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  #1  
Old 07-09-2009, 12:30 AM
grooves12 grooves12 is offline
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Curious... Why SageTV over Mediaportal (or other alternatives)??

I'm just curous... what features caused you to choose SageTV over the alternatives available on the market??

I've been a longtime user of SageTV, and honestly what drew me to it was the suggestion recording feature, as I was a Tivo user... but I've found I am not as interested in that feature lately, and since I was rebuilding my HTPC decided to try out some alternatives.

I found Mediaportal to work really well and has more options for really nice skins and plugins. Its a little more complicated to setup, but once up and running, its a more satisfying experience to me, plus its open source and free. Granted I'm not saying Sage is a bad product. Its been great for me, and the development community for it is outstanding, which is rare for a pay product, and honestly without that community I think Sage would be sorely lacking.

I'm just wondering what it is that keeps many of you attached to Sage...
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2009, 02:59 AM
Lucas Lucas is offline
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I 've also tried Media Portal. It is for technically minded individuals, like many of us, who will put up with crashes and instability just to have the flashy look and feel.

For me SageTV offers the stability needed to have the whole family use it without needing to worry about it. It's like an appliance. It always works.

The extenders have added tremendous value to this concept.

Also the company behind it is serious about progressing it and have done so succesfully so far.
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2009, 06:18 AM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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I tried BeyondTV, MediaPortal and GBPVR back in 2003? before Sage when I was building my first PVR. MediaPortal took so much work back then to even get half the abilities that BeyondTV and Sage had that I moved on. GBPVR worked well but at that time was very limited in the tuners it supported that it didn't seem like a viable option to me. So then it was between the two commercial options and I chose SageTV (good choice). However, if you aren't interested in the PVR functions anymore, then there are many options out there.

Of course I should point out that these are my opinions based on the way the software was in 2003/2004. My wife is so happy with Sage (and now with my investment in extenders), I don't even bother to look elsewhere.
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  #4  
Old 07-09-2009, 06:47 AM
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sainswor99 sainswor99 is offline
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I left BTV for SageTV for two reasons: music (and photo) integration, and official support for the MediaMVP. I think the direction Sage is moving in with the extenders is awesome, but I must admit that I've grown to dislike the music integration. They've made some minor improvements over the last couple of years, but the interface (and playlist management) is still klunky.
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2009, 06:55 AM
PLUCKYHD PLUCKYHD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sainswor99 View Post
I left BTV for SageTV for two reasons: music (and photo) integration, and official support for the MediaMVP. I think the direction Sage is moving in with the extenders is awesome, but I must admit that I've grown to dislike the music integration. They've made some minor improvements over the last couple of years, but the interface (and playlist management) is still klunky.
That interface is changing soon in SageMC

back to the topic on hand. I chose it for extender support for native codecs beyond MEdia Center (my previous choice) also for the ability to use R5000 with DRM free recordings from Dish. Don't know what made me move more.
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2009, 07:30 AM
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stuckless stuckless is offline
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I went with SageTV for 3 reasons...
1. Cross Platform Support (the only pvr software that is cross platform [windows/linux/mac])
2. Extenders (HD and SD)
3. Well defined and documented API
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2009, 07:43 AM
Brent Brent is offline
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Well with regards to MediaPortal it is a good free alternative and does have some nice looking skins and such, but the TV portion pretty much stinks imo. That alone keeps me from even considering it. And It is much more work to maintain and set up. SageTV's moves towards extenders and towards cleaning up bugs and reliability are things I'm willing to pay for.

But I know many are very happy with MediaPortal. If TV is important to your HTPC though I'd be sure you were happy with it before switching completely.

EDIT: One additional thing I should mention is the community here is extremely helpful and very competent - which is something I look for in a HTPC program. I've also had excellent support from SageTV. Snapstream used to be that way...

Last edited by Brent; 07-09-2009 at 07:45 AM.
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2009, 08:10 AM
aflat aflat is offline
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I needed something that was easy for the family to use. Tivo worked great. If it wasn't so expensive to move to HD I would probably still be with Tivo. The next thing I looked for was an extender model. MythTV looks good, but it required upkeep. GBPVR just never quite worked for me. Media Center has really really crappy extender support, and way to many limitations. That was when I looked at Sage, which I saved till last, because it was a pay solution(although a cheap one!)

It was the extenders that sold me. I don't mind managing 1 server. The wife doesn't mind having to push the power button on the server if we have a power outage. Any more then that and the wife will start complaining, which is why I like the extenders so much, to her, they work like Tivo. You power it on from the remote, it's not a computer. Plus I don't have to maintain them, they just work.
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  #9  
Old 07-09-2009, 03:23 PM
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loomdog32 loomdog32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aflat View Post
which is why I like the extenders so much, to her, they work like Tivo. You power it on from the remote, it's not a computer. Plus I don't have to maintain them, they just work.
I think thats a good advertising slogan.....


I moved from Vista Media Center (used that since RC1) for very simple reason.. DRM.... The biggest drawback to Sage really is that it is sooo customizable (which causes me to constantly be tinkering with it)
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  #10  
Old 07-09-2009, 05:22 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Keep in mind I've been using Sage since 1.4, so why did I choose it?

Because it's recording features blew away anything else out there at the time, and still do. To be completely honest, I sort of "lucked" into Sage, at the time there just wasn't anything else. MCE was around but unavailable (no OEM copies available) and Snapstream was still just Snapstream and (IMO at the time) a pile of crap for the sort of CE device alternative I was looking for.

Sage provided good guide data, and lots of recording features, that's what got me in.

What's kept me is largely what's already been mentioned. At first it was the PC Client, then the media (DVD) support got added, HD recording, frequent updates. Basically what keeps me from going elsewhere:
  • Stability
  • Networkability - clients, extenders, placeshifter
  • Recording features
    • Multiple linups
    • Lots of options for favorites like limiting channels, etc
  • "Good enough" support for ripped DVDs and now BDs
  • Extenders that play anything

What I mean by "good enough" is Sage plays them perfectly, metadata and pictures are nice, and it would be cool if Sage handled that better, but in the end, I don't really care enough.

I tried BeyondTV once or twice but it was way too flaky for my tastes (at least in my config). MCE, it's "shiny" but that's really all it's got going for it IMO. MediaPortal, sorry guys but the TV section utterly pales in comparison to Sage, and it's just not as solid.

I guess what it really comes down to is I expect CE device type solidity and reliability. I expect it to work, and Sage does. And I'm 100% happy to "sacrifice" some shiny for that. I actually bought a Tivo once, returned it within a day or two. It wasn't for me. I want something that acts like a box I bought off the shelf, but that supports things none of them do, like playback on any TV I want, DVD rips, BD rips, etc.

Last edited by stanger89; 07-09-2009 at 05:24 PM.
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2009, 06:30 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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I got a TV tuner and DVR software back in 2003 because I couldn't fit a TV in my dorm room. It was basically a space saving measure, I wasn't all that concerned about DVR capability. I mainly went with Sage because, at the time, it was the only software that supported multiple tuners. Oddly enough, it wasn't until 2007 that I actually had a system with multiple tuners in it though!

stanger, I'm surprised that Sage actually had guide data for you back in 2003. I remember messing around with XMLTV back then, which I had all kinds of problems setting up. Once it worked, it worked OK, but the quality of the guide data increased tremendously as soon as Sage started offering guide data in my area (at the time, Decorah, IA, which you're probably the only other person the forum that knows where that is without looking at Google maps).

Now I'd say the extenders are probably the biggest reason to go with Sage versus the alternatives.
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  #12  
Old 07-09-2009, 06:59 PM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
stanger, I'm surprised that Sage actually had guide data for you back in 2003. I remember messing around with XMLTV back then, which I had all kinds of problems setting up.
I remember when it first came out. I didn't jump on board right away because the guide data was limited to only certain areas of the states, but the bigger issue initially was it didn't support the Hauppauge PVR-PCI I had. Eventually that flaked out and I got a PVR250, which Sage supported.

I can't remember if I used XMLTV initially or not. I know I used that for a while, but I don't remember for sure what with.
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  #13  
Old 07-09-2009, 08:11 PM
ozfiles ozfiles is offline
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We were using BeyondTV for a couple of years and one day decided to see what the competition was like. So installed Windows Media Centre, MediaPortal, GBPVR and Sagetv.
I got the wife to have a look at each install and choose which one she liked the most. We both chose Sage, end of story.

Last edited by ozfiles; 07-09-2009 at 09:49 PM.
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  #14  
Old 07-15-2009, 12:23 PM
stlbearboy stlbearboy is offline
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Switched From GBPVR

1. Got tired of needing to fix EPG every 6 months or so when zap2it would change their format. (EPG from media center did not have correct subchannels)
2. Last update broke support for Avermedia tuners in my system.
3. Knew I was going the externder route at some point and sage extender seemed simpler than getting it to work with popcorn hour. (Also comskip works on sage extender but not on popcorn hour extender)


I had tried and used VMC and GBPVR for a good amount of time before switcing to Sage. I installed Media Portal but it wasn't stable enough to give it more than a quick look.
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  #15  
Old 07-15-2009, 07:05 PM
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HuMan321 HuMan321 is offline
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Switched from SD DTivo. Had 4 series 2 hacked with full network sharing, Tivoserver served up avi's, mpegs, etc. from my PC storage to any of the Tivos. Dual drives in each made for tons of storage, but not fully necessary as you could extract and serve back with Tivo server.

Rock solid system with very,very few issues.

Why change?

My local market was changing to MPEG 4 (DirecTV) This required new equipment and now a consideration for HD equipment. The costs along with the loss of features drove me to look elsewhere. I found this forum and decided to make the change.

Basically, I am happy with Sage. It is not as "rock solid" as my Tivo setup, but getting closer every day...
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2009, 08:04 AM
Clift Clift is offline
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I was a long time user of MCE 2005 and only moved to SageTV because I wanted HD PVR support. i was tired of nto getting the channels I wanted in HD. I tried BeyondTv at the same time but the user interface turned me off. It seemed too cartoonish and not customizable at all. was not impressed much with the SageTV Ui so I want looking for "skins" or "themes" and came across SageMC from the Geektonic blogs. Now that I've got an extender and a PC client I can;t see myself going back to Media Center, or any other competitor for that matter.
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  #17  
Old 07-16-2009, 12:26 PM
SWKerr SWKerr is offline
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Seems like I have tried them all at some point. I was a long time BeyondTV user but really wanted music integration. When the HD-PVR came out I decided to try SageTV since they had support first. I have never looked back.

MCE has to many limits to what you can play and where you can put stuff. I also found it to be less than stable. I am also not a fan of the interface. People confuse slick interface with useful. The XBOX360 Extender model does make it more interesting but not enough.

MediaPortal: I tried it because it reminded me of XBMC and I heard some of the XBMC developer were contributing. I could never really get it to work at the time because the hardware requirements were to high for smooth playback.

I still love XBMC but no HD or TV support. I had a hauppauge 150 and a DVB card for recording and would watch them on the modified Xbox. There was even a script that allowed you to change channels and watch live streamed TV. It was never stable enough to replace the Dish DVR but it got me hooked on the HTPC idea.
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  #18  
Old 07-18-2009, 10:44 AM
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HuMan321 HuMan321 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLUCKYHD View Post
That interface is changing soon in SageMC

back to the topic on hand. I chose it for extender support for native codecs beyond MEdia Center (my previous choice) also for the ability to use R5000 with DRM free recordings from Dish. Don't know what made me move more.

Is there a thread to follow the development of this? The one I found doesn't have any recent activity.
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  #19  
Old 07-19-2009, 11:43 AM
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nick_l nick_l is offline
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Extenders!!

THE reason I switched to Sage was extender support. I started with a single DishDVR (as a random aside: that puppy is still chugging along today with the original HDD 10+ years later, I use it now just as a tuner source, coupled with a pvr150). I then moved to TiVos (3 of them). I finally got frustrated with the drm and the lack of any intelligent scheduling between them.

Sage is great for me. The extenders and software options for playback from various locations make it a perfect fit for my situation. No DRM is a HUGE plus as well. You also cannot beat its scalability and customization options (as kludgy and aquward as I personally think they are to install/update).

Also, the community here is first rate. Up to this point I have not even been tempted to look at the alternatives. I think Sage would have to do something really boneheaded for me to go elsewhere!

Nick
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  #20  
Old 07-19-2009, 03:32 PM
VCRUser VCRUser is offline
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I tried Media Portal and couldn't get it to handle TV at all well: it wouldn't recognize my tuners very well, and what it could tune in, it played shakily. The interface struck me as all sizzle and no steak. Beyond TV seemed OK, but had a less integrated feel and seemed clunky to set up. I'm a Sage user for the TV recording & playback functionality - and I pretty much ignore the rest. I've stuck with the default interface because it's clean and straightforward. I love the web-interface add-on, which I use for setting up recordings & conversions from away from home. I never could get it to play back remotely (maybe because my upstream bandwidth is limited), but don't really need that feature: if I want to watch shows while on a rare trip, I can simply copy the files to my laptop and watch with VLC.
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