BEST CABLE CARD TUNER ?? HD PRIME? CETON ??? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I might make the plunge. I have always put it off since I don't like the idea of flagged stations. It make little sense to me to record or save something I probably can not play back in the future. I change my PC and OS and SSD drives often enough that it makes this an issue for me. I don't anticipate changing that at all.

But I am learning that many stations are not flagged. So if I recorded a local station show- I could still play back that series for later enjoyment even if I built a new PC since then. Correct ???

I'd love some insight on how flagging works and the limitations of using your HTPC as DVR.

I'd also love some advice on what card or tuner is best.

I have my eye on the HD PRIME or the CETON. Anything better or worse with one ??

My HTPC is a 3570k on Asrock Z77 motherboard and 8GB DDR3 1600mhz. I have plenty of cooling and room in my ANTEC300 case for a card.
But I also have a gigabit switch with spare ports on my server.

Thoughts? Advice?

(thanks in advance for intelligent reply!)

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post #2 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 12:09 PM
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I just did a clean install of Win8 to replace my Win7 that had recorded TV shows from Comcast using a PCIe Ceton. Since none of the shows are flagged to prevent copying they were all picked up and playable in my new installation. I just had to point WMC to the old folder.

Can't say which tuner is best. I got my Ceton because it has four tuners instead of the Prime's three.

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post #3 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 12:27 PM
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Best? IDK. My HDHR Prime works very well and I'm quite happy with it. I think that the InfiniTV4 works well too from what I read.

The HDHR is an external network attached device so it can be picked up on any computer on your network. It only has 3 tuners whereas the InfiniTV4 has, well, 4 tuners. The InfiniTV4 has to be either in a machine or USB connected to a machine. There's software to allow the tuners to be pooled to other machines on the network.

Silicon dust is coming out with a 4 tuner model that will hardware transcode MPEG2 to h.264 (MPEG4) on the fly for more efficient streaming throughout your network to upcoming DLNA devices.

Ceton is rumored to have a 6-tuner model in the works but no official announcement has been made. They just came out with the echo extender device that still has some f/w bugs to be resolved but it promises to be a great product. It is 4" sq and 5/8" thick and uses 5W power so you cannot go wrong there. It is supposed to support android in a future f/w release but that hasn't come to fruition yet.

It is my understanding that you get a billing credit with comcast and cut out the outlet fee but I do not know for sure.

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post #4 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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with HD prime... can you watch on any networked PC in the house??? Even if it is flagged ???

Example:

I have desktop, HTPC, another htpc in basement. laptop, and server.....

Can I watch a flagged show on any machine if it's stored on my server?? Or just the one machine ?

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post #5 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 12:32 PM
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I have both the InfiniTV4 and the Prime. They both do what they're supposed to so it mostly boils down to how many tuners you want. If you plan on using tuners with more than one PC I'd go with the HDHR Prime. If you're just going to use one PC as a DVR then go with the Ceton. In my case, I use one PC as a DVR and it's got two InfiniTV4's installed along with six ATSC tuners (HDHR Dual, Hauppauge 2250, and an AverMedia Duet). The HDHR Prime and Dual are both shared with other PCs, mostly just for TV viewing.

I like the fact that they're networked and not installed in one PC and then shared with other PCs like an extender. That just makes the PC they're installed in the weak link in the system. If that PC goes down for any reason, the entire household loses TV. I also like that I can tinker with my HTPC without affecting viewing on other TVs.

Costwise, the SD HDHR Prime and the InfiniTV4 have gotten to where the cost per tuner is about the same. The cost advantage for cablecard rentals goes to the Ceton since it supports four tuners vs. three for the HDHR Prime. If Ceton ever releases the InfiniTV6 you'll be able to use six tuners for the cost of a single cablecard rental. The HDHR Prime 6-tuner model requires two cablecards, but I'm not sure if it's still in production.
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post #6 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

with HD prime... can you watch on any networked PC in the house??? Even if it is flagged ???

Example:

I have desktop, HTPC, another htpc in basement. laptop, and server.....

Can I watch a flagged show on any machine if it's stored on my server?? Or just the one machine ?
Sort of. It has it's own cablecard so it will decode any channel you're subscribed to, just like a set top box from your cableco. With flagged shows you can only watch it via the PC it was recorded on because of DRMS issues. However, you can use an extender, like the Ceton Echo, and watch it anywhere in the house as long as the extender is mated with the PC that did the recording.
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post #7 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

with HD prime... can you watch on any networked PC in the house??? Even if it is flagged ???

Example:

I have desktop, HTPC, another htpc in basement. laptop, and server.....

Can I watch a flagged show on any machine if it's stored on my server?? Or just the one machine ?

Yes you can grab a tuner on any WMC machine in the network to playback anything you subscribe to; you just cannot playback copy protected content that is previously recorded. You can even move the recordings to a network drive and then add them to the Recorded TV library on other machines using WMC. If it is stored on the server it can only be played on the machine that originally recorded it unless you use an extender (echo or Xbox360 even). I believe this is possible by networking tuners with the ceton product too.

Basically pick your poison. I think they are both about equal. I'm waiting to see how that new SiliconDust product pans out myself.

These go on sale often, the SD product more often than the ceton product.

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post #8 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I might make the plunge. I have always put it off since I don't like the idea of flagged stations. It make little sense to me to record or save something I probably can not play back in the future. I change my PC and OS and SSD drives often enough that it makes this an issue for me. I don't anticipate changing that at all.

But I am learning that many stations are not flagged. So if I recorded a local station show- I could still play back that series for later enjoyment even if I built a new PC since then. Correct ???

I'd love some insight on how flagging works and the limitations of using your HTPC as DVR.

I'd also love some advice on what card or tuner is best.

I have my eye on the HD PRIME or the CETON. Anything better or worse with one ??

My HTPC is a 3570k on Asrock Z77 motherboard and 8GB DDR3 1600mhz. I have plenty of cooling and room in my ANTEC300 case for a card.
But I also have a gigabit switch with spare ports on my server.

Thoughts? Advice?

(thanks in advance for intelligent reply!)

Mostly all CCI bits on Comcast are 0x00 (Copy free . . . record in WMC then move to server and playback anywhere, transcode to mkv with MCEBuddy if you want, anything's possible)

According to TiVO forums for Comcast in MA . . . the playboy channel is 0x03 (can't record, same for PPV channels) and the premium movie channels (HBO, Cinemax, etc) are 0x02 (Recordable, but playback limited to the exact WMC installation it was recorded on)

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=451107

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copy_Control_Information
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post #9 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 01:15 PM
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Any WMC instance can grab a tuner from the Prime (you do have to run the HDHomerun config on that machine as well)

For the majority of your channels which are copy-free, other PVR software can use the Prime tuners to play/record as well (NextPVR, MediaPortal, MythTV, probably others by now)

Some of these can be used in XBMC, but I've not experienced anything that works as quickly at tuning and changing channels through XBMC as it does in WMC. A very competent developer stated that the issue with XBMC is related to the amount of time XBMC takes to process a ts video stream
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post #10 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Any WMC instance can grab a tuner from the Prime (you do have to run the HDHomerun config on that machine as well)

For the majority of your channels which are copy-free, other PVR software can use the Prime tuners to play/record as well (NextPVR, MediaPortal, MythTV, probably others by now)

Some of these can be used in XBMC, but I've not experienced anything that works as quickly at tuning and changing channels through XBMC as it does in WMC. A very competent developer stated that the issue with XBMC is related to the amount of time XBMC takes to process a ts video stream

So windows media center still way to go over XBMC with tuner cards ?

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post #11 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 04:43 PM
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IFF you are not concerned with copy protected content you may want to look at NextPVR. I have not used it because of copy protected content is an issue for me with Palladia and TWCsportsnett too. One of the contributers to avsforums worked on it, Vladd, I think?

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post #12 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 06:26 PM
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The Prime comes with QuickTV which is a very lightweight viewer for copy freely programs. They are also working on DLNA support that would allow you to use the tuners directly with a lot of tvs, streaming boxes, bluray players, etc.
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post #13 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 07:04 PM
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I always had problems with my Prime. I would encounter tuner not available quite frequently, ultimately requiring nightly reboots. My Ceton never has any issues whatsoever, so I can go months without a reboot. Plus the PCI version doesn't flood my network with huge amounts of data. The extra tuner is nice as well.

I've heard the tuner not available bug was fixed in the new 4-tuner Silicon Dust model.

My 2 cents
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post #14 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I might make the plunge. I have always put it off since I don't like the idea of flagged stations. It make little sense to me to record or save something I probably can not play back in the future. I change my PC and OS and SSD drives often enough that it makes this an issue for me. I don't anticipate changing that at all.

But I am learning that many stations are not flagged. So if I recorded a local station show- I could still play back that series for later enjoyment even if I built a new PC since then. Correct ???

I'd love some insight on how flagging works and the limitations of using your HTPC as DVR.

I'd also love some advice on what card or tuner is best.

I have my eye on the HD PRIME or the CETON. Anything better or worse with one ??

My HTPC is a 3570k on Asrock Z77 motherboard and 8GB DDR3 1600mhz. I have plenty of cooling and room in my ANTEC300 case for a card.
But I also have a gigabit switch with spare ports on my server.

Thoughts? Advice?

(thanks in advance for intelligent reply!)

I'm on FIOS here. I guess I always knew that losing the ability to play back content might be an issue for me if I had to swap out a bad motherboard, but if I do lose a motherboard, I'm generally more focused on getting the system back to a usable state than I am worried about content playback. That's mostly a function of my family, though.. my wife only watches a few things, and they populate back pretty quickly. My son only expresses mild annoyance at losing all his Spongebob episodes, but they come back pretty quick, too.

Since I installed my InfiniTV card in my Windows Home Server 2011 and connected the tuners over the network, I've had the motherboard on one of my two HTPC's fail once, and I've made three other hardware changes (upgrades to the CPU and memory, and a new video card). I have never had any issues with content playback. The reasons could be related to how Verizon does things (maybe they don't flag content), maybe it's the kind of content I'm recording, or maybe it's the fact that the recordings are made locally at the HTPC's, but are archived back to my server where the InfiniTV card is installed. I've checked before to see if any of my recorded shows won't playback on my workstation PC or my wife's laptop, but they play back fine.

I will concede that I don't really know much about flagging, but I assume it has something to do with a recording being tied somehow to the hardware that it's recorded on. Either way, my biggest concern is making sure that the whole system functions smoothly first.. issues like flagging only come up after the system is stable and fully functional.
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post #15 of 70 Old 01-22-2013, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I always had problems with my Prime. I would encounter tuner not available quite frequently, ultimately requiring nightly reboots. My Ceton never has any issues whatsoever, so I can go months without a reboot. Plus the PCI version doesn't flood my network with huge amounts of data. The extra tuner is nice as well.

I've heard the tuner not available bug was fixed in the new 4-tuner Silicon Dust model.

My 2 cents

I've never had an issue with sending TV data over my vetwork. Can you stream Blu-ray rips?

The latest f/w has cleared up the tuner not available errors with the current 3-tuner model. The new one coming out in the next few months has four tuners and transcodes to lighten the load on your network but I don't have an issue.

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post #16 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I always had problems with my Prime. I would encounter tuner not available quite frequently, ultimately requiring nightly reboots. My Ceton never has any issues whatsoever, so I can go months without a reboot. Plus the PCI version doesn't flood my network with huge amounts of data. The extra tuner is nice as well.

I've heard the tuner not available bug was fixed in the new 4-tuner Silicon Dust model.

My 2 cents
What's the concern there? Are you running a mission critical server farm? Afraid some of that flood of data might leak and leave a puddle on the floor? It sounds like you have a problem with your network if it can't handle a couple 14 or 15 Mbps streams. Just my 2 cents...Here's my network running two streams at once...wink.gif
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post #17 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 02:24 AM
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I would recommend the Ceton InfiniTV, but clearly I am biased cool.gif

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #18 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erickotz View Post

I would recommend the Ceton InfiniTV, but clearly I am biased cool.gif
Gee, ya think? (great tuners, though)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajkrishock View Post

I have never had any issues with content playback. The reasons could be related to how Verizon does things (maybe they don't flag content), maybe it's the kind of content I'm recording, or maybe it's the fact that the recordings are made locally at the HTPC's, but are archived back to my server where the InfiniTV card is installed.
Verizon only flags premium channels as copy once. All other channels are copy freely, which is why you don't have DRMS issues when swapping hardware.
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post #19 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 04:31 AM
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TigerDirect has the HDHR Prime on sale at $139. Not too bad.
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post #20 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erickotz View Post

I would recommend the Ceton InfiniTV, but clearly I am biased cool.gif

Hey Eric!

I bet your tuner is fantastic but cannot vouch for it because I use the Prime. I was getting tired of the Tuner Not Available errors but the channel would tune anyway so it was more of a nuisance than anything. Silicon dust worked hard on getting the f/w right but released a lot of beta f/w's over the summer that went rogue and caused other problems. Just joshing here a bit but we all know about issues with f/w and other problems, some of which that are caused by people's set up and non-optimized home networks. tongue.gif

As the Prime was the only tuner I had I was reluctant to jump into a beta state with it unlike the echo where I really didn't need an extender right away and was more than happy to go through the pain of beta testing. That is going to be a fine product soon, I am still sure of it. It was either an extender or a mini-ITX computer so I thought I'd give the echo a whirl.

Silicon Dust is now beta testing their DLNA solution to distributing content around the home. Again as this is my only tuner, I am not participating in that program but it sounds promising. Maybe when the echo finally does android it can be used as a DLNA DCTP-IP client with the prime and there will be a solution outside WMC for copy protected content.

The point is that I think you both make fine products and you both support them. Each does slightly different things so Mfusick can pick one, or even both, depending on his needs and desires.

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post #21 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I would recommend the Ceton InfiniTV, but clearly I am biased cool.gif

Still appreciated.

My best friend just bought one. It arrives today and I'll help him build this week.

That hands on Experience is probably going to have me get one I bet...

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post #22 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:37 AM - Thread Starter
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TigerDirect has the HDHR Prime on sale at $139. Not too bad.
I have a $60 tigerdirect gift card since Black Friday ... Too !

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post #23 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Eric!

I bet your tuner is fantastic but cannot vouch for it because I use the Prime. I was getting tired of the Tuner Not Available errors but the channel would tune anyway so it was more of a nuisance than anything. Silicon dust worked hard on getting the f/w right but released a lot of beta f/w's over the summer that went rogue and caused other problems. Just joshing here a bit but we all know about issues with f/w and other problems, some of which that are caused by people's set up and non-optimized home networks. tongue.gif

As the Prime was the only tuner I had I was reluctant to jump into a beta state with it unlike the echo where I really didn't need an extender right away and was more than happy to go through the pain of beta testing. That is going to be a fine product soon, I am still sure of it. It was either an extender or a mini-ITX computer so I thought I'd give the echo a whirl.

Silicon Dust is now beta testing their DLNA solution to distributing content around the home. Again as this is my only tuner, I am not participating in that program but it sounds promising. Maybe when the echo finally does android it can be used as a DLNA DCTP-IP client with the prime and there will be a solution outside WMC for copy protected content.

The point is that I think you both make fine products and you both support them. Each does slightly different things so Mfusick can pick one, or even both, depending on his needs and desires.

Yeah. Basically this.

I know both products are good. I'm undecided and I very much appreciate the feedback from all.

What I don't really understand is what the benefit if the HD prime might be not being an internal card ????

Am I missing something ?

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post #24 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:40 AM
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What's the concern there? Are you running a mission critical server farm? Afraid some of that flood of data might leak and leave a puddle on the floor? It sounds like you have a problem with your network if it can't handle a couple 14 or 15 Mbps streams. Just my 2 cents...Here's my network running two streams at once...wink.gif
This is my concern. I don't have a gigabit router, only 100Mbps. So lets look at one common scenario. Assuming 15Mbps per tuner and recording 3 tuners, and watching another 4 extenders, that's over 100Mbps, which absolutely kills my network. True if I were gigabit, that's only 10% load, but on my network it's 100%. So until I get a better router, which I eventually intend to do, the Prime is sometimes too much for my network.

Sammy, it's good to hear the tuner not available bug was finally fixed. Maybe I'll give SD another look when I get a new router and my Ceton dies. I've also got a few more switches to upgrade to gigabit, so it will probably be a while.

I've never attempted to rip or stream a blu-ray and probably never will, so I'm good there. Life's too short to rip movies when you can just rent them for a buck or two. I rarely watch anything twice. The exception is ripping DVD's on occasion for the kids on road trips. But they go straight to another disc, not a file server.

Getting back on topic, yes, Mfusic, one benefit of the Prime is that it's not an internal card, but you can also get external versions of the Ceton. The real difference is that the Prime is a standalone network device, independent of any host PC. So yes, that could be considered an advantage. It can be used by any host and can be physically located anywhere on your network.
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post #25 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
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This is my concern. I don't have a gigabit router, only 100Mbps. So lets look at one common scenario. Assuming 15Mbps per tuner and recording 3 tuners, and watching another 4 extenders, that's over 100Mbps, which absolutely kills my network. True if I were gigabit, that's only 10% load, but on my network it's 100%. So until I get a better router, which I eventually intend to do, the Prime is sometimes too much for my network.

Sammy, it's good to hear the tuner not available bug was finally fixed. Maybe I'll give SD another look when I get a new router and my Ceton dies.

I've never attempted to rip or stream a blu-ray and probably never will, so I'm good there. Life's too short to rip movies when you can just rent them for a buck or two. I rarely watch anything twice.

Gigabit switch costs $20.

There is no excuse.

Your router will run way better and cooler too... By offloading this duty to a real switch.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #26 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:48 AM - Thread Starter
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No brainier vs a $150 router too....

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #27 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Gigabit switch costs $20.

There is no excuse.

Your router will run way better and cooler too... By offloading this duty to a real switch.

True. You don't need a router with gigabit unless you have gigabit internet. As long as all your devices are connected to a gigabit switch they will communicate with gigabit speeds. Connecting the switch to a 10/100 router has no effect other than accessing the internet at a maximum of 100mbps. The router is there to route, basically just assigns addresses and provides an internet gateway.

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post #28 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 06:12 AM
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I do have a few gigabit switches, but haven't replaced all my legacy switches yet. Even at $20 a pop, it's just not a priority when everything is working fine right now. I still use my 20 year old AVR because it still works fine. That should give you an idea of who you're dealing with. So my router probably won't be replaced until it fails, no matter how cheap a new one is. The major reason I have an HTPC to begin with is because I'm the ultimate cheap skate.

However, I don't fully understand how to mix 100M and 1G devices. I assumed the smallest pipe limited everybody. Say computers A and B are on a 1G switch with is connected to a 100M router with is connected to computer C. A and B talk to each other at 1G. But A to C is going to be 100M. The only way to get A to C up to 1G is with a 1G router, right?
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post #29 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

However, I don't fully understand how to mix 100M and 1G devices. I assumed the smallest pipe limited everybody. Say computers A and B are on a 1G switch with is connected to a 100M router with is connected to computer C. A and B talk to each other at 1G. But A to C is going to be 100M. The only way to get A to C up to 1G is with a 1G router, right?

One thing to realize is that the 4 ports on the back of the router is simply a built in switch, which in your case is 100mbps.

A and C will talk at 100M and A and B will share the 100M that connects it to the router (which could make them 50M each). If you simply plug A, B, and C into a 1G switch and then the switch to the router everything will be 1G.

Worst case is you have A and B on one 1G switch and put another 1G switch connecting C and the A/B switch. Then that second 1G switch connects to the router. In that case A and B share 1G to communicate with C which could make them 500M each.

You basically need to pull every 1G device off the router's switch and keep them on 1G switches. If something is still only 100mbs then it could stay on the router.

I've attached what I went through when I wired my house for Gigabit Ethernet. I had to draw it out which not only kept things straight, but also allowed me to remove some inefficiencies.


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post #30 of 70 Old 01-23-2013, 06:35 AM
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Yeah. Basically this.

I know both products are good. I'm undecided and I very much appreciate the feedback from all.

What I don't really understand is what the benefit if the HD prime might be not being an internal card ????

Am I missing something ?

The Prime is network attached and I got mine last year when woot had them for $135 shipped which at the time was the lowest price yet. Also at this time the networking of the InfinTV4 was in beta testing and the Prime was already a network device. Going forward it s clear that silicon dusts intentiojn is to move beyond the WMC interface and create something new with their DLNA approach.

If I were you I'd jump on that TigerDirect deal with your giftcard. Then you can test it and your friends InfinTV4 side by side. You can still get the InfinTV4 and jump in on the beta for the DLNA testing on the prime. You seem to be a perfect candidate for that as much as you like to tinker. smile.gif

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