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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 12-30-2010, 01:01 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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Using multiple video cameras with one SageTV tuning device

I have been able to successfully use a $20 video switch from Monoprice.com to allow me to connect up to four cameras (or any other device with a composite video output) to one SageTV tuning device and be able to switch amongst the four cameras. The cameras are set up as different "channels" and you select your desired channel to see the relevant camera. This could allow you to view security cameras, baby cameras, etc from wherever you can view SageTV video - which includes anywhere on the internet with Placeshifter. This video switch has an IR remote so you use a USB-UIRT to change the inputs (aka channels) in the same way that you would use IR to change channels on a STB.

Requirements:
Video Switch (like the one linked to above)
Analog tuning device that accepts video composite (I used an old PVR-150)
USB-UIRT

Connect all of your cameras to your video switch and connect the video output of the switch to the video and analog inputs of your tuner card. (Note that the video switch is actually a component switch - I just use one of the three RCA video ports).
Go into Sage Setup/Setup Video Sources in Sage and add the new tuning source.
Select the composite input - you should see the picture from your camera if it is connected.
When it asks for EPG lineup you select "Do not use program guide data with this source".
For tuning device choose external STB (or whatever it says) and then USB-UIRT. Give it a name like "Video Switch". Then you will have to learn all numbers from 0-9. For 0 and 5-9 I used another old TV remote that I had. For 1-4 I used inputs 1-4 from the remote for the video switch. (Note that the video switch has learning IR so you could teach it to use other codes if you want).
Now go to Channel Setup/Edit Channel Lineup.
Click on Add Channel to Lineup.
Under Station Name put in what you want to see in the Guide - for example Cam1 (you may want to keep this short as it may get truncated).
You can leave Station ID blank, just skip over it.
Under Logical (Guide) Channel choose where you want it to show up in the guide - I chose 991.
Under Physical(Tuning) Channel choose 1 (or whatever mapping you did with the video switch inputs).
Click Add Again and then go add channels 2-4 using the same methodology.

That's it - try selecting these new channels to make sure that the video switch changes inputs when you switch amongst your different camera "channels".

You will notice that the encoding will cause a bit of a delay of about two seconds vs real time.

Note that you could probably cascade two of these switches and use the methodology for up to seven cameras.

Or you could probably use multiple tuner cards selected to multiple jacks to get even more cameras - ie the green goes to tuner card 1, the red goes to tuner card 2 and the blue goes to tuner card 3. But with this method you wouldn't get audio for some of the cameras.

Also note that since this video switch can switch component video that if you had high def cameras that had component output you could use an HD-PVR as your tuning device and get high def video camera feeds.

There are probably other ways to do this (like using RF mods, etc) but this project only cost me the $20 for the video switch as I already have a USB-UIRT and I had a spare PVR-150 lying around.

It would be nice if there was an easy to put in dummy guide data since the guide will always show "No Data" for these channels.
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:20 PM
sflamm sflamm is offline
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Interesting application...

I have IP cameras, not analog. Is there an equivalent approach?
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  #3  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:29 PM
wayner wayner is offline
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I also have two IP cameras but unfotunately they require Java or activeX apps. I believe there are some cameras that use more standard feeds. You may be able to use such cameras in conjunction with michaeldjcox's WebFeedEncoder, although you may have to use VLC to act as a network encoder server.

This plugin was written to allow you to take video or audio feeds from the web and put them through Sage.

I have tried using this method with VLC with USB webcams but had no success - but the problem seemed to stem from VLC which can be very buggy for doing stuff other than playing back vids.
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Old Server - Sage7 on Win7Pro-i660CPU with 4.6TB, HD-PVR, HDHR OTA, HVR-1850 OTA
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2010, 01:52 PM
sflamm sflamm is offline
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Security cameras typically have either a M-JPEG or an MPEG stream (or both) that is available via an HTTP URL (following a standard user/password auth).

Does the WebFeedEncoder support this? (not familiar with it)
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2010, 04:38 AM
michaeldjcox michaeldjcox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sflamm View Post
Security cameras typically have either a M-JPEG or an MPEG stream (or both) that is available via an HTTP URL (following a standard user/password auth).

Does the WebFeedEncoder support this? (not familiar with it)
Web Feed Encoder uses VLC 1.0.5.

VLC is able to convert mjpeg into mpeg stream.

I have WFE working with some cameras in this way but I haven't tested every camera type.

Another option might be to use tversity:

http://tversity.com

(free without premium services)

Its a UPnP server. You can add you own web URLs as feeds

Then use the evilpenguins UPnP plugin to browse to the feed via online services.

I have the same feeds I test WFE with also available via this route.

I'm not entirely happy with the result as you cannot tweak the transcoding in quite the same way as you can with WFE i.e. add subtitles, resize.

Michael
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:14 AM
gibsonpa gibsonpa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayner View Post
I have been able to successfully use a $20 video switch from Monoprice.com to allow me to connect up to four cameras
........
That's it - try selecting these new channels to make sure that the video switch changes inputs when you switch amongst your different camera "channels".
I am looking to do something exactly like this..especially since you have posted such a great write-up

Question is, you can go to your guide and select one of the cameras..and see it live...but what about recording? Since the guide is a "no data found" type of thing...can you record...and if so...how functional is it?

Ideally I would like to record the last x hours...say maybe 8 hours. Since it has no data...would it just record forever...or could you maybe do a timed recording...like 8pm to 8am...but what about that being recurring..and only keeping the last few days of recordings.

If that were possible, this would really be handy....have you experimented with recording?
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2011, 09:07 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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I have only cared about a live picture, such as monitoring young children, and the problem that I will have is that some time I will be watching a recording rather than the live camera.

In terms of recording I think you would have to either set up manual recordings or somehow create some guide data. It doesn't look all that simple to create "fake" guide data but it can be done with XML files, but I don't know how easy it is to incorporate real guide data with fake data. Maybe you could check out some of the threads for creating guide data in the SageTV EPG service forum. Sage users outside of North America sometimes have to create their own guide data.

I would like to be able to easily create some guide data that says "TV Room Camera" so that you see that rather than "No Data". I am guessing what you would want is to create a show entitled something like "Camera1 - Morning", "Camera1 - Afternoon", etc.

One thing to remember is that since I am using multiple cameras with one tuner you can only record from one camera at a time, but maybe you want one camera in the morning and a different one later in the day?
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  #8  
Old 04-10-2011, 11:51 PM
CollinR CollinR is offline
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If you added a decent multiplexor into the mix you would get even more bang:buck. They can do splits as well as auto switch and motion switching.

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29266
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