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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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  #1  
Old 11-21-2008, 09:04 AM
BeerBrewer BeerBrewer is offline
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Tuner Configuration / HD Question

After converting from BTv some time ago (the extender was the kicker) I can't say enough about SageTV. I really wish I had made the transition earlier. The work that has been done on SageMC is spectacular.

I just rebuilt my server and am wondering if I have the capacity to upgrade the quality of my recording. I am using a Verizon FiOS Standard Definition STB and a USBUIRT to record SD through the Composite input on my PVR-150. The picture is good, but I am wondering if I could use a High Def STB and get better quality (720P) through the S-Video out on the HD STB. I have another PVR-150 and a PVR-500 that I am not currently using. I also have a HD STB, but it is part of my primary setup (which also has an extender) and I really don't want to move it unless I can at least record 720P for playing on the extender. The WAF will go way down if move the STB and functionality goes down.

So I guess my question is will the picture recorded from the PVR-150/HD STB be significantly better or do I need to buy a HD tuner to capture at the HD rates? I do know I could buy the HD-PVR, but I am trying to do it on the cheap and preferably with existing components. I also have OTA HD available, but my DVICo card 5 Lite is causing a BSD. I would be open to buying a combo card that could capture the OTA HD, and also take the Enhanced Definition (or HD) output from the HD STB.

Are there any options out there that will take component video in for recording?

My system is dual core, 2GB - so I think I have the horse power do do something.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks, Tim
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:18 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Only way you can record >480i from a set top box is the Hauppauge HD PVR, via component.
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:55 PM
jazztbn jazztbn is offline
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Question about FiOS

Tim;

I've got a question about using a PC with DVR software with FiOS. It looks like you're doing it successfully, and I'd like to know just what the capabilities are. I've read on various posts that all the content isn't available . . . I'm also curious about how you tune to the channels with a TV tuner card . . . Can you enlighten me? I'd really appreciate the help

Steve
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:33 PM
CollinR CollinR is offline
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You might consider QAM so you get some but not near everything.

I seriously doubt the HDSTB will a be a noticable improvement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztbn View Post
Tim;

I've got a question about using a PC with DVR software with FiOS. It looks like you're doing it successfully, and I'd like to know just what the capabilities are. I've read on various posts that all the content isn't available . . . I'm also curious about how you tune to the channels with a TV tuner card . . . Can you enlighten me? I'd really appreciate the help

Steve

He isn't the STB is doing the tuning, you need 1 STB per tuner.
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Old 11-24-2008, 09:53 AM
BeerBrewer BeerBrewer is offline
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My experience diatribe

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazztbn View Post
Tim;

I've got a question about using a PC with DVR software with FiOS. It looks like you're doing it successfully, and I'd like to know just what the capabilities are. I've read on various posts that all the content isn't available . . . I'm also curious about how you tune to the channels with a TV tuner card . . . Can you enlighten me? I'd really appreciate the help

Steve
Forgive the length, but I was on a roll. If you need more, feel free to ask.

I have FiOS premium HD package with HB/Cinemax. I am able to see and record ALL content with my setup (though not in HD), though some channels had to be enabled (like HBO and Cinemax) through the channel setup (very simple). I currently can not record any quality better than the output from my Set Top Box (STB), which is composite video and stereo audio. I may talk about it below, but even with this setup the picture quality is good. Not HD, but much better than my old cable signal.

We use a Sage HD Media Extender (HDME) and a Motorola QIP6200 HD STB for viewing on our main TV, using a Harmony 620 remote. We use the 620 to turn on amplifiers, tv and STB or the HDME at the same time while also switching everything to the right settings. I really like this remote and at $50 at CostCo after coupon, it was the right price. We use the HD STB (no DVR functionality) on the main TV since I can't record in HD. There is certain programming we like to watch in HD (i.e. sports). We miss the DVR functionality when we do this, but commercials have a certain cultural value every now and then. We had the Verizon HD DVR STB for a while, but I found the menu confusing and not being able to watch content at different locations was another con. We also have the ultimate fall back of Over The Air (OTA) HD in case Verizon and my SageTV are on the blink. My WAF (wife acceptance factor) is fairly high, but she gets frustrated quickly when things don't work. While I wouldn't call her a Luddite, she probably has some sort of techno-phobia (programmable thermostats were a struggle).

I currently use a Standard Definition (SD) DCT700 Motorola STB recorded on a Hauppage PVR-150 through composite and stereo L/R. The DCT700 was the cheapest to rent. I could never get the PVR-150's built in IR remote to work, so I had to purchase an external IR blaster, the USBUIRT. This is very reliable and have yet to have any issues on recordings. SageTV has the USBUIRT integrated and setup was a piece of cake. Although I only run one STB for recording, the USBUIRT will control up to 3 STBs (you need one STB per simultaneous recording). I also have a DVICo Fusion 5 Lite for recording OTA HD transmissions, but in my current setup it is not working. I miss some of the HD programming I would like to record (especially certain PBS shows), but as I mentioned before my SD recordings are very clear.

My PC based DVR was originally based on SnapStream's Beyond TV (Beyond Media - BM) and Comcast cable's standard package. All content could be picked up by tuners wihtin 125 channels. Channel tuning was handled by the software. I had 5 tuners (4 SD and 1 OTA HD) operating at once - overkill in hidsight, but at that time I was watching a fair bit of stuff that overlapped. It was nice setup, but I found the SnapStream's BM issues frustrating. I had almost 5 years experience using BTV.

I had been looking at SageTV for some time, but had a fair amount invested in BTV, so was reluctant to change. However, I also wanted a totally quiet setup for our main TV and when SageTV launched the HDME, I made the switch.

I haven't looked back since. SageTV has the integration with a DVD library I wanted, a decent music manager, decent picture slideshow functionality and most important a solid TV DVR. In my opinion, the SageMC addin is required and really makes the product slick. It can be a little tricky to setup and customize to your own tastes, but well worth the effort. I have found the forums to be hard to navigate, but the users are great and quick to respond. I never considered MCE because I wanted a third party application that wouldn't DRM the recordings and work on top of XP Pro. I like to edit some of the shows and put them on DVDs for travel.

I do not use and of the compression or commercial skip functionality. I have the disk space and the skip forward button works well enough.

Firewire Recording/Channel Changing
I have played with both recording and channel changing over fire wire and was able to get a beautiful recordings and consistent channel changing. However, FIOS has everything but a handful of stations locked down with encryption (primarily just the local OTA stations were available) - so it just didn't make sense to use. Plus I could always use my OTA tuner for those channels. I may have used the fire wire channel changing, but the DCT700 doesn't have that functionality and I wasn't going to pay the extra money for a higher end STB box.

HD-PVR
There is a lot of talk about the HD-PVR. It looks like something I would do in the next year, but my budget wasn't there (since it would have also involved a significant server upgrade).


Sage HDME Client and dedicated Server or HTPC
There is a lot of talk about whether you are better off with dedicated server and clients or a HTPC. I found that when my SageTV computer (which drove my two HDME clients and served as a HTPC on another big screen LCD) was old technology (AMD Anthlon 3200+ using old IDE drives) I ran into all sorts of issues (playback stuttering, slow client response). However, when I upgraded to dual core and SATAII drives, my issues went away on my HTPC. I bought the HDME for the quiet in the living room, but it is also rock solid for playback of any media.

Tech Specs
My SageTV server is a Pentium D, 3.2GHz on an ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 motherboard, 2GB DDRII 667 RAM, GeForce 7600GS, Hauppage PVR-150, SUPERMICRO AOC-SAT2-MV8 (8 port SATA2 expansion card). I have over 4TB of storage in various arrays. And of course XP SP3, SageTV 6.4 and SageMC 6.3.8 I also use the google calendar plugin.


Best, Tim
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