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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 01-15-2008, 02:20 AM
sundansx sundansx is offline
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FIOS Information thread

I think that a FIOS TV info thread would be good for users to relate their successes/failures. Wish I had one to refer to before I ordered. That being said:

Install:
I have recently gotten FIOS TV service in Beaverton, Oregon. The install was pretty painless. The tech hooked up a coax from the ONT? to my house cable, their router (has coax connector on it), and each of the cable boxes. This infrastructure creates a LAN that allows the cable boxes to talk to each other. I ended up routing some more coax myself because Verizon charges big time for coax install (I think it was $55 for one cable, hook up a splitter to the other box is two coax installs). The tech was the best cable tech I have had at the house for any service. She was pretty knowledgable or called some others to ask questions. She was a verizon employee, not a contractor. They told me serial ports were not enabled and that firewire was 5C encrypted on all channels but the locals. (see below).
The router they installed was a Actiontec MI424WR with Coax network routing.

Equipment:
I got 1 HD and 1 SD cable box.
The HD box was a Motorola QIP6200. It had the usual HD/SD connectors and a firewire port (no serial)
SD box was a Motorola QIP2500-3. It has the usual connectors and a serial port for control

Evil experiments:
SD:
I first set up the SD box with serial port control and multdcttuner 1.2 from sourceforge to see if serial control works. Lo and behold it worked! The tech was mistaken, they are enabled. I will have to tune it a little, as it messed up once so far. Some of the timeouts need slight adjustment. Overall it works good. hooked up SVIDEO to the tuner card and have sageTV recording.

HD:
I got the firewire drivers setup and got firewire channel changing working using the multitunerexe plugin. (I will be using that again when the HD component capture card is out). I did some firewire captures with capDVHS and found that the tech was right, local SD and HD are unencrypted, but all other HD and SD channels are 5C encrypted. Oddly, the music channels are not. Given this I had no use for this box so I returned it.

Picture qualtiy:
Picture quality is very good. Since I was able to capture some SD and HD streams via firewire I found this:
FIOS TV (Mpeg2):
SD bitrate - 5Mbit video/audio all channels I tried. Not much macroblocking. good picture quality.
HD bitrate - around 15 Mbit. Found one channel at around 13Mbit. some macroblocking, not too bad. 720p on most of the locals. 1080p on discoveryHD...interesting.

Here is a comparison with some Comcast experiments I did back when I was playing with firewire before 5C encryption:
Comcast Digital cable (Mpeg2):
SD bitrate - 1.3 Mbit video/audio all channels (locals and others). Yes I am not f#'in kidding. picture quality shows, macroblocks like crazy. crap, plain and simple
HD bitrate - 13 Mbit video/audio on pay (HBO+cinemax), cable, and locals. Not bad for video quality, had some good captures before 5C ruined my day.

So overall it blows Comcast away on SD picture, and beats HD by a small margin. Not sure about the non-local HD channels, they may use a higher bitrate, since they certainly have the bandwidth.

One note: I tried the SVIDEO from the HD box to see if it was even better than the SD box...all I can say is wow! it was craptastic. Way worse than the SD box. Must have shorted the money on that circuit.

Customer Service:
Holy crap..this is where things go to hell. If this was a restaurant, when it came time to give a tip I would steal the silverware. I wanted to send back the HD box as it was useless for PVR use and get two more SD boxes. I ended up spending several hours on the phone talking to many useless people on several occasions over several days. Since there is not a local office/thingy in the portland area, I had to deal with things over the phone and by UPS. After dicking around for two weeks, I finally got my SD boxes.

Technical Support:
I had a problem firing up one of the boxes because I activated it over the phone and then installed it about 1 week later. Don't know what caused this problem, but I worked on the phone with a tech support person that did a bunch of remote resets and we got it working.

Other stuff:
I didn't want to use their router, so I unhooked it as soon as I had things working and reinstalled my linksys WRT54G. I then hooked the actiontec on a downstream port on my linksys and left it connected to the coax network. At first the boxes said "No program information available" when tuning a channel, but they seemed to figure out the network infrastructure change and now they are getting program information and program guide. Also, I can still use the menus and even use their Video on Demand on a box just fine. Haven't tried PPV, but I am not big on that feature. Also, the DVR's use the coax network to transfer video to/from each other so you can watch content between the boxes, or so I am told.
A note about comcast digital cable, I had this setup working with their stuff, but the SD boxes kept losing sound during a program and it would come back on right at a comercial break. On several occasions the audio dropped out for the whole program I was watching. Happened on two boxes at my house and one at my friends house. Comcasts response: "Huh? What? (picks nose)"

Summary:
Overall...I am keeping it. It is good quality and blows away comcast analog and digital cable. HD has possiblity when capture card is out and supported.

Last edited by sundansx; 01-15-2008 at 02:29 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2008, 05:09 AM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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I use FIOS lifeline for local HD over QAM. I pick up locals, music, and one prem channel. Depending on your speed rating for internet your WRT54G is doing you disservice. Surprising to know about serial port; it is the reason I went with DTV instead.

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  #3  
Old 01-15-2008, 06:17 AM
cenwesi cenwesi is offline
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Can someone elaborate more on how to setup the FIOS with SageTV. I currently have comcast and have coax all over the house. I want to make the switch but i still need to be able to record my scheduled programs through sage. I keep hearing about this serial stuff....can someone elaborate more on it. Better yet, is there a howto FIOS and SageTV ???
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  #4  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:35 AM
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mattdcknsn mattdcknsn is offline
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I have FIOS in Northern VA and its a little different. For me, while the serial port worked for a short amount of time it eventually got shut off. I think when they first hook it up its "unlocked" but after they push down their first update it turns off the serial port. But again that is for my area. Hopefully it will work for you. My UIRT was a little tricky to get working. I had to relearn it numerous times before it would take. Now its working like a champ.

Also, one other thing I have noticed. When they pushed down a firmware update it would shut off the cable box. I haven't had this happen for awhile but it was a somewhat regular occurrence (about 1 time every other month). VERY frustrating.

For me the QAMs are all locals in HD and SD with some other SD channels coming in and music. They are posted in the QAM channel map.

I have had the same experience with technical support. Go to some forums and try to figure it out on your own. Or take a couple of classes in engineering, it will be faster than dealing with them.

I actually had a strange situation in that the tech who installed my FIOS put my equipment under somebody else's name. We didn't notice it until the other person canceled their service and we went dark. Apparently they were paying for our boxes for around 6 months. It took another 3 months to sort everything out.

Verizon has the technology but is severely lacking in customer service and intelligence.

edit: Also their HD boxes can have channel changing via firewire, and their STBs have to use a 192.168.0.* subnet (they start at 192.168.0.50 through 192.168.0.100). I have tried running port scans on them and only get one port open, I cant connect to it though. I was hoping to get some sort of channel changing via IP but couldn't figure it out. I think the IP is only used for PPV and firmware updates. I haven tried it out to see if it has to be like that.

Last edited by mattdcknsn; 01-15-2008 at 08:39 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:51 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcjenkins View Post
I use FIOS lifeline for local HD over QAM. I pick up locals, music, and one prem channel. Depending on your speed rating for internet your WRT54G is doing you disservice. Surprising to know about serial port; it is the reason I went with DTV instead.

B
Just curious... Why do you say this? I have this router for going out to internet and for wireless computers. All of my video devices (servers, clients & MVPs) are connected to Gbit switches though.
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2008, 08:58 AM
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mattdcknsn mattdcknsn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevine View Post
Just curious... Why do you say this? I have this router for going out to internet and for wireless computers. All of my video devices (servers, clients & MVPs) are connected to Gbit switches though.
If you get the 50 down and 15 up home use routers cant support all that bandwidth. Only their supplied routers are verified to be able to support that much.
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2008, 09:14 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdcknsn View Post
If you get the 50 down and 15 up home use routers cant support all that bandwidth. Only their supplied routers are verified to be able to support that much.
I get promoted 30 down and 15 up (not actual) from my cable provider but they do not provide a router, just the cable modem. So what would I use then to get the promoted speeds?
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:00 PM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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I had a Linksys I tried when I first got 30dn/5up from Fios. The Linksys was only giving me 15dn. Threw in a DLink DGL and get my full 30.

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  #9  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:10 PM
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mattdcknsn mattdcknsn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevine View Post
I get promoted 30 down and 15 up (not actual) from my cable provider but they do not provide a router, just the cable modem. So what would I use then to get the promoted speeds?
I don't know about your specific details but a lot of the cable co's advertised speeds are for bursting they aren't steady.
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:49 PM
sundansx sundansx is offline
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Matt,
How long did it take for the serial ports to drop off for you? I hope they stay up.
As for my router, I only have 5 down/2 up. It looks like from what I read, I am good for 10 down with the linksys router. They have a 10/2 service and higher speed (priced, too!) as well. But I am waiting for the speed rollout to happen this year that is supposed to be like 15/5. 5 down is pretty good for me, but I want higher upload bandwith before I jump from my grandfathered $35/mo.
Their router looked ok, but it just does not have some of the really nice features that DDWRT gives me and I have come to rely on (Traffic shaping, bW monitor, static dhcp, zoneedit dns, WOL, highpower wireless). That is a partial list -DDWRT rocks.
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  #11  
Old 01-15-2008, 12:55 PM
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mattdcknsn mattdcknsn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundansx View Post
Matt,
How long did it take for the serial ports to drop off for you? I hope they stay up.
As for my router, I only have 5 down/2 up. It looks like from what I read, I am good for 10 down with the linksys router. They have a 10/2 service and higher speed (priced, too!) as well. But I am waiting for the speed rollout to happen this year that is supposed to be like 15/5. 5 down is pretty good for me, but I want higher upload bandwith before I jump from my grandfathered $35/mo.
Their router looked ok, but it just does not have some of the really nice features that DDWRT gives me and I have come to rely on (Traffic shaping, bW monitor, static dhcp, zoneedit dns, WOL, highpower wireless). That is a partial list -DDWRT rocks.
My serial ports were off within the hour. so hopefully your area isnt affected. I might try it again just to see if they have opened them up. I have the same speed package, and for placeshifter it works great. I want the 5 up also, hopefully they roll out that upgrade soon.
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  #12  
Old 01-15-2008, 01:11 PM
sundansx sundansx is offline
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I read on the internet, especially around tivo forums, that you can call FIOS tech support and request that they turn on the serial port and you can reset your box and it will be on. I didnt have to do that, they just worked at the outset.
Whenever I call tech support or anything I always say that I am using a tivo. Getting into the details of my real setup is just too complicated
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2008, 03:16 PM
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mattdcknsn mattdcknsn is offline
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interesting, I never thought to ask them to turn it on. I havent done much research into it after I got it all setup.
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  #14  
Old 02-07-2008, 07:15 PM
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Is it necessary to get a STB from Verizon at all? Can one just use an HDHomerun tuner box, a computer running Sage, and a Sage media extender? I really want to use Fios with Sage, and at the same time I think the prices for renting their boxes are pretty high.

Target
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  #15  
Old 02-07-2008, 10:05 PM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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You can use their lifeline service and pick up locals in HD, plus the music channels. If you're lucky, you'll find an open prem channel.

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  #16  
Old 02-08-2008, 12:06 AM
sundansx sundansx is offline
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I did a QAM channel scan with my M780 using AverTV and it didn't find squat.

Edit: Crap - You know, I was using the .14 XP drivers while doing the QAM scan, they might not support QAM. DOH!

Last edited by sundansx; 02-08-2008 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:27 AM
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r00st3r r00st3r is offline
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I currently have FIOS in Southern California (San Dimas) with the HD Homerun. I have it connected straight from COAX to a splitter and then to the HD Homerun. It is then run CAT5 to the router. Sage picks it up and scans the channels no problem. I pick up the SD and HD locals (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, KTLA (CW), KCOP (13) etc.) I also get the Urge Radio stations and the other set of Music stations, WGN Superstation and 1 premium (not sure which one it is yet). My wife wants TNT and discovery and USA, but I don't get those. I want to try the Fire wire port to see if it gets more channels from the STB., but I don't have the time right now.
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System:
AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core 4400+ 2.30GHz\2GB RAM\Vista HomeSP2\HDHomerun_firmware_20090802\nVIDIA GeForce 8500GT 8500 GT 512MB\Optical Out to reciever
Software:
SageTV:6.6.2.218|SageMC:6.3.9a pre-release 41|Metadata tools:3.1|Java: 1.6.0_13|sagemc.jar: 6.3.8|Phoenix.jar: 1.43
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:42 PM
bcjenkins bcjenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r00st3r View Post
I currently have FIOS in Southern California (San Dimas) with the HD Homerun. I have it connected straight from COAX to a splitter and then to the HD Homerun. It is then run CAT5 to the router. Sage picks it up and scans the channels no problem. I pick up the SD and HD locals (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, KTLA (CW), KCOP (13) etc.) I also get the Urge Radio stations and the other set of Music stations, WGN Superstation and 1 premium (not sure which one it is yet). My wife wants TNT and discovery and USA, but I don't get those. I want to try the Fire wire port to see if it gets more channels from the STB., but I don't have the time right now.
I pick up showtime family for prem on qam

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Old 03-31-2008, 02:16 PM
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r00st3r r00st3r is offline
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I found out which prem channel I got over QAM..it's STARZ InBlack. Is it just random which one you get?
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System:
AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core 4400+ 2.30GHz\2GB RAM\Vista HomeSP2\HDHomerun_firmware_20090802\nVIDIA GeForce 8500GT 8500 GT 512MB\Optical Out to reciever
Software:
SageTV:6.6.2.218|SageMC:6.3.9a pre-release 41|Metadata tools:3.1|Java: 1.6.0_13|sagemc.jar: 6.3.8|Phoenix.jar: 1.43
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Old 03-31-2008, 04:37 PM
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r00st3r r00st3r is offline
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I have an HD Homerun tuning in QAM via FIOS.

I have read the numerous, single sentence, posts about different ways to use FIOS and SAGE. I would like to have some elaboration on these methods.
  1. Are there benefits hooking up FIOS thru HD Homerun vs. FIOS thru Firewire (from the Verizon HD DVR)?
  2. Does one see\offer more channels? (meaning does the firewire transfer after the STB has decrypted the channels or is it straight QAM?)
  3. How does sage see the channels over Firewire (does it natively see the firewire as a tuner and scan the channels)?


I am asking because if Firewire from STB to PC picks up more channels because the STB decrypts them prior to sending them out AND the firewire changes the channel, then this would be a better solution then my HD Homerun as the wife wants her TNT\USA\TLC stations and QAM doesn't pick those up (Although I get WGN and Starz In Black, go figure!)

Thanks in advance.
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System:
AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core 4400+ 2.30GHz\2GB RAM\Vista HomeSP2\HDHomerun_firmware_20090802\nVIDIA GeForce 8500GT 8500 GT 512MB\Optical Out to reciever
Software:
SageTV:6.6.2.218|SageMC:6.3.9a pre-release 41|Metadata tools:3.1|Java: 1.6.0_13|sagemc.jar: 6.3.8|Phoenix.jar: 1.43
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