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post #1 of 262 Old 06-16-2011, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been a mostly happy ReplayTV user for ages. My three lifetime boxes have survived all the ups and downs. Old as they are they provide a much better DVR experience than the Comcast or FIOS DVRs that I can get from my local cable companies. Given the long sad tale going on over in the shutdown thread, I'd like to start a different discussion.

What's the right solution in a post-DNNA world?

Choices I've heard:

A = Use WIRNS and Schedules Direct ($) to go into the electronic program guide business myself with an old Windows PC. This may or may not work when the DNNA activation and time servers go down, but at least we'll be able to talk about activation on the AVS forum once it's no longer theft.

B = Switch to SageTV, or MythTV, or some other PC hardware/software PVR.

Pro's of A = Keep using ReplayTV hardware, IR control of cable box, good GUI
Con's of A = Might not be possible, it's getting hard to find HDDs, ...

Pro's of B = New supplier might be good
Con's of B = New supplier might be bad (like Comcast/Scientific Atlanta and Verizon FIOS/Motorola)

Surely the great hive mind that is the AVS Forum can outline the real options and pros/cons. I use my ReplayTVs is a traditional way, I record seasons of shows and watch them later because I only have limited time to watch TV, I'm not attentive enough to track all the schedule changes, and I like to ship commercials. I'm not burning shows to DVD or sharing them across my home LAN. I have space in my audio/visual cabinets for a ReplayTV set top box, and hardwired LAN connections. My cable could be HD via HDMI, but frankly I find SD from clean analog is adequate for most TV. I've got a nice little rack of computer stuff in the basement, and 1 or 4 more PCs could have a happy home there. I probably can't sell the wife a keyboard in the Living Room.

Thanx in advance.
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post #2 of 262 Old 06-16-2011, 06:07 PM
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Long time Replay user, cableco went all digital starting March 30 and gave me six weeks notice of that. By May 25, only a few local and community channels were analog, all others were digital.

I knew what I had to do. I knew this day was coming, and I had been keeping my ear to the ground to be somewhat ready with Plan B when the time came.

I guess it was coming no matter what, one way or the other. The cableco just beat Replay by a couple of months, that's all.

Anyway, starting the first week of March I went digital cable with cableCARD and Windows Media Center (using the Ceton 4 stream tuner card). In other words, I built my own cable box/DVR. Did it cost money? Yep. Does it work? Yep.

I have to say, as a long time Replay user, I'm very happy with Windows 7 Media Center. No regrets, no looking back. 7MC is a great way to move to the future.

Depending on your circumstances, you have quite a few options: SageTV, MythTV, a Moxi setup, Media Center...pick your poison. I've discussed my MC experience over a few posts the last couple of days, and in another thread over the past few weeks.

BTW, you FIOS users--it's my understanding that you, too, can get cableCARD and do Win Media Center. Either that, or use the Verizon-supplied tuning adapters and IR blasters and do Media Center that way, or something else that doesn't require/can't use cableCARD.

I can't watch TV. And now that I can't watch Replay, I had to build my own Replay or else just turn the damned thing off.

That's an alternative as well, remember.

Oh--and commercial skip was THE killer app that pointed me directly to Windows Media Center and away from Moxi or Tivo. I won't watch without commercial skip.

And: no keyboard required to run Media Center. Remote is all you need. Find some on Ebay, or just get a Harmony 300--new, simple, no big deal. The MC interface is very clean and easy.
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post #3 of 262 Old 06-16-2011, 06:36 PM
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The closest current DVR user experience to Replay is still TiVo.
I have a TiVo-HD w/multistream cable card from my cable co. It can record two simultaneous HD streams and also has fairly decent OTA tuner for local digital/HD content. It's got a fairly craptastic UI compared to Replay, but it never misses a recording, does HD without breaking a sweat- and the multistream cable card rental is only $1.50/month.

But- only cable in and OTA antenna in- no aux inputs (for recording from satellite STB) as found in the ReplayTV's.

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post #4 of 262 Old 06-16-2011, 08:53 PM
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Another vote for Windows Media Center. I've been using it for about 4 years now... works great.

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post #5 of 262 Old 06-16-2011, 10:10 PM
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While I am doing major research into Tivo, it has its shortcomings, such as 30 minute buffer and transferring instead of streaming, but I still might end up with that.

One possible solution that is a little messy is this: I currently have two cable boxes in a single location, one to watch normally and the other hooked up to the replay (black tape) so I can record all the digital cable. If I replace the regular cable boxes hooked to the replay to a Comcast DVR, I would use the input with no-device to get a straight stream of whatever the CDVR outputed. I would then have to set a show to record on the CDVR in order to get it to change channels at the right time, but would set a manual record on the Replay for that time to to record the show that the CDVR is recording. I could then change the name of the recording so keep my Replay menu organized.

For example, if I wanted to record Grey's Anatomy weekly, I can set this up on the Comcast DVR and then set a manual record for the input every Thursday from 6:55-8:05 (a little extra). Hitch would be if shows were moved (as Replay would automatically adjust). I am still weighing my options.

Update - I am actually not sure this would work after all since the CDVRs are dual-tuner and you can't guarantee if the outputing channel will change when the recording starts.
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post #6 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 04:04 AM
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Rob,

In the "features" for TiVo, it talks about Hulu and other on-line content access.. Netflix, pandora, youtube, etc. How well do these off-net capabilities work?

In the old days, you'd buy the lowest unit and replace the hard drive with a large one. Can you still do this? I see they have two units, one significantly higher priced than the other.

What about the wireless access? They claim that only their (expensive) wireless adaptors work for their new units.

Any other comments re:TiVo?

thanks,

Joe


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post #7 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 05:13 AM
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One thing to be aware of... if your cable company has the "copy once" flag set, you can't transfer those recordings to the other Tivo's. My cable company (comcast) has this set for all channels, all programs (even though they are not supposed to), effectively disabling the "sharing" feature that Tivo has.

Regarding the Windows7MC with a cable card - this same rule applies - however, if you have an Xbox360, you can stream to those as "extenders", but you cannot share those programs ("copy once") to other WindowsMC machines.

My main reservation with the WindowsMC+Xbox route is that you can only view the recordings - you can't delete, or schedule. (maybe you can, and I'm just ignorant?). Many people compensate for this limitation by using an iPad or iPhone to do these functions (very expensive remotes! )

Another complaint I read about the Xbox is that you can't keep it always on - and the media extender function takes some time to load up - it isn't instant like the replays.

The moxi setup has the potential to be the perfect solution... but, sadly, as it has been stated elsewhere, the company seems to have abandoned the platform.
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post #8 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seekins View Post

One thing to be aware of... if your cable company has the "copy once" flag set, you can't transfer those recordings to the other Tivo's. My cable company (comcast) has this set for all channels, all programs (even though they are not supposed to), effectively disabling the "sharing" feature that Tivo has.

Regarding the Windows7MC with a cable card - this same rule applies - however, if you have an Xbox360, you can stream to those as "extenders", but you cannot share those programs ("copy once") to other WindowsMC machines.

True. But my cableco doesn't flag anything as "copy once". I love WOW.



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My main reservation with the WindowsMC+Xbox route is that you can only view the recordings - you can't delete, or schedule. (maybe you can, and I'm just ignorant?).

Yeah, you're ignorant. ;-) The MC extender experience is, for television, 100% identical to sitting in front of the MC PC itself. You have full control over watching live TV, scheduling, moving priorities, viewing upcoming shows, watching recorded shows, deleting shows, seeing the guide, etc, etc.

Quote:


Many people compensate for this limitation by using an iPad or iPhone to do these functions (very expensive remotes! )

I have no idea why those people have that idea in their heads.



Quote:


Another complaint I read about the Xbox is that you can't keep it always on - and the media extender function takes some time to load up - it isn't instant like the replays.

You can keep it on all the time. No problem. But I figure, why? The startup is 30 seconds. Not instant, but my two XBoxen--which are used SOLELY as extenders--are set to boot into MC directly, without any intervention. So, I just turn them on as I walk by, then 30 sec or so later they're ready to go.

But sometimes I leave them on, usually by accident, and it's no big deal.

I'm wondering where all these old wives' tales are coming from...
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post #9 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 05:30 AM
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Oh--and MC automatically installs the Netflix plugin, which is a perfect fusion of the MC experience with the Netflix experience--and it all works with the MC remote, no keyboard required.

And you're not limited to what's in your queue, either. Again, even with the simple MC remote, you can search the entire Netflix streaming library.
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post #10 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam1991 View Post

Long time Replay user, cableco went all digital starting March 30 and gave me six weeks notice of that. By May 25, only a few local and community channels were analog, all others were digital.

I knew what I had to do. I knew this day was coming, and I had been keeping my ear to the ground to be somewhat ready with Plan B when the time came.

I guess it was coming no matter what, one way or the other. The cableco just beat Replay by a couple of months, that's all.

I wonder if DNNA shot themselves in the foot with regards to maintaining the RTV's. They were never going to make another dime off of lifetime units, but I wonder how many monthly subscriptions were cancelled when:

1. The RTV Software (IR Codes, Lineups) was not updated to make use of CECB for the DTV transition.

2. Their web site activation / credit card fiascos. How many people just had enough and said, "Bye Bye!!"

We may never know. I have no idea if there would have been enough monthly subs to keep it going.

Cheers!
-Doug
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post #11 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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7MC folks:

I have three nice HDTVs, which today each have a ReplayTV to command on their own. Since they are nice, I can watch Netflix on them and HD directly from the cable box. My cable TV went all digital before the OTA DTV conversion, but my ReplayTV controls it's own cable set top box via IR Blaster.

Do I need three 7MC PCs? or Do I need one 7MC PC and two Xboxs?

I can have cablecard, and there is even the appearance of tech support for it, though I don't have any insight to the "copy once" flag. I guess they could change that at any instant, so it's something we should assume is set.

I already have an Xbox 360 hooked to one TV, to play games, is the "MC Extender" capability just a program I have on my Xbox but don't run, or does it impact the Xbox gaming functionality.

I'll admit a bias, I don't like Microsoft. Their products have burned me many times, both Windows and xBox. At least I don't own a Zune. I'm easily tempted away by Linux and other open-source solutions.
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post #12 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJoe View Post
Rob,

In the "features" for TiVo, it talks about Hulu and other on-line content access.. Netflix, pandora, youtube, etc. How well do these off-net capabilities work?

In the old days, you'd buy the lowest unit and replace the hard drive with a large one. Can you still do this? I see they have two units, one significantly higher priced than the other.

What about the wireless access? They claim that only their (expensive) wireless adaptors work for their new units.

Any other comments re:TiVo?

thanks,

Joe
Hi Joe,

You're probably better off browsing the TiVo forum for good info: http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/index.php?
I'm a 'casual' TiVo user at best. In fact- my TiVo-HD has been unplugged from after the Superbowl till pre-season football starts up again.

I'll answer only what I know about as to not give misinformation...
-The few times I used it- YouTube works ok, nothing spectacular. Searching kind of sucks.
-On the TiVo forum everyone complains about the kludgy TiVo UI for other online services- I've never use them so I can't comment on them.
-You can still swapout the OEM hard drive for a larger one. There are vendors (http://www.weaknees.com/) that will pre-format replacements for you with the TiVo OS already installed to make it super easy to upgrade. You can also add the 1TB external "Western Digital My DVR Expander" if you don't want to void your warranty by cracking open your new TiVo.
-Wireless adapter: check the TiVo forum for info on that. My TiVo came with their branded adapter, but I've never even tried it cause I run cat5/6 for everything I possibly can get access to.


One word about the TiVo forum- it's kind of like the religious apple forums, so before posting read.... read... read.... and if you have something negative about to say about TiVo- don your fire proof suit before posting!

"If we ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space."
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post #13 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 09:26 AM
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My Replay happened to die just last week, ironically enough, so I was already looking for other solutions. I am now a Mac user and the last Windows machine I have is from 2002 and just doesn't have the specs for W7. Is it worth getting a cheap Windows machine just for MC7? I can get one plus a tuner for a less than a Tivo+lifetime.
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post #14 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSaunders View Post

7MC folks:

I have three nice HDTVs, which today each have a ReplayTV to command on their own. Since they are nice, I can watch Netflix on them and HD directly from the cable box. My cable TV went all digital before the OTA DTV conversion, but my ReplayTV controls it's own cable set top box via IR Blaster.

Do I need three 7MC PCs? or Do I need one 7MC PC and two Xboxs?

One 7MC PC and two XBox. That's my setup exactly.

Be aware, the extender functionality is for TV only--live or recorded. If you want to watch DVDs, you do it from the XBox. If you want to watch DVDs or other videos that you've stored on your network, you use the XBox native setup that does that. If you want to watch Netflix on your XBox, you'll need to be an XBox Live Gold member and do that using the XBox native setup.


Quote:


I can have cablecard, and there is even the appearance of tech support for it, though I don't have any insight to the "copy once" flag. I guess they could change that at any instant, so it's something we should assume is set.

Eh. I would work with whatever they don't want to set as "copy once", and be happy.



Quote:


I already have an Xbox 360 hooked to one TV, to play games, is the "MC Extender" capability just a program I have on my Xbox but don't run, or does it impact the Xbox gaming functionality.

It works very well. Enable it and see.


Quote:


I'll admit a bias, I don't like Microsoft. Their products have burned me many times, both Windows and xBox. At least I don't own a Zune. I'm easily tempted away by Linux and other open-source solutions.

I threw my hat in the ring with full faith that Microsoft got this right, and I was proven correct.
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post #15 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Selma Bouvier View Post

My Replay happened to die just last week, ironically enough, so I was already looking for other solutions. I am now a Mac user and the last Windows machine I have is from 2002 and just doesn't have the specs for W7. Is it worth getting a cheap Windows machine just for MC7? I can get one plus a tuner for a less than a Tivo+lifetime.

Mac user here since 1988. But I had been researching this issue for over a year, knowing it was coming, and knew that with all digital cable, cableCARD was the answer--which means if it's not Moxi or Tivo, it's Windows Media Center. Period.

I did some research and built my own system (well, I spec'd it and bought the parts, and a buddy of mine bolted it all together for me). They key is throughput, not necessarily horsepower. The tuner streams the digital bits right to the hard drive--but there are four tuners going at once, so you need a drive that can keep up with that. Plus you're probably streaming recorded material out, maybe to up to three TVs at once. Plus, if you're using ShowAnalyzer, it's analyzing one or more shows for commercial skip.

That's a lot of bits being moved around on the hard drive and through the network.

Despite heat concerns, I went with a 2TB 7200rpm drive just for recorded TV.

And I put Windows on a separate drive, to keep things nice and clean.

Horsepower is nice for doing things like ShowAnalyzer and MCEBuddy (converts shows to .mp4 et al., to squeeze them down and make them useful outside of 7MC), but it's secondary to the simple shuttling of bits through the system.

I looked at off the shelf computers, but none of them did it for me. I wanted THIS feature and THAT feature, and off the shelf stuff really doesn't come that way. That's why I built from scratch.

Also, I had a copy of Win7 already, so that cost didn't factor in to what I did--but it will factor into what you do. If you need a new copy of Windows to do this and can find a $300 or $400 system that does what you want AND includes Windows, you're ahead of the game--even if you end up swapping out or adding a hard drive.

One of my other concerns was that I was going to use the Ceton card, which means internal, and which also means heat, which means a good case with good cooling. If, however, you're going to use the three tuner SiliconDust external unit, now you're talking--just get a cheap PC off the shelf, make sure it has enough disk space for recordings (preferably two drives like I did), then simply network the Silicon Dust tuner to your cheap box. Voila.

How you're going to connect it to your TV is another issue and another reason I built from scratch. I wanted to make sure I got a system with solid HDMI out, and that to me ended up being an Intel motherboard with an Intel Clarkdale processor. I chose i3, others might want i5--but my specific combination has onboard HDMI, so no extra cost video card needed, and it all passes the Win Media Center Digital Cable Advisor hardware qualification needed to make Windows happy.

The video card issue is almost as troublesome as the tuner card issue, because a good video card that passes Digital Cable Advisor will take up decent space in the case and will generate some heat. So you're almost back to square 1 unless you can find an off the shelf system that has onboard HDMI with enough horsepower for TV out and that passes Digital Cable Advisor. Either that, or the system you find needs to have enough room for a video card, and you budget that in.
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post #16 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 03:40 PM
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Adam, thanks so much for the detailed reply and sharing your solution.

I actually already purchased a Vulkano, thinking it would be a good replacement for both the RTV and my long-malfunctioning Slingplayer. Not so much! It is great as a placeshifter and the apps on any device are free, a great touch. But it doesn't work well as a DVR (no pausing of live TV, clunky GUI, bare-bones features, etc.) I can return it within 30 days if MC7 is the way I want to go, or I can keep it and use it for placeshifting and moving recordings to my Mac (faster and easier than DV Archive was in my experience) and also get a cableco box for basic DVR functions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam1991 View Post

If you need a new copy of Windows to do this and can find a $300 or $400 system that does what you want AND includes Windows, you're ahead of the game--even if you end up swapping out or adding a hard drive.

This is what I was thinking, as well. I am not really able to build my own unit and so I think buying an off the shelf Windows machine would be the way to go. I have easily found discounted ones at <$300 and since I was existing on the original hard drive of a 5040 for 8 years, anything will be an improvement!

If all works well, I'd return the Vulkano, but I only have 7-10 days left to decide.
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post #17 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 05:06 PM
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Vulkano, huh?

How about Media Center with Remote Potato?

http://www.remotepotato.com/

PM me if you want to see it working. I'm sitting at my Mac (main machine) right now, streaming Mythbusters from the 7MC box in another room while my kids watch TV from it.
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post #18 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 05:32 PM
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Wow, looks great! They'll have an iPad app as well, they say, which is a must for me. Thanks for the tip.

I think returning the Vulkano (great idea, bad execution) and getting a cheap Windows machine is the way to go. It's funny, I just got a new job and they'll be getting me a Windows laptop but I can't be using that, unfortunately....
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post #19 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 05:55 PM
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and since I was existing on the original hard drive of a 5040 for 8 years, anything will be an improvement!

Ah, but remember that the digital streams don't take up any LESS space, and frequently take up MORE. And now that you can put a 3TB drive into a computer and start recording things you never dared to before due to lack of space...believe me, that 3TB will seem small before you know it.
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post #20 of 262 Old 06-17-2011, 07:43 PM
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Besides the recording function, my most treasured use of the Replay is the pause. Because my harddrive is a little flakey, I have to be careful about how many show are recorded. However many times I just prefer to delay watching stuff and just pause. With what's on my drive now, I can usually rewind about 24 hours. Even if live recording stops, I can catch up at my leisure. Of course the cable box is also connected directly to the tv so watch live if needed, while my replay is chilling on pause. Any other system offer this?
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post #21 of 262 Old 06-18-2011, 10:42 AM
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My opinion on Tivo and HTPC alternatives posted here. I currently use both, and by far prefer the ease of use of the Tivos and don't use the tons of extra features available on the WMC HTPC. Others really want to play Blu-Ray rips from a huge video library so prefer the PC solutions, but we mainly watch and delete HD recordings with the occasional Youtube or Pandora app access and the Tivos work fine for that. I also find that the Tivos, using pyTivo for transfers to/from a PC, work very well to watch 99% of what I download from the net anyway.

If you're running more than a couple of boxes in your house or REALLY want commercial skip, the HTPC with extenders is probably a better solution.
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post #22 of 262 Old 06-18-2011, 01:22 PM
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After having Replay 50xx for many years, I have two firm rules in my life regarding TV:

1) I don't watch TV. The box watches TV for me, taking the tedium out of it, and I watch the box. On my schedule.

2) I don't watch commercials. The box skips the commercials for me.

Given that, my choices are Myth, Sage, or 7MC. I chose cableCARD, ergo 7MC was it.

Commercial skip under 7MC is noticeably better than what Replay had been doing over the past couple of years--maybe hugely better, now that I think about it.

The author of ShowAnalyzer used to have a utility to tweak commercial skipping on a per-channel or per-program basis. I think he's reworking that for the latest version.

I do know that I was able to tell the system to behave like Replay--treat the first two minutes and the last two minutes of every program as program material, regardless. I think that was a superb idea on Replay's part, and it remains a superb idea today.
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post #23 of 262 Old 06-18-2011, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by adam1991 View Post

Mac user here since 1988. But I had been researching this issue for over a year, knowing it was coming, and knew that with all digital cable, cableCARD was the answer--which means if it's not Moxi or Tivo, it's Windows Media Center. Period.

I did some research and built my own system (well, I spec'd it and bought the parts, and a buddy of mine bolted it all together for me). They key is throughput, not necessarily horsepower. The tuner streams the digital bits right to the hard drive--but there are four tuners going at once, so you need a drive that can keep up with that. Plus you're probably streaming recorded material out, maybe to up to three TVs at once. Plus, if you're using ShowAnalyzer, it's analyzing one or more shows for commercial skip.

That's a lot of bits being moved around on the hard drive and through the network.

Despite heat concerns, I went with a 2TB 7200rpm drive just for recorded TV.

And I put Windows on a separate drive, to keep things nice and clean.

Horsepower is nice for doing things like ShowAnalyzer and MCEBuddy (converts shows to .mp4 et al., to squeeze them down and make them useful outside of 7MC), but it's secondary to the simple shuttling of bits through the system.

I looked at off the shelf computers, but none of them did it for me. I wanted THIS feature and THAT feature, and off the shelf stuff really doesn't come that way. That's why I built from scratch.

Also, I had a copy of Win7 already, so that cost didn't factor in to what I did--but it will factor into what you do. If you need a new copy of Windows to do this and can find a $300 or $400 system that does what you want AND includes Windows, you're ahead of the game--even if you end up swapping out or adding a hard drive.

One of my other concerns was that I was going to use the Ceton card, which means internal, and which also means heat, which means a good case with good cooling. If, however, you're going to use the three tuner SiliconDust external unit, now you're talking--just get a cheap PC off the shelf, make sure it has enough disk space for recordings (preferably two drives like I did), then simply network the Silicon Dust tuner to your cheap box. Voila.

How you're going to connect it to your TV is another issue and another reason I built from scratch. I wanted to make sure I got a system with solid HDMI out, and that to me ended up being an Intel motherboard with an Intel Clarkdale processor. I chose i3, others might want i5--but my specific combination has onboard HDMI, so no extra cost video card needed, and it all passes the Win Media Center Digital Cable Advisor hardware qualification needed to make Windows happy.

The video card issue is almost as troublesome as the tuner card issue, because a good video card that passes Digital Cable Advisor will take up decent space in the case and will generate some heat. So you're almost back to square 1 unless you can find an off the shelf system that has onboard HDMI with enough horsepower for TV out and that passes Digital Cable Advisor. Either that, or the system you find needs to have enough room for a video card, and you budget that in.

Rule 1:

I will not add Yet Another Box into/onto my TV cabinet, complete with Yet More Cabling.

I also see no need to incur the cost of Yet Another Computer, when the several I already own have more than sufficient bandwidth and horsepower to handle all the recording / analyzing/ streaming I will ever need. In particular, I have a recently assembled headless Sandy Bridge computer with a Core i5-2500 quad core processor and 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. It has several available PCIe slots, and since it has a mid-tower case, this box has lots of room for whatever HDD I might need. It has a bunch of other things to do, but I don't think it will have the slightest problem dealing with the demands of HTPC functions in addition to its other chores.

My theory is, media technology has reached a stage where there is absolutely no technical reason to have to directly connect the TV to a port on an HTPC, or to an intermediary box, such as an XBox 360. I don't want to "watch TV on my PC". I want to watch TV on my TVs, wherever they may be, and access the recorded content via my LAN from wherever it resides. Without any intermediary boxes.

IMO, the MC "extender" concept is dead. It died about 15 minutes after it was announced. DLNA looks to me much more like the future. There is ZERO interest among equipment manufacturers in Microsoft's concept of MC as the center of the media universe. Conversely, there are numerous manufacturers on board with DLNA.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital...twork_Alliance

Your posts have helped to shed light on a few things for me. However, I would like to understand everything a lot more before plunging in.

You seem to favor the Ceton card. I notice they have a quad-tuner card. I have been considering a dual channel Hauppauge card. Two of those cost less than a Ceton quad. Are there reasons (other than using a single slot) to prefer the Ceton?

I am looking at Samsung TVs that have Ethernet connectivity, and have DLNA player (DMP) functionality built in. (plus a variety of other inputs) But, of course, a DMP requires a DLNA server (DMS). From all appearances, WMP will act as a DMS and (presumably) can access the media files stored by 7MC. If this will work as I envision, I think I have the beginnings of a solution that meets my criteria.

Hoping you might have some knowledge of that.

Will WMP stream live TV and (oh please, please) pause it?
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post #24 of 262 Old 06-18-2011, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ocahui View Post

Rule 1:

I will not add Yet Another Box into/onto my TV cabinet, complete with Yet More Cabling.

Understood, but I built a cable box--not a computer. That was intentional.

Setting this up to be stable means, to me from my experience, not having it be a general purpose computer doing a bunch of things. It's a unitasker--albeit with a few layers.

But I don't do anything other than Replay-like-oriented functions on this thing.

One reason for that is that this is for the family, not just me. It has to be stable and usable and not quirky.

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You seem to favor the Ceton card. I notice they have a quad-tuner card. I have been considering a dual channel Hauppauge card. Two of those cost less than a Ceton quad. Are there reasons (other than using a single slot) to prefer the Ceton?

The purpose of the Ceton card is to accept a cableCARD. CableCARD brings along decryption of channels that are not broadcast in a clear manner, up to and including premium channels. CableCARD also brings along a superb ease of installation and setup: it handles all the funky channel mapping that the cableco uses, and presents simple channel numbering to the end user. Also, said channel numbering matches up with the guide service directly.

If you're not going to use cableCARD, you can use something like the Hauppauge 2250 that I also have installed. But the clear QAM channel number does not map to any guide service directly, so you spend quite a bit of time manually managing that and keeping it all straight. But it's certainly doable for someone who likes to fiddle. After doing it many times, though, and after seeing how easy it is with cableCARD, I find managing the clear QAM channel numbering and mapping to be a big pain in the rear. It's well worth the couple of bucks a month to have a cableCARD, and after years of nothing but analog TV I find I'm enjoying having the high def stuff. It's not a requirement for me, but I'm happily making use of it.

I could have stayed with my original standard lineup from my cableco and gotten the clear QAM SD versions of the same channels I used to get analog. I would have been happy. I could still go back and save a few bucks a month.

I found that the REAL cost of cable TV was in the equipment rental fees. Thirteen bucks a box per month? And then I'm stuck with individual DVRs that are pure crap, have no space to speak of on them, and don't talk to one another? No way. As I said before, my setup with the Ceton card replicates what my brother is paying AT&T for with their U-Verse--except while I put my money up front in building a setup, he simply pays an extra $50 every month. He also has half the internet speed and significantly less storage space for recorded TV, and of course he's missing the killer app of DVRs: commercial skip.

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I am looking at Samsung TVs that have Ethernet connectivity, and have DLNA player (DMP) functionality built in. (plus a variety of other inputs) But, of course, a DMP requires a DLNA server (DMS). From all appearances, WMP will act as a DMS and (presumably) can access the media files stored by 7MC. If this will work as I envision, I think I have the beginnings of a solution that meets my criteria.

Hoping you might have some knowledge of that.

Haven't looked into it, but it sounds like you're on a good path.

Something else to keep in mind: the industry seems to be going to MoCA, which belies your claim that "extenders are dead". I think what we're going to see in the end is some bastard combination of DLNA and extender technology, where the coax input of the TV will be for TV signal as well as network. Both satellite and cableco will have offerings that include a big storage tank in your basement or whatever, recording multiple things at once, and streaming that plus live TV over coax to your MoCA equipped TV.

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Will WMP stream live TV and (oh please, please) pause it?

I don't know. Never tried it. Don't have a DNLA TV to try it. I know the extenders will; they are 100% just like sitting at the HTPC with respect to live and recorded TV.
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post #25 of 262 Old 06-18-2011, 11:06 PM
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Just to add an interesting wrinkle to the "possible solutions" discussion, Google just bought SageTV.

http://sagetv.com/index.html
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post #26 of 262 Old 06-19-2011, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by adam1991 View Post

After having Replay 50xx for many years, I have two firm rules in my life regarding TV:

1) I don't watch TV. The box watches TV for me, taking the tedium out of it, and I watch the box. On my schedule.

2) I don't watch commercials. The box skips the commercials for me.

Given that, my choices are Myth, Sage, or 7MC. I chose cableCARD, ergo 7MC was it.

Commercial skip under 7MC is noticeably better than what Replay had been doing over the past couple of years--maybe hugely better, now that I think about it.

The author of ShowAnalyzer used to have a utility to tweak commercial skipping on a per-channel or per-program basis. I think he's reworking that for the latest version.

I do know that I was able to tell the system to behave like Replay--treat the first two minutes and the last two minutes of every program as program material, regardless. I think that was a superb idea on Replay's part, and it remains a superb idea today.

Adam,

I'm completely onboard with Rules #1 and #2. Ditto for me.

I don't follow the "I chose cableCARD, ergo 7MC was it." comment. I like the cableCARD approach, but it seems that MythTV supports it with the Ceton card or the Silicondust box. You seem like you've had your solution for a while, maybe these are newer arrivals.

I've been looking at the new 4GB (no hard drive) Xbox 360. This seems like an ideal extender. No hard drive noise/failure + hdmi output. At $200, it's the top end of what I'd like to pay for a box, but less than a bare PC with HMDI out. Would this be your extender or choice?

I have nice Harmony remote controls that I'd rather use, because they work everything else, rather than the Xbox controller. Is that what you do? Do you just leave the Xbox on all the time?? GIven I have an Xbox today, can you tell me how to call up the Extender GUI, or does it require a 7MC computer to talk to? I've looked at some GUI screenshots in the 7MC forum here, but with 3500 replies I haven't read them all. My current ReplayTV users (wife and kids) have mixed feelings about going to the Xbox controller for navigation.
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Myth does not support the Ceton card at this time, they are waiting on Linux drivers from them. Silicondust will probably be the best bet but it's not out yet. Myth is WAY better than 7MC is almost all aspects, but it can be much more complex to setup and tweak to your satisfaction because of all the options available.
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post #28 of 262 Old 06-19-2011, 09:45 AM
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I have been a Replay user for many years and happy with it. Currently I get limited service on my cable system (San Bruno Cable) which is the local channels plus some extras (like HSN) tossed in. I downsized from getting the full basic service since I rarely watched the extra channels except for certain shows. To supplement my viewing, I have an indoor antenna that pulls in just about all the channels in the area so I get the HD channels for free (I have a Samsung tv that has the digital tuner in it).

I am getting the Channel Master (ota dvr) to record shows on that side of things, so that will help when Replay goes away. I am contemplating getting the SB Cable dvr. It replaces the cable box but does have access to VOD and PPV. I do use VOD (the free area mostly) to watch shows and movies (like Food Star from Food Network or Hardcore Pawn). Tivo currently does not support that feature with the cable card though I have read they are working around it with Comcast. The dvr rental is $7.30. Though I once contemplated getting a Tivo, the cost right now is an issue. Moxi is too expensive and I am on a Mac dial up for now. Rather not mess around setting up a PC just to get schedules.

My hope is (as posted on my own blog at titanicnewschannel.com) someone is able to set up a service that we can dial up to get schedule info to keep Replay going. Otherwise my Replay is just scrap metal and that is a damn (excuse the language) shame!
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post #29 of 262 Old 06-19-2011, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSaunders View Post

I don't follow the "I chose cableCARD, ergo 7MC was it." comment. I like the cableCARD approach, but it seems that MythTV supports it with the Ceton card or the Silicondust box. You seem like you've had your solution for a while, maybe these are newer arrivals.

Not at all.

CableCARD involves encryption, and the only operating system that's validated by Cable Labs (owners of the cableCARD setup) is Windows. There is zero support for cableCARD under Macintosh, Linux, etc. And there won't be.



Quote:


I've been looking at the new 4GB (no hard drive) Xbox 360. This seems like an ideal extender. No hard drive noise/failure + hdmi output. At $200, it's the top end of what I'd like to pay for a box, but less than a bare PC with HMDI out. Would this be your extender or choice?

It's the extender I chose, because it's the ONLY extender available new today. Third parties used to make extenders, but only a few, and they haven't for a long time now. You can still get Linksys and maybe an HP, but they're buggy and--just like Replay--dead with respect to keeping them up to date.

No hard drive, very quiet, HDMI out...yes, if you're looking to 100% replicate your live and recorded TV experience in another room, it's XBox.


[/quote] I have nice Harmony remote controls that I'd rather use, because they work everything else, rather than the Xbox controller. Is that what you do? Do you just leave the Xbox on all the time?? GIven I have an Xbox today, can you tell me how to call up the Extender GUI, or does it require a 7MC computer to talk to? I've looked at some GUI screenshots in the 7MC forum here, but with 3500 replies I haven't read them all. My current ReplayTV users (wife and kids) have mixed feelings about going to the Xbox controller for navigation.[/quote]

Harmony works fine; I'm using the 300 on my three TVs, and there's no downside. The 7MC interface is quite simple. In addition, I programmed the Harmonies on my XBoxes to do XBox interface work (foro DVD) as well, programmed on a separate button from the MC button. I can use my Harmony 300 to run through the entire XBox menu system. After initial setup out of the box, I took the batteries out of the XBox controller, put it in a ziploc bag, and left it on the shelf near the XBox--and haven't touched it since. Harmony all the way (or, for my kids, a Dell MC remote from Ebay--they love it).

I don't leave my XBoxen on all the time. There's no real reason to suck up the electricity. It's a 30 second startup from off to MC screen, tops.

You tell the XBox using its dashboard to go into Media Extender mode. (You can tell it to default to that on startup, like I have.) It will go out and search for a MC machine. They have to link up for you to see anything on the XBox.
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post #30 of 262 Old 06-19-2011, 01:55 PM
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Understood, but I built a cable box--not a computer. That was intentional.

I don't quite understand the distinction you are making here. Call the "box" whatever you want. To me, the issue is whether the user sends IR commands to the TV, or the user sends commands to a "box" that controls the TV. At this point in history, the TV is no longer passive. At least, my next TV will certainly not be.

The TV now contains intelligence. It is essentially a "browser". Which means it is a client that gets its content from a server. The issue is fundamentally a question of which functions are of essence "client" functions and which are of essence "server" functions.

The selection of what to view at any instant belongs in the client and the recording/processing functions belong in the server. DLNA gets this division exactly right.

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Setting this up to be stable means, to me from my experience, not having it be a general purpose computer doing a bunch of things. It's a unitasker--albeit with a few layers.

Fair point. However, if I do end up setting up a dedicated media computer, I still don't want it to be the controller. I want it to be a passive server. Which also means I can put it anywhere I can reach via IP with sufficient bandwidth. (Samsung recommends wireless "N" for HDTV. Or at least 100 Mbit if wired.)

Quote:


The purpose of the Ceton card is to accept a cableCARD. CableCARD brings along decryption of channels that are not broadcast in a clear manner, up to and including premium channels. CableCARD also brings along a superb ease of installation and setup: it handles all the funky channel mapping that the cableco uses, and presents simple channel numbering to the end user. Also, said channel numbering matches up with the guide service directly.

I presently don't pay for any encrypted content, so have not done any research WRT encrypted channels. However, I could go that way in the near future. I am glad I understand that distinction now.

Quote:


If you're not going to use cableCARD, you can use something like the Hauppauge 2250 that I also have installed. But the clear QAM channel number does not map to any guide service directly, so you spend quite a bit of time manually managing that and keeping it all straight.

I am told that if I have a 2250, all I have to do is tell 7MC where I live and which cable service I use. I read on one website that the location code MC uses is the same as the code Zap2it uses. The Hauppauge site makes no mention of having to do any manual mapping of numbers, nor does 7MC. ???

BTW, I played around a bit trying to get MC to download my Comcast EPG, but it refuses to do so without a card. (I even tried setting up registry keys) Maybe this is related to the channel mapping issue.

I will definitely look into the CableCard question.

Quote:


I could have stayed with my original standard lineup from my cableco and gotten the clear QAM SD versions of the same channels I used to get analog. I would have been happy. I could still go back and save a few bucks a month.

On analog we got 99 channels. When local Comcast went all digital, they sweetened it a bit by adding about 50 QAM channels above 100. And the price remained the same. Other than the pain and suffering of making my RTVs fit in, I was perfectly happy.

(It is also possible to use an analog TV directly, if you are happy with about 10 local broadcast channels.)

Quote:


I found that the REAL cost of cable TV was in the equipment rental fees. Thirteen bucks a box per month? And then I'm stuck with individual DVRs that are pure crap, have no space to speak of on them, and don't talk to one another? No way.

I agree totally. Interestingly, last year I got tired of arguing over the telephone with Comcast techs in places like Manila about how badly my Internet bandwidth had deteriorated. I decided to go down to BestBuy and buy a high end broadband modem. Amazing difference. (Now getting in excess of 10 megabits, previously well under 1) The new modem has already paid for itself in terms of monthly fees I saved.

Basically, the only thing you MUST pay them for is the signal on the line.

Quote:


As I said before, my setup with the Ceton card replicates what my brother is paying AT&T for with their U-Verse--except while I put my money up front in building a setup, he simply pays an extra $50 every month. He also has half the internet speed and significantly less storage space for recorded TV, and of course he's missing the killer app of DVRs: commercial skip.

Haven't looked into it, but it sounds like you're on a good path.

Something else to keep in mind: the industry seems to be going to MoCA, which belies your claim that "extenders are dead".

The exception that proves the rule?

Here is an interesting link from 2008:
Linksys discontinues Media Center Extenders, hardly anyone notices

Quote:


I think what we're going to see in the end is some bastard combination of DLNA and extender technology, where the coax input of the TV will be for TV signal as well as network.

Wrong! Wrong! No way that will that happen! The only reason for an RF input is there will be at least one person in the world that will connect the TV directly to the cable.

Look at the Samsung line LNxxD550.
  • Plug it to Ethernet and configure the IP (just like my Replay!) and it will find DLNA server(s) on the local subnet and present a replay guide (like my Replay!)
  • Plug in a USB wifi adapter and it does the same as a wired ethernet connection
  • Plug a thumb drive or HD into a USB port and it will present an interface to select and play any digital content. (music, video, slides, numerous formats)
  • DVI and component video and VGA connections for passive play
  • Both analog and digital audio outputs

Higher end models have internet browser functionality and will directly connect to Netflix among other things.

The future TV (actually, the future is now) has the "guide" functionality of the Replay and most of the functionality of an AV receiver. (A subject for another interesting discussion: whither the AV receiver? Mine is going to be relegated to nothing but an amp.)
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