Maximum Tuners for something not quite an HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I have an interesting requirement.

I need the ability to record 24 channels of TV 24 hours a day, and keep the data for about a week. By my calculations I need about 8TB per 6 channels, so about 32TB total.

The length of time (1 week) isn't too important...even half of that would work, but the 1 week thing is a goal.

So, I'm left thinking of the best way to accomplish this, and I have a bunch of questions:

1) I see Ceton and SiliconDust both offer cablecard tuners for the PC. Is there a general consensus on which is better? Stability is a major concern.
2) What's the most number of streams (channels) that I'm going to be able to record using a single PC on a gig network?

And some technical questions as well, like:

Do either of the two providers (Ceton, SiliconDust) offer fairly low-level APIs if I need/want to do some custom programming?

Before anyone asks WTF I'm trying to do, let me take a quick moment to explain. This is for a business that is related to the marketing field. Just the opposite of what everyone else wants to do, I actually NEED to see EVERY commercial. As far as low level programming goes, I'd LOVE to have access to where in the stream the commercial breaks occur (to reduce time searching for them), and I'd love access to the closed captioning so that searches can be done that way.

Thanks in advance for any and all information!
-Kevin
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 06:01 AM
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Can the incoming cable line even support 24 channels at the same time? You're talking well over 200Mbps...
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 06:07 AM
 
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I would send your question to both Ceton and Silicon Dust directly. Tell them what you want to do and let them tell you what can be done.
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techmattr View Post

Can the incoming cable line even support 24 channels at the same time? You're talking well over 200Mbps...

Absolutely...and more. The current solution is using > 24 cable boxes, with > 24 manual DVRs. All recordings work perfectly. As far as I understand it, *every* channel is available simultaneously...So, if we had 300 channels, we could record/watch 300 channels at the same time.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

I would send your question to both Ceton and Silicon Dust directly. Tell them what you want to do and let them tell you what can be done.

Thanks. I plan to do that as well.

I was hoping to get some insight from neutral parties as well. :-)
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinG View Post

Absolutely...and more. The current solution is using > 24 cable boxes, with > 24 manual DVRs. All recordings work perfectly. As far as I understand it, *every* channel is available simultaneously...So, if we had 300 channels, we could record/watch 300 channels at the same time.

That's some serious bandwidth. I'm guessing since it's a business it's some type of business class fiber though. cybersage is probably right about contacting the manufacturers directly. They might be affiliated companies that offer more enterprise type solutions.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 07:17 AM
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On a traditional cable system all the channels come in at the same time. If your subscription includes 1,000 channels then 1,000 channels are coming in at all times.

On the new switched digital video systems only the most popular are sent all the time. Channels that are less widely subscribed to are only "switched on" when somebody turns their cable box to them. These are the setups that require tuning adapters for Tivo and pc tuners. They might theoretically not be able to support hundreds of channels at once. Turning some off is their cheat to allow them to carry more HD channels.

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post #8 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 07:18 AM
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Got a calculator? Each HiDef stream is gonna peak at about 18Mbps, SD about 5Mbps. Do the math. As to low level API there is an SDK of sorts for the HDHomeRun: http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/hdhomerun_development.pdf
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 08:20 AM
 
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If you do go with the external boxes, make sure your switch either does not support the new Green technology (lowers the power used by ports to what is needed, saving money) or if it does make sure it supports the IEEE 802.3az. I had issues with my WMC box losing the Ceton Eth tuners until I replaced my cheap (non IEEE green power switch) with a superior one that supports the official spec. Now it is rock solid.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 09:18 AM
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It will all depend on the source. Cable, FiOS, OTA?

A Ceton employee reported a single PC supporting 32 simultaneous channels recroding, which is the maximum tuner limit set by Ceton driver.

However, If your source is Switched Digital Video Cable, as opposed to FiOS or OTA, then you may hit the bandwidth limit of the Cable TV.

SDV does not send all of the channels out at the same time like the old cable, FiOS and OTA does, but they serve only the channels requested by the tuner.

For storage:
Expect to budget about 10 GB of space per channel per hour, so 240 GB per channel for 24 hours.
240 GB per channel per 24 hour period x 24 hours = 5.76 TB per 24 channels per 24 hours
5.76 TB per 24 channels per 24 hours x 7 days = 40.32 TB total storage capacity needed.
Just to give you room for incidental programs that don't get watched, budget 50 TB RAID Array.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinG View Post

Before anyone asks WTF I'm trying to do, let me take a quick moment to explain. This is for a business that is related to the marketing field. Just the opposite of what everyone else wants to do, I actually NEED to see EVERY commercial. As far as low level programming goes, I'd LOVE to have access to where in the stream the commercial breaks occur (to reduce time searching for them), and I'd love access to the closed captioning so that searches can be done that way.

Thanks in advance for any and all information!
-Kevin

I thought Snapstream had something along those lines already:
http://www.snapstream.com/

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 09:23 AM
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Yeah, if you can afford it, it seems like a much, much better solution than hobbling something together with Ceton/SD tuners.

Here's a review from ars: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/with-30-tuners-and-30-tb-of-storage-snapstream-make-tivos-look-like-toys/
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-20-2013, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Especially the one about ceton claiming 32 tuners in one box. That's a valuable point of information. Any chance you have a link to that?

I'm also going to check out the SDK link that was provided.

Again. The complete storage of all of this video for a week is a "nice-to-have". In fact, throwing out the video and keeping only the commercials would be wonderful. So, I'm not all that concerned with the huge amounts of storage one would initially think this will require.

Some more information. This is currently installed in a regular residential home (as noted, there's nothing special about being able to receive all of your cable channels at one time). Luckily, we are not in an area that uses SDV, so no concerns there. The entire goal of the project is to stop renting cable boxes from the cable company, and start being able to customize the searching/storage/analysis of the commercials.

Now I'm off to check out the snapstream. Thanks!
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