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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 03-12-2006, 09:42 PM
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OTA HD Tuner Questions

I'm looking to get an OTA HD Tuner, and I have a couple of questions. I have to get a USB Tuner, because I'm out pf PCI slots. I'm either going to get the VBOX Cat's Eye USB-A-3560 or the DVICO FusionHDTV5 USB Gold. Ok, so here are my questions:

1) Which one is better? From what I've read, the DVICO tuner also has a SD tuner built in, but windows cannot use both tuners, it is either or. Therefore I'm thinking I should get the cheaper one (cat's eye). Unless a new driver has fixed this problem? If I can use it as both an HD and SD card, I'd pay the extra $40.

2) How much Hard drive space does it take per hour of HD programming? I have 460GB total of video space will this be enough?

3) What Antenna to get. I just want a small indoor antenna. One that won't look like hell in my living room, and can recieve HD signals from 23 miles away.

Any help would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2006, 10:50 PM
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Hi,

I use two of the vbox usb tuners. I had a little weirdness with the driver install, but it all worked out ok. The tuners are working great with sage.

I average about 7gig per hour of OTA HD.

So far this winter I have had good luck with my attic mounted antenna (Channel Master 4228). We will see how things go once the leaves are back on the trees.

For an actual "in the house" antenna I would try looking on the avs forums. There is alot of OTA HD reception/antenna info there. You may also want to try solid signal (http://www.solidsignal.com/ ) for some recomendations.

HTH.

Jesse
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2006, 06:40 AM
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Hi,

I went through about 10 different indoor antennas and had terrible luck with all of them. Most of my towers are less than 5 miles away and the farthest is under 10 miles. I think you will find that indoor antennas, especially small ones are not going to do the job. I have the Channel Master 4221 - it is the smaller version of what Jesse has and it is split 4 times with no amplication wihtout too many problems. I have 3 of the VBOX USB Tuners and they have been great for me now that the latest SageTV Beta has resolved most of the initial issues I had.

John
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  #4  
Old 03-13-2006, 07:49 AM
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I have never had any luck with Indoor VHF/UHF/HDTV Antennas, and I tired. Beleave me, I did not want to take my fat a$$ up to my 3rd story roof to plant a outdoor antenna. But after going though/buying 3 indoors that worked like crap, that's what I ended up having to do.
Farthest tower is under 5 miles from me, but still Indood Antenna's was a no go.

Last edited by Fluffdaddy; 03-13-2006 at 07:54 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-13-2006, 09:02 AM
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I'm glad people seem to like the cats eye. That is really my preferred choice.

jptaz, Fluffdaddy, I see that you live in Philly, and Detroit. Could being in the city make your reception worse (fingers crossed)? I was hoping that since I live in the suburbs and there are no tall buildings near me that I might be able to get away with the indoor antenna. Jesse, I'll definately check out the antenna resources you mentioned. I don't know if this helps, but according to antennaweb, all of the channels I am interested in receiving are broadcasting from the same direction (southwest about 23 miles away) that means I can use a directional antenna which focuses at a specific location. If you can't tell I am still hoping to be able to use an indoor antenna. If I do get one I will have to get locally since there seems to be a pretty good chance I'll be taking it back.

Hey thanks for the replies, keep em coming.
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Last edited by DFranch; 03-13-2006 at 09:14 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2006, 09:55 AM
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That could be it.
I'm in the city and have many many buildings, homes and trees between my home and the Towers. Plus my media room being below ground did not help. But I was not happy with the indoor Antenna placed in my 2nd floor bedroom either. Hope it works out better for you
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2006, 10:38 AM
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Hi,

Do you have an attic? If you do then you could give that a go. I should also mention that I am using a preamp (Channel Master 7777) with my attic mounted antenna.

Is there some reason you cannot use an outdoor antenna? If it is an HOA thing then you should know that it is illegal for them to try and prohibit you from mounting an antenna on your roof.

Jesse
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  #8  
Old 03-13-2006, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse
Hi,

Do you have an attic? If you do then you could give that a go. I should also mention that I am using a preamp (Channel Master 7777) with my attic mounted antenna.

Is there some reason you cannot use an outdoor antenna? If it is an HOA thing then you should know that it is illegal for them to try and prohibit you from mounting an antenna on your roof.

Jesse
I really just don't like rooftop antenna's. It feels so antiquated, like i'm back in the 70's or something. I would go as far as an attic antenna. although I'm not looking forward to running the wire. the OTA HD card is more of a stop gap measure, to allow me to record some shows in HD. I'm really waiting for some way to record HD cable directly (or direct tv, although I'm not a fan of putting the dish on my house).
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2006, 01:00 PM
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Hi,

Quote:
I really just don't like rooftop antenna's. It feels so antiquated, like i'm back in the 70's or something.
My wife feels the same way. That is why my antenna is in the attic.

I too did it as a stopgap until I can get a DTV pci card. But now that I have it working I cant see why I would not stick with it. Perhaps as more and more non OTA channels go HD I may change my mind. I have also read lots of posts here and there about how much better the pq is with OTA than DTV or Cable provided HD.

As far as the cable run, it was a Serious B!$#&. I went all the way from the attic to the basement (two story house). A buddy of mine just punched through the gable an ran his on the outside of the house. Tucked it in nicely and painted over it. Much easier and not really visible.

Jesse
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2006, 01:36 PM
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I have the DVICO Fusion 5 Gold USB and one of these little passive antenna's that I came with it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...87157?n=172282
Its a tiny antenna, I bought it from a friend with the DVICO, I don't know if they retail with the antenna or not. I live 10 miles from the broadcast towers in Seattle, I can actually see 3 of them from my window. I have that little antenna sitting on the window sill behind my TV and it pulls in signals at about 90-99% signal quality. But thats just me, and I live on the top floor of my building. Your mileage may vary.

Opinion of the DVICO? Mixed, its a little slow to tune. Subchannel tuning is a little quirkey, Picture quality is good though and I think people have been having similar issues with all the HD OTA tuners and SageTV. The Dvico software is much faster and predicatble.
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  #11  
Old 03-13-2006, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse
Hi,



My wife feels the same way. That is why my antenna is in the attic.

I too did it as a stopgap until I can get a DTV pci card. But now that I have it working I cant see why I would not stick with it. Perhaps as more and more non OTA channels go HD I may change my mind. I have also read lots of posts here and there about how much better the pq is with OTA than DTV or Cable provided HD.

As far as the cable run, it was a Serious B!$#&. I went all the way from the attic to the basement (two story house). A buddy of mine just punched through the gable an ran his on the outside of the house. Tucked it in nicely and painted over it. Much easier and not really visible.

Jesse
OTA only gets you local channels. ESPN, FX, Sci-Fi plus a couple of others will only be available via cable or DTV. My main reason to get the HD tuner is to justify getting a 42 inch LCD to my wife. The Conversation went something like this
Wife: "Why do you want a HDTV when you can't record a single show in HD?"
Me: "Duh"

I hate it when she makes a good point. This way I can say I can record several shows in HD, and here comes 42" of 1080P goodness.
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  #12  
Old 03-13-2006, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFranch
My main reason to get the HD tuner is to justify getting a 42 inch LCD to my wife. The Conversation went something like this
Wife: "Why do you want a HDTV when you can't record a single show in HD?"
Me: "Duh"
You should have said "I can't record a singe show in HD Yet"

I bought a 37" 1080p monitor in January and havenít regretted it for a second. It was worth it for DVD viewing alone. Plus you can actually use it for something other than TV, surfing the net etc.

Here is what you do once you get your new set. Plug in your old DVD player with the composite cable to the HDTV, then hook up your new TV to the best possible signal from your HTPC, in my case thatís via DVI at 1920 x 1080. Make sure you have a nice video card that can do some fancy de-interlacing. I use a 6600gt (wouldn't go any cheaper) with the nVidia PureVideo Decoders (purchased separately). Play the same DVD in the DVD player and then on your HTPC. Unless you have an exceptional DVD player you should definably be able to tell the difference. For me it was actually a jaw dropping experience. Thatís when the wife said, ďOh, I get it nowĒ Then show her some digital family photoís. Load up Martha Stwerart.com from the couch. Sheíll catch on quick.

Iím still working out the HDTV kinks with Sage. Event though SD looks better on my new LCD than it did on my SD tube set, the picture in HD just doesnít compare. Itís been a couple of months now and I still get excited to watch HD programming or pop in a DVD.

I really didnít know what I was missing, until I made the switch. I will never ever consider buying another SD set.
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  #13  
Old 03-13-2006, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humanzee
You should have said "I can't record a singe show in HD Yet"

I bought a 37" 1080p monitor in January and havenít regretted it for a second. It was worth it for DVD viewing alone. Plus you can actually use it for something other than TV, surfing the net etc.

Here is what you do once you get your new set. Plug in your old DVD player with the composite cable to the HDTV, then hook up your new TV to the best possible signal from your HTPC, in my case thatís via DVI at 1920 x 1080. Make sure you have a nice video card that can do some fancy de-interlacing. I use a 6600gt (wouldn't go any cheaper) with the nVidia PureVideo Decoders (purchased separately). Play the same DVD in the DVD player and then on your HTPC. Unless you have an exceptional DVD player you should definably be able to tell the difference. For me it was actually a jaw dropping experience. Thatís when the wife said, ďOh, I get it nowĒ Then show her some digital family photoís. Load up Martha Stwerart.com from the couch. Sheíll catch on quick.

Iím still working out the HDTV kinks with Sage. Event though SD looks better on my new LCD than it did on my SD tube set, the picture in HD just doesnít compare. Itís been a couple of months now and I still get excited to watch HD programming or pop in a DVD.

I really didnít know what I was missing, until I made the switch. I will never ever consider buying another SD set.
I see you have the 37" westinghouse. I'm looking very closely at their 42" 1080P set which is just coming out. I have a 6600GT (PCI Express) laying in my closet, but no motherboard/processor to mate it with. I'm hoping to get by with the system in my signature Athlon XP 2500+, radeon 9700 PRO. If I can hold off until x-mas I'll probably upgrade my gaming machine to new AM2 motherboard, and CPU, freeing up my nforce4 mboard and Athlon 64 3500+.
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Old 03-13-2006, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFranch
I see you have the 37" westinghouse. I'm looking very closely at their 42" 1080P set which is just coming out. I have a 6600GT (PCI Express) laying in my closet, but no motherboard/processor to mate it with. I'm hoping to get by with the system in my signature Athlon XP 2500+, radeon 9700 PRO. If I can hold off until x-mas I'll probably upgrade my gaming machine to new AM2 motherboard, and CPU, freeing up my nforce4 mboard and Athlon 64 3500+.
2500+ may or may not be enough, I am having problems with enough CPU horsepower with a 3200+ I think it might be a Sage issue and not a CPU issue though as things play fine with low CPU usage outside of SageTV.

I love my Westinghouse. I wrote about it in this thread. http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16664
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:46 PM
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Hi,

Quote:
OTA only gets you local channels. ESPN, FX, Sci-Fi plus a couple of others will only be available via cable or DTV.
I had heard ESPN had programming in HD, I did not know that FX and Sci-Fi were offering anything as of yet. Of course you cant go into any electronics store without seeing Discovery HD. I have heard that the next two cable/sat channels that will be offering HD are Food and HGTV. It is my understanding that these are the two most popular channels on pay tv.

Who knows if a DTV pci card will ever be available. In any case I am hoping that this will: http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16615

Quote:
My main reason to get the HD tuner is to justify getting a 42 inch LCD to my wife. The Conversation went something like this
Wife: "Why do you want a HDTV when you can't record a single show in HD?"
Me: "Duh"

I hate it when she makes a good point. This way I can say I can record several shows in HD, and here comes 42" of 1080P goodness.
Yeah, I've had that conversation. . I just told her that if we had that beautiful panasonic plasma that I would have a reason to set sage up to record in HD. Everytime she watches it it makes her smile.

Jesse


BTW, I would look hard at a plasma vs. an LCD. My .02
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFranch
I'm glad people seem to like the cats eye. That is really my preferred choice.

jptaz, Fluffdaddy, I see that you live in Philly, and Detroit. Could being in the city make your reception worse (fingers crossed)?
Actually I am not in the Detroit proper, but actually in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. I have no big trees between me and the towers and I am one the few 2 story buildings in my neighborhood. If weather conditions are perfect I can get reception with an FM wire antenna that came with my stereo you know the cheap string thing that is only 3 feet long. The problem is that if it rains, is windy, lightning, someone farts by the tower I lose signal and it dies. With my attic mounted antanna It has to be one hell of a storm before I get any pixelation and even that is rare. We are talking OTA so there is still the occasionally hiccup, but considering I have no amp and I am splitting it 4 ways dollar for dollar the channel master UHF anntennas are much better value than the any indoor antenna. If you going to try an indoor antenna try a small bow tie from Radio shack like this: http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search

If an indoor works for you great...but wait for the first rainy day or storm and see if the indoor antenna still works for you.

John
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humanzee
I have the DVICO Fusion 5 Gold USB and one of these little passive antenna's that I came with it.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...87157?n=172282
Its a tiny antenna, I bought it from a friend with the DVICO, I don't know if they retail with the antenna or not.
I tried this actual unit and it worked a little better than the other indoor antennas, but still failed misserably when the weather was not perfect. I think Humanzee could probably use my cheesy FM wire and get good reception based on his perfect unobtructed view of 3 towers and distance.

John
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Old 03-14-2006, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse
Hi,

I did not know that FX and Sci-Fi were offering anything as of yet.
They don't. I'm anticipating once the crossover occurs to HD that these are 2 channels I will want. ESPN will have Monday night football this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse
BTW, I would look hard at a plasma vs. an LCD. My .02
Before I buy anything I'm going to look at all of the different technologies. I have so far been looking at LCD, but I'll evaluate DLP & Plasma before I buy. My early impressions are:

DLP: I don't like that it has a bulb I have to replace. The bulb is supposed to last like 10000 hours, but there are many reports of them blowing much quicker. Plus the bulb costs $150 - $300. I've also hears of a lag playing console (xbox, ps2) on DLP.

Plasma: I will admit that I haven't looked too much at Plasma, mostly because it is just too expensive. I'm planing on re-evaluating when I actually make my purchase. Thing is there are not really any 1080P plasmas, and they will be very expensive when they come out. I can get a 1080P westinghouse today for like $2500 (hopefully less by summer).
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jptaz
I think Humanzee could probably use my cheesy FM wire and get good reception based on his perfect unobtructed view of 3 towers and distance.
Probably Correct.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DFranch
Before I buy anything I'm going to look at all of the different technologies. I have so far been looking at LCD, but I'll evaluate DLP & Plasma before I buy. My early impressions are:

DLP: I don't like that it has a bulb I have to replace. The bulb is supposed to last like 10000 hours, but there are many reports of them blowing much quicker. Plus the bulb costs $150 - $300. I've also hears of a lag playing console (xbox, ps2) on DLP.

Plasma: I will admit that I haven't looked too much at Plasma, mostly because it is just too expensive. I'm planing on re-evaluating when I actually make my purchase. Thing is there are not really any 1080P plasmas, and they will be very expensive when they come out. I can get a 1080P westinghouse today for like $2500 (hopefully less by summer).
I didn't like that fact that there are moving parts in the DLP. Plus the bulb issue. I was looking closely at the LCoS technology, Liquid Crystal on Silicon. It is similar to LCD rear Projection but has better resolution and color levels. It is also one of the only options for Rear Projection at 1080p. JVC has some sweet LCoS sets, big ones too.

I then realized that I don't really have the room for an ultra big set at the moment so I started looking for smaller options. My desire for 1080p excluded plasma at the time, which also concerned me from a burn in perspective when used with a PC. (less of an issue these days I hear)

People say LCD isn't as fast at frame rate and you can't get truly black blacks but I haven’t noticed. I don’t game on the HTPC and it’s so much better than what I had before, I can't even compare.

One additional advantage to the Westinghouse (at least the 37") is that it is a set up as a computer monitor. You plug it into your computer and it is detected as a monitor. I.e. it also responds to the EnergyStar power saving features of the OS. The monitor will turn it self on/off/stand by when there is no signal or when windows tells it to. I can fall asleep on the couch and wake up to find the TV off and Sage Sleeping after the end of a program. I don't know how many Plasma's have DVI/VGA and will do that.

It all just seemed to make more sence for a HTPC end use to look for a big monitor rather than a HDTV for more money that can't perform as high a resolution. That being said the only thing the 37" Westy lacks is a built in HDTV Tuner and an HDMI port. Which I wouldn't use with the HTPC anyway. I looks like the 42" Westy now has HDMI also, so I would call it a no brainer.

Last edited by Humanzee; 03-14-2006 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humanzee
People say LCD isn't as fast at frame rate and you can't get truly black blacks but I havenít noticed. I donít game on the HTPC and itís so much better than what I had before, I can't even compare.
I've heard the black blacks argument as well. I'm willing to give up a little on the black to get higher resolution, plus LCD's are supposed to better in brighter conditions, where plasma needs a darker room. Show me a 42" plasma with 1080P for $2500 and I might change my tune.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Humanzee
That being said the only thing the 37" Westy lacks is a built in HDTV Tuner and an HDMI port. Which I wouldn't use with the HTPC anyway. I looks like the 42" Westy now has HDMI also, so I would call it a no brainer.
I can't wait until Best Buy gets the 42" Westy tv in the store so I can have a look at it. Supposedly they have them in the warehouse, but I'm not spending $2500 without taking a look at it first.
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