have a few questions (some of which will probably sound stupid). Any responses would be most appreciated...

1. Is the playback quality good (i.e. close to live TV)? Does playback look good on a standard TV?

2. It appears that HDTV can only be recorded from OTA. Is it not possible to record HD channels received from cable, DISH Network or DirectTV?

3. In browsing the forum, I often see mention of client-server. Will I need two computers for SAGETV to service my home reliably?

4. Assuming I have to get my HDTV via OTA, I assume it is possible to wire that into a HDTV turner on my computer, and then have say Dish Network wired into another turner on my compter for my other channels. Is that the way that would work?

5. With TIVO, if you leave a show in the middle, and go watch another show, when you return to show #1, it is right where you left. What about with SAGETV? Does it work similarly, or if you leave a show, and return does it start back at the beginning?

6. If I decide to just forget SAGETV, do any of you know of a stand alone HDTV DVR available in the U.S.?

7. As for as the networking, is just ethernet cable from room to room all that is necessary to carry quality SAGETV signals through out the house?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 05-06-2006, 09:04 AM
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jominor jominor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
I am a TIVO user. My wife and I are building a home and I was wanting to network all TVs for TIVO viewing when I discovered SAGE TV and it looks like the way to go. I have a few questions (some of which will probably sound stupid). Any responses would be most appreciated...

1. Is the playback quality good (i.e. close to live TV)? Does playback look good on a standard TV?
It does for me. I use standard cable through Sage, it looks indistinguishable from standard TV at 3 gigs/hr. In fact, I routine set certain shows to reduced quality, as low as 2 and they still look good.

I have no complaints about picture quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
2. It appears that HDTV can only be recorded from OTA. Is it not possible to record HD channels received from cable, DISH Network or DirectTV?
N/A

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
3. In browsing the forum, I often see mention of client-server. Will I need two computers for SAGETV to service my home reliably?
Not really. For me first year, I ran everything off a single box connected to my TV. I had the machine hidden behind a large fishtank. However, that single machine is both client and server. If you need to do something that requires a reboot, you will lose recording while the machine is down. I tend to use USB2 drives or enclosed internal drives so I can add storage without shutting down.

I've long since moved my server to the basement in a corner and have a small form factor that resembles a component in my entertainment center and acts as a client. I think this is much better. I can and do standby that machine at night and the server keeps chugging. My server runs for months at a time 24/7 with 3 tuners and nearly a terabyte of storage.

I do have a wife, btw, so I can attest to Sage's high WAF.

I also keep an old P3-500 laptop in my daughter's playroom connected to a 19" monitor, my main laptop, and my desktop in my den all run the Sage client.

My main laptop uses wireless g and worked great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
4. Assuming I have to get my HDTV via OTA, I assume it is possible to wire that into a HDTV turner on my computer, and then have say Dish Network wired into another turner on my compter for my other channels. Is that the way that would work?
N/A

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
5. With TIVO, if you leave a show in the middle, and go watch another show, when you return to show #1, it is right where you left. What about with SAGETV? Does it work similarly, or if you leave a show, and return does it start back at the beginning?
It starts where you left. In fact, I'm ticked that my MP3 player doesn't do the same thing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig

6. If I decide to just forget SAGETV, do any of you know of a stand alone HDTV DVR available in the U.S.?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
7. As for as the networking, is just ethernet cable from room to room all that is necessary to carry quality SAGETV signals through out the house?

Thanks.
Pretty much. I originally tried using Wireless on that small form factor that connects to our TV, but it just didn't seem to work well. Microwave and all. However, my two laptops both use wireless and have never had problems.

My TV and main desktop are both wired and the laptops are wireless.

Good luck! I don't think you'll be sorry.
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  #3  
Old 05-06-2006, 09:12 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
I am a TIVO user. My wife and I are building a home and I was wanting to network all TVs for TIVO viewing when I discovered SAGE TV and it looks like the way to go. I have a few questions (some of which will probably sound stupid). Any responses would be most appreciated...

1. Is the playback quality good (i.e. close to live TV)? Does playback look good on a standard TV?
Now that's a loaded question

If you have standalone Tivo (not a DirecTivo), then depending on your displays and how you setup your system Sage can be every bit as good, if not better.

Actually the same is true of a DirecTivo, but it gets kind of expensive to match the DTivo's direct digital recording capability.

Quote:
2. It appears that HDTV can only be recorded from OTA. Is it not possible to record HD channels received from cable, DISH Network or DirectTV?
Do a search for R5000

Quote:
3. In browsing the forum, I often see mention of client-server. Will I need two computers for SAGETV to service my home reliably?
You will need more than one of "something" to feed multiple TVs optimally. You'll need a server do control all the recording. And you'll need a client for each TV (note the server can feed one TV). For SDTVs the SageTV Media Center Extender (AKA MVP Client) is an excellent, high quality, inexpensive choice. For HDTVs, IMO it's better to build a PC client to take full advantage of the display.

Reliability really doesn't have anything to do with numbers, it comes down to well chosen components, and careful install, dedicated is better.

Quote:
4. Assuming I have to get my HDTV via OTA, I assume it is possible to wire that into a HDTV turner on my computer, and then have say Dish Network wired into another turner on my compter for my other channels. Is that the way that would work?
Yup.

Quote:
5. With TIVO, if you leave a show in the middle, and go watch another show, when you return to show #1, it is right where you left. What about with SAGETV? Does it work similarly, or if you leave a show, and return does it start back at the beginning?
Yup, it remembers where you were. I'm pretty sure you can even leave it at one client and pick up at another, though I don't really do that much so I'm not sure.

Quote:
6. If I decide to just forget SAGETV, do any of you know of a stand alone HDTV DVR available in the U.S.?
The only thing that can even come close is the Dual-tuner Tivo.

Quote:
7. As for as the networking, is just ethernet cable from room to room all that is necessary to carry quality SAGETV signals through out the house?
Yup, 100Mbps ethernet is all you need, probably the optimal connection as well. Wireless (G) works for some, but it's not a given, if you can go wired, do it.
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  #4  
Old 05-06-2006, 10:10 AM
stevech stevech is offline
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computer fan/drive noise is an issue if you put the server in the living space.
Mine is behind the TV cabinet - audible but we tolerate it. Too costly to get a truly quiet PC.

You can of course use a media player box (fanless) networked to a server in the closet/garage.

Quality, for me, is OK but less than Std Def TV for S-Video out from PC - due to re-encoding by the video card. I suppose a capture card with a hardware DE-coder or a media player box would have better quality.

I went Sage for cost and customizability reasons. It's acceptable.
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  #5  
Old 05-06-2006, 03:35 PM
bmcraig bmcraig is offline
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Thanks for the replies. So, if I put the computer in a closet (and have the signals: HDTV OTA, Dish Network etc, come into the closet), would the easiet way to distribute SAGETV to the different TVs be the SAGETV Extender (buying one for each TV in the house)? Or do I need to do something else?
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2006, 03:47 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevech
computer fan/drive noise is an issue if you put the server in the living space.
Mine is behind the TV cabinet - audible but we tolerate it. Too costly to get a truly quiet PC.
It's expensive to "fix" a noisy PC into a quiet one. But starting from scratch it's not really any more expensive to make a quiet PC, and a silent one is only a little more.

Though storage is something that's very hard to deal with.

Quote:
You can of course use a media player box (fanless) networked to a server in the closet/garage.
Most "media player box"s don't integrate with SageTV though, the Hauppauge MediaMVP is the only one currently.

Quote:
Quality, for me, is OK but less than Std Def TV for S-Video out from PC - due to re-encoding by the video card. I suppose a capture card with a hardware DE-coder or a media player box would have better quality.
Yup, except you mean video card, not capture card, something like the MediaMVP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
Thanks for the replies. So, if I put the computer in a closet (and have the signals: HDTV OTA, Dish Network etc, come into the closet), would the easiet way to distribute SAGETV to the different TVs be the SAGETV Extender (buying one for each TV in the house)?
Pretty much.

Quote:
Or do I need to do something else?
Since you're talking OTA though (and mention Satellite HD), I assume at least one of your displays is an HDTV. For that/those display(s) I would definitely consider building a PC client. The MVP doesn't support HD, it's an SD device, you'll need a PC client for HD playback.
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2006, 04:05 PM
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jominor jominor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89
It's expensive to "fix" a noisy PC into a quiet one. But starting from scratch it's not really any more expensive to make a quiet PC, and a silent one is only a little more.

.
Too true. My regret with my client is passing up on a true small form factor in lieu of a micro-ATX with a truly obnoxious power supply fan. A quiet fan is going to cost my about $150+, more than the difference between the small form and the micro-ATX.

In fact, I'm debating building a new client with a true small form factor and converting my current ATX into my new desktop.
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2006, 09:58 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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you could run an S-video cable from the server in a closet (figuratively speaking) to the TV. I've used really long cables with no visible degredation.

I beg to differ re a scratch-built quiet PC is no more than a noisy one...
- I have the most quiet CPU fan that can be had.
- Really quiet PS fan
- No case fan
- Western Digital IDE 250GB drive is TERRIBLE about noise. I tried two. I couldn't use it, sounded like a dentist's drill - despite PC magazine's rave review.
- My 160G and 180G WD drives are OK.
- Most quiet drive is a 180G in a USB2 enclosure sitting on a foam mousepad

I read the many web pages about ways to quiet drives. Costly exotic vibration damping foam. Heat problems.

Someday I'll move the server to the garage where it belongs. Can't get an S-Video cable to TV from there due to the way this home is built.
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2006, 12:03 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/show...ght=antec+p180

And notice I made a distinction between "quiet" and "silent". My workstation (linked) is definitely quiet (even with a 10k WD Raptor) with no exotic parts, just carefully chosen ones (heck it's the stock AMD HSF). My HTPC is essentially silent, but took a bit more exotic methods (Antec Phantom 350, M-Cubed T-balancer.

Let's put it this way, I've got my window open, and a 1 am, it's louder outside than my workstation. My HTPC, even with a bad fan, is drowned out by my projector.
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2006, 10:19 PM
SafetyBob SafetyBob is offline
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I have three MVP's that I watch my recorded shows on at various locations throughout my home. They all use regular CAT5 cable. One of the locations I use a very old tv that only has the 2-13 channel available (talkin early 80's here), so I use the MVP to stream live TV so I have the choice to watch my recorded shows or watch the actual live feed from the cable. If you go with SageTV, you might consider getting the MCE500, it has two tuners in it and frequently I am recording two shows at the same time. The nice part is I can buy another and have 4 channels record simutaineously if I want....try that with TIVO!

The MVP is very small and gives as good a picture as your TV will deliever. Hopefully in the future, SageTV will support HDTV. You may have to live in limbo for awhile until that feature gets added to SageTV.

Like many of the guys who have responded also, we started off watching recordings off the computer, have purchased the client licience so we could watch stuff on our laptops, they gone a purchased the MVP's so we could really have TIVO-like experiences where and when we want AND on whatever piece of equipment we wanted. Can't do that with TIVO.

Tivo is a neat piece of equipment, but if it breaks, get hit by power surges...whatever, it's done. New box. With SageTV, my computer dies, I get a new component, my software is ALWAYS being updated and upgraded by the company (for the better too), and honestly, if the box dies, who cares. I can slam SageTV on another computer and away we go!!! Oh, did I mention anything about storage limits? As long as you have a place to plug in a hard drive, you go more storage space.....try that TIVO!!

Good luck and I don't think you will be dissappointed with SageTV, even if it can't do the HDTV thing yet. The features and ease of use are just too good.

Bob E.
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  #11  
Old 05-08-2006, 07:34 AM
bmcraig bmcraig is offline
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Question

Pardon my ignorance, but what is a "MVP"?

Brent
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  #12  
Old 05-08-2006, 08:06 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Hauppauge MediaMVP
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  #13  
Old 05-08-2006, 08:57 AM
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SHS SHS is offline
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Quote:
2. It appears that HDTV can only be recorded from OTA. Is it not possible to record HD channels received from cable, DISH Network or DirectTV?
Yes and NO that depend, as long you used the cable or sat receiver box and S/Video output in to the PVR card you can, and keep in mind that the MediaMVP can only play up to SD 720x480 MPEG stream it dosen't support HD MPEG stream 1920x1080 nor 1280x720 nor dose the MVP support AC3.
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  #14  
Old 05-17-2006, 12:25 AM
mike1961 mike1961 is offline
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Sorry to jump on this thread late and hopefully the original poster will see this. Regarding Tivo, what did it for me to make the switch to Sage was the SLOW transfer rates from one Tivo to another at USB one speeds. I never dreamed of all the other benefits.

Regarding computer workstations, I wanted a full computer and not an MVP. I also did not want to put the computer in the closet because I may want to play a DVD or something. So, I got the AOpen (like a shuttle) from NewEgg and I'm very very happy with them. They measure 12" x 7" x 7" and easily may be put on top of the entertainment center (the very top) or on a shelf. They are VERY quiet. They are about $300 (at least the kind I got but there are others) for barebones and you'll still need a processor, hard drive, etc. I like the fact they come with an svideo out as well as vga.

Mike
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  #15  
Old 05-24-2006, 12:19 PM
bmcraig bmcraig is offline
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Thanks. I did not know that MVPs do not play back the HDTV signals (until someone pointed that out on this list). So, I guess I will need as small of computer as possible for my living room, where the only HDTV will be. I assume then I can use placeshifter to get the HDTV recording from my main computer to my little server computer near my TV. The one you mentioned AOpen-- is that $300 ready to go, or do you have to add the processor, harddrive etc for additional money?

Thanks,
Brent


Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1961
Sorry to jump on this thread late and hopefully the original poster will see this. Regarding Tivo, what did it for me to make the switch to Sage was the SLOW transfer rates from one Tivo to another at USB one speeds. I never dreamed of all the other benefits.

Regarding computer workstations, I wanted a full computer and not an MVP. I also did not want to put the computer in the closet because I may want to play a DVD or something. So, I got the AOpen (like a shuttle) from NewEgg and I'm very very happy with them. They measure 12" x 7" x 7" and easily may be put on top of the entertainment center (the very top) or on a shelf. They are VERY quiet. They are about $300 (at least the kind I got but there are others) for barebones and you'll still need a processor, hard drive, etc. I like the fact they come with an svideo out as well as vga.

Mike
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  #16  
Old 05-25-2006, 02:37 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcraig
I assume then I can use placeshifter to get the HDTV recording from my main computer to my little server computer near my TV.
You can (I think) but I wouldn't advise it. You really want to run SageClient if you can (ie if you're on a lan). The Placeshifter is for use over the WAN and has limitations because of it.
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  #17  
Old 05-25-2006, 07:15 PM
bmcraig bmcraig is offline
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Thanks. I learned something again!

Brent


Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89
You can (I think) but I wouldn't advise it. You really want to run SageClient if you can (ie if you're on a lan). The Placeshifter is for use over the WAN and has limitations because of it.
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