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SageTV would you?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
So I am looking into all my A/V options and would love some opinions.

I am exploring SageTV/TIVO/Windows Media Center.

It seems like SageTV is by far the best option with the exception that it is no longer supported by Sage.

I like TIVO, but not thrilled about not being able to access my media library, and if I want more than 4 tuners then I need to have my recorded programs spread over 2 boxes which could cause issues with copy protected media being able to be watched/transferred.

I like Windows Media Center but it has a max of 5 extenders which limits its usefulness.

It seems SageTV does it all.....unlimited tuners, access to media library, unlimited extenders (assuming your network and hardware can support it).

I have found a few New SageTV HD300 extenders and can piece together others through Ebay and other marketplaces....assuming I can get the SageTV licenses would you guys install a new installation of SageTV knowing that in the future it may no longer be supported at all? The last thing I want to do is spend time and energy setting it up and then the guide etc...stops working in 6 months?

Any other suggestions or alternatives? I guess I could do Tivo for TV & Windows MCE for Movies etc.....or do a combo of 1 Tivo 4 tuner with some Tivo minis and 1 windows MC with 5 extenders.

I plan to have 8-12 TV's throughout the house so multiple extenders are important.

Any advice or direction is appreciated.
post #2 of 36
Using a program called Tuner Salad you will bypass the 4 tuner WMC limit.

I personally went with Mediaportal. There is no tuner limit. I run it on an old Core2Duo with 6 tuners. It's very stable but not as easy to set up as WMC. There are tons of skins for it. You can set it up to playback your Movies, Music, and TV Shows collection.

You can use PC's as extenders unlike WMC. Which I don't know if it's much of an advantage seeing as you would need 8-12 through out the house which would add up very fast. Although using cheap Android on sticks would bring the costs down. Don't know how well navigation would work as it would have to be mouse based. You can stop playback in one room and continue playback in another. You also get a Shared guide for your entire network.
post #3 of 36
Man, that's a tough one...As a long time SageTV user, it's hard to beat the all-in-one solution it provides, from backend tuner support to fast, reliable extenders. It's a shame that Sage was gobbled up by Google for their KC area fiber/TV project.
If your main concern is guide data, that's already been taken care of by a newer plugin. However, the Sage ecosystem has to be getting smaller as time goes on and support will eventually fade away.

Pardon my rambling, I'm not much help here...
post #4 of 36
I really think in the long run JRiver will probably be the answer. They have the Ceton working in SD and HD for non copy protected content. The remote is still pretty flaky in Live TV with HD but the continous improvement that goes on over there is kind of relentless. Comcast Cable looks much better when rendered through madVR. The high quality rendering is not that critical for smaller displays but the big ones really shine when madVR is doing the rendering.

I could use JRiver on my main display today as my production TV source as I don't do much TV recording. I can't say I am in love with their PVR implementaion but it is improving as is Theater view. It is not an extender enviroment per se but they are getting a pretty strong DLNA support going.

I have an Nvidia GTS 450 in my desktop PC which is where I have been testing JR MC 18. I will want to pick up something like the new AMD HD 7790 and possibly a second Ceton before I switch to JR MC as my main media center production software in my living room. I don't watch much if any protected content and my main display is 92 inches so it can use the best source you can feed it. JR great failing is is tries to be everyting to everybody... They have been working on it for 30 years and they don't seem to be slowing down on development one bit.
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olias88 View Post

Man, that's a tough one...As a long time SageTV user, it's hard to beat the all-in-one solution it provides, from backend tuner support to fast, reliable extenders. It's a shame that Sage was gobbled up by Google for their KC area fiber/TV project.
If your main concern is guide data, that's already been taken care of by a newer plugin. However, the Sage ecosystem has to be getting smaller as time goes on and support will eventually fade away.

Pardon my rambling, I'm not much help here...

Except support for CopyOnce content.
post #6 of 36
I'm not sure you can buy licenses for SageTV anymore since they closed down the online store. You may be able to find extenders, but without a valid license I'm not sure you can use it beyond the trial period. There is a patch that allows you to use it with the Ceton InfiniTV4, but only if the channels are flagged as copy freely. Otherwise, you're SOL.

8-12 TVs is a lot of TVs. You must be placing them in every room in the house. As a long time convert from Tivo to HTPCs, I would not even consider them if you have that many TVs. The cost would be astronomical, although I believe Tivo now has an extender (the Tivo Mini?) that does not require a license or cablecard to use so it may be a viable option. I don't know if there's a limit to how many extenders may be used with a Tivo.

I personally use WMC and XBMC. If you want to record encrypted content, then WMC is your only PC-based solution. If your provider flags your channels as copy once, then you have very few options to choose from as far as setting up a whole house distribution network for recorded TV.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

I'm not sure you can buy licenses for SageTV anymore since they closed down the online store. You may be able to find extenders, but without a valid license I'm not sure you can use it beyond the trial period. There is a patch that allows you to use it with the Ceton InfiniTV4, but only if the channels are flagged as copy freely. Otherwise, you're SOL.

SageTV updated the EULA after they were purchased to allow buying/selling/transferring licenses. So if you can go to the SageTV forum marketplace and buy software licenses. Of course these are limited to those that other Sage users are selling, and there's no support. As much as I love SageTV, I would never "recommend" it to anyone at this point given it's development has ended (for end users) but it is possible to build a SageTV system these days if you want to.
Quote:
8-12 TVs is a lot of TVs. You must be placing them in every room in the house. As a long time convert from Tivo to HTPCs, I would not even consider them if you have that many TVs. The cost would be astronomical, although I believe Tivo now has an extender (the Tivo Mini?) that does not require a license or cablecard to use so it may be a viable option. I don't know if there's a limit to how many extenders may be used with a Tivo.

I thought the Tivo Mini was $5/mo
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

I thought the Tivo Mini was $5/mo
I wasn't sure if there was a fee, but I should have realized. It's actually $5.99 per month with a 12-month commitment and then it's month-to-month thereafter. You can also get lifetime service for $149.99. The Tivo fees and cablecard tuners are exactly why I got rid of all my Tivos and switched to HTPCs.

Nice to know about the SageTV licenses. I had just installed SageTV and was checking out the cablecard update on a trial basis when they announced the purchase by Google and the closing of the SageTV store. Needless to say, my experience with SageTV was extremely short-lived.
post #9 of 36
If all 8-12 TV's are on at the same time, there is a version of Windows 7 that supports, I believe, 10 extenders, but it was sold directly to OEM integrators. If you can get your hands on that, it will do what you want it to do.

You can pair as many extenders with WMC as you want, you can only use 5 at the same time. So, if you turn off extenders that are not in use, you can have you 8-12 TV's.

Also to consider that you need a CPU core per extender, you will be hard pressed to find a consumer level motherboard that will support dual 4-6 core CPU. You will be looking at server level hardware.
post #10 of 36
With current technology the core per extender rule of thumb is outdated. You can probably run five without an issue on an i5 no problem.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

With current technology the core per extender rule of thumb is outdated. You can probably run five without an issue on an i5 no problem.

I am running 6 TV's on quad core Phenom, and it is fine for most applicaitons, but lag is noticeable.

I am ok with it, but someone who is more of a perfectionist probably will not accept that.
post #12 of 36
I assume you are referring to the lag during menu operations. There should be no lag during playback, although remote functionality can sometimes be unresponsive. This tends to be typical of WMC extenders in general. Personally, I avoid using them whenever possible, but sometimes there's no way around it. I prefer to use individual HTPCs at each TV, but 8-12 of them can get a bit pricey. However, you could probably find refurbed older PCs that have the capability of support WMC for less than the cost of an extender. Newegg lists them quite frequently. If you're on FIOS or other provider that doesn't flag the channels as copy once you can share recordings between PCs with no problem. Otherwise, you're stuck using extenders. I am fortunate enough to be on FIOS and I can add my Recorded TV folder on the primary HTPC to the media libraries of my other HTPCs. Recorded TV shows play back perfectly on any of them even though they were all recorded on one PC.

Here's but one example of a refurbished PC that Newegg offers that should work nicely as a satellite HTPC:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883108964
post #13 of 36
Quote:
it's hard to beat the all-in-one solution it provides,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Except support for CopyOnce content.

CopyOnce doesn't exist in my environment. smile.gif
I use multiple HD-PVRs to bypass that junk. Actually that's what got me into the whole HTPC thing in the first place, I wanted a setup that could record/playback ANYTHING that I could normally watch. And I didn't want it tied to a single provider. With my SageTV implementation I can switch from DirecTV (using currently) to Dish, Comcast or Uverse. The rather minor hit I take in video quality going through the HD-PVRs is made up for in its versatility.
Here I am again defending a dead product....
post #14 of 36
So it isn't an all in one solution if it doesn't in fact provide a solution for all cases. Some of us have to deal with it and using an HD PVR still requires that one rent a STB.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olias88 View Post

Quote:
it's hard to beat the all-in-one solution it provides,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Except support for CopyOnce content.

CopyOnce doesn't exist in my environment. smile.gif
I use multiple HD-PVRs to bypass that junk. Actually that's what got me into the whole HTPC thing in the first place, I wanted a setup that could record/playback ANYTHING that I could normally watch. And I didn't want it tied to a single provider. With my SageTV implementation I can switch from DirecTV (using currently) to Dish, Comcast or Uverse. The rather minor hit I take in video quality going through the HD-PVRs is made up for in its versatility.
Here I am again defending a dead product....
post #15 of 36
Not everyone cares about renting STBs. For some of us integration is a lot more important than eliminating STBs, and SageTV with HD PVRs is a far more complete, integrated solution than WMC since with WMC you have to decide if you want to have clients (extenders) or media playback since WMCs extenders are crap for media. Well unless all you care about is TV.
post #16 of 36
While I understand your point I also enjoy the extra $28 that is in my wallet every single month.

It is still a misnomer to state that it does it all if I can find one instance that it doesn't do then the logic does not hold up.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

It is still a misnomer to state that it does it all if I can find one instance that it doesn't do then the logic does not hold up.

But you can record anything/everything with Sage, you just don't like the method.
post #18 of 36
I don't think I can record copy once content and most certainly cannot play it back through a Sage extender so it is not the all in one solution. This has been my point all along.
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

But you can record anything/everything with Sage, you just don't like the method.
You can't record everything with Sage without investing in a lot of extraneous hardware, not to mention the rental/leasing fees for STBs and satellite receivers and the increase you'll see in your electric bill. With WMC I rent one cablecard per InfiniTV4 or HDHomeRun Prime. With the current number of cablecard tuners I employ, I'd need eleven HD-PVRs and a corresponding number of STBs or sat receivers for the same capability. I think the pros for WMC vastly outweighs the benefits of using SageTV in this instance. Getting the content distributed throughout your home is another matter entirely.

For TV viewing and playback of recorded TV, a WMC extender will do the job, even though it's not my ideal solution. For media playback, there are any number of media players available at a reasonable cost. I just picked up a refurbished WD Live media player for less than $60 and it works beautifully for playing all of my movies ripped to mkv files and streamed from my server. If the Ceton Echo ever comes down in price, and I suspect it will sometime within the next twelve months or so, then it would make a decent companion to a media player for distributing content in your home. Both devices use very little power when compared to a STB or sat receiver.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I don't think I can record copy once content and most certainly cannot play it back through a Sage extender so it is not the all in one solution. This has been my point all along.

Yes you can. You use a capture device instead of a tuner. Then you have recordings in the more space efficient h264 that allow you to edit commercials and compress/convert to other formats.
post #21 of 36
Okay. So in that scenario, I pay $5/mo for the STB instead of $2/mo for the cable card. I don't think the price difference from an HD-PVR and a CableCARD tuner is worth discussing as they are in the same ball park. Interesting solution using the analog loophole I guess. So for $3/mo extra I could do this; the risk being the unsupported SageTV system.

EDIT: Doesn't this limit you to one LiveTV stream too as the STB only has one tuner in it for the typical use? There's only one RGB output so it would seem there is only one stream. So I guess every system does have some sort of limitation.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Okay. So in that scenario, I pay $5/mo for the STB instead of $2/mo for the cable card. I don't think the price difference from an HD-PVR and a CableCARD tuner is worth discussing as they are in the same ball park. Interesting solution using the analog loophole I guess. So for $3/mo extra I could do this; the risk being the unsupported SageTV system.
You need to rethink your math. An InfiniTV4 costs about the same as a single HD-PVR, but to get the same functionality as the InfiniTV4 you'd need four HD-PVRs and four STBs at quadruple the cost.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Okay. So in that scenario, I pay $5/mo for the STB instead of $2/mo for the cable card. I don't think the price difference from an HD-PVR and a CableCARD tuner is worth discussing as they are in the same ball park. Interesting solution using the analog loophole I guess. So for $3/mo extra I could do this; the risk being the unsupported SageTV system.
You need to rethink your math. An InfiniTV4 costs about the same as a single HD-PVR, but to get the same functionality as the InfiniTV4 you'd need four HD-PVRs and four STBs at quadruple the cost.

Yes. I realized this. I edited my post, probably at the same time you posted, but from the angle that you only get one stream.
post #24 of 36
You're talking about money. Stranger89 doesn't care about that. He wants an efficient way to get all his recordings and all his stored media to every tv in the house for playback by a single device. No extender can do that and the copy once recordings can't be shared between PCs.

You also can't use tuners if your only/best option is a dish. If you're a Seahawks fan in Tampa you're going to need Directv for your provider.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

You're talking about money. Stranger89 doesn't care about that. He wants an efficient way to get all his recordings and all his stored media to every tv in the house for playback by a single device. No extender can do that and the copy once recordings can't be shared between PCs.

You also can't use tuners if your only/best option is a dish. If you're a Seahawks fan in Tampa you're going to need Directv for your provider.

All solutions have limitations in their current state as indicated above. So if you want three of four streams then you need the cluster of 3 or 4 STB's and 3 or 4 HD-PVR's, each with 5 cables connected between them and then somehow connected to your PC for distribution in the SageTV system. This is hardly an elegant solution without regard to cost.
post #26 of 36
There's nothing that keeps you from using an HDPVR with WMC either. For those precious times that I've wanted to keep something that is copy once from my Ceton card I simply connect the extender (Linksys DMA2100) to the HDPVR. Achieves the same result of DRM free in a total WMC environment.
Edited by edyohome - 3/28/13 at 3:23pm
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I don't think I can record copy once content and most certainly cannot play it back through a Sage extender so it is not the all in one solution. This has been my point all along.

Yes you can, just not via you're preferred method. You just have to use STB and video capture devices vs a cable card. My point was there are solutions out there (correction, "were" solutions out there) other than Windows Media Center, and there "was" a solution that did it all (recorded any channel you received, playable on any PC or extender, and integrated all of your media in a single interface).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

All solutions have limitations in their current state as indicated above. So if you want three of four streams then you need the cluster of 3 or 4 STB's and 3 or 4 HD-PVR's, each with 5 cables connected between them and then somehow connected to your PC for distribution in the SageTV system. This is hardly an elegant solution without regard to cost.

But it is a solution, which you forget about ever time you come into a thread and post that it isn't, or that it costs too much as if everybody on the forum should have your same priorities of saving every penny possible by not paying for TV provider hardware and putting up with all of WMCs silly limitations and crappy extenders.

To do the same things you can ("could") do with a SageTV system, in a "copy once" world, you need an extender and a PC at every TV, that's close to $500/TV. And you still have all your media separate from your TV (different devices).

But I digress it doesn't really matter anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

You can't record everything with Sage without investing in a lot of extraneous hardware, not to mention the rental/leasing fees for STBs and satellite receivers and the increase you'll see in your electric bill.

First lets just make something very clear, my response to the question is that no, I would not recommend SageTV, could not in good concious recommend it given its no longer for sale or being updated (for end users).
Quote:
With WMC I rent one cablecard per InfiniTV4 or HDHomeRun Prime. With the current number of cablecard tuners I employ, I'd need eleven HD-PVRs and a corresponding number of STBs or sat receivers for the same capability. I think the pros for WMC vastly outweighs the benefits of using SageTV in this instance. Getting the content distributed throughout your home is another matter entirely.

For TV viewing and playback of recorded TV, a WMC extender will do the job, even though it's not my ideal solution. For media playback, there are any number of media players available at a reasonable cost. I just picked up a refurbished WD Live media player for less than $60 and it works beautifully for playing all of my movies ripped to mkv files and streamed from my server. If the Ceton Echo ever comes down in price, and I suspect it will sometime within the next twelve months or so, then it would make a decent companion to a media player for distributing content in your home. Both devices use very little power when compared to a STB or sat receiver.

It's all really moot, SageTV is not for sale (retail) anymore, I think it's great for SageTV users that SageTV/Google updated their policies so we can buy hardware software to maintain/expand our systems, but like I said, I wouldn't recommend anyone new jump into the SageTV pool.

I guess Google just saw something in SageTV that WMC fanboys never did.
post #28 of 36
Why would you need a PC at each TV? Currently this can be accomplished with an extender for CableTV content and a streamer for everything else. I have a 3 y.o. Patriot Box Office that streams Blu-ray rips with HD Audio. It cost me $60, so the number is more likely $200 per TV depending on what extender you get.

And yes, I'd like to save money. I want to retire some day not line the pockets of CableCo executives.
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Why would you need a PC at each TV? Currently this can be accomplished with an extender for CableTV content and a streamer for everything else. I have a 3 y.o. Patriot Box Office that streams Blu-ray rips with HD Audio. It cost me $60, so the number is more likely $200 per TV depending on what extender you get.

How else are you going to get your media to those TVs through a consistent interface with your TV content.
post #30 of 36

Every once in a while I check this forum to see if there's anything that could replace my sageTV setup.  I still haven't found anything that comes even close.  A new useful feature I recently added is being able to send instant messages to my TVs from my mobile phone.  It really comes in handy when on the road; and trying to get my wife's attention while she's watching TV :)

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