Originally Posted by dare2be
I hope to try out the free open source MediaPortal
at some point . . . unless someone else ends up trying it first...I probably won't get to it for a while. Sounds better than WMC and has specific community support for the Hauppauge units.
Originally Posted by Dartman
If Media Portal supported the HomeRun Prime I think I'd be all over it but sounds like so far it doesn't. I'll have to keep an eye on it and see if anything interesting happens to change that, thanks for the link.
Originally Posted by Kelson
Yes, it is one of the apps Silicon Dust lists that supports the HD Homerun and runs under Windows:
- Windows Media Center
- SnapStream BeyondTV – DVR for Windows
- SageTV – DVR for Windows/Linux/Mac
- MediaPortal – DVR for Windows
- Next-PVR/GB-PVR – DVR for Windows
I'll be looking at all of these with the HD-HR, as long as they run under Win-XP. So sounds like Mediaportal should be the first on the list.
Be careful of what you wish for. Setting up MediaPortal
could turn into a career for someone. It is definitely not what I would call an easy option for someone moving from a stand-alone DVDR who expects the same convenience -- even if they are technically astute with software.
The problem with most open-source software is that it is written by geeks, for geeks. Documentation for setup is almost always lacking in basic details because geeks would already know this stuff. This is very problematic because so much open-source software builds upon other OSS tools that have to be installed separately -- but most geeks already have them installed so they take it for granted. Starting from a clean Win-XP SP-3 partition, I spent 4 evenings trying to get MediaPortal
to work with the HD Homerun and just flat-out failed. I searched through the wiki and forums after I installed it looking for "what other" pieces I was missing. You never find them all at once, you get them bits at a time -- i.e. most people don't realize Win-XP doesn't have a codec for DD/5.1 because some software they install down the line has one and does the job. When you start with a clean partition you have nothing and have to go looking for what you need -- assuming you know what you need.
That's one of the reasons to buy
the DVR software. You are paying someone else to package everything you need into a single install package and it is their business to make it work for you. If SnapStream BeyondTV
wasn't $100 I would have jumped on it immediately after flushing the MediaPortal
partition. As it was, I gave Next-PVR
a shot before going to BeyondTV
distinguishes itself in that it is simpler than MediaPortal
and has a decent wiki for configuration and use -- although it is simple enough that playing with it is more than enough to learn it's use. But of course it doesn't "work" after you install it on a clean partition because you don't have everything else you need -- surprise. Once you search around the forum you find a nice support post with links to fixes that need to be installed and you get a link to a codec pack that someone has put together with all the codecs needed. You also find there is little information on setting it up with the HD Homerun (or any TV card for that matter) but in that small reservoir you discover you need to punch holes in the Windows firewall for certain Next-PVR
modules and some non-obvious settings for the HD Homerun configuration app. This one only took me a day and a half to get up and running, but it does work.
The HD Homerun pulls in 37 ATSC channels which is way more than I remember the last time I did a channel scan on a piece of equipment about 2-3 yr ago. Apparently more channels have popped up. Next-PVR
uses PSIP for a basic free guide which is not too bad in the Philly area -- I get about 18 hr of info. If you want a better guide you have to pay for it. It has direct support for a Schedules Direct
guide for $25/yr; you can also get a 2 month sub for only $6 to try it out. For now I'll stick with PSIP until I know I want to stick with Next-PVR
. Scheduling a recording was pretty easy, just the usual point and click in the guide. As far as I can tell, it uses name-based recording
, has provision for setting season-pass style recurring recordings, can skip repeats and has a search function. Have not played with all these yet to put it through the paces. Of course it has provision for watching/pausing live TV and recordings DVR style and can be controlled by a standard WMC remote -- but that was never my intended purpose so I won't be playing with any of that.
I scheduled and successfully recorded 5 programs last night from both tuners on the HD Homerun. The recording format is just what I expected -- it spools the DTV .ts transport stream. You can do just about anything with .ts files. For the optical disk-burners you can pull .ts files into multiAVCHD
and author/burn them to a BluRay disk or an AVCHD formatted DVD-R/DL. For the networked media people, .ts files are directly playable on most media players including the WD Live players. I downloaded a couple open-source apps to play with that convert .ts to .mpg and clip out commercials if desired. Personally, I want to see if my TiVo will play a .ts file. If not I'll convert to .mpg and see if that works (TiVo plays .mpg made from it's own recordings so I'm hopeful). Last option is just store it on the NAS and use the WD Live for playback. I should mention here that everything is in the original MPEG-2 encoding just as it comes to you OTA -- there is no re-encoding to H.264 involved during recording; I prefer that. And of course, these recording are all HD/5.1.
After I've played with Next-PVR
for a bit, I'm going to install Snapstream BeyondTV
on a separate clean XP partition and see how they do. Unless something about it knocks my socks off, I probably won't buy it myself since it appears Next-PVR
will satisfy my intended need (as an overflow recorder to supplement my TiVo). I'm curious to see how good a job SnapStream
does with the install and setup to get the more mainstream user functional. After I get fully comfortable with Next-PVR and have some usage time under my belt, I'll probably start a thread for it here.
Bottom line is setting up a media-PC is not for the faint of heart or those seeking the "plug it in and use it" convenience of a video appliance like a stand-alone DVDR. By the time you add up all the hardware/software costs and the time you'll spend learning about things you shouldn't need to care about, you might be better off just buying a lifetime-TiVo.