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  #1  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:45 AM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Smile Newbie needs guidance (simplified)

I am trying to get up to speed with two things.
- First would be building my own Home Theater Personal Computer(HTPC).
- The second would be learning about SageTv.

Has anyone started a thread, a sticky, a wiki, or any documentation to help the newcomer. I have seen the FAQs on the main site and the FAQs on the SageTV software subforum. The use of SageTV should be more of a science and less of an art. These are merely physical components run by software. Does it need to be so complicated?

I am a Software Engineer, so hardware is a weak point for me, but there are a countless number of different variations here in software and hardware to accomplish the same task. I know, I know in my business I always get the guy that just wants me to "FIX IT", "whip something up", or "spend a couple of minutes on this one". Well, I realize that sometimes it is just not that simple.

I would love some simple step by step guidance on the why, when, and how of SageTV and recording your own. The key word is 'simple'. I don't want to rebuild my Operating System. I just want to have a Tivo with more control and more capacity (determined by me).

Please no flaming. I am a newbie, novice, beginner, and inferior in every way to yourself. Now that that is out in the open, please help.
Thank you,
Ralph

Last edited by ralfeez; 02-19-2009 at 09:53 AM. Reason: clarification
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2009, 08:33 PM
pjpjpjpj pjpjpjpj is offline
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First of all, what do you want? Cable, Satellite, OTA, or a combination thereof? If, say, cable, do you want HD and/or premium content (HBO, etc.), or just standard analog SD? How many TVs connected to the system? How many PCs on which you might view content? What is your home TV watching usage (number of people in the house, how many shows might need to be recorded and/or watched simultaneously)?

If you are doing a "combination of sources" as mentioned above, and you "want HD", or "want premium content", do all of your sources need to be HD/premium-capable, or could you handle one, maybe two, capable tuners and the rest being SD, or "standard cable", or OTA locals?

With answers to these questions, you'll find that people on this board are very willing to help and very friendly, and frankly, the answers will be fairly simple.

It is admittedly hard to figure it all out on your own... don't worry, you're not the first.
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:04 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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write it down

Someone needs to write down the formula. So, let's start here:
- The most simple system utilizing SageTv is...?
- You will need these exact components...
- You configure them in this way...
- You now have a system that will...

If you use cable, here is the formula. If you use Directv, here is the formula. If you want multiple TVs throughout the house you add this component, if you want HD add this, etc. etc. Step by step by step by step... Do you understand what I am asking? I don't believe that it needs to be that tough. We have many many good chefs cooking up their own super home systems, but there doesn't seem to be a recipe written on how to boil water... If I knew the simple answers, I would present them here myself to help the most simple minded among us (me)...
thank you,
Ralph
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  #4  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:12 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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What pjpjpjpj is saying is that there are too many variables to detail every possible solution so the details of your situation would make it easier for people to help you.
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  #5  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:20 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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you aren't getting the question

Yes there are many many variables. You pick... Let's start by stating, if I came to you and said, build me a SageTV system that will record digital signals and play them back. What would you say has worked 90-100% of the time in the past? Someone somewhere has built this system at least once. We can add to it from there. This is not necessarily for me. My parts are arriving as we speak. This is for the next guy(gal).
Thank you,
Ralph
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  #6  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:24 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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No. If you're not willing to help us help you and you expect everyone else to do all of the work for you then you expect too much, imo.
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:26 PM
malbec malbec is offline
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Well, I will give it a shot, but frankly, what you ask could fill a healthy 50+ page volume with diagrams, etc.

The most basic in my book
1) A TV tuner card popped into your PC's PCI slot, or hooked up to a USB port connected to your cable line to capture the shows
2) a PC (plenty of HD space and I would point you to Win XP)
3) a media software package (SageTV, Beyond TV, Windows Media Center, iTV, etc.)
4) a video card hooked up to your TV ... video card to vary depending on what you want for a connection (RGB, S-Video, DVI, HDMI, etc.), brand preference, perceived picture quality, etc.

Basic variations from there...
a) Direct TV/Dishnetwork => Need an HDPVR to act as your TV Tuner card to cature the recordings off your satellite box
b) Clear QAM off your cable provider or digital over the air TV ... if your TV tuner card does not support it => an HD Homerun
c) Don't want that noisy PC in the family room hooked up to your TV => Need a Sage HD Theater and can skip the fancy video card (assuming you go with the Sage TV media software) ... could opt for a cheaper Hauppauge MVP if you find one on e-bay, but will need to buy a license for the client and there is a give up on some key functionality
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:28 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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I did not mean to upset anyone. I was merely suggesting a simplification for the common man. So, in your opinion, it is not possible to build a simple SageTV system in the manner of which I phrased the question?
Thank you,
Ralph
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  #9  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:29 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Thank you malbec. This is more of what we need to have for people to look at when they first come to the sage site.
Thank you,
Ralph
Quote:
Originally Posted by malbec View Post
Well, I will give it a shot, but frankly, what you ask could fill a healthy 50+ page volume with diagrams, etc.

The most basic in my book
1) A TV tuner card popped into your PC's PCI slot, or hooked up to a USB port connected to your cable line to capture the shows
2) a PC (plenty of HD space and I would point you to Win XP)
3) a media software package (SageTV, Beyond TV, Windows Media Center, iTV, etc.)
4) a video card hooked up to your TV ... video card to vary depending on what you want for a connection (RGB, S-Video, DVI, HDMI, etc.), brand preference, perceived picture quality, etc.

Basic variations from there...
a) Direct TV/Dishnetwork => Need an HDPVR to act as your TV Tuner card to cature the recordings off your satellite box
b) Clear QAM off your cable provider or digital over the air TV ... if your TV tuner card does not support it => an HD Homerun
c) Don't want that noisy PC in the family room hooked up to your TV => Need a Sage HD Theater and can skip the fancy video card (assuming you go with the Sage TV media software) ... could opt for a cheaper Hauppauge MVP if you find one on e-bay, but will need to buy a license for the client and there is a give up on some key functionality
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:30 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
So, in your opinion, it is not possible to build a simple SageTV system in the manner of which I phrased the question?
No, there are too many ways to build a system based on how you phrased it. That's why you were asked for more specifics and even then there are likely many ways to do various situations.
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:34 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malbec View Post
Well, I will give it a shot, but frankly, what you ask could fill a healthy 50+ page volume with diagrams, etc.

The most basic in my book
1) A TV tuner card popped into your PC's PCI slot, or hooked up to a USB port connected to your cable line to capture the shows
2) a PC (plenty of HD space and I would point you to Win XP)
3) a media software package (SageTV, Beyond TV, Windows Media Center, iTV, etc.)
4) a video card hooked up to your TV ... video card to vary depending on what you want for a connection (RGB, S-Video, DVI, HDMI, etc.), brand preference, perceived picture quality, etc.

Basic variations from there...
a) Direct TV/Dishnetwork => Need an HDPVR to act as your TV Tuner card to cature the recordings off your satellite box
b) Clear QAM off your cable provider or digital over the air TV ... if your TV tuner card does not support it => an HD Homerun
c) Don't want that noisy PC in the family room hooked up to your TV => Need a Sage HD Theater and can skip the fancy video card (assuming you go with the Sage TV media software) ... could opt for a cheaper Hauppauge MVP if you find one on e-bay, but will need to buy a license for the client and there is a give up on some key functionality
Now we are assuming that the most basic system that you are describing will work the first time with SageTV? If so, then we will need more specifics. Exactly which SageTV software product needs to be purchased? Which tuner card should be used to guaranty success? How much disk space to start with? You get what I mean...
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:38 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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You're still not getting it, there are too many tuners and too many OS choices and too many HW/SW options that can all work in various combinations...
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:43 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Hmmm, how can I simplify the question any further? SME, just name one setup. Tell everyone exactly what you did? The exact components that you used, the software that you bought, the methods that I would need to follow to do the same thing, and how reliable it is. I know that I am frustrating you and I don't mean to.

There is another thread going that discusses how SageTv will survive in the future. In my naive opinion, it needs to simplify.
Thank you for your input,
Ralph
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:49 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
Hmmm, how can I simplify the question any further?
That's the problem you're not giving details you just expect others to name possible combinations for you.

Quote:
SME, just name one setup. .
No.
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:50 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Thank you anyway SME. I really did not mean to offend you in some way. My apologies.
Thanks,
Ralph
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  #16  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:52 PM
malbec malbec is offline
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The software you need ... assuming Sage TV is your choice ... is the Sage TV Media Center (for whatever you will be running ... Windows, Mac, Linux). Again, I would point to Win XP as Vista seems just too tempramental and Sage is/was a Windows product first.

Of course, before you buy, I would advise you download the trial.

Which tuner card? This gets to be a bit of dicey question as everybody has their preference. Also, do you want a card that goes in a PCI slot in your PC? A PCIe slot? Or something that connects via USB? IF you will make me choose, I guess I would point you to the Hauppauge HVR-1600 ... pops in a PCI slot which I think most motherboards still have, and it has both an analog tuner and a Clear QAM/ATSC tuner. Hauppauge has a long, solid history in this stuff. Sage has a bundle pack in their store to boot.

Hard drive size? How much TV do you watch? General rule of thumb I would give you ... plan on about 3.2 GB per 1 hour of analog recordings and roughly double that for digital recordings. I have 2.2 terabytes of storage ... the new 2 terabyte Western digital drives look interesting, but Seagate appears to have worked the bugs out of their 1.5 terbayte drives.
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  #17  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:52 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
Thank you anyway SME. I really did not mean to offend you in some way. My apologies.
Thanks,
Ralph
I'm not offended, I'm just pointing out that you refuse to give details and you expect everyone else to.
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  #18  
Old 02-19-2009, 09:58 PM
GKusnick's Avatar
GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
SME, just name one setup. Tell everyone exactly what you did? The exact components that you used, the software that you bought...
Many posters have this sort of info in their sigs. You shouldn't have to look very hard to find it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfeez View Post
There is another thread going that discusses how SageTv will survive in the future.
And there are any number of existing threads by newbies asking how to get started. See the Similar Threads section at the bottom of the page for a few examples.

The best way to avoid offending people is to demonstrate that you're willing to do some homework to find answers for yourself. Show us what you already know, and point out areas where you're still confused, and people will gladly help clarify things.
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  #19  
Old 02-19-2009, 10:01 PM
S_M_E S_M_E is offline
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If he would have just answered pjpjpjpj's and malbec's questions it would have been a lot easier to help him too. He's never going to get a complete list of possible combinations...
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  #20  
Old 02-19-2009, 10:11 PM
ralfeez ralfeez is offline
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Again, I am only asking if someone has put together a simple tutorial on how to get started. This is not all for my benefit. I already have many of my parts in hand and the remainder are on order. The issues that I have questions about are so many that I could not list them all in one thread. I have never used SageTV before. It looks good to me, has good reviews, nice features and a very active online community. That is why I am here.

For those who would like to know,
- Samsung 52inch 120hz
- Vista Home Premium
- AMD CPU 2.3 Ghz
- 4 Gb Ram
- ASUS M3N78 mobo
- Quad Core CPU
- BluRay player/DVD recorder
- surround sound system Dolby 5.1 - already have
- 2x 1.5 Tb hard drives
- Hauppauge HD-PVR
- DirecTv HD
- Radeon HD 4350 vidcard
- Logitech Harmony Remote
These all came from the help received after several weeks on forums. I have no idea if they will all be compatible with SageTV. There must be a shortcut for the next guy.
Thanks,
Ralph

Last edited by ralfeez; 02-19-2009 at 10:19 PM. Reason: more detail
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