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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 11-12-2007, 12:46 PM
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VikingCrown VikingCrown is offline
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HDHR and New HD extender questions

I am currently running a SD media extender and using a PVR 500 Hauppauge card. I am looking to upgrade to HD recording and I am definitely interested in getting the HD extender once it comes out. Here are my questions:

1. If I get the HDHR, will it always be able to receive HD signals either through QAM or ATSC/NTSC? I guess I just want to know If I get the HDHR will the cable company be able to block my usage of it at any point (thus forcing me to use their HD-DVR alternative)

2. How powerful a system would I need to record and send a HD signal to my current SD Media Extender and later the HD Extender? My current system is a P4 2.8 Ghz w/HT and 2 Gigs of ddr2 ram and a 128MB Sapphire Radeon X300 PCIe graphics card. Is this sufficient or is an upgrade necessary?

I'm sure I have more questions, but this is a good start. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

~Brian
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2007, 01:09 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
1. If I get the HDHR, will it always be able to receive HD signals either through QAM or ATSC/NTSC? I guess I just want to know If I get the HDHR will the cable company be able to block my usage of it at any point (thus forcing me to use their HD-DVR alternative)
The cable company can do anything they want with THEIR signal. Will they, I'm not sure. Some are already setting the "can't copy" rule.


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Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
2. How powerful a system would I need to record and send a HD signal to my current SD Media Extender and later the HD Extender? My current system is a P4 2.8 Ghz w/HT and 2 Gigs of ddr2 ram and a 128MB Sapphire Radeon X300 PCIe graphics card. Is this sufficient or is an upgrade necessary?
For HD on your SD ME, you need a LOT of CPU power. The server basicly has to decode the HD (mp2) signal, and then re-encode it at the low rez(mp2). I'm not sure if your current system can handle it. Can you handle the compressed files that Sage can make it's self? If so, you might be able to handle the HD to SD. (it's mp4 to mp2, and the take more CPU than mp2 to mp2.)

Still, my system is slow than yours, and can handle the compressed to SD ME semi-OK.

When you go to the HD ME, as long as the HD ME can handle the file format, your CPU wll only be doing "Sage" stuff, so it could handle it easy. (no tranlation at all)


Hope this helps, and doesn't confuse you. ;-)
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2007, 02:02 PM
Sam Sam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
If I get the HDHR, will it always be able to receive HD signals either through QAM or ATSC/NTSC? I guess I just want to know If I get the HDHR will the cable company be able to block my usage of it at any point (thus forcing me to use their HD-DVR alternative)
The HDHR will always be able to to ATSC. What channels you can get via clear QAM depends entirely on which channels the cable company decides to send in clear QAM. If you look in forum history here and elsewhere, you will find that they is very much a localized issue. The channels that a given cable company (say Comcast) provides in clear QAM in one town is not an indication of what is available elsewhere.

Moreover, the channels available now in a given area are not guaranteed to remain in clear QAM. Obviously, Silicondust and the HDHR are not in control of that. How likely is the cable company to start using 5C on channels in the clear now? It is anybody's guess.

But it currently allows me to get about 20 HD channels now (plus several dozen music channels) and I pay for only basic analog service with no STB charges at all. It doesn't take all that long for the savings in STB to completely pay for the HDHR.

If / when my cable company does 5C things, it will be a major disappointment. But I will have easily gotten my money out of the HDHR. In fact, I'm seriously thinking of adding a second HDHR to the mix.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2007, 02:16 PM
mikesm mikesm is offline
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5C and encryption are independent items. The channel can be encrypted, but with 5C encryption from the firewire port not encrypted. Likewise, the channel could be unencrypted on the wire (like a local HD channel), but the box could set 5C on the firewire port. There are documented examples of all these. It all depends on the system.

5C is not the encryption scheme used on the wire.

Thanks,
Mike
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2007, 02:20 PM
Conejo Conejo is offline
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To clarify some items:

Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
1. If I get the HDHR, will it always be able to receive HD signals either through QAM or ATSC/NTSC? I guess I just want to know If I get the HDHR will the cable company be able to block my usage of it at any point (thus forcing me to use their HD-DVR alternative)
1a) The SiliconDust HDHomeRun can tune QAM and/or ATSC. It cannot capture NTSC (Analog SD broadcasts)
1b) QAM channels are not all HD. They can be Hybrid HD (lower res, strange res), SD Simulcast as digital SD, Music Choice (slow Video), etc, sent in a Digital Carrier (QAM). This means the bandwidth requirements of your LAN and PC differ per broadcast type.
1c) Cable companies want revenue, so you have encryption. The FCC promises Local Stations be 'represented' in the clear.
1d) What you might get now will be re-evaluated by the Cable Companies, comparing the Cable Co. edict vs the FCC edict and an interpretation will guide what channels are sent clear or encrypted.
1e) The engineering staff will implement this using the resources at their disposal. (This is probably why *some* QAM users are receiving so many channels in the clear)


Quote:
2. How powerful a system would I need to record and send a HD signal to my current SD Media Extender and later the HD Extender? My current system is a P4 2.8 Ghz w/HT and 2 Gigs of ddr2 ram and a 128MB Sapphire Radeon X300 PCIe graphics card. Is this sufficient or is an upgrade necessary?
2a) As has been stated by MattHelm, if your playback client doesn't decode the MPEGx natively then it will either be transcoded or fail.
2b) System requirements have been discussed in the forum many times by better people than me.

Basically, you're looking at many elements necessary to schedule, capture, record, store, track, analyze, playback or transcode playback these files, as well as LAN requirements.

There are many posts recommending these requirements for HD recording and HD and HD Extender playback the Hardware Support forum.

[D*mn, I'm too slow!]

Last edited by Conejo; 11-12-2007 at 02:26 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2007, 02:52 PM
Sam Sam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikesm View Post
5C and encryption are independent items.
Thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected; I think it is time to sit down now...
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2007, 07:58 PM
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VikingCrown VikingCrown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam View Post
The HDHR will always be able to to ATSC.
Firstly thanks for the responses! Secondly (and this is a total noob question) but what channels might one expect to pull in via ATSC? Would the HDHR be able to tune in digital cable channels as well, not necessarily HD ones but just standard SD digital cable? Because my reception from my Analog Hauppauge 500 kinda sucks and it would be nice to be able to get the digital channels just for clarity.
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  #8  
Old 11-15-2007, 06:48 PM
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Djc208 Djc208 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
Firstly thanks for the responses! Secondly (and this is a total noob question) but what channels might one expect to pull in via ATSC? Would the HDHR be able to tune in digital cable channels as well, not necessarily HD ones but just standard SD digital cable? Because my reception from my Analog Hauppauge 500 kinda sucks and it would be nice to be able to get the digital channels just for clarity.
The local major stations are usually a safe bet (PBS, NBC, CBS, etc.) but after that it seems to be hit or miss. I can pick up some unscrambled on-demand channels, I used to get all the music channels, now those are scrambled.

There was a thread around here listing what clear QAM channels different people were getting, some (like mine) were fairly basic, others had a much better selection.

It's not likely you'll get digital SD channels. Usually they're just the scrambled channels, not the analogs.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2007, 07:02 PM
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evilpenguin evilpenguin is offline
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Silicon dust has a has a pretty handy tool on their site which gives you a pretty good idea of what you can expect w/digital cable in your area...

http://www.silicondust.com/wiki/hdhomerun/channels

Just enter you zipcode and see what pops up.
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2007, 10:50 AM
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VikingCrown VikingCrown is offline
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thanks for pointing me to that evilpengiun! I thought of a few more questions:

Can the HDHR be controlled by plugging into a switch that is connected to a router, or does it need to be connected directly to the router or PC to be able to work? I'd like to connect it downstairs and just have it recognized over the network if at all possible.

Second, with the PVR 500, will there be any conflicts in Sage with both the 500 and the HDHR? Seeing as the 500 tunes analog and the HDHR tunes digital and QAM, will there be some way to tell which signal is which when I go to record things?
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2007, 02:18 PM
ke6guj ke6guj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
Can the HDHR be controlled by plugging into a switch that is connected to a router, or does it need to be connected directly to the router or PC to be able to work? I'd like to connect it downstairs and just have it recognized over the network if at all possible.
You can plug it in anywhere in the network you want. You should nott need to do a direct PC connection. Some people do, but I think it adds a layer of complexity you don't normally need. The only time it makes sense to dual-home the server is if you only have a 100Mbit NIC and the amount of network traffic swamps the network such as, recording 2 digital streams from the HDHR, saving the streams to a NAS, while watching the stream on a separate client. It may be possible to swamp the NIC, and in a case like that, then either adding a second NIC or upgrading to gigabit may be neccessary.

Quote:
Second, with the PVR 500, will there be any conflicts in Sage with both the 500 and the HDHR? Seeing as the 500 tunes analog and the HDHR tunes digital and QAM, will there be some way to tell which signal is which when I go to record things?
The PVR-500 and the HDHR will co-exist quite nicely. The only thing you have to do is use a second EPG lineup for the HDHR channels. That is because, if you edit the existing lineup to use it for the HDHR, it will mess up the 500's channels. Most of us pick a neighboring city's lineup for the second EPG lineup, or if you are just using the analog lineup for the 500, you could use the same city's digital lineup for the HDHR.
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  #12  
Old 12-04-2007, 02:29 PM
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VikingCrown VikingCrown is offline
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Jack,

I'm glad I can plug it in anywhere. That way I can plug it in right at my TV downstairs before it hits my splitter at the PC for the 500, hopefully that will keep the signal strength up for reception.

Good to know about the coexisting nicely, I was hoping that would be the case. What does the program guide look like with 2 different lineups? Are there multiple entries for each channel, and if so how are they differentiated (the HD one should have HD in the channel name, but what about the digital version of CBS from the HDHR and the analog version of CBS from the 500?)
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2007, 03:02 PM
ke6guj ke6guj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post

Good to know about the coexisting nicely, I was hoping that would be the case. What does the program guide look like with 2 different lineups? Are there multiple entries for each channel, and if so how are they differentiated (the HD one should have HD in the channel name, but what about the digital version of CBS from the HDHR and the analog version of CBS from the 500?)
Sage combines all the lineups into 1 master EPG lineup.

If the channels have the same exact name, then they are only displayed 1 time inthe lineup. Sage just keeps track of the fact that it can record that channel from multiple sources.

Yes, the HD channel will be differentiated from the the SD channel by the name, it could be CBS-HD or CBS-DT or something like that.

Since both the digital version of Standard Def CBS and the analog version have the same name, they will be combined in the EPG and you won't be able to specifically tell Sage to record from one specific source. But you can set encoder_merit for each tuner to tell Sage that it should prefer the HDHR over the 500, and to record from the HDHR first, or vice versa.
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2007, 09:15 PM
flavius flavius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
I am currently running a SD media extender and using a PVR 500 Hauppauge card. I am looking to upgrade to HD recording and I am definitely interested in getting the HD extender once it comes out...
Do you own a HD capable TV with a tuner? Just plug it into the cable outlet directly and have it scan for channels - that's what you would get with your HDHR.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2007, 07:10 AM
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VikingCrown VikingCrown is offline
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My HD set does have QAM, and I am currently getting the Local channels. I am hoping that the HDHR can pick up some more HD than just the locals though.
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  #16  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:06 AM
fyodor fyodor is offline
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Interesting. At least six months ago Comcast wasn't giving me most of the channels that it says I should be getting. I'll have to try it out again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by evilpenguin View Post
Silicon dust has a has a pretty handy tool on their site which gives you a pretty good idea of what you can expect w/digital cable in your area...

http://www.silicondust.com/wiki/hdhomerun/channels

Just enter you zipcode and see what pops up.
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  #17  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:19 AM
fyodor fyodor is offline
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OK. I've not figured out that these channels are available on RCN, not Comcast (the Silicondust lineup doesn't differentiate).

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Originally Posted by fyodor View Post
Interesting. At least six months ago Comcast wasn't giving me most of the channels that it says I should be getting. I'll have to try it out again.
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  #18  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:41 AM
Conejo Conejo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VikingCrown View Post
My HD set does have QAM, and I am currently getting the Local channels. I am hoping that the HDHR can pick up some more HD than just the locals though.
It's unlikely that you'll receive more clear-QAM channels on the HDHR than you can currently with your DTV QAM tuner, unless your DTV tuner is sub par. Even then, you shouldn't get any more than what's already displayed on the SiliconDust Wiki discovered for your area.

As we pass the 2009 deadline, Cablecos will convert more and more channels to digital QAM, but because the Cablecos want to protect their revenue stream they will encrypt the non-local origination channels. So, at most, you'll get 17 to 25 mixed bag channels in the clear. [Yum, weather plus and Rosanne reruns along with PBS plethora, if you're in the US.]
I predict that at some point the Federal Government will step in and 'convince' the Cablecos that it's in 'their best interest' to give the lowest tier customers a good sized lineup in clear-QAM that can be tuned without the need of a Set-Top-Box (similar to what we get now with channels 2-99). I'm not going to hold my breath. 2013? Feels about right.
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2007, 11:48 AM
Conejo Conejo is offline
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Originally Posted by fyodor View Post
OK. I've not figured out that these channels are available on RCN, not Comcast (the Silicondust lineup doesn't differentiate).
That's one of the issues that was brought up on the SiliconDust forum. There's nothing in the HDHR Setup program to tell the SiliconDust Server what 'system' your on. So how do they keep them separated?

I can only assume the SiliconDust Program used to discover, label and remap the channels uses predictive placement to determine what 'system' it's on when matching the QAM Channel lineup with their Station Call Letters.
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