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Old 12-29-2020, 05:44 PM
wayner wayner is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 7,491
Synchronized playback across multiple extenders.

Does anyone remember anyone working on synchronized playback across multiple extenders?

What I am thinking of is that you would create a group of multiple clients - they could be miniclients or full clients.

You would start playback with a webUI command that would go out to the multiple extenders. Then you could have one extender that acts as the captain and when it receives transport commands it could send the same commands to the other clients. Or you could send out the transport commands to all clients one after another - hopefully you wouldn't flood the Jetty webserver. As long as you were using control via IP, say from your phone, you should be able to be anywhere in the house and control the playback.

This would essentially be a virtual type of distributed video.
New Server - Sage9 on unRAID 2xHD-PVR, HDHR for OTA
Old Server - Sage7 on Win7Pro-i660CPU with 4.6TB, HD-PVR, HDHR OTA, HVR-1850 OTA
Clients - 2xHD-300, 8xHD-200 Extenders, Client+2xPlaceshifter and a WHS which acts as a backup Sage server
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Old 12-30-2020, 11:25 AM
sic0048 sic0048 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,400
Even if you could work out a solution where there was a master device that all the other devices listened to, the biggest issue is going to be keeping the video time aligned with each other. There is simply too much jitter in network communications to pass audio and video without accounting for the time element.

You can try this yourself already. Playback the same show on two different extenders and even if you can line them up exactly at the start, by the end of a 30 minute show, they are not playing together anymore. That's due to jitter in the transmission.

In critical audio/video applications that use networks to send and receive data, they all have to use some sort of "master clock" scheme where one device sends out timing information that the other devices use to keep everything synced up. I know they have very expensive hardware units that are used as clocks in video, but I don't know if there is a software solution or not.

All that being said, there is another solution. Handling the video distribution using hardware - either a component video or HDMI matrix distribution system. Basically you hook up your inputs (source devices like SageTV extenders) and outputs (TVs connected via component video or HMDI) and the box allows you to show any input on any output. You can watch the same input on multiple outputs at the same time and there isn't any timing issues because there is only a single video stream being vs trying to time multiple devices at each TV.

I've done this for years with component video matrix switchers and it has been great to watch things on multiple TVs at the same time. Our great room has our main TV, but also a smaller TV located on a wall that faces an "office" area that is off to the side and cannot see the main TV. It's great to watch the same thing on both TVs if you are doing work at one of the desks. We also use it during larger gatherings (usually to watch sporting events) if people will be moving between rooms and we want to watch the same show on all TVs. This takes away the situation where one TV is out of synch and you hear the yelling of a big play from another room where the TV is slightly ahead of the TV you are watching.

Of course now it is getting harder and harder to find TVs that have component video inputs. Luckily the Sage HD300's will output HDMI and component video at the same time, so I've simply hooked the HDMI video up to the new TV while still using the component video and the matrix switch to send the video out to the other TVs.

Of course this requires a couple of things. First you have to buy the matrix switcher. Luckily, because no one uses component video anymore, these matrix switchers are dirt cheap on sites like EBay. Even HDMI matrix switchers are coming down in cost - although they are still a little too high for my tastes. Hopefully they will continue to fall in price however. Then you have to run wiring to the TVs to support this. I live in an older home, but can access about 80% of my house from attic spaces, so I've been able to run wiring myself pretty easily. Lastly, you have to have some sort of system set up to control all of this. With systems like the Harmony Hub that use RF signals, this is getting easier and easier. I've had a home automation system in my house for nearly 15 years and I have used that system to control the video distribution system.

I realize that my solution isn't necessarily easy. But it is available today without having to wait on someone to create a working solution within SageTV. Honestly because of the timing issues, I don't see this feature ever coming either.
i7-6700 server with about 10tb of space currently
SageTV v9 (64bit)
Ceton InfiniTV ETH 6 cable card tuner (Spectrum cable)
HD-300 HD Extenders (hooked to my whole-house A/V system for synched playback on multiple TVs - great during a Superbowl party)
Amazon Firestick 4k and Nvidia Shield using the MiniClient
Using CQC to control it all

Last edited by sic0048; 12-30-2020 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 12-30-2020, 03:08 PM
wayner wayner is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 7,491
Thanks for the feedback. I didn't realize that there would be that much jitter. This was kind of something that I was thinking of playing around with that would more easily allow multi-room playback rather than how it works currently in Sage where you have to stop and exit the video file on one client and then restart on another client. I will sometimes move between my office and kitchen and it would be nice to have more seemless playback between the two.

I am quite familiar with centralized video distribution. I have had a Control4 home automation system for about 14 years and I spend a lot of time on internet forums relating to C4 (as well as SageTV - and I have written a Control4 driver for SageTV). Lots of people in the Control4 world have centralized video systems, but I never saw too much need for it as SageTV with extenders gave you most of the benefit at a fraction of the cost. But I have implemented a distributed (or at least partially distributed) audio system with ceiling speakers in many rooms. And in parts of my second floor I have a 1:3 HDMI splitter so that three TVs can watch the same content. My house is like yours where I have attic access to most parts of the house.

Centralized video with HDMI switching used to be something that would easily cost $20-30k. The switches were often more than $10k and then you needed to run the cabling which is either long HDMI cables or use ethernet cabling with HDMI over ethernet solutions. And if you can't or won't do it yourself then there is a lot of labor involved.

There are now some better solutions like Just Add Power that make things a bit easier. If I were to do this I would explore VideoStorm NetPlay which sends the content over your regular LAN, so it doesn't need dedicated cabling, and it uses AndroidTV devices (or FireTVs) as receivers at each video endpoint. For content that is not native digitally it uses encoders that are the same as what some SageTV folks are using (see the thread on the BM-1000). Part of the problem is that this all becomes obsolete pretty quickly - which you found out with Component video. You appear to be two generations behind as we went from Component video to 1080pHDMI to 4K HDMI. You could have easily spent another $20k on moving from component to 1080 HDMI and then again moving to 4K.

The Control4 system is pretty good but they have a dealer model so it is not as DIY as what a geek like me would like, but there are ways around that. The system uses Zigbee and the remotes work throughout the house. Control4 is also pretty broad in that it can control almost evertying - video, audio, lighting, blinds, security, cameras, garage door, HVAC, fireplaces, etc.

You have CQC which I believe is a bit more of a DIY solution, but you can likely achieve much of what you can do in C4 if you have the tech savviness.
New Server - Sage9 on unRAID 2xHD-PVR, HDHR for OTA
Old Server - Sage7 on Win7Pro-i660CPU with 4.6TB, HD-PVR, HDHR OTA, HVR-1850 OTA
Clients - 2xHD-300, 8xHD-200 Extenders, Client+2xPlaceshifter and a WHS which acts as a backup Sage server
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