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Old 09-17-2014, 12:26 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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Google Fiber - my experience w what's left of SageTV

I've failed to do anything on my blog for a long while so in the meantime will post a few thoughts here from a SageTV users in case anyone is interested.

I am definitely sad to see this community dwindle. While I am one of the fortunate ones able to use the part of SageTV that Google is actually utilizing right now, it is largely slimmed-down from what you and I were used to in terms of flexibility and functionality to say the least.

That being said, I understand the team's situation. They have their hands very full trying to keep up with a massive increase in user base - a user base that isn't nearly as technologically able as this community is/was. They are also keeping the feature-set limited in ways to keep the content providers happy enough as they grow. You should see some of the crazy questions/posts from the Google Fiber groups pages. Their groups page is really hard to take after years of reading/posting on these SageTV forums.

I have two Google Fiber TV boxes and a Network Box (the Server if you will). They work very, very well and deliver to me every channel in basically uncompressed HD goodness. It has Netflix, YouTube, Vudu and VOD built in and a universal search that works across all of the above.

What it doesn't do:
* No video server (movies etc) capabilities - unless you copy said video file onto the network/server box. I now use Plex & Chromecast for much of my movie stuff.
* No web app to see your guide, tv recordings etc
* iOS and Android app is quite good, but crippled so that you can't watch recorded content on your device and can't even use outside of your home network.
* No more plugins
* Customization is at a minimum
* Only four TV boxes allowed in a single home. A strange requirement to me even though I don't need more than that anymore.
* On the content side of things I think the lineup is quite good, but HBO does not include HBOgo for some reason. Also no AMC channel is a problem for some.

As far as the internet part of Google Fiber goes, my experience has been nothing short of wonderful. I occasionally read the "you don't need that much bandwidth" but it sure is nice to have it when you want it. I do a lot of high-bandwidth work from home and stream a lot of video and do some serious upload/download stuff as well and having that much bandwidth with almost no loss during the day and night is just awesome.

One thing that has really surprised me is how responsive and just plain good the customer service has been with Google Fiber. I live in a condo where all of the residents have switched to Google Fiber and those of us who have called or emailed for support have all had a very good experience. Not something I expected from Google really.

I believe Google will continue pushing the expansion of Google Fiber to more and more cities. They just hired a new head of Google Fiber from Qualcomm and I see that move as a sign this is a business for them and not just an experiment.
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/09/...-google-fiber/

Anyone have questions for me? I'll try to answer anything I can.

Last edited by Brent; 09-17-2014 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 04:08 PM
samgreco samgreco is offline
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Brent,

Good to see your thoughts on Google Fibre. As "sad" as some of the items on your list are, it really is what I expected. The reality is that the content owners have handcuffed the providers. There is nothing that any of them can do to give us what we want anymore. At least until we get a FCC/Congress that gives a crap about us.

But I really think that within a few years, it will become irrelevant anyway. Ironically, as more and more high-speed becomes available, less people will care about traditional TV delivery. I do very little "normal" TV anymore. I watch most everything online. And I currently use my SmartTV for most of that since the whole Playon/SageTV thing really kinda sucks.

So I currently use Sage for OTA, which isn't much these days. And my movies/archived TV shows.

I will be changing from the SmartTV to an STB as soon as the new Android TV boxes come out so I can make my final decision. And then, I will probably be looking for Sage alternatives.

That is, unless I move to KC...
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:17 PM
texneus texneus is offline
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Also appreciate the run-down. Reasons 2 & 3 plus (I'm guessing) the inability to migrate recorded content to a server for archiving, plus what I imagine are extortionate monthly fees are the reasons it will be a cold day before I use a "closed" DVR.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samgreco View Post
But I really think that within a few years, it will become irrelevant anyway. Ironically, as more and more high-speed becomes available, less people will care about traditional TV delivery. I do very little "normal" TV anymore. I watch most everything online. And I currently use my SmartTV for most of that since the whole Playon/SageTV thing really kinda sucks.
So I can't figure out what I am missing with the whole online streaming thing. The quality is lower than what is broadcasted over cable, you have to watch commercials if you use a service like Hulu, and simple actions like fast-forwarding or rewinding are slow and clunky. I've tried Netflix, Hulu, and HBOgo with a Chromecast, Roku player, PS3, and Samsung Smart TV and they don't come close to the experience I get with my cable/SageTV and ripping Blurays/DVDs.

If the high price of cable and cost/time of upkeep isn't an issue then what is benefit of streaming? Do people just not care about instant load times and high quality any longer?
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  #5  
Old 09-18-2014, 08:19 AM
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FMAX FMAX is offline
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Still Dreading the day Sage is Dead...

I am definitely spoiled with the flexibility of SageTV.
Only wish PlayOn-Netflix was better intergrated, but I would not trade my BluRay ISO playback.
hmmm...gigabit Internet...Thats what I can't wait for!!

You'll have to pry my SageTv from my cold dead Hands!

Thanks for the rundown Brent,

Thank you to all the Community, I still tweak things every once in awhile.
This Forum is Priceless!
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Hmmmm, Google Fiber
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:56 PM
samgreco samgreco is offline
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Originally Posted by will View Post
So I can't figure out what I am missing with the whole online streaming thing. The quality is lower than what is broadcasted over cable, you have to watch commercials if you use a service like Hulu, and simple actions like fast-forwarding or rewinding are slow and clunky. I've tried Netflix, Hulu, and HBOgo with a Chromecast, Roku player, PS3, and Samsung Smart TV and they don't come close to the experience I get with my cable/SageTV and ripping Blurays/DVDs.

If the high price of cable and cost/time of upkeep isn't an issue then what is benefit of streaming? Do people just not care about instant load times and high quality any longer?
Ask yourself, why do people listen to horribly compressed MP3s? It doesn't matter what we, the tiny little enclave of enthusiasts, think. The masses don't care. They want the convenience of instant access to whatever they want. And they seem to be willing to deal with the costs and the quality issue.

Having said all that, Netflix for me of late has been very good. I'm getting solid 1080P on most, and 720P on the rest. I can live with that.

But I still own a bunch of stuff and have a large library of stuff in Sage. And I think that people will still buy BluRays. for a while at least...
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Old 09-18-2014, 01:56 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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I think streaming is the future - definitely and I think Google believe that also. Especially once you see more fiber to the home. I get very good quality from netflix & vudu (both built-into Google Fiber TV Service - not always bluray quality, but cmon' the average person does not care.

Like Sam I also have a lot of media files (movies, archived TV shows etc) that I still have on my PC. And I have my SageTV server still holding all of that stuff, but I use Plex to play it on either of my two TV's via Chromecast or onto my tablet or phone.

I'm very capable of going without cable these days except for one big thing - I'm addicted to certain sporting events like NCAA football & basketball, MLB games, and the occasional soccer and football game. For that I currently need cable.

By the way - I didn't mention this above, but I also believe those of you that use SageTV still and rely on the guide info will be fine for a very long time. Just an educated hunch...
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Old 09-18-2014, 02:41 PM
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Skirge01 Skirge01 is offline
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Since this thread is already derailed, I'll just add to it. If streaming is the future, who is going to convince the cable, satellite, and content providers that they have to offer people individual programs or channels? (I'd actually be okay with that, mind you.) Or, are you guys guessing that they'll transition to streaming entire channel packages and just change the delivery medium from satellites or coax? If it's the latter, then these data caps are going to be a huge problem, as is net neutrality. Maybe I'm being narrow minded here, but I just don't see how such a scenario is going to happen/work.
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2014, 03:05 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skirge01 View Post
Since this thread is already derailed, I'll just add to it. If streaming is the future, who is going to convince the cable, satellite, and content providers that they have to offer people individual programs or channels? (I'd actually be okay with that, mind you.) Or, are you guys guessing that they'll transition to streaming entire channel packages and just change the delivery medium from satellites or coax? If it's the latter, then these data caps are going to be a huge problem, as is net neutrality. Maybe I'm being narrow minded here, but I just don't see how such a scenario is going to happen/work.
I am guessing that eventually there will be so much competition from the non-cable companies like Netflix that the HBO's, AMC's, and other "channels" will open up to selling their content in ways not locked in to the cable companies themselves. HBO has hinted that they could be open to that concept more recently for example. The cable companies won't go away, but Netflix, Amazon and soon Google will be pushing some stiff competition.

I'm also guessing Google had planned to do that sooner than now, but decided they should push the internet providers to faster internet to more eyeballs first. Google is working really hard to not tick off the content providers as their Google Fiber network expands. I don't see that continuing forever.

I could be wrong though.
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Old 09-18-2014, 04:47 PM
samgreco samgreco is offline
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I buy only one show currently because of not having cable: Dr. Who. And I bought previous years on iTunes, but hated dealing with them, plus the hoops I had to jump through to deal with the files and playback on my TV.

This time I bought the season through Google Play. So I am still stuck on the PC and browser until I decide on an STB.

But really, the die is cast. So I spend $8.99/mo on Netflix and $39.95 a season for the one show I care about that I cannot get any other way. I would have my business class Comcast internet either way.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:13 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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You know it is really strange that Google Fiber TV has Netflix & Vudu built in, but not Google Play. They do have YouTube I guess, but I would think they would want to push the Google Play thing since it's kinda on the same team.
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:31 PM
samgreco samgreco is offline
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Wow! They don't have Google Play? That is absolutely amazing to me. Seems a natural income stream.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:25 AM
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nycjoe nycjoe is offline
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Curious, do the google tv boxes support component out? And is there a webui to control them?
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:26 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Curious, do the google tv boxes support component out? And is there a webui to control them?
There is no webui - at least none they have told anyone about. Just an iOS and Android app. My biggest complaints about Google Fiber TV = no webui and no iOS/Android App outside of home network.

Component out is supported via a breakout cable from the "AV Out" port

https://support.google.com/fiber/ans..._topic=2667450

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!searchin/fiber/component$20out/fiber/XGcInRelSoo/1hQARX2obCwJ
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Old 09-19-2014, 08:28 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Wow! They don't have Google Play? That is absolutely amazing to me. Seems a natural income stream.
They DO have Pay-Per-View Movies via VOD. Perhaps there was some sort of battle between the content providers on how PPV content was to be delivered and Google Play lost out? But that doesn't make sense because it also has Vudu built in.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:07 AM
will will is offline
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My biggest complaints about Google Fiber TV = no webui and no iOS/Android App outside of home network.
Have you considered hooking up a SlingBox to your system for outside network access. That is how I get SageTV on the go.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:13 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Have you considered hooking up a SlingBox to your system for outside network access. That is how I get SageTV on the go.
I do have a Slingbox connected to my bedroom TV box. But it would be really nice to have the app just work everywhere without needing the slingbox. If hated TWC can do it, surely Google can do it.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:33 PM
will will is offline
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I do have a Slingbox connected to my bedroom TV box. But it would be really nice to have the app just work everywhere without needing the slingbox. If hated TWC can do it, surely Google can do it.
I have TWC and I have never used their mobile offerings. They are useless , IMO, unless you want to watch live TV. I use my Slingbox all the time because it makes up for the poor performance SageTV Placeshifter has; I want to watch my recorded TV remotely.

Sounds like there is no magic bullet/solution that does it all because these services have to keep the content providers happy. That was best part of SageTV; they didn't have to answer to content providers or cable companies.
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Old 09-22-2014, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Brent View Post
* Only four TV boxes allowed in a single home. A strange requirement to me even though I don't need more than that anymore.
If the architecture is the same as SageTV V7 then that could be due to JVM limitations. I have about 8 extenders (HD-200s and 300s) in my house but if I use more than about 3-4 simultaneously I will run out of JVM and things will slow down or the SageTV service will crash.

One of the things we could see if Sage was still alive would be a move to a 64 bit JVM which would allow more than 1 GB of memory which should have alleviated such issues. And hopefully they could have fixed the Placeshifter issues as it has never worked very well.
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Old 09-22-2014, 10:13 AM
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I have TWC and I have never used their mobile offerings. They are useless , IMO, unless you want to watch live TV. I use my Slingbox all the time because it makes up for the poor performance SageTV Placeshifter has; I want to watch my recorded TV remotely.
A few questions regarding using a Slignbox with Sage. FYI - my internet upload speed is 20 Mbps. I travel internationally and may want to use the Slingbox viewer from throughout North America and occasionally in Europe and Asia. I would be using a laptop, iPhone or iPad as a viewer.
  • What model Slingbox do you have and/or would you buy today?
  • Do you connect the Slingbox up to an extender?
  • Do you use a dedicated extender or do you just use an extender at one of your TVs with the drawback that someone can't be using that extender to watch SageTV when you are using it for placeshifting.
  • Which output from the extender? HD (HDMI or component) or SD (s-video or composite)? If HD do you used 1080i or 720p?
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