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post #1 of 25 Old 12-02-2014, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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SageTV: Any Happy Migrants?

I'm looking in to WMC as a backup plan for if/when SageTV goes totally belly-up.

Has anybody migrated to WMC from Sage and found happiness?

I am guessing the basic functionality of recording/playing back TV shows and playing back ripped DVDs is there.

Part of what I'm wondering about is:

- Flexibility in defining media sources. Ability to record TV to one place and
get ripped DVDs from another (as in a NAS box).

- Ability to customize menus. The dumbed-down "All the average user can deal with
is seven choices" menus in stock SageTV drove me up the wall. Luckily, they could
be changed to show more list items in smaller type. Likewise the cutsie bitmaps
behind the screens: being able to change them to black was significant for me.

Anybody been here?

Last edited by PeteCress; 12-02-2014 at 05:06 PM.
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-02-2014, 03:47 PM
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It's been so long since I moved from Sage I don't even remember it much, but I do recall Sage was better at warning you about recording conflicts in your season passes. WMC will warn you of conflicts when you first set up a recording, but it's not good at warning you after that. You have to look at the future scheduling.

Other than that I only recall WMC being superior, and the version that came with Win7 being even better than the version that came with Vista.

It works fine with the HDHR, and the software now makes setup fairly easy. BTW, I think it also is about the only thing that works with Cablecard, so that's another advantage over Sage.
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post #3 of 25 Old 12-02-2014, 06:50 PM
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WMC + Mediabrowser (using the MediaBrowser Classic plugin for Media Center) is the best way to have a single interface that supports both copy protected TV/DVR plus playback of other media with all the nice bells/whistles interface wise.

I've been running this for years now and overall it's been pretty great. Avoid the temptations to tweak once you have a working setup. I also recommend the HDHomerun Prime as well as Tuner Salad if you have more than 4 tuners (allows you to have 8+) as well as the My Channel Logos application to pretty up the WMC Guide. Lastly I can't strongly recommend enough an SSD for your boot drive, it speeds WMC up so much (e.g. scrolling through the guide) that I couldn't go back.

For my HTPCs (except for my "primary" one that I use to record) I even just use an SSD drive only, I'm not worried about killing the SSD as they're cheap nowadays (and never had a failure due to WMC usage).

Lastly depending on your cable provider (mine is verizon) what I do to simulate the whole house DVR effect is nightly have a task that copies recordings to a folder on my desktop that is shared to all the HTPCs. It's not perfect but the best you can do.

Lastly while Mediabrowser supports various other clients (android, IOS, etc) I personally find it not as good as plex if you're going to consume media from a phone or laptop (mainly because it tends to transcode things that plex can direct stream). While both have their own pros/cons I then use plex more often if I'm trying to access my media outside of my home.

Hope this helps
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-03-2014, 05:57 AM
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If you're currently using extenders or clients with your DVDs and other media rips WMC will be a big let down. I looked into switching shortly after Sage was purchased. Even went so far as to setup WMC and use it for a while. The thing that got in my way was WMCs pathetic extenders. They work fine for TV but anything else they suck at. And using multiple PCs is, well, "painful".

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #5 of 25 Old 12-03-2014, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
If you're currently using extenders or clients with your DVDs and other media rips WMC will be a big let down. I looked into switching shortly after Sage was purchased. Even went so far as to setup WMC and use it for a while. The thing that got in my way was WMCs pathetic extenders. They work fine for TV but anything else they suck at. And using multiple PCs is, well, "painful".
I use HD200's: One in the kitchen, one in the rec room, and one at a remote location.

SageTV runs on my 24-7 box and records TV to 3-2TB drives in that PC. Ripped movies live on a NAS box in the closet.

I concur with the implication that SageTV media extenders are a major convenience. They are totally silent and only pull 5-6 watts max.

But I figure that those HD200's cannot last forever...
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post #6 of 25 Old 12-03-2014, 08:13 AM
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There are alternatives like picking up client licenses and using PCs as clients.

I mean yeah sure, at some point all the Sage hardware will be dead, but I'm hoping by that point I won't need/want a DVR anymore.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #7 of 25 Old 12-03-2014, 03:33 PM
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Did Sage support copy-once cable?
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post #8 of 25 Old 12-04-2014, 05:47 AM
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No.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #9 of 25 Old 12-04-2014, 02:02 PM
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Then holy crap, IMO run a W7 server, load WMC, setup a silicondust branded tuner, build up your guide, add channel logos, install serverwmc, install mb3 server, set mb3 to organize your metadata in xbmc form, run xbmc. From this point you can either maintain an xbmc SQL library (which will work with a pi, though a pi will fall in high bitrate stuff with HD audio decoding, it does make an otherwise fine xbmc client with the right SD card and can play back live tv / recordings through the serverwmc back end) or if you don't care for the xbmc SQL library maintenance then just run xbmc with xbmb3c on your x86-64 boxes and for arm solutions run either a roku or firetv with the mb3 addons (have to wait a short bit for mb3-firetv)
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-05-2014, 06:04 AM
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I think you're missing that the OP is already running a Sage system, which implies that it already handles all the channels they care about an Copy Once isn't an issue for them.

And FWIW, if you do have a Copy Once problem, ServerWMC isn't going to do you any good since XBMC/Kodi won't be able to play those recordings anyway.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-05-2014, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
I think you're missing that the OP is already running a Sage system, which implies that it already handles all the channels they care about an Copy Once isn't an issue for them.

And FWIW, if you do have a Copy Once problem, ServerWMC isn't going to do you any good since XBMC/Kodi won't be able to play those recordings anyway.
No I don't think I was missing the point. I was recommending what I think is the best set of solutions granted there is no copy once issue. That's why I asked in the first place, because it wouldn't be a good recommendation for someone who was looking for a copy once dvr. Since sage didn't work with copy once cable to begin with it seems like a good transition
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post #12 of 25 Old 12-05-2014, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
...copy once issue...
Since I'm exclusively OTA, this is totally idle curiosity, but having said that...

Can somebody expand on "Copy Once"? Sounds like an effort by service providers to lock customers into using/paying for their proprietary DVRs, but does it require the recording device to co-operate? i.e. Is a recording device that does not recognize or care about the "Copy Once" bit, flag, or whatever able to defeat it?

Or is it more like a form of encryption where the device has to know some algorithm?

Just on the surface, to one who is clueless, it would seem that defeating it would be more like a tuner issue than a DVR issue.

??
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post #13 of 25 Old 12-05-2014, 01:01 PM
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A lot of people used to just say "encrypted" which led people to believe the only possible way to view cablecard content at all was WMC. There was a time when your cable subscription would come with unencrypted QAM channels available on the coax outlets in your house, so each TV could get "something" even though it was usually just locals. The boxes that you lease from a cable company have a cablecard decrypter built-in and the cablecard is tied to your account so you only "get what you pay for"

Then WMC came along from Microsoft and created a DRM schema called "PlayReady" and enabled it within the wtv file format created by WMC. All of this prior to the consumer release of a cablecard tuner mind you and then provided an "extender" model where devices like the xbox 360 and other licensed "extenders" could share those recordings because their video playback chain supports the DRM mechanism they created and don't allow you to tap into it and copy all of your HBO shows (which was kind of the point of cablecard encryption to begin with)

Within that DRM mechanism they honor a short bit of metadata built into the encrypted QAM stream called "Copy Control Information" or CCI. The CCI bit we refer to when we say "Copy Once" is 0x1. That means any approved DVR software (of which there is only one, WMC) can record and playback that stream. Those recordings can be copied around as much as you want, but they will not playback anywhere other than the WMC machine you recorded them on (or an extender that is tied to that instance of WMC). If you brick that machine's OS drive and re-install, those recordings will no longer play back (except within a few extreme scenarios where you do some full bare metal re-install and know more than I do about what other gotchas exist in that scenario)

There are cable companies that mark every channel Copy-Once (even Local SD and Local HD) like TWC

There are cable companies that mark only a few channels Copy-Once from their standard fare ~ like Verizon and Comcast

All cable companies mark HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Encore copy-once

There are also bits like 0x2 which is Copy-Never. This applies to PPV, to prevent any copy from being made

The one we are looking for when we want to "run our own" version of Microsoft's extender model via ServerWMC is 0x00 (Copy-Freely). It may seem surprising, but all channels on Verizon FiOS used to be copy-free. For about 3 years now, every cableco including verizon enforces copy-once on their premium subscription channels HBO, etc. As stated, there are still a lot of Comcast and Verizon channels marked Copy-Free. In my experience with the lowest tier Comcast Digital Cable TV (not digital economy, but the one with ESPN and 40+HD channels) I only encountered copy-once on Sprout, National Geographic, intermittent Palladia, and DisneyXD

Fortunately most people have stopped simply referring to "encrypted" cable, since all QAM cable in the USA is now encrypted. The output of the cablecard tuners like the HDHR Prime and Ceton is decrypted (via cablecard) but will only play nicely outside of WMC if it is not "copy-once"
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-06-2014, 02:17 AM
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I'm certainly not happy moving from Sage to WMc. WMC has a pretty interface but is lacking under the hood. For example there's no way to backup your WMC setup. There are various hacky programs that try to do this but often times they don't work. With Sage you have to backup 3 files + their duplicates for a total of 6 files. So if WMC gets corrupted you can't do a clean install or else you will lose everything. WMC also isn't nearly as good as Sage at detecting whether a show is a repeat on not so it will often record the same show over and over again. WMC has other scheduling problems as well.

WMC also doesn't let you delete shows in batches. If you record a season's worth of episodes of a show and then decide you don't like and want to delele it you have to delete each episode one at a time. Also the only way to prevent WMC from using the same tuner to record back to back shows on the same channel is to set WMC to add 10 minutes of padding to the show's scheduled end time. I could go on and on about WMC's flaws but I'm stuck with it. If Google hadn't bought Sage I'd still be with them.
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post #15 of 25 Old 12-06-2014, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highzone View Post
If Google hadn't bought Sage I'd still be with them.
I sort of get this, but at the same time I don't. I mean I'm still using my Sage system and it's working just as well as it did the day Google bought Sage, nothing's happened, nobody's done anything to degrade or make Sage not work anymore. Now like I said I do get it, I think everybody's first reaction was "oh crap, I need to find something else". But, well, three and a half years later, there's still nothing that compares to SageTV, which is why there's still a lot of us still using it.

FWIW, I also get that people leave because their provider encrypts and flags everything copy once, which sucks. But just remember if your provider doesn't flag things copy once (ie if they're copy freely) you can still use Sage with CableCard and SageDCT.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #16 of 25 Old 12-07-2014, 08:50 AM
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I am a happy migrant from SageTV.

Most of the content of interest for me is copy-once premiums. With multiple TV's, there are no clean solutions out there. If SageTV were still in business, perhaps they would have worked the bugs out of Hauppauge recording that would require a cable box for each "tuner." But that is not the case.

With lack of options on a recent move, I threw in towel with a Comcast Xfinity X1 system (5 tuner system). A bit buggy, not nearly as slick, nor functional as Sagetv, it does have one major advantage:

It has an integrated On-Demand system that essentially provides all current channel content for free (you don't have to think in advance and even make DVR recordings). Recent movies, TV shows are all free. New Movie titles and ones not playing on channels can be purchased. You can find old series On-Demand and buy entire seasons on-demand. No more Newsgroup and torrent searches, bad downloads, and subsequent Amazon purchases (to make me feel legal).

The big realization for me was, after having a great SageTV library of of over 1300 Movies, is that I, nor anyone in my family, EVER watches a movie more than once. Cool "Wall of Videos," but pure bragging rights only.....of little practical value.

The content creators and providers are winning the battle, I am afraid. They are making it too difficult for us to experience content in its intended quality on an HTPC. Blue-Ray and cable/satellite premium content specifically. I doubt we will ever see anything as great as SageTV again, as they have made it impossible to make a decent business model with all these hurdles.

Now I still have an HTPC connected to my TV. I prefer the speed and responsiveness of an HTPC for serving up Netflix and Amazon Prime Internet content. And I run JRiver for high quality music feed to my audio system.
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post #17 of 25 Old 12-08-2014, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highzone View Post
If Google hadn't bought Sage I'd still be with them.
What did Google ever do with them?

If I recall correctly, Blackberry bought the traffic based GPS I had (Dash Express). I don't know that they did anything with that, but ironically, Google copied about 90% of the Dash Express GUI for Google Maps mobile (the prior version). Maybe Blackberry will come out with some Windows based DVR software that looks like Sage TV!
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post #18 of 25 Old 12-08-2014, 01:44 PM
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Google uses them for their Google Fiber TV boxes I think. It seems like they haven't done much innovating or integration with the rest of Google's services though http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/5/73...t-fix-cable-tv
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post #19 of 25 Unread 12-19-2014, 02:19 PM
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I switched to MediaPortal a few years ago. It is pretty reliable, and still well supported. My biggest beef with the solution is a lack of a uPNP client plugin - I can't integrate my PlayOn content into my system. Instead, I have to power on the PS3.... annoying.

I wish I was a programmer sometimes lol
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Thumbs up +1 another happy migrant from SageTV to Comcast X1

@dcard , my upgrade path and experience is very similar to yours. A little while back, I decided to think outside the box for a TV/Movie solution for our family (focused core usefulness and functionality).

Cablecard was never really a good option for our family (couldn't playback any of our favorite TV shows from HBO, SHO, Cinemax, etc). Also, I realized there was no point in maintaining a gigantic movie collection; considering, nobody in my family actually likes to watch the same movie more than once. Lastly, something I always wanted to do on SageTV, was to have a fully functioning mobile DVR TV client (Android or Windows tablet, etc).

As much as I hated Comcast in the past, I have to admit, they really did a great job with their X1 Platform; especially, when I tried it with an open mind. "TV functionality-wise" our family couldn't be happier. Seriously. All their clients/extenders have the same GUI/functionality, just like SageTV. Their Web Browser client (see attached screenshots) and Android client are very impressive; mainly because its so fast and stable. Their Guide even has a builtin "Kids View" Guide (just like Netflix's Kids view).

Our family uses the sh** out of On Demand. Just yesterday, my friend suggested watching a new TV show, Ascenion (which I already missed the first 3 episodes). I watched all 3 consecutively last night, no problem. Afterwards, I added the show to record on my DVR recording schedule. This luxury is preferable over any clunky "cut the cord" illegal Usenet DVR solution, in my book. Some On Demand has "forced" commercial TV commercials; however, its certainly worth to me, it for the convenience.

While Comcast's "TV" solution is far more useful to me than SageTV (especially, considering full functionality/same GUI even while mobile), their Movie solution is lacking. Hence, we added a Roku3 in the livingroom (for Netflix, Amazon Prime Movies, and Pandora).


Quote:
Originally Posted by dcard View Post
I am a happy migrant from SageTV.

Most of the content of interest for me is copy-once premiums. With multiple TV's, there are no clean solutions out there. If SageTV were still in business, perhaps they would have worked the bugs out of Hauppauge recording that would require a cable box for each "tuner." But that is not the case.

With lack of options on a recent move, I threw in towel with a Comcast Xfinity X1 system (5 tuner system). A bit buggy, not nearly as slick, nor functional as Sagetv, it does have one major advantage:

It has an integrated On-Demand system that essentially provides all current channel content for free (you don't have to think in advance and even make DVR recordings). Recent movies, TV shows are all free. New Movie titles and ones not playing on channels can be purchased. You can find old series On-Demand and buy entire seasons on-demand. No more Newsgroup and torrent searches, bad downloads, and subsequent Amazon purchases (to make me feel legal).

The big realization for me was, after having a great SageTV library of of over 1300 Movies, is that I, nor anyone in my family, EVER watches a movie more than once. Cool "Wall of Videos," but pure bragging rights only.....of little practical value.

The content creators and providers are winning the battle, I am afraid. They are making it too difficult for us to experience content in its intended quality on an HTPC. Blue-Ray and cable/satellite premium content specifically. I doubt we will ever see anything as great as SageTV again, as they have made it impossible to make a decent business model with all these hurdles.

Now I still have an HTPC connected to my TV. I prefer the speed and responsiveness of an HTPC for serving up Netflix and Amazon Prime Internet content. And I run JRiver for high quality music feed to my audio system.
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@MKANET :

Have seen your signature for years:

Can your HTPC Media Center / DVR Do this??

SageTV: Unrestricted full-quality 12 tuner HD Premium Cable recording, including "On Demand" in HD + OTA ATSC + DVB-S2 + Blu-ray/HD-DVD serving 5 clients.


..........and always wondered if I was missing having not invested time with trying to integrate ON-DEMAND into my SageTV.

Glad I am not alone with "satisfaction" for this X1 solution.

On a funnier note: For many years running SageTV, whenever I had "system" problems, or, an occasional "bad" recording, I would have to explain to my family that what we we were doing was a bit of a home-grown solution, and they would have to get used to these idiosyncrasies.....

I'm amazed at how "beta" this X1 system is with stability, and clunkiness of some of the UI. It has improved a lot in the past five months.......but I have an even greater respect for what the boys at SageTV were able to accomplish.
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I don't understand most of these posts. Issues with HBO, etc.? How is that possible? Am I just extremely lucky? All my copy protected content works perfectly and has for years. I can get any on-demand content I want by other legal means (Hulu, Youtube, etc.). And using WMC and cable card saves my about $50/month and gives me far more. Last time I checked, X1 was nowhere near 6 tuners and cost a fortune, especially for 5 rooms like I have. I've had the same experience with Tivo, DirecTV, etc. They were great, but they were simply far too expensive.
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@mdavej

Maybe I didn't give WMC a fair shake. I came from WMC in 2005....so I have respect for it. However, I put in every WMC tweak to make a single client system behave like a client/server system for a multiple HTPC system....it was a real kludge....and I developed a bad taste from that experience. SageTV was fantastic in this regard.

Fast forward WMC nine years......HD cable card, etc. For client/server operation, and copy-once off premium cable card, assume that you are using extenders of some sort? I also understand that MS is really not keeping up on development of this software? Just not excited to re-invest time to make this a working solution, I guess.

Agree that my X1 system is very expensive. But as MKANET explained, for the family, it is a real easy one-stop solution for on-demand, etc.

I have a 40TB RAID 6 server that also hosted the SageTV system (now decommissioned). I had fun learning and staying abreast of technology.....but I have less time (and patience) today. Realizing I (and family) never watch movies/series more than once really pushed me forward on decisions here.
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@dcard

I didn't start using WMC until a couple of years ago, so I don't know what it was like back in '05. I simply plugged in a cable card and 4 extenders and everything just worked within a couple of minutes, with practically no effort at all, including all premiums on all my TVs. I did experiment with other client/server/DVR options, but none came anywhere close to WMC. Even though development stopped years ago, it's still by far the best option out there. I don't really see any good reason to use PC clients when extenders are so cheap and simple and much more like the other satellite and cable client/server systems I've used in the past.
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I'll update my signature. I think it will make you feel better to know, that my custom On Demand solution under SageTV worked fine, but was still IMO a bit clunky. I had to use another small LCD screen that I added to navigate and select On Demand content. The LCD screen would turn on when I hit The Green Button my WMC remote control) then, tune SageTV to channel VOD channel 1.

My family also had to put up with the same issues you did. There were mornings where my wife would wake me up to tell me that she can watch any TV (later I'd find out is because Comcast remapped all local channels, or some other issue that wasn't within my control). I didn't realize how much burden/pressure was on me (to keep things from falling apart and also maintaining content), until I upgraded to X1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dcard View Post
@MKANET :

Have seen your signature for years:

Can your HTPC Media Center / DVR Do this??

SageTV: Unrestricted full-quality 12 tuner HD Premium Cable recording, including "On Demand" in HD + OTA ATSC + DVB-S2 + Blu-ray/HD-DVD serving 5 clients.


..........and always wondered if I was missing having not invested time with trying to integrate ON-DEMAND into my SageTV.

Glad I am not alone with "satisfaction" for this X1 solution.

On a funnier note: For many years running SageTV, whenever I had "system" problems, or, an occasional "bad" recording, I would have to explain to my family that what we we were doing was a bit of a home-grown solution, and they would have to get used to these idiosyncrasies.....

I'm amazed at how "beta" this X1 system is with stability, and clunkiness of some of the UI. It has improved a lot in the past five months.......but I have an even greater respect for what the boys at SageTV were able to accomplish.
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