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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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Old 12-12-2008, 12:35 AM
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cavalli cavalli is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Novato, CA USA
Posts: 18
Cable STB primer help requests

Current system specs:
Win2k, SageTV v5.0.4.92, Java v1.6.0_10, PVR250 (x3), analog cable

I just paid my Comcast bill in the office today, and they informed me that for the same price of my analog cable, I can get a "digital starter" package. Basically, this is the same service I currently have, plus a digital cable box with a remote.

Hardware questions:
1) What solution is best to control the digital cable box? The box has a serial connection on the back, but from what I've read, maybe an IR emitter is best.
2) Which solution would also be extensible, to cover three (or more) cable boxes, were I to choose to pay the $6/month/box and expand over time?
3) Would these same solutions work, were I to switch to DirectTV or "other" STB tuner? I'd hate to upgrade and have only a short term solution as I (slowly) head towards more services, and maybe eventually HDTV.

SageTV questions:
1) Can I hook up only one STB to the first of my 3 PVR cards and have them used as different resources? (i.e. It records STB on card 1, but analog tunes card 2-3.) I'm worried that the TV guide info would be messed up, but I think it can be done by tuner.
2) Is Sage smart enough to prioritize the digital resource? For example, if something can be recorded on the analog tuner, will it record it on the analog one first, or will it waste the more valuable cable box slot first?
3) Does Sage handle the connection to the cable box integrated? When using it on the TV (to test it), I used channel 3. Does Sage do this (and all other things) automatically?

I searched for STB, USB-UIRT, and a whole bunch of other things before asking the question. I really don't see a basic primer on what things are involved, and wanted to ask some intro questions before I messed up what is working today.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:27 AM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,550
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavalli View Post
Current system specs:
Win2k, SageTV v5.0.4.92, Java v1.6.0_10, PVR250 (x3), analog cable

I just paid my Comcast bill in the office today, and they informed me that for the same price of my analog cable, I can get a "digital starter" package. Basically, this is the same service I currently have, plus a digital cable box with a remote.

Hardware questions:
1) What solution is best to control the digital cable box? The box has a serial connection on the back, but from what I've read, maybe an IR emitter is best.
2) Which solution would also be extensible, to cover three (or more) cable boxes, were I to choose to pay the $6/month/box and expand over time?
3) Would these same solutions work, were I to switch to DirectTV or "other" STB tuner? I'd hate to upgrade and have only a short term solution as I (slowly) head towards more services, and maybe eventually HDTV.

SageTV questions:
1) Can I hook up only one STB to the first of my 3 PVR cards and have them used as different resources? (i.e. It records STB on card 1, but analog tunes card 2-3.) I'm worried that the TV guide info would be messed up, but I think it can be done by tuner.
2) Is Sage smart enough to prioritize the digital resource? For example, if something can be recorded on the analog tuner, will it record it on the analog one first, or will it waste the more valuable cable box slot first?
3) Does Sage handle the connection to the cable box integrated? When using it on the TV (to test it), I used channel 3. Does Sage do this (and all other things) automatically?

I searched for STB, USB-UIRT, and a whole bunch of other things before asking the question. I really don't see a basic primer on what things are involved, and wanted to ask some intro questions before I messed up what is working today.

Thanks for the help!
I'll to my best as a fairly recent convert from direct cable to STB's (although to Dish network rather than digital cable).

Group 1:
1) Serial and Firewire are preferred channel changing methods, but just because your box has a serial port doesn't mean it is usable for changing channels. You should post your box type and see if anyone has any recommendations
2) Any of the Serial, Firewire or IR Blaster can be extended to use upto 3 boxes just may need extra hardware. I use a USB UIRT. It allows you to use virtually unlimited boxes IF your boxes can be set to different IR codes. Otherwise it can use 3 different IR emitters. The USB UIRT is the most universal of all devices as any Dish Network can not use firewire or Serial tuning.
3) As stated above, USB UIRT is the most universal.

Group 2:
1) Yes you can hook up your STB using svideo/composite to one of your PVR500's. You will not be able to use the tuner of that PVR.
2) Sage will see all your PVR cards as SD tuners and treat them with the same priority. HOWEVER, there is a merit option that lets you choose which device to use first when possible. My recommendation would be to set the merits of the analog encoders higher than the one hooked to your digital cable box. This way it will always choose the analog capture first when possible.
3) I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this fully. First off you won't want to use the coax out of the box to your PVR as that will give you the worst image. Use Svideo if possible, composite (yellow) is the second best choice and the coax is worst. If you set up Sage correctly, Sage will control the channel changing and integrate the additional channels on the STB without issue into the EPG.....

Hope this helps.
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