Originally Posted by crossbeaux
What if you purchased multiple 1T drives and attached them one at a time? That is, filled one up, detached it, and attached a different one. Could you go back and forth between drives by manually detaching and attaching, watching the programming stored on one drive, then switching and watching programming stored on the other?
Don't know without trying it, I suppose.
In the case of the Charter Cable implementation of eSata with the SA DVR's, there appeared to be an "index table of contents" of all recorded program maintained on the internal hard drive, no matter which drive was actually used to house the physical recording (which was seemingly done using a "load balancing" algorithm, trying to spread both storage and activity across the internal and external drives).
So, if you temporarily disconnected or powered-off your external drive the "recorded TV" listing would still appear the same. But if you tried to play a program which had been recorded on the external drive you'd get an error about it being "inaccessible" or something similar.
Now of course we don't know whether access to content on the external drive is "physical" (i.e. by sector location) or "logical" (i.e. through a file name, and a "table of contents" index on the drive implemented through NTFS or FAT32 or some other Linux-based file system or whatever). This would be crucial to support your idea of having multiple external drives, each of which would also need to be hot-swappable to the DVR itself, such that the DVR software itself would need to be tolerant of external drives being plugged in and out dynamically rather than simply assumed to the one and only drive which was present at power-on boot time of the DVR itself.
And then of course the DVR software/firmware that supports eSata external drives would need to have been written to support MULTIPLE external drives (i.e. with portions of the "recorded TV" index being dynamically accessible and other portions being dynamically inaccessible) in a graceful way. That's asking a lot, I suspect.
Honestly, if you want more than 1TB of external recording space (over and above the 500GB capacity of the internal drive, unless you do your own mod up to 1TB for that one as well) you should consider a WMC setup as we've already discussed.
As I've previously described, my recent capacity issues for recording the Olympics involved some "fast dancing" to upgrade both my internal and external storage. And I also have TWO separate Win7 machines on my LAN, each of which has an operational WMC where the "Recorded TV" libraries can be defined to share the storage (both internal and external) of the other machine. So while only one WMC machine can play copy-once recordings made on that machine, both WMC machines can play copy-freely recordings made on either machine.
On one machine I have a total storage of 5.25TB on four internal hard drives(250GB Sata-III, 2TB-Sata-III, 1TB Sata-II and 2TB Sata-II) as well as 4TB on two external USB 3.0 drives (2TB and 2TB). I could increase the data drives to 3TB or larger but for the moment I don't want to fool with GPT and current capacity is fine. Obviously not all of that storage is available for "Recorded TV", but as much IS available as I care to define and make available. No limit, really.
And all of that recording storage which contains copy-freely content is also playable on the second WMC machine (actually, even just Windows Media Player on the second machine can be used to play copy-freely WTV recordings but I prefer the user interface of WMC for watching TV and media).
And finally, I can also "offload" any content (both copy-freely and copy-once) content from the recording WMC machine onto the other WMC machine's drive storage anywhere that it's available (as shared storage to the primary machine)... just to have even more auxiliary storage capacity for playback if I needed it. And of course the second machine could also play any of the copy-freely content being stored on its own drives on behalf of the other machine.
The unlimited "Library" (e.g. "Recorded TV" being one of them) notion provided by Win7, where you can define any number of storage locations on any number of drives on any number of network-associated machines... this has pretty much opened the door to unlimited storage capacity for Recorded TV located on one or more drives of one or more machines. And with WMC on each machine, and a properly defined "Recorded TV" Library defined on that machine to cover the "entire pool of storage locations", that means any machine can play any copy-freely content recorded by any of them and stored anywhere. Only copy-once content is restricted for playback by the recording machine (or a Windows Media Center Extender connected to the recording machine).
And of course you could have more than two machines on your LAN.
The only true "inconvenience" is that a given WMC Extender (e.g. Xbox or Linksys DMA2100 or Ceton Echo) can only be connected to one Windows Media Center AT A TIME. That makes it possible to only play back copy-once content through that Extender from the recording machine it was originally made on.
Just the limits of practicality, along with the fact that I really only have one Ceton-enabled WMC machine anyway, generally I have one of my Extender/HDTV combos associated with the Ceton-enabled recording machine where the copy-once content is created. So on that particular Extender/HDTV I can watch ANYTHING... copy-once or copy-freely.
On the other two of my Extender/HDTV nodes, I've connected them to my second machine (at least for now) so that I'm restricted to watching just copy-freely content on that machine (reading from the "Recorded TV" library storage on the primary HTPC). I did that just for now, because this second machine previously was the actual recording machine during the Olympics, and I've now upgraded the primary machine to new hardware and a brand new Win7 install. So I temporarily moved all of the copy-once content (originally recorded by the now-second-machine from MSNBCHD and NBCSNHD during the Olymipcs) to reside on this second machine which was actually the original recording machine for this copy-once content. Hence in order to watch the rest of this copy-once Olympics content, I have to use the now second machine or its connected WMC Extenders.
Eventually, when I finally finish watching all of the copy-once content from the Olympics through this second machine and its Extenders, I will re-associate the two Extenders to the primary HTPC as it originally was. Then I can once again watch ANYTHING... copy-once or copy-freely... at ANY of the Extender/HDTV's in my house.Edited by DSperber - 11/4/12 at 3:23pm