Record once, play everywhere - Is this feasible? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I am about to move into my new apartment in Chicago which comes with DirecTV. With a few days before the move, I'm trying to figure out if the following is feasible:

I have 2 TVs and 2 laptops. Each of the 2 TVs has a HTPC attached to it.

I want to be able to view live TV and manage my recordings through Windows Media Center on both the TVs and the laptops. I want a recording made on one of my TVs to be possible to view on one of my laptops seamlessly (and vice versa).

What do you guys think? Will a combination of Windows 7, Windows Home Server and some hardware get this done?

Thank you in advance

[moved here from HDTV Recorders]
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post #2 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 01:46 AM
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2 TVs, 2 laptops, and you want to be able to view live TV and recorded TV on every device?

If that's the case, I don't know of a great way to achieve what you want. Especially with DTV (no Cablecard support), the only way I know to get what you want would be very expensive and cumbersome.

To get DTV into the computer (so you can DVR it using 7MC), you're going to probably need something like an HDPVR:

http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html

And a STB (DirecTV Box) for each HDPVR. The HDPVR will use that box to tune the channels and take the component output, encode it, and then present it up to your DVR application for recording.

These recordings will be viewable on any computer in the house (when they are finished), so that hits your requirement for DVR. However, your requirement for LiveTV requires more hardware... You'll also need an XB360 (XBox 360) at each TV to serve as a media extender. This will allow you to view LiveTV and Recorded TV with the full Media Center interface (which, BTW, is very, very nice).

So, a few HD-PVRs, the same number of DTV receivers, and a few XBox 360s will get you very close to what you want. The technology that you really want is known as "Softsled" and does not exist. This is the ability to make a computer function as an extender (so you can watch live TV and have the full 7MC interface).. It's something we all desperately want, but, today, the best compromise is a computer AND an XB360 at each TV.

Hope this helps.


Quote:
Originally Posted by angelosp View Post

Hi all,

I am about to move into my new apartment in Chicago which comes with DirecTV. With a few days before the move, I'm trying to figure out if the following is feasible:

I have 2 TVs and 2 laptops. Each of the 2 TVs has a HTPC attached to it.

I want to be able to view live TV and manage my recordings through Windows Media Center on both the TVs and the laptops. I want a recording made on one of my TVs to be possible to view on one of my laptops seamlessly (and vice versa).

What do you guys think? Will a combination of Windows 7, Windows Home Server and some hardware get this done?

Thank you in advance

[moved here from HDTV Recorders]


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post #3 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 05:22 AM
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Quote:


The technology that you really want is known as "Softsled" and does not exist. This is the ability to make a computer function as an extender (so you can watch live TV and have the full 7MC interface).. It's something we all desperately want,

It does exist. Just not for WMC.

OP, run SageTV on one of the computers with the afore mentioned HDPVR 1212 capturing the HD feed off your cable box. Then get a copy of SageTV Client (this softsled option as some people call it) to run any remaining computers you want to have full DVR capabilities on. Finally, get a SageTV HD300 hardware extender for any remaining TVs that don’t have a computer hooked to them.

Then you will have full DVR control (watch live, watch recordings, setup recordings, delete shows, etc.) at each monitor in the apartment.

www.sagetv.com

-Suntan
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post #4 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 06:17 AM
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So what prevents this? Is it because the files are being recorded with DRM? And then it prevents them from being shared across a network?
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post #5 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 06:39 AM
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The prevention is in the only reliable and supported and not super expensive way to record satellite to a DVR is with the HD-PVR. WMC currently only supports one of these tuners. Also, WMC's only option for an extender is an xbox360.

Suntan is right, SageTV is the way to go. I've been a happy user for the past 2.5 years after originally having SageTV 2.x and then switching to WMC because it just "worked" (I only used one tuner - nonHD) and then switched back to Sage and couldn't be happier.
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post #6 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 06:49 AM
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It's not about DRM, which isn't an issue with the HD-PVR anyway since it records from component output. It's that MS, in their infinite wisdom, has never released a software-based Media Center client that people can install on their PCs.

It's particularly frustrating now because there are so many affordable hardware options like nettops and the Atom/ION systems available that could function perfectly as extenders. Many don't want to have to resort to using an XBOX, or try to find one of the old v2 extenders that are no longer made, in order to access MC.

It can't be that difficult for MS to make 7MC client software available. I'd even pay a reasonable fee for the privledge.

/rant
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post #7 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 07:55 AM
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I saw angelsop's post the other day and just found where it was moved to.
I'm less knowledgeable of this technology than almost all of you but I'm very interested in what Sage TV, or other systems, seems to offer.
I went to the Sage site but found mostly advertising.
I did a search and found reviews but not too much help with the how too's.
I'd like to be able to do much of what angelosp was asking about.
Is there an area that is toned down to my level.
I'd like to get answers to my needs and help as to how to go about getting started and what I need to get started without wasting too much of your time.
I'm with TW Cable using a HD-DVR (SA8300HDC) and I have an older (2yrs) win 7 laptop as my computer right now.
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post #8 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodeye View Post

I'm less knowledgeable of this technology than almost all of you but I'm very interested in what Sage TV, or other systems, seems to offer.

Joined in 2004 and this is your first post? Welcome...er...sorta.

SageTV doesn't do a very good job of explaining all that their system can do. If anything, they tend to focus on existing customers, and kind of expect a person already knows what Sage is about. Good for existing customers that enjoy updates and getting requested features added, not so good for attracting new customers.

This goes for the community as well as the company. It is unfortunate that there really isn't a good getting started area anywhere on Sage's website.

I would suggest starting here: http://www.geektonic.com/2008/11/sag...ate-guide.html


Also, have a look around their forums. http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/ and check out this thread about the upcoming version 7

http://forums.sage.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=48421

Further, have a look at the manual for the HD 300 if you are interested in having a hardware extender instead of running computers at each TV.

http://download.sage.tv/SageTV_HD300_Manual.pdf

Then download a copy (they offer a 21 day free trial) and play around with it. Unfortunately, you won't get a whole lot out of it if you don't have a tuner or an HD PVR 1212 unit to actually get recordings, but it will give you a flavor of it.

Once you get your bearings, feel free to ask questions here or over in the sage forums.

-Suntan
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post #9 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies. I guess I can't get what I really want right now.

Although I appreciate the suggested solutions, they are not polished enough for my taste. I am sure I could get one of the suggested solutions to work, but I can see myself spending more time dealing with problems rather than enjoying my TV.
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefcake View Post

Also, WMC's only option for an extender is an xbox360.

I am interested in this as well. I have a TV with a home built PVR. I record OTA TV in the living room and we would like the ability to watch the shows upstairs in the bedroom. I was lloking at a Linksys DMA2200 as an option, but when I read this, I was concerned. Eventually I will be building a NAS with all of our DVDs and stuff copied there, and the PVR moved out of the living room recording shows somewhere else, while I replace it in the living room with a DMA2200. Is my plan doomed?
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 12:16 PM
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The DMA2200 is WMC extender but it is no longer in production (hasn't been for while) and while you can still find some units out there, you will be buying dead technology with no support. The good news is that for what you want to do you do NOT need an extender. Extenders are only required to view LIVE tv or recordings from cablecards that were flagged with DRM. If all you want is the ability to play RECORDED shows from OTA then any windows media center pc will do just fine. You can share recordedtv libraries with as many media center PCs as you want. I personally do all my recordings on one media center PC but share the recorded shows with three other HTPCs so that I can watch on any TV any time I want.
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post #12 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrexhau View Post

I am interested in this as well. I have a TV with a home built PVR. I record OTA TV in the living room and we would like the ability to watch the shows upstairs in the bedroom. I was lloking at a Linksys DMA2200 as an option, but when I read this, I was concerned. Eventually I will be building a NAS with all of our DVDs and stuff copied there, and the PVR moved out of the living room recording shows somewhere else, while I replace it in the living room with a DMA2200. Is my plan doomed?

the dma2100/2200 will work fine if all you want to do is watch tv or recordings. it falls apart when you want to do something like watch ripped dvds. mkvs/avis are hit or miss. you can forget about bds.
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post #13 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

It does exist. Just not for WMC.

OP, run SageTV on one of the computers with the afore mentioned HDPVR 1212 capturing the HD feed off your cable box. Then get a copy of SageTV Client (this softsled option as some people call it) to run any remaining computers you want to have full DVR capabilities on. Finally, get a SageTV HD300 hardware extender for any remaining TVs that don’t have a computer hooked to them.

Then you will have full DVR control (watch live, watch recordings, setup recordings, delete shows, etc.) at each monitor in the apartment.

www.sagetv.com

-Suntan


Or if you want a free alternative try Mediaportal. Sage has some nice qualities, but mediaportal does as well and its free! Much like Sage just install the Server on one machine (with the tv tuners) and clients elsewhere.
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 06:08 PM
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The question asked was to be able to watch live tv on any of the devices. Which is completely possible with any ota tuner.

The second part of the question was to be able to watch a recorded show on any of the devices... which IS capable through sharing on your home network.

All of the Sage TV folks need to stop giving advice as if their solution is the only one.

This person did not ask to be able to watch the live recording he is recording on device a to be able to be streamed to device b. I concur that this setup would require sage, or tuner sharing.

Your solution is already possible if you purchase one tuner, and as long as all devices are W7 you should be able to make a home network and share the recordings wherever you want. To get live TV each device would need it's own tuner... which for OTA equipment isn't that expensive. Anywhere from $50 for just a card to about $100 for a card and remote.

Or you could start investing in Sage, but I don't believe the software is very cheap. I think it is somewhere around $80 for a copy for each device.
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post #15 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJHTPC View Post

This person did not ask to be able to watch the live recording he is recording on device a to be able to be streamed to device b. I concur that this setup would require sage, or tuner sharing.

But even with 7MC, you can watch time-shifted content that is in the process of being recorded on device a from device b. The only pitfall (at least in my system) is that if you, for example start watching something from the bedroom that started getting recorded in the den 20 minutes ago, it will appear as though that recording is only 20 minutes long, and will not update as it continues recording. After watching the first 20 mins, I have to stop playback, then resume for it to "see" what's been recorded since the previous playback initiation.

So stream, no, but playback of currently recording content, yes, with a bit of inconvenience.

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post #16 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelosp View Post

Thank you all for your replies. I guess I can't get what I really want right now.

Although I appreciate the suggested solutions, they are not polished enough for my taste. I am sure I could get one of the suggested solutions to work, but I can see myself spending more time dealing with problems rather than enjoying my TV.

What's not polished enough for you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJHTPC View Post

All of the Sage TV folks need to stop giving advice as if their solution is the only one.

Frankly it is only the complete, integrated solution. Well MythTV too I think.

Quote:


Your solution is already possible if you purchase one tuner, and as long as all devices are W7 you should be able to make a home network and share the recordings wherever you want. To get live TV each device would need it's own tuner... which for OTA equipment isn't that expensive. Anywhere from $50 for just a card to about $100 for a card and remote.

But you can't schedule recordings, or browse the EPG from other PCs.

Quote:


Or you could start investing in Sage, but I don't believe the software is very cheap. I think it is somewhere around $80 for a copy for each device.

Absolutely incorrect, it's $80 for the server software. Clients are $30, either per PC or per seat, depending on if you run Placeshifter or Client.

And of course there are in-production extenders that actually have real/good format support.

All of the WMC folks need to stop giving advice as if their solution is better than everything else for everything.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #17 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

All of the WMC folks need to stop giving advice as if their solution is better than everything else for everything.

Hey I didn't say sage didn't work or the WMC was any better. I just said that there are other alternatives. Further up some people claimed some information that just isn't true. I wanted to dispell that... not spout that WMC is the best solution, just a reasonable solution.
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post #18 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 07:23 PM
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OK, so I should forget the dma2200 if I want to be able to watch Bluray streamed from another computer? Bummer.

It sounds like the cheapest solution would just be to plug in a laptop to the tv in the bedroom and network it. I really don't have the money right now to build a $350 computer just for this. I briefly looked at the Guide to building an HD HTPC, and I didn't see a recommendation for just an "extender" computer. Are the low end AMDs good enough?
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post #19 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJHTPC View Post

Hey I didn't say sage didn't work or the WMC was any better. I just said that there are other alternatives. Further up some people claimed some information that just isn't true. I wanted to dispell that... not spout that WMC is the best solution, just a reasonable solution.

Ligthen up brother. My comment about "it not existing in WMC" was directly related to someone (not the OP) talking about client capabilities (this thing WMC types keep calling "softsled") which in fact does not exist for WMC users.

Anyway, all posts I make here are based on the assumption that the people looking for answers will actually use the information as a *starting point* for further research on their own. Not just act blindy like a dog chasing a ball that the owner pretended to throw.

Lastly, if a guy wants to peper 1 tuner per PC around their house and then constantly play the "which room should I set this next recording up in" game, I suppose you woud meet the original request, but I'd hardly call that seemless.

-Suntan
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post #20 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 09:49 PM
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Thanks for this thread, i was looking for doing something like this.

If going with Tuners in every HTPC, then it would be easy to just set the recordings to go to a network share, then every recording can be at the same spot and watched from anywhere very easy.

But if the HTPCs are connected to a TV that has a tuner of its own then why not just use that for watching TV? and then the HTPC for watching recordings from a network share, recorded on the main HTPC.

Granted you can only schedule new record on the main HTPC with the tuner, but for me that not a big problem.

Microsoft should upgrade media center so they could connect for every function, but we might wait very long time for that.

How is watching Recordings from a network share? Will it be a list of files, or just like on the recording HTPC?
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post #21 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freak1 View Post

How is watching Recordings from a network share? Will it be a list of files, or just like on the recording HTPC?

Obviously there's lots of ways to skin a cat, particularly with computers. I'll tell you how *I* do it, but there may be better ways (I don't know): I have two dual-tuner HDHomeRuns, so I have four tuners to play with. I also have some USB tuners to add to the "main" HTPC in the den, but have never gotten around to it (not sure that I've ever used more than 2 of the 4 HDHomeRun tuners at the same time). We pretty much always set up all of our recordings in the den, as we do 90%+ of our viewing in there. The recordings automatically archive to WHS every night. The individual HTPCs are set up to "view" local and networked shows, so when pulling up the list of recordings, they are all just there. Whether the recording is actually on the local PC or on the server is transparent to the user. It's just a list of shows (sorted by name, date, whatever), without any obvious indication of where that show resides. So it's all fairly seamless with the exception of the situation I outlined previously (watching a slightly time-slipped show on one PC that is being recorded on another). But we don't do that often.

I should note that we primarily use them for local channels: I have DirecTV, and just use their DVRs for "premium" content. I get basic cable "free" since I have cable internet, and that's what the HDHomeRun tuners are connected to (I also have an antenna, but there was already cable where I put the tuners, and I was too lazy to run an OTA cable over there). Trying to do what I do with premium cable or satellite would be a little more complex. I've had an HDPVR for well over a year (for getting content from the DirecTV boxes to the HTPC), but have yet to take it out of the box. I'm the man with 1000 unfinished projects.

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post #22 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrexhau View Post

OK, so I should forget the dma2200 if I want to be able to watch Bluray streamed from another computer? Bummer.

It sounds like the cheapest solution would just be to plug in a laptop to the tv in the bedroom and network it. I really don't have the money right now to build a $350 computer just for this. I briefly looked at the Guide to building an HD HTPC, and I didn't see a recommendation for just an "extender" computer. Are the low end AMDs good enough?

you should forget about 7mc if you want a system that allows you to watch dvds or bds on anything other than the main htpc.

another option already mentioned would be a sage extender. sage extenders cost $150, are silent, fast and play everything.
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post #23 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freak1 View Post

How is watching Recordings from a network share? Will it be a list of files, or just like on the recording HTPC?

in 7mc, if you add the network share as a watched recorded tv folder, it will look exactly like it does on the main htpc. this feature actually works pretty well in 7mc.

sage works the same way.
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post #24 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrexhau View Post

OK, so I should forget the dma2200 if I want to be able to watch Bluray streamed from another computer? Bummer.

And forget the Xbox 360 unless you're willing to do a lot of remuxing or transcoding.

Quote:


It sounds like the cheapest solution would just be to plug in a laptop to the tv in the bedroom and network it. I really don't have the money right now to build a $350 computer just for this.

The cheapest solution is probably the SageTV HD extender. $199 gets you the SageTV software (which manages all your TV and media centrally) and an HD extender for the other room, which can play pretty much anything, including DVDs (Full menu functionality) and BDs (no menus, but chapter/title selection).

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post #25 of 25 Old 12-03-2010, 10:45 AM
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Another vote for SageTV. It's the best PVR software out there.
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