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SageTV Media Center 7 - A Better Media Streaming Solution?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
SageTV Media Center 7 - A Better Media Streaming Solution?
Author: Tom Abell


I believe that SageTV has created a very viable solution for the Home Technology enthusiasts' home by integrating their media streaming server (the SageTV HD Theater 300) with quality client software (SageTV Client and Placeshifter). With the addition of the Windows Home Server add-in (SageTV Media Server), they have empowered the Home Technology buffs out there with both power AND flexibility to design a whole-house (even whole-world!) streaming media system that takes their home system integration project to the next level!

There is a breed of Home Technology enthusiasts that enjoy pushing their technology to the very edge, squeezing every bit (pun intended) of power and performance out of each part of their system. These are the people who, while they applaud the technological innovations that products such as Google TV's incarnation on the Logitech Revue provide, still demand more out of their Integrated Home experience. Home Technology enthusiasts are more the type of people to go all out with their Home Theater experience by integrating a Home Theater PC (HTPC) into the mix.

Having a HTPC hooked up to your TV and surround sound is a night and day difference when compared to the numerous Internet Media appliances that are flooding the market recently. Devices like the Logitech Revue (as well as Sony's Google TV offerings), the Boxee Box, and the Roku HD devices are all excellent appliances that are beginning to change how people are obtaining their content at home. I feel that this type of streaming media device is perfect for the general consumer who wants the ability to stream HD content without the hassle of integrating a HTPC into their Home Theater.

Read the complete article at HomeToys.com
post #2 of 16
I'm glad I didn't buy an AppleTV yet. Need some more info, and user opinions on this, but I think I'm in. Trying to use TVersity with my Oppo has been much more of a headache than I thought, I'd much rather just spend the extra $150 for a more user-friendly interface. Especially with all of the supported file types here!

So....has anyone used this yet? What are the "cons"?
post #3 of 16
Personally, I've been using Playon since it came out for internet content, with
a DSM520, WDTV Live and/OR the wii. DSM520 and WD also can play a variety of files stored on my network. Happy joy!
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

So....has anyone used this yet? What are the "cons"?

um, nope... no one... never....
actually. this is sage version 7, sage has been around since Sage v1 oddly enough... that is like forever in PC terms...
they just never get any love in the 'press'... (until now?)

works great...
no issues...
go check out their forums

only cons:
doesn't support DRM (I actually consider this a plus, but to each their own)
no DRM means no Netflix (without 'work arounds')
no DRM means no Cable Card(without 'work arounds')
etc...
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

I'm glad I didn't buy an AppleTV yet. Need some more info, and user opinions on this, but I think I'm in. Trying to use TVersity with my Oppo has been much more of a headache than I thought, I'd much rather just spend the extra $150 for a more user-friendly interface. Especially with all of the supported file types here!

So....has anyone used this yet? What are the "cons"?

In addition to the Sage forums, have a look at this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1273499

Personally, I've been using SageTV for 6 or so years now. Good product from a company with a proven track record of listening to their customers and updating their product as possible to accomodate user's requests.

I have a PC in the basement and 3 Sage extenders at different TVs in the house (plus a laptop running a client license.) I can start a show (be it DVRed TV show, DVD or BR rip) in the livingroom, then stop half way through, get in bed and start it back up where I left off to finsih it before falling asleep. And all the commercials get cut out automatically.

I also run Play On and access it through SageTV to get access to Netflix and hulu on the extenders. Not as good as having direct support built in, but I use it a lot just the same (one benefit is that I can even skip over the hulu commercials.)

-Suntan
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

um, nope... no one... never....
actually. this is sage version 7, sage has been around since Sage v1 oddly enough... that is like forever in PC terms...
they just never get any love in the 'press'... (until now?)

works great...
no issues...
go check out their forums

only cons:
doesn't support DRM (I actually consider this a plus, but to each their own)
no DRM means no Netflix (without 'work arounds')
no DRM means no Cable Card(without 'work arounds')
etc...

Been using Windows Media Center since 2004 and although Sage is a great product (I look at it after every major revision), the lack of native DRM keeps me on WMC7. It's not that I like DRM, I hate it but I must have native Netflix and Cablecard support. Sure there are workarounds and stuff that I can handle, but the not so tech-savvy in my household can't when things don't work. It took a long time, but WMC7 actually works quite well to the point my setup has truely become an appliance. Everyone in the house is happy. I'm not even sure when the last time I needed to restart the machine.

If Sage can bring cablecard support or something that doesn't require HD-PVRs and set top boxes, then I may very well switch.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by seang86s View Post

If Sage can bring cablecard support or something that doesn't require HD-PVRs and set top boxes, then I may very well switch.

I really don't want cable card.... I cut the cable long ago, and there is no way anyone will ever be able to make me go back...
but to each their own...

WM7 is kind of lacking in the extender dept...

dune looks cool, if only they had a backend pvr/video/server/etc setup that was totally integrated like Sage + HD extenders, be at a higher price point probably, but still would be cool...
post #8 of 16
All this HTPC-internet streaming-DRM-Cable Card talk blows my mind (similar to uPnP, DLNA discussion). I guess this is where apple makes it's money, by simplyfying it (for the price of being forced to buy their content, or encode yours to their codecs).

At any rate, I'm not really concerned (at this point) about the place-shifting capabilities, and I have two Xbox 360's to stream NetFlix to my two TV's. I have two STB with DVR from Verizon FIOS, so DVR capabilities are not that important (yet), but I do like all the other options, and it's nice to have too much functionality, rather than too little.

This is what I'd like the Sage to do, please let me know if it will do these things:
1) Play a playlist of different codec music (FLAC, WMA-lossless, VBR MP3)
2) Play a folder that contains files from a cd rip as a cd (like in track order)
3) Stream WineLibraryTV, seen here: Wine Library TV
4) Play different types of downloaded videos (I think this is a given)
5) When playing audio, show a visualization on screen (to avoid burn in).

Does the Sage do these things? Is there something else that would do these things better/easier?
post #9 of 16
[quote=JustBusiness;19619197]I have two STB with DVR from Verizon FIOS, so DVR capabilities are not that important (yet)
never underestimate the niceness of having all your video in one UI...
and auto commercial skipping is nice too, bet your FIOS doesn't do that
mix and match OTA and FIOS (and even SAT if you really wanted to) all on one 'EPG guide'/channel list/whatever you call it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

This is what I'd like the Sage to do, please let me know if it will do these things:
1) Play a playlist of different codec music (FLAC, WMA-lossless, VBR MP3)
2) Play a folder that contains files from a cd rip as a cd (like in track order)
3) Stream WineLibraryTV, seen here: Wine Library TV
4) Play different types of downloaded videos (I think this is a given)
5) When playing audio, show a visualization on screen (to avoid burn in).

1) pretty sure it works that way... but I don't use sage for music... I really prefer Sonos for music... (no need to turn on TV... why would anyone willingly turn on a TV to listen to music? just seems wrong... so wrong...)
2) I think so
3) I am sure Sage can... now how you go about doing it, I am not sure...
4) yup
5) yes
post #10 of 16
[quote=Somewhatlost;19620822]
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

I have two STB with DVR from Verizon FIOS, so DVR capabilities are not that important (yet)
never underestimate the niceness of having all your video in one UI...
and auto commercial skipping is nice too, bet your FIOS doesn't do that
mix and match OTA and FIOS (and even SAT if you really wanted to) all on one 'EPG guide'/channel list/whatever you call it...



1) pretty sure it works that way... but I don't use sage for music... I really prefer Sonos for music... (no need to turn on TV... why would anyone willingly turn on a TV to listen to music? just seems wrong... so wrong...)
2) I think so
3) I am sure Sage can... now how you go about doing it, I am not sure...
4) yup
5) yes

Sonos looks interesting, but it's $350!

I'm nearly certain I can get the same functionality out of the Sage, plus video. Does the display need to be turned on for music from Sage, or can it be controlled from a pc?
post #11 of 16
[quote=JustBusiness;19625229]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post


Sonos looks interesting, but it's $350!

I'm nearly certain I can get the same functionality out of the Sage, plus video. Does the display need to be turned on for music from Sage, or can it be controlled from a pc?

You can control the extenders remotely from a PC, but it is not a native feature in SageTV. It is a user created plugin, which is to say that it isn't "automatic."

Personally, a Sage extender (everything but netflix/hulu+) and a Roku stremer (Netflix/hulu+) at about $220 per TV, plus a spare PC on the network running Sage with some tuners hooked up, will give a person quite a bit of functionality that is hard to beat cost wise.

FWIW, the Sage HD300 extenders have been built with the hardware required to support the Netflix DRM scheme. It is unknown if Sage is working to obtain a deal with netflix to get direct Netflix playback support on the extender or not.

-Suntan
post #12 of 16
I have been using SageTV for the pass 3-4 years and love it. I have 2 HD100 and 2 HD200 (no HD300, yet...)

During that time users had 3 major complaints
* Bad UI (unless you install user created SageMC)
* No HDMI 1.3 (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD/MA) support
* No Netflix.

Over the last year they release Sage 7.0, which has a very nice GUI (with a great plugin manager). They also released the HD300 that has HDMI 1.3 and the potential for Netflix.

I expect Netflix support will be next on their list. (note: Sage never says what current features they are working on.)
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

Sonos looks interesting, but it's $350!

so? its only $349, and more importantly, in this case at least, its not my $349
and actually that $349 only gets you one zp-80/90, you will also want zp-80/90 or zp-100/120's or s5's for other rooms, and maybe a cool controller or two...
now we are talking real money but again, it's not my money, so I am ok with that...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

I'm nearly certain I can get the same functionality out of the Sage, plus video.

that is mostly sorta true... but you will miss out on all the cool multizone sync goodness of Sonos...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustBusiness View Post

Does the display need to be turned on for music from Sage, or can it be controlled from a pc?

nope, is you have some sort of HA/controller type thing there is no reason to turn on the tv/projector/display...
I actually have CQC controlling both my HD200's (old model/predecessor of HD300's) and it works perfectly... I can send it a dvd/bluray/video file to play, and it plays it and reports back to the samsung Q1 that I use for 'Command & Control' purposes what it is currently playing... I would guess that if it can do that with video, it can do that with audio... should be no different...
post #14 of 16
So how is the blu-ray support? Can I stream blu-ray from a Sage server (disc in tray) and play ripped blu-ray ISO's. And is it simple to set that up and are there any drawbacks/quirks?

I just ordered the parts for my HTPC and trying to figure out what to load, having a CQC driver for Sage is a big plus, but no Netflix is a big minus. I am only looking to play movies, maybe music (if it's easier than what I do now, which is CQC player/File Tag Repo, not interested in PVR functionality.

I am also looking at loading Boxee, XBMC, or maybe WMC (big maybe). If I do one of those, i'll probably just build a second smaller HTPC as a remote box. I think I could get a Boxee or XBMC driver together for CQC using their JSON interface.
post #15 of 16
honestly, I don't personally know about sage's BR support... but people say it just works... you will need anydvd HD to play back a movie from the BR drive, and I think Sage prefers folder structure over ISO's...
I do have a bluray drive on my desktop that I purposely installed to try out BR, it took me over 6 months to install it... just kept procrastinating... sometime in the next 6-8 months I will actually go out and buy a BR movie... I just can't wait to try out this whole BR thing

as for music, you can add it to what you do now with CQC... it would just be another player/zone... while I haven't actually tried it with audio, sending sage a video file from a cqc repo works fine, so I would guess sending it a file from an audio repo should work just fine too...
post #16 of 16
I'm considering switching from MCE 7 + Media Browser (with TMT 5) to sagetv 7, as long as my bluray rips still work via the harddrive, i'm moving away from isos to folder structures, so it sounds like this wont be an issue. I also am assuming that HD audio will still work as well?

Does it use its own media player or will it work with TMT?

I saw that sage will work with my hdhomerun to stream livetv over the net which is cool.. and possibly seemlessly record from a hauppauge hd-dvr too (including the dolby digital sound?)... this alone is tantilizing.. i want something to stream both atsc and hd-pvr sent content, over the net to an iphone (live tv).. but it sounds as if the iphone ability is limited right now (only recorded tv).
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