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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 09-26-2012, 07:31 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Windows 8 x64, HD-PVR, FIOS [SUCCESS]

I've gotten so much help over the years reading this forum that I decided to post a meta-review of my new setup so that others might benefit as well.

First off, Sage is awesome. I originally came from Beyond TV (oh so long ago) and have never looked back. Thanks to the Sage team (wherever they are) for all their hard work.

I run my system as both my HDPVR (connected directly to the TV) and my home server. The previous system was a Windows 7 x32 box (Q9450 with GF9800GT) using FW to change channels on the FIOS cable box connected to an HD-PVR.

I recently upgraded my machine to Windows 8 x64 (i5-3570K). My review of Windows 8 could be a whole post (let me know if you want more, particularly Intel RST vs Storage Spaces and the ins and outs of the new UI). Suffice to say, that the UI updates are good for the most part. Its very fast and extremely stable at RTM.

The on-chip graphics (HD4000) works beautifully. Gone are the days where you need a discrete graphics system to chug through HD-PVR files. Other than installing the Arcsoft decoder as part of the HD-PVR software, I had to do zero tweaking to Sage or codecs. My plan is to undervolt and possibly underclock this to reduce power usage in the future.

Sage installed, no problem. As did the drivers and software package for the HD-PVR.
I hit a road block with the firewire channel changing. As many people are aware, there is no driver for x64 systems. Several people on the internet have said that they would make one, but I haven't actually found one. I really wanted more than 3Gigs of RAM so I was sticking with x64. This meant going to IR. I read a bunch of horror stories about HD-PVR's IR system that I almost bought a USB-IRT without even trying it. I couldn't find the IR transmitter wire that came with it, so I ordered another off of Hauppage's site. The site mentioned they had a "new" version. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. I placed the transmitter fob under the word "Messages" on the Motorola FIOS box. A little trial and error with the IR utility found the right code and I was off and running. It works great! ... Except for the tape on the back of the fob. It popped off after about 10 minutes even though I cleaned the box with rubbing alcohol before applying it. A little clear tape fixed that. Two weeks later, we have never missed a channel change.

Summary:
Windows 8 x64 -- a (surprisingly) great OS
HD-PVR -- still works! IR Transmitter works great!
Sage -- the most awesome DVR software out there. I run Sage 7 with SageMC.
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2013, 09:27 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Update

Although no one responded to this thread, a bunch of people have read it, so I feel like I should update it with changes that have happened recently.

In early December, my HD-PVR started to go on the fritz. It would stop recording for a couple seconds (the red light would go out and the fan would spin down) and then it would start again. Usually, SageTV didn't even notice, but the video would skip. Other times SageTV would report a problem.

I read about lots of people having issues with the power brick. I had a ton of power bricks at work and digging around produced a 2.8A 5V Netgear brick. This didn't solve the problem.

Next I pulled out my benchtop power supply (I'm an EE) and set it for 5V. For those who are interested, the HD-PVR draws about 1.9A while recording. Although this seemed to fix it for a day or so, the problem returned. Based on this, I would say that it is NOT a power supply issue.

I opened the unit up and discovered some intense stupidity. There was a small fan mounted to blow across the main processor's heatsink, however, the fan was mounted to the side of the plastic case -- a side that has no holes. So the fan is completely starved for air. I can't imagine it was moving much air at all. I moved the fan so that it was blowing right onto the main processor's heatsink. This didn't seem to have any affect.

I then removed the little fan and the LED assembly and added a 120mm computer fan. The first one I tried wouldn't start at 5V, but a Noctua one would. I was worried about the current capability of whatever transistor was turning the little fan on and off, so I actually wired the fan directly into the power input jack so that it would spin all the time and not stress any of the unit's electronics. This also didn't fix the problem.

Solution: ditch the HD-PVR.
Choices: a) Buy a new HD-PVR, b) buy a cablecard based unit like the PrimeCC, c) buy a Hauppauge Colossus.

In the end, I was too worried about the cable company's ability to just screw me over by turning on the copy once flag so I chose the Hauppauge Colossus.

One week into using it, I am very impressed. Not only does the new processor not need a noisy fan, it doesn't even have a heatsink.

My one concern is that I still haven't figured out the right way to tweak the quality settings. The video from the Colossus looks much better than the HD-PVR. It is sharper and clearer. It also is using 6GB/hour. Overall, I'm very happy with it.
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  #3  
Old 01-11-2013, 12:02 PM
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Tiki Tiki is offline
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I think the main limitation with the Hauppauge IR blasters is that no matter how many capture devices you have, the Hauppauge drivers only allow you to control 1 IR blaster. So it should work fine with 1 HD-PVR or 1 Colossus, but if you add a second one, you will need to use a different tuning solution (such as USBUIRT).

The HD-PVR was a mostly good product (I have one and have had good results with it). The biggest issues that I have seen posted were that they are heat-sensitive due to poor fan design, power supplies may fail, and you need a good USB controller in your PC. Many people had problems with the USB controllers built-in to their motherboards and had to resort to adding a PCI-e add-on USB card. Again, I didn't have any of these issues myself.

The Colossus eliminated problems with power supplies, USB controllers, and cooling, and they seem to produce a slightly better picture. The downside is that a lot of people have reported stability problems with the drivers. Hauppauge has released many driver updates and some have had better results than others. The symptoms are that it will work great for a period of time (maybe a day or a week), but after a certain amount of time or a certain number of recordings, it will start to produce bad recordings (with stuttering) and / or your PC may slow down and start stuttering when playing back other files. I have found that as long as I re-boot my PC once per week, I have no issues. But on the 2 or 3 occasions that I forgot to re-boot, these symptoms appeared after about 10-12 days. Based on the posts in this forum, most people who are happy with their Colossus, reboot their PC's on a regular basis.
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Server: Ryzen 2400G with integrated graphics, ASRock X470 Taichi Motherboard, HDMI output to Vizio 1080p LCD, Win10-64Bit (Professional), 16GB RAM
Capture Devices (7 tuners): Colossus (x1), HDHR Prime (x2)
,USBUIRT (multi-zone)
Source:
Comcast/Xfinity X1 Cable
Primary Client: Server Other Clients: (1) HD200, (1) HD300
Retired Equipment: MediaMVP, PVR150 (x2), PVR150MCE,
HDHR, HVR-2250, HD-PVR
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2013, 10:30 AM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Really Hauppage

So after working fine for a couple weeks we have started having problems with the Colossus. Starting to get more and more "Halt detected in recording".
Also, some days we will come home from work to find Sage completely locked up. Ending the task quits sage but it won't start again without a full reboot.
Don't suppose anyone has any secrets?
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  #5  
Old 01-26-2013, 02:00 PM
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Tiki Tiki is offline
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Location: Southwest Florida, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortySeanbo View Post
So after working fine for a couple weeks we have started having problems with the Colossus. Starting to get more and more "Halt detected in recording".
Also, some days we will come home from work to find Sage completely locked up. Ending the task quits sage but it won't start again without a full reboot.
Don't suppose anyone has any secrets?
You'll probably be stuck rebooting your PC periodically like most of us. Personally, I just do a manual re-boot once per week on Saturday or Sunday (I take the opportunity to also install Windows updates and do other misc. maintenance on the PC).
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Server: Ryzen 2400G with integrated graphics, ASRock X470 Taichi Motherboard, HDMI output to Vizio 1080p LCD, Win10-64Bit (Professional), 16GB RAM
Capture Devices (7 tuners): Colossus (x1), HDHR Prime (x2)
,USBUIRT (multi-zone)
Source:
Comcast/Xfinity X1 Cable
Primary Client: Server Other Clients: (1) HD200, (1) HD300
Retired Equipment: MediaMVP, PVR150 (x2), PVR150MCE,
HDHR, HVR-2250, HD-PVR
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2013, 03:45 PM
jchiso jchiso is offline
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Location: Columbus, OH
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Have you added the Windows 8 Media Center Pack? What settings are you using under Detailed Setup, Video/Audio for Video Renderer and H.264 Video Decoder Filter?
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2013, 12:13 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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Location: Toronto, ON
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Did you try running your HD-PVR without a cover. I took the cover off of one of mine months ago and it seemed to work better so I never put it back on.
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New Server - Sage9 on unRAID 2xHD-PVR, HDHR for OTA
Old Server - Sage7 on Win7Pro-i660CPU with 4.6TB, HD-PVR, HDHR OTA, HVR-1850 OTA
Clients - 2xHD-300, 8xHD-200 Extenders, Client+2xPlaceshifter and a WHS which acts as a backup Sage server
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2013, 03:16 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
You'll probably be stuck rebooting your PC periodically like most of us. Personally, I just do a manual re-boot once per week on Saturday or Sunday (I take the opportunity to also install Windows updates and do other misc. maintenance on the PC).
I would be ok periodically rebooting the computer. My gripe is that I felt like I was doing it everyday and several times in a row.
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2013, 03:19 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchiso View Post
Have you added the Windows 8 Media Center Pack? What settings are you using under Detailed Setup, Video/Audio for Video Renderer and H.264 Video Decoder Filter?
I have not added the Windows 8 Media Center Pack.
Video Renderer: EVR
MPEG2 Vid Decoder: SagetTV
DXVA: No -- (Hmm, that's weird. Should this be on? Not that I probably ever use MPEG2)
H.264 Vid Decoder: ArcSoft
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  #10  
Old 01-27-2013, 03:21 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayner View Post
Did you try running your HD-PVR without a cover. I took the cover off of one of mine months ago and it seemed to work better so I never put it back on.
I removed the cover. I noticed that the fan is flat up against the side wall of the device so it is completely starved for air (since there are no air slits in the side).
When just removing the cover didn't work I moved the fan so that it was blowing directly onto the main heatsink.
When that didn't work, I replaced their fan with a 120mm fan wired directly into the power input.

All of this was done on a precision bench top power supply to eliminate the possibility of bad wall worts.
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  #11  
Old 02-05-2013, 05:30 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Someone should really change the title of this thread ;-)

So I got my HDHR Prime last week.
I made the mistake of ordering my Cablecard online. Besides taking a week to confirm something with me, FIOS scheduled an appointment sometime between 8AM and 5PM (really? 9 hour window?) for a service person to come and "install" the cable card. I called the 1-800 number and managed to get a local person who said I could pick up the card at a service center about 2 miles from my house.

In the interim I tried to use the HDHR Prime to watch local channels which worked great... until I tried it with Sage. It seems that SageDCT doesn't support normal digital channels (like 4.1). It was also confusing that the channel scanning that I did in the HDHR setup GUI wasn't actually pushed to the device and so I had to re-run it through the web interface. Furthermore, the web interface picked up MANY fewer channels than the setup GUI.

This did get me to mess around with Windows 8's firewall to get SageDCT at least talking to the HDHR. After struggling for a bit, I ended up just allowing incoming connections. On my list is to go back and make it work properly. I'm behind a router so I'm not overly worried.

I got the cable card and installed it and the HDHR web interface helpfully informed me of the activation phone number and the other numbers. I called the number, typed in the info and was told to wait 30 minutes. 45 minutes later the web interface still said it wasn't activated. I did a channel scan anyway and found that everything was working! After the tedious process of selecting my channels inside Sage I was up and running.

So far so good! I'm LOVING the 3 tuners. Tonight the system is recording 3 things at once so I will watch CPU usage on my i7-3570K. My only concern so far is that I've noticed a good amount of motion blur at times during playback. I changed the MPEG2 decoder from the Sage one to the Microsoft one in the Sage GUI, but haven't really noticed any difference. CPU usage hovers around 10% during playback.

What is everyone using? Do I need to change it in the sage.properties file to get the right one?
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2013, 08:26 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortySeanbo View Post
So I got my HDHR Prime last week.
I made the mistake of ordering my Cablecard online. Besides taking a week to confirm something with me, FIOS scheduled an appointment sometime between 8AM and 5PM (really? 9 hour window?) for a service person to come and "install" the cable card.
Really? When I moved I ordered my entire FiOS system online. They just shipped it to me and I set it up. That was much easier than waiting for them to send someone out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortySeanbo View Post
It seems that SageDCT doesn't support normal digital channels (like 4.1). It was also confusing that the channel scanning that I did in the HDHR setup GUI wasn't actually pushed to the device and so I had to re-run it through the web interface.
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this. When you were setting up the channels within SageTV did you try scanning for channels? That doesn't work with SageDCT. I didn't realize that at first, so I tried it and it really screwed up my list of channels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortySeanbo View Post
I got the cable card and installed it and the HDHR web interface helpfully informed me of the activation phone number and the other numbers. I called the number, typed in the info and was told to wait 30 minutes.
I had a terrible time getting my cablecard activated. I ordered my cablecard in September, in anticipation of setting up a WMC system around the Echo. I didn't bother to set it up until I got the Echo much, much later. When it didn't initially activate I called the activation line, who transferred me to tech support, who told me I waited too long to activate the card (and thus couldn't be activated anymore). Without asking me, she ordered me a replacement card and promptly hung up on me without giving me a chance to respond.

That didn't seem right, so I called back again. The next person was able to activate my card. I asked him to cancel the order for the new card, and he said he did. But, a day later I got a UPS package with a new card. So then I needed to drive 15 minutes to get someone that would take a UPS package. I called support and complained about the whole thing, and that person claimed their tech support folks can't cancel an order for replacement equipment once it has been placed.

In general, I've found Verizon FiOS tech support to be absolutely terrible. Another time I called after I lost service. I was pretty sure there was an outage for the neighborhood, but three different support reps (I called multiple times because of other problems I had with them) claimed to run tests to ping equipment in my neighborhood, and they all assured me my optical receiver failed. I went for walk after getting off the phone and I saw a very large crew of Verizon folks working in my neighborhood. Someone dug up the fiber going into the neighborhood.

I never had these kinds of problems with Comcast (though I hate them for other reasons).
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2013, 10:27 PM
ShortySeanbo ShortySeanbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
Really? When I moved I ordered my entire FiOS system online. They just shipped it to me and I set it up. That was much easier than waiting for them to send someone out.
Yeah, I don't know what the mixup was. I already had FIOS TV and internet, so there was definitely no reason to send someone out. On the other hand, I'm going to just go to the service center from now on. Instant gratification.


Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this. When you were setting up the channels within SageTV did you try scanning for channels? That doesn't work with SageDCT. I didn't realize that at first, so I tried it and it really screwed up my list of channels.
I scanned for channels using the HDHR web interface. I knew that the in-Sage scanning didn't work (it didn't work for my HD-PVR either). I was trying to tune digital cable (pre-cablecard) channels and either SageDCT or the HDHR wasn't having it. Worked fine with QuickTV but Andrew told me that SageDCT only worked with cablecard (not XX.Y) channels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
I had a terrible time getting my cablecard activated. I ordered my cablecard in September, in anticipation of setting up a WMC system around the Echo. I didn't bother to set it up until I got the Echo much, much later. When it didn't initially activate I called the activation line, who transferred me to tech support, who told me I waited too long to activate the card (and thus couldn't be activated anymore). Without asking me, she ordered me a replacement card and promptly hung up on me without giving me a chance to respond.

That didn't seem right, so I called back again. The next person was able to activate my card. I asked him to cancel the order for the new card, and he said he did. But, a day later I got a UPS package with a new card. So then I needed to drive 15 minutes to get someone that would take a UPS package. I called support and complained about the whole thing, and that person claimed their tech support folks can't cancel an order for replacement equipment once it has been placed.
Wow. Yeah, from now on I'll deal with the service center. They have a whole box of the things in stock and just hand you one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
In general, I've found Verizon FiOS tech support to be absolutely terrible. Another time I called after I lost service. I was pretty sure there was an outage for the neighborhood, but three different support reps (I called multiple times because of other problems I had with them) claimed to run tests to ping equipment in my neighborhood, and they all assured me my optical receiver failed. I went for walk after getting off the phone and I saw a very large crew of Verizon folks working in my neighborhood. Someone dug up the fiber going into the neighborhood.

I never had these kinds of problems with Comcast (though I hate them for other reasons).
I've had all these issues and more with every ISP I've ever had dating back to Earthlink and AOL. Par for the course. That said, I haven't had an outage of my FIOS system since it has been installed two years ago, so I haven't had to call tech support.
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