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post #1 of 30 Old 05-21-2015, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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first htpc, need help understanding tuner cards.

So recently I've decided to cut the cord. I went the htpc route because of the capabilities for extra storage and network ability. I found a few local deals and bought a Silverstone tek ML05 mitx case with 300w ps. I went with a Intel i3 4370 and gigabyte h97n-wifi motherboard with 8gigs of ram. Currently i have windows 8.1 on a ssd and 750g hdd for storage until i buy a larger drive. Im using kodi/plex until i get the hang of things.

My question is can i use the direcTv sattelite to pull channels with a tuner? Or is the satellite non useable now that i have returned the box to direcTv. Or am i better off getting an amplified antenna to use with a tuner card.

Thanks.
Juan
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post #2 of 30 Old 05-22-2015, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Ju@n View Post
My question is can i use the direcTv sattelite to pull channels with a tuner?
No you can't, DirecTV (and Dish) are entirely encrypted and unusable without their hardware.

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Or am i better off getting an amplified antenna to use with a tuner card.
That or SlingTV are about your only options for "TV" without cable or satellite.

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post #3 of 30 Old 05-22-2015, 05:39 AM
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If you prefer satellite and love religious, public and news channels, FTA is also an option.
http://www.ftalist.com/english.php

You may be able to sell your old dish on craigslist. RV-ers and tailgaters sometimes buy them. It can also make a nice sled in the winter, with a few modifications.

As for the antenna, bigger is better than amplified. So get out that ladder. At one time I had a Terk that hooked right on to my old dish. It was fairly small and amplified. Worked pretty well.

I thought I wanted to cut the cord too, but just moving to WMC and keeping cable saved me so much money I didn't have to. So if you can get cable, you might want to give it a second look considering a cable card tuner and WMC would negate all the DVR and equipment fees (except for the card). I save about $50/month on my 6 TV system over what I was paying DirecTV and get far more content.
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post #4 of 30 Old 05-22-2015, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I called the cable company and it would cost about 50 dollars for basic cable and cable card rental. I'm going to think about what I want to do and which set up I'd like to use. I checked the antenna webpage to see what I would get it says 19 channels but I have a feeling it might be more.

I also have to check some of the live tv repositories on kodi.
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post #5 of 30 Old 05-23-2015, 04:23 AM
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Not to hijack the OP's thread, but can some explain how it word work with regular cable plus the cable card for use in conjunction with WMC? Can someone explain how this functions, for someone who has little knowledge on this specific subject?
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post #6 of 30 Old 05-23-2015, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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From what i understand the card gives the tuner the decryption for the signal coming in from the cable. So what ever subscription you have is what will we be avaliable. The tv tuner and wmc will act as your cable box.
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post #7 of 30 Old 05-23-2015, 08:40 AM
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^^^
Correct. This has many additional benefits, like no equipment or DVR fees, unlimited storage, whole home capability via extenders, direct access to all you local media. And it works with you old cable remote, universal remote or media center remote. It's essentially a free Tivo on steroids.

But to reiterate, HTPC's strengths are live/recorded TV and local media, not streaming services or disc playback, unfortunately.
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post #8 of 30 Old 05-28-2015, 09:57 AM
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So what about difference between tuners? there are models that only take cablecards then there are models that only to OTA and QAM right?
If i cancel my cable completely, and plug in the coax to A HDhomerun will I still get the "free" channels and will they be in HD?

Thank you
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post #9 of 30 Old 05-28-2015, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdubb2772 View Post
So what about difference between tuners? there are models that only take cablecards then there are models that only to OTA and QAM right?
If i cancel my cable completely, and plug in the coax to A HDhomerun will I still get the "free" channels and will they be in HD?

Thank you
If you cancel cable there will be no free channels, since there is no free cable in the US. ClearQAM is dead.

Get the homerun dual that can pick up the free over the air TV through an antenna.

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 #10 of 30 Old 05-28-2015, 10:23 AM
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^^
HDHomeRun Connect or Extend, the Dual is dead. Unless you want to buy mine.

I recommend the Extend, as it transcodes on the fly, and makes HD available on devices such as Apple and Android devices.
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post #11 of 30 Old 05-28-2015, 11:08 AM
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I use a Ceton card with a Verizon Cablecard with great success with WMC. Note that windows 7 no longer updates the TV Guide, which was a great benefit. I understand there are work-arounds to get the guide going again, but I've not had time to implement them.

http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv-4-pcie/

Cheers,

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post #12 of 30 Old 05-28-2015, 11:13 AM
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Clarification, YOUR guide might not be working, but Microsoft DOES still update the guide in Windows Media Center.
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post #13 of 30 Old 06-03-2015, 10:01 AM
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Looking for help. Just set up a nicely equipped gaming htpc in the living room. Is there a device / card that would allow me to connect my cable box to the pc. A cable card cost the same monthly as the box I am using and this way I would not have to give up the on demand content.
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post #14 of 30 Old 06-03-2015, 10:27 AM
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Probably best to just keep using the DVR from the cable co.
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post #15 of 30 Old 06-03-2015, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpvision View Post
Looking for help. Just set up a nicely equipped gaming htpc in the living room. Is there a device / card that would allow me to connect my cable box to the pc. A cable card cost the same monthly as the box I am using and this way I would not have to give up the on demand content.
You'd need something like a Hauppauge HD PVR or Colossus. And possibly an IR blaster (USB-UIRT) or the included one. Or ideally IP/serial for tuning.

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post #16 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 08:44 AM
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Get the homerun dual that can pick up the free over the air TV through an antenna.
I see this in your signature:
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!!!

Do you have a thread or anything that talks how this works? We have 9 tvs (8 tvs, 1 projector) in our house, and we are renting 4 cable boxes currently (1 Whole House DVR, and 3 connected to it). The other TVs just run off the Cable channels that don't require a box. I use a FiOS provider as well, and see they do 'lease' cablecards.

I just completed my home theater, and am really thinking I want to build a HTPC. I wasn't sure how CableCards worked if they were located in a central PC, and how the other rooms get access to "Live/Real Time" tv? I believe if you DVR it with the CableCard, you can then playback via a Media Server front end, but I didn't know if or how Live/Real Time TV was 'sent' to the other TVs.
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post #17 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 09:10 AM
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I didn't know if or how Live/Real Time TV was 'sent' to the other TVs.
I also have 6 TVs, a single cable-card tuner and zero cable boxes or cable DVRs. In my system, Live and recorded TV is sent to all other TVs over ethernet via Windows Media Center Extenders. I personally use Ceton Echo, but Xbox 360 and Linksys are also popular options. If you don't need access to premium channels in those other rooms, you can use something as simple as a Raspberry Pi. For just Live TV (no recordings), there are many options, including DLNA. So if that's all you require and already have smart TVs or streaming boxes, then a couple of centrally located HD HomeRun Primes will work fine with no additional equipment required.
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post #18 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
I see this in your signature:
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!!!

Do you have a thread or anything that talks how this works? We have 9 tvs (8 tvs, 1 projector) in our house, and we are renting 4 cable boxes currently (1 Whole House DVR, and 3 connected to it). The other TVs just run off the Cable channels that don't require a box. I use a FiOS provider as well, and see they do 'lease' cablecards.

I just completed my home theater, and am really thinking I want to build a HTPC. I wasn't sure how CableCards worked if they were located in a central PC, and how the other rooms get access to "Live/Real Time" tv? I believe if you DVR it with the CableCard, you can then playback via a Media Server front end, but I didn't know if or how Live/Real Time TV was 'sent' to the other TVs.
My understanding (as a Cablecard HTPC user who hasn't done it) is that if you have a PCIe-based cablecard adapter, Windows can support sharing it with other devices* on the local network. For example, with the InfiniTV 4 PCIe , assigning one of the four tuners to a PC in a bedroom. Alternatively, the Network based InfiniTV 6ETH is designed to share all of it's tuners across the network.

* devices= A PC with Windows Media Center, an Xbox 360, or a Ceton Echo
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post #19 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 09:20 AM
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^^^
There is no need for tuner sharing if you use extenders. They pull from the PC running WMC, not the tuner itself. If you don't use extenders, then yes, you need dynamic tuner pooling.
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post #20 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 09:30 AM
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^^^
There is no need for tuner sharing if you use extenders. They pull from the PC running WMC, not the tuner itself. If you don't use extenders, then yes, you need dynamic tuner pooling.
Very true, I apologize for the lack of clarity on that.
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post #21 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 10:01 AM
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But the downside is that it's not easy to use the tuners on other devices such as laptops, tablets, etc. if you have a PCI based card. It's a piece of cake with my HDHR tuners.
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post #22 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 10:32 AM
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I also have 6 TVs, a single cable-card tuner and zero cable boxes or cable DVRs. In my system, Live and recorded TV is sent to all other TVs over ethernet via Windows Media Center Extenders. I personally use Ceton Echo, but Xbox 360 and Linksys are also popular options. If you don't need access to premium channels in those other rooms, you can use something as simple as a Raspberry Pi. For just Live TV (no recordings), there are many options, including DLNA. So if that's all you require and already have smart TVs or streaming boxes, then a couple of centrally located HD HomeRun Primes will work fine with no additional equipment required.
Thanks for the input.

So, if i had say 4 Windows Media Extenders, say the Ceton Echo, and I had a single Cable Card, and lets say a Ceton Infinity 4 Tuner device... could each of those 4 locations watch different live streaming channels at the same time?

I appreciate the help and insights.
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post #23 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 11:06 AM
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You could watch 4 channels at once. So I think the answer is yes.
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post #24 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
Thanks for the input.

So, if i had say 4 Windows Media Extenders, say the Ceton Echo, and I had a single Cable Card, and lets say a Ceton Infinity 4 Tuner device... could each of those 4 locations watch different live streaming channels at the same time?

I appreciate the help and insights.
Yes. But if I had 4 TVs playing live TV simultaneously all the time, I'd want a couple more tuners so I could record different programs in the background as well. I think two 3-tuner Primes or one 6-tuner Ceton would be best. I have 6 TVs, but only need 6 tuners since no more than 2 or 3 are in use at any given time in my situation. Also, you don't need an extender for the TV connected directly to your WMC PC, unless you just prefer to have a headless system.

You also have to consider the OS. Echo and other "legacy" extenders only work with Win 7 and earlier. If you have Win 8.x, then Xbox 360 is the only extender that works well. Xbox has other advantages like being able to run Netflix and other streaming apps. Other extenders only run WMC. I use Echo mainly because they're small and silent, and I already have smart TVs that run the streaming apps. Otherwise, I'd have stuck with Xbox.
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post #25 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 11:10 AM
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Thanks for the input.

So, if i had say 4 Windows Media Extenders, say the Ceton Echo, and I had a single Cable Card, and lets say a Ceton Infinity 4 Tuner device... could each of those 4 locations watch different live streaming channels at the same time?

I appreciate the help and insights.

For your house go with a 6 tuner unit. A CableCARD supports 6 streams at once. If you get a tuner with fewer tuners than 6, then you are paying for 6, but only able to use less.

You can have up to 5 extenders on at the same time. You can pair more than 5, but you can only use 5 at once, which means you can only use 6 TV's at once (one connected to the PC it self).

Unless you are extremely detail oriented, I would not recommend going with multiple PC's in lieu of a single PC with multiple extenders. You will have to deal with sharing folders on all PC's and making sure that same program is not scheduled to record on more than 1 PC, which will tie up that many tuners.

When you use a single PC and extenders, if multiple locations are viewing the same channel, or a program is being recorded and viewed at multiple TV's, only 1 tuner is used.

One word of advice: Set up your home theater with HTPC, get it working, and then start adding on extenders.

When you build HTPC, make sure you follow the specs: 1 CPU core and 1 GB of RAM per connected TV, as recommended by Microsoft.

There is no need for fancy video cards, it only has to be HDCP compliant, which Radeon 4000 and up is. Extenders don't use the video card resources, but they do use up quite a bit of CPU.

Also, depending on your viewing habits you can increase the tuner count without having to rent more CableCARDS. We watch quite a bit of network TV, so we have 6x CableCARD tuners and 6x OTA tuners (3x Home Run Duals) connected to the antenna.

WMC "knows" to use OTA tuners for broadcast TV and CableCARD tuners for Cable TV.

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 #26 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 11:14 AM
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Also, depending on your viewing habits you can increase the tuner count without having to rent more CableCARDS. We watch quite a bit of network TV, so we have 6x CableCARD tuners and 6x OTA tuners (3x Home Run Duals) connected to the antenna.
Yep. I have a Prime for cable channels, and then a 2 tuner Extend and a 2 tuner Dual on antenna for OTA channels.
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post #27 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 11:40 AM
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Awesome input from you all, Thanks!
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post #28 of 30 Old 07-10-2015, 03:58 PM
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Two HDHR Primes here (2 Comcast cablecards for 6 total tuners) networked over CAT6. One Windows 7 HTPC running WMC. Two Xbox360s as extenders. Three TVs. Works like a charm. Only very occasionally have I had to re-pair one of the Xbox's with the HTPC and I think that was a network hardware issue.

If you read through the forums, you'll see that some people have had great luck with the Ceton tuner cards and Echo extenders. Others have not, and if I understand correctly, Ceton isn't doing any updates or development for the Echo extenders anymore. So YMMV. SiliconDust is actively developing a new DVR software package for the HDHomeRun line of networked tuners.
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post #29 of 30 Old Today, 12:24 PM
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My understanding from looking at the HDHomeRun DVR product, is that the 'client' TVs, will be able to run the DVR software via a Kodi and/or Plex interface over a multitude of lower cost device options (vs a Windows Media Extender, like the Ceton Echo or an Xbox 360, etc). Is that accurate?
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post #30 of 30 Old Today, 12:31 PM
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The client software already works great in Kodi, kind of OK in Plex on Roku. It's the DVR part that's being added, so yes.
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