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post #1 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Excuse my ignorance, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around these things.

I have a HTPC in the family room, and I see alot of people use these cards here. I have cable, I have free dvr (pay for box though) and another hd box in a separate room, as well as the monthly fee.

I noticed some of these cards can record several live shows at once, also it looks like you use it in WMC so I'm guessing you can use an extender like Xbox with it?

Just want to get an idea if it's worth it, and the perks to it over using a regular box you rent?

Thanks!!
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 05:40 PM
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My first HTPC (been using it for 6 months now) is running a Ceton tuner on Charter cable with an M-Cablecard (M stands for Multistream). I have an xbox360 but have never tried it as an extender. One Ceton card has 4 tuners built in to it, allowing it to view 4 shows at the same time. (Watch 1 and record 3). I think the HTPC is far superior to any off-the-shelf cable box. My 1TB hard drive holds something like 95 hours of HD video, and if I want more I can just add another drive. My favorite feature is Remote Potato, it allows me to watch recorded tv on my phone or any computer with internet access. I can also search the guide and schedule recordings when I'm not at home. And the best part, my girlfriend only needs to figure out one device to watch movies (DVD's, rips on the harddrive, Netflix), watch tv, and play music. The only downside is that building a HTPC is much more expensive than renting a cable box, but it's mine and it can take it with me if I move! Also building a second one for the bedroom makes it super expensive but again no new device to learn cause it's the same as the one in the living room and I can share everything between them.
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 05:40 PM
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It all depends on how much TV you like to record and whether you'd like to save on monthly fees by not having to rent cable boxes or DVRs from your provider. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 has four tuners and can record up to four shows at once or record three and watch one channel live. With an extender, like the XBox 360, you can view recorded shows or watch live TV in any other room as long as the XBox is on the same network as your HTPC (hardwired is preferred vs. wireless). The UI on the XBox looks just like Media Center on the HTPC and provides nearly the same control capability. You can view the channel guide, upcoming recording list, and schedule recordings from the XBox. You can also play music or view digital photos remotely. While you can also view certain types of video files via the XBox, codec support tends to be somewhat limited.
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 05:57 PM
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If you can get a wired connection to an Xbox360 in the second room, you'll probably save quite a bit in DVR box rental fees. The Ceton card would eventually pay for itself. The cards are now going for only $199.99. If you have just a regular cable box in the second room, then you'll benefit from using an Extender because you can watch anything recorded on the original PC too. Ceton is also developing their own DVR box currently named "Q" and Media center Extender named "Echo" due out sometime this year. There are threads floating around about those as well. No release date or pricing as of yet.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds pretty neat, I think I'll have to pull the trigger. I don't go out of my way to watch tv shows often, but when I do its usually a recording because I didn't think set time aside when they're live - and my dvr has crap for storage!

Can the card watch two live shows at once? As in one on HTPC and another on an extender?


Do I just install and give the cable company probably some unique data to link the card? I have ever Mediacom as a provider.
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 08:06 PM
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Yeah you can watch one on the HTPC and one on the extender at the same time and also even record two other shows while doing so. WMC will instruct you to call the cable co with the cablecard information during TV setup. You can also find that information in the Ceton Diagnostic software.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-20-2012, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome, thanks everyone!
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 02:33 AM
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I'm looking to replace my comcast DVR and am new to cablecards. First some background: Prior to becoming disabled a couple years ago I was an experienced PC tech, and I have been playing with DVRs since the original allinwonder. My disability tends to limit my attention span, so apologies for not reading every page of every thread google suggests. If I'm asking here it is because I haven't found an answer or because I want confirmation.

The question nagging me most is if channel numbering with the infinitv 4 is as screwy as it is with clearqam.

Second is whether the usb infinitv has any advantages over the pcie board (or vice versa), assuming a pcie slot is available.

Third, does WMC play nice with power management? Will it wake a PC to begin recording, and prevent it from sleeping while recording?

Fourth, are there any known DVR issues with the Windows 8 preview? Is Windows 7 HP a better choice at the moment?

Fifth, I've read that WMC accepts four of each type of tuner. Does this mean it can use the 4 infinitv and the 2 on my HVR-2250 at the same time?

Finally, here is the configuration of my existing parts I plan to add the infinitv 4 to. Should it be sufficient, or are there any recommended changes?

X-QPACK2 micro atx cube case
OCZ 600 watt ModXstream Pro power supply
Intel DG45ID micro atx motherboard
Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 2.4ghz cpu
4GB PC2-6400 dual channel memory
2x WD Scorpio Black 250 GB hard drives in RAID 0 (system)
1x Seagate 7200.10 SATA 750 GB hard drive (storage)
Hauppage HVR-2250 dual clearqam tuner
Plenty of air cooling (it currently crunches SETI@home on the Q6600 and a nvidia gts-250 without issue) (the nvidia card will be removed during the inifinitv install in favor of the onboard video to reduce heat)

Oh, and does Comcast do cablecard self install kits, or must I have a tech visit?

TIA everyone!
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerMM View Post

I'm looking to replace my comcast DVR and am new to cablecards. First some background: Prior to becoming disabled a couple years ago I was an experienced PC tech, and I have been playing with DVRs since the original allinwonder. My disability tends to limit my attention span, so apologies for not reading every page of every thread google suggests. If I'm asking here it is because I haven't found an answer or because I want confirmation.

The question nagging me most is if channel numbering with the infinitv 4 is as screwy as it is with clearqam.

Channel numbering is the same as if you were using a Tivo or a cable box from your provider.

Quote:


Second is whether the usb infinitv has any advantages over the pcie board (or vice versa), assuming a pcie slot is available.

There have been numerous reports of issues with the USB version. I've been using the PCI-E version for over a year and a half with no problems.

Quote:


Third, does WMC play nice with power management? Will it wake a PC to begin recording, and prevent it from sleeping while recording?

Lots of people have had success doing this while others have experienced problems. I leave my HTPC on 24/7 so as to avoid any problems of this nature. The answer is that it does work.

Quote:


Fourth, are there any known DVR issues with the Windows 8 preview? Is Windows 7 HP a better choice at the moment?

Last I heard was that WMC is not included with the current Win 8 preview version. I'd stick with Win 7 64-bit for now.

Quote:


Fifth, I've read that WMC accepts four of each type of tuner. Does this mean it can use the 4 infinitv and the 2 on my HVR-2250 at the same time?

Yes. That's the exact same setup I'm currently using along with a 3-tuner SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime. The latest drivers for the InfiniTV4 are actually supposed to increase the tuner limit to 30.

Quote:


Finally, here is the configuration of my existing parts I plan to add the infinitv 4 to. Should it be sufficient, or are there any recommended changes?

X-QPACK2 micro atx cube case
OCZ 600 watt ModXstream Pro power supply
Intel DG45ID micro atx motherboard
Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 2.4ghz cpu
4GB PC2-6400 dual channel memory
2x WD Scorpio Black 250 GB hard drives in RAID 0 (system)
1x Seagate 7200.10 SATA 750 GB hard drive (storage)
Hauppage HVR-2250 dual clearqam tuner
Plenty of air cooling (it currently crunches SETI@home on the Q6600 and a nvidia gts-250 without issue) (the nvidia card will be removed during the inifinitv install in favor of the onboard video to reduce heat)

The only comment I'll make is that using the onboard video won't allow you to bitstream HD audio. Other than that, it will probably do the job.

Quote:


Oh, and does Comcast do cablecard self install kits, or must I have a tech visit?

TIA everyone!

I'm not on Comcast, but I believe they must provide self-install kits for cablecard users. I did one on FIOS with an InfiniTV 4 and it was a snap to install and activate. I ordered it through the Verizon website and it was delivered the next day right to my door.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 07:17 AM
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Wow, thanks for the quick info Captain. I'm noticing that google is good, but the best info is probably already here, I just have to find it.

I'm pretty much set with that config as soon as I save up for the infinitv and extra RAM. If I get more $$ at some point it can certainly be made more power/heat efficient, but I'm happy with it as is.

I am having a hard time believing that the single 7200.10 drive can handle writing 6 HD streams while reading one or two simultaneously. At what point does RAID become necessary on these HTPCs? (I've noticed that the Ceton FAQ states one 350 GB drive can support two infinitv cards)

That same FAQ entry recommends a 2.7 ghz two to four core CPU and requires 2.0 ghz dual core. I would think that multi tuner dvrs would be more sensitive to core count than clock speed. What is the benefit of reaching that 2.7 ghz mark, and are there any benefits to additional clock speed or cores?

Thanks again everyone
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post #11 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BerMM View Post

Wow, thanks for the quick info Captain. I'm noticing that google is good, but the best info is probably already here, I just have to find it.

I'm pretty much set with that config as soon as I save up for the infinitv and extra RAM. If I get more $$ at some point it can certainly be made more power/heat efficient, but I'm happy with it as is.

I am having a hard time believing that the single 7200.10 drive can handle writing 6 HD streams while reading one or two simultaneously. At what point does RAID become necessary on these HTPCs? (I've noticed that the Ceton FAQ states one 350 GB drive can support two infinitv cards)

That same FAQ entry recommends a 2.7 ghz two to four core CPU and requires 2.0 ghz dual core. I would think that multi tuner dvrs would be more sensitive to core count than clock speed. What is the benefit of reaching that 2.7 ghz mark, and are there any benefits to additional clock speed or cores?

Thanks again everyone

A typical HD stream is about 15mbps - 6 HD stream is 90mbps, or 12mbytes/sec - something that pretty much any HD on the market can handle without breaking a sweat.

Regarding the CPU, you will have a lot of flexibility. The InfiniTV itself doesn't need much in the way of CPU, and your video card will typically do hardware MPEG2 decoding. In general, a faster CPU gets you a smoother experience as far as navigating WMC, but we've successfully used the card on an Atom even.

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #12 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 11:21 AM
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I've tested my HTPC recording eight digital cable streams via two InfiniTV 4's and four ATSC streams via two Hauppauge 2250's simultaneously and they all recorded fine, even while playing back a 13th show that was previously recorded.

Theoretically, an ATSC HD stream can be as high as 19.6 mbps and a digital cable stream can be twice that, IIRC. In reality, both digital cable and OTA broadcast bitrates are more in the neighborhood of 8-10 mbps, give or take. A typical one-hour recording is about 6-8 GB on average.
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post #13 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

k.


Last I heard was that WMC is not included with the current Win 8 preview version. I'd stick with Win 7 64-bit for now.



WMC is included in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I would not recommend using it for a production box. The CP is only good one year and if W8 is out by then you will have to wipe and reinstall to keep using W8 there will probably be no upgrade path from the CP to RTM versions just linke with the W7 betas.
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post #14 of 15 Old 03-08-2012, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by setabs138 View Post

WMC is included in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I would not recommend using it for a production box. The CP is only good one year and if W8 is out by then you will have to wipe and reinstall to keep using W8 there will probably be no upgrade path from the CP to RTM versions just linke with the W7 betas.

Agreed, hopefully the full release will be a better version but the CP version will probably not relate just like W7 did not. I would hold off on the USB tuners for another month possibly or confirm that they have resolved the waking issues reported earlier. I do not think that this is a major problem for the majority of users it just is something that is somewhat unique.

Comcast does have self install but recommend you pick up an M card at your local office rather than pay to have one sent; go when they open in the morning if possible a weekday. Personnally run the prime but interfacing with Comcast should be the same thing for the ceton pcie. I include information from my set up experience and useful info from others; follow your set up steps from ceton -

The first person I got when I called to set up my card was not familiar with my tuner and automatically transferred me to a tier 2 person in the local calling center. This is the latest number posted for upper level Comcast Tier 2 CableCard Support: 1-877-761-5015 (using this number after 3pm your local time should get you to your local call center). An option is to go online, link below.

Once you believe that you have your card paired with the tuner and they have your accounts provisioned (or staged) too the card then you are ready to try to set up WMC. I am sure Cetons diagnostic tools include CC status and a channel authorization indicator. Should your authorization indicator list anything as unspecified the card has not been properly set up. Try tuning basic, extended basic and premium channels(if you subscribe too them) to prove the card is properly staged. If you cannot see the Premium channels you need to call Comcast and have them verify that the correct channel packages are associated with the card, and then resend the authorization "hit". If it says unspecified, then the card is stuck, and you need to call Comcast and have them send a "cold hit" to the card.


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Posts: 2 Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:49 am Post subject: Comcast Online Activation
________________________________________
The only way I could get my HDHomeRun Prime to work was using Comcast's web activation:http://www.comcast.com/activate

This reset all the TV devices in my house and after it was finished activated my new device (FYI, I pulled the cable card from another activated device). Only problem I ran into was getting the premium channels, so I have to call about that now.
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-09-2012, 04:00 AM
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I love mine. I was paying $40 a month for two DVR's to get four tuners. With the Ceton I save the $40 and have four tuners in a centralized location. It has a much better interface to boot. Those were my main reasons. I wanted them in central location and most importantly I was tired of throwing money away to the cable company on overpriced buggy boxes.

The loss of on demand stuff kind of sucks but it's not worth the price of the box's, hopefully one day that will come to cable cards too.
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