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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 06-07-2009, 09:33 PM
jimosity jimosity is offline
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HD-PVR (Need advice for replacement)

First off, this is my first post here as I am brand new to SageTV.
I had been a BeyondTV user for the last year, using it with my Pinnacle HD-PRO Stick. It worked wonderfully for me until I decided that I use the system enough to upgrade.
I decided I wanted to add a cable box so I could tune in movie channels - this meant that I needed an IR blaster of some sort, so I did some homework on different capture devices and decided to roll with the Hauppauge HD-PVR given it was supposedly the "best" available at my local store.
I also bought a new video card for my HTPC while I was at it, a 512 MB ATI Radeon 4550 since the HD-PVR required at least 256 MB of video ram that I didn't have previously.

I first installed the video card, all worked fine.
I then set up the cable box, made sure it worked - no issues.
Then I tried to set up the HD-PVR with BeyondTV - NEVER could get it to work right, drove me nuts and I gave up after three days of fighting with it.

I decided to try SageTV and gladly it worked right away with the HD-PVR.
I've come to realize that Sage has far better options than BeyondTV, so I'll probably be sticking with Sage, but the HD-PVR has been a total disappointment to me.
I'm using the component inputs directly from my digital cable box and the quality of the video is sub-par to that of the quality of my Pinnacle HD-Pro Stick!!
Aside from that - the HD-PVR has been totally flaky since day one, the remote refuses to work at all - no matter what I try...then the drivers for the HD-PVR are so flaky that any reboot of the machine means at least two or three power off/on's of the HD-PVR for it to be recognized correctly and the driver to load.
I'm convinced that the HD-PVR is just too flaky for me and I want to exchange it for something else.
I don't particularly care about capturing video in HD format as much as I do reliability and lack of flakiness.
Any suggestions??

Thanks for your time.
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:12 AM
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Djc208 Djc208 is offline
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Run a search here, they can be flaky for some, (mine has been pretty solid since day one) but there have been some tips and tweaks (like covering the IR reciever on the HD-PVR).

Make sure your cable box output is set up to output the right resolution. The HD-PVR image is kind of soft due to the analog->digital conversion but it's still far better than SD (unless the image you're recording is SD, in which case no device can make it as good as HD).

Make sure you're using the most current drivers as well, the beta drivers may help too.

Other than the R5000 mod there really is no other way to capture encrypted HD video from a cable or satelite box, and the R5000 mod is limited in it's applicability and is expensive.
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2009, 07:51 AM
jimosity jimosity is offline
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I'll have to check the cable box output to make sure it's right.
I've got the latest drivers for both my video card and the beta drivers for the HD-PVR.
Whenever I plug in the HD-PVR, it shows up as an Unknown Device, even though I *KNOW* I have the drivers installed correctly.
I can then unplug it and it plug it back in and it works fine (or shows up as "Unknown Device").

I have digital cable, but almost never watch anything HD - I don't have the pay HD channels and I'm running it all thru a Dell projector. I'm not nearly as interested in HD as I am just recording decent, watchable quality.
I'll check the cable box output before I give up on the HD-PVR, but if that's not going to make a dramatic change, I think I'm going to have to give up and move on to something else or go back to my HD-Pro Stick, since it just worked and had great quality.

I wanted this set up and ready for the new seasons of shows coming up here in a week or two, so I need to get this resolved soon.

If I give up on the HD-PVR - what's the next best thing without recording in HD being a requirement?
All I really need it to do is change the channels on my STB and record in decent quality.
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  #4  
Old 06-08-2009, 08:05 AM
vikingisson vikingisson is offline
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I think you'll get a lot of help to get the HD-PVR going. It can be a problem for some.

However if you want a less than HD alternative or as an option you can likely output S-Video and capture that. It will look as good as S-Video can while still outputting component video for the HD-PVR or direct to tv/amp. Before my HD-PVR I was capturing S-Video which is dead simple and only had to fight the IR blaster channel changing. I was using the same capture card for S-video as I was using for OTA-HD. You might be able to get basic channels directly on digital, if you're lucky with the provider.

Another tip if you're not using component capture is to S-video capture for recording and use component straight to tv/amp for viewing the movies and HD.
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  #5  
Old 06-08-2009, 08:53 AM
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Djc208 Djc208 is offline
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If you don't need HD then there are lots of cards that will take an Svideo input for SD video and probably work easier. Might look into the Hauppage 1600/1800 if you can install a card. You can use the analog input and IR blaster for your cable box and the digital for QAM channels.

The only real advantages of the HD-PVR is that it captures HD video and surround sound audio from anything with the right outputs, but it is not as trouble free as more traditional tuners.
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  #6  
Old 06-08-2009, 09:12 AM
Graygeek Graygeek is offline
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Another option is the HAVA Platinum .... uses Component input and gives you DVD quality 720x480. Very acceptable picture from an HD source. Coupled with Jason's ChannelChanger plugin located in the forum download area it works 99.9%. I routinly record from my cable HD box and have had zero lockups or crashes yet. (Hope I didn't just jinx myself )

On my 42" TV you can see some artifacts in straight lines, but other than that

Cost is good also, they can be found online for under $100

One caveat is that HAVA does not support multiple units on a system. I'd love to add a second and would by another HAVA in a heartbeat if I could.
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  #7  
Old 06-08-2009, 10:21 PM
Rico66 Rico66 is offline
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Something still doesn't sound right here. Aside from all the flaky/stability issues off the HD PVR (which can be worked around to a certain extent), the HD PVR still offers the best picture quality even for SD captures, due to the fact that it uses component input compared to svhs (except maybe for the HAVA which does the same). The difference is not as obvious as it is for HD, but still SD captures should look pretty much the same as if would watch directly from the cable box.
So, if you say that SD looks worse than that, then something else seems to be wrong. Are you sure that all your connections are correct? What input signal are you using (480i or 480p)? What codecs (for h.264) are you using?
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2009, 08:18 AM
jimosity jimosity is offline
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I tested again last night with my setup; I reinstalled WinXP; installed the Hauppauge software and drivers; same issue with the HD-PVR sometimes showing up as an "Unknown Device" or after restarting, it says the error message that something plugged into USB is experiencing a problem.
I tried a different USB cable, even tried a different PC completely; same issue.
I then had a hard drive with a fresh install of Windows 7 on it; so I tried that.
I plugged in the HD-PVR; installed the software, all went fine.
Installed SageTV, ran the setup - all went fine. Everything worked quite well.
I tested a few channels and then for some reason, it locked up.
I closed down Sage; unplugged the HD-PVR, plugged it back in and started getting the same crap with the USB errors.
Since it's done this on multiple PCs and on at least four different versions of Windows (3 XP, 1 W7) - I'm convinced that I just have a flaky HD-PVR and it's going back to the store today.
I did at least manage to test something else while I had it up and running - seems the settings on my STB were not optimally configured, so I tried a few different settings and that solved the quality issue.
Maybe the HD-PVR can do good quality; but the quality of the hardware seems to be questionable.
I tried the drivers on the CD, beta drivers, nothing seemed to make my unit act stable.
The remote control NEVER worked, no matter what.

That's another thing - in the config, it gives an option for a 45 button Hauppauge remote, but my remote only had 43 buttons... ??
Weird.

When I take the unit back today; I *may* consider getting another HD-PVR if they have another new one in stock; otherwise, I really think that a non-USB device would seem more stable to me.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2009, 06:55 AM
lfilomeno lfilomeno is offline
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I just had my first experience with the HD-PVR last night. I loaded the drivers on my server (the ones listed here), reboot, then plugged in the HDPVR. I selected it from Sage setup menu and set it up to record to the highest quality setting available. I watched TV thru the HD200 for about 4 hours and did not suffered from any of the problems listed before this post. My unit is a C2, connected via the supplied components cable. No fancy SPDIF or any other connections regarding audio. On the SD Sony TV, the picture quality was far better than I had with the HVR-1950's! On the Sharp 52" HDTV, the improvement in Picture quality was very noticeable besides the fact that the picture seems "softer" but with a lot less "jaggies" than before. This tests are all part of a project I am involved for a Business Venture. The goal is to create a media center appliance that customers can use with a high degree of reliability and ease of use. It will be presented at a Venture Capital Expo very soon. My setup is as follows:

1. Zotac nForce 630i-ITX mobo (Provided by Zotac who is sposoring the project)

2. Intel E7300 Processor with the stock cooler/fan (Provided by my pocket :] )

3. Corsair XMS memory modules (2 x 2GB)

4. 1 160 GB 2.5 SATA HD (houses OS, SageTV, drivers, etc.)

5. 1 1TB 3.5 SATA HD (Houses the digital media)

6. Windows MCE Blaster (to control the channel changes on the STB. I am using the LM remote software listed in the forum. Very good program, change chammels on the STB correctly and fairly fast).

7. Windows XP PRO

8. Two HD-200

Today (well tonight), I will configure the other HD-PVR I had for my setup. Then will test the 2 HD-PVR's access thru the extender and post results. I really don't like the blue light on top of the unit but since the equipment is in an "Improvised Data Closet", it does not bother me at all for now. Will post results.
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2009, 05:28 PM
lightmind lightmind is offline
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HD-PVR "Unknown device"

I have run across some motherboards that have underpowered or unstable USB ports. Symptoms range from the PC not being able to boot while the device(s) are plugged in, unrecognized devices, unknown devices, etc. The issues can be intermittent; having several devices plugged into the USB ports (including external hard drives) seems to aggravate the problems.

I suggest a powered USB hub may solve your HD-PVR issues and may be worth looking into.
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2009, 05:34 PM
Clift Clift is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightmind View Post
I have run across some motherboards that have underpowered or unstable USB ports. Symptoms range from the PC not being able to boot while the device(s) are plugged in, unrecognized devices, unknown devices, etc. The issues can be intermittent; having several devices plugged into the USB ports (including external hard drives) seems to aggravate the problems.

I suggest a powered USB hub may solve your HD-PVR issues and may be worth looking into.
That's pretty much an HD PVR nono. Running the HD PVR from a hub or even with other USB cables (ie not the one it ships with) have been known to cause instability.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2009, 06:18 PM
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HelenWeathers HelenWeathers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimosity View Post
That's another thing - in the config, it gives an option for a 45 button Hauppauge remote, but my remote only had 43 buttons... ??
Weird.
I think Hauppauge counts the Volume Up/Down and Channel Up/Down as two buttons each - to brong your total to 45.
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