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post #1 of 11 Old 03-29-2017, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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New to htpc. Help!

So my gf and I have finally decided to cut the cord and get rid of DIRECTV. We got in on the DIRECTV Now deal with the cheap 60 channel pack and the free AppleTV. What we're looking to do is be able to record OTA digital channels, and possibly stream that to our iPads/iPhones. We have a bunch of DVDs I'd love to rip so they can go into storage. We are an Apple/AT&T household, with the exception of one windows laptop. We would definitely prefer to stay in the applesphere if possible.

Equipment so far:
Samsung 55" 4k tv (ks8000)
AppleTV 4th Gen
Clearstream Eclipse Antenna
Apple Airport Express router

What I think we need:

Hardware:
HDHomerun connect or extend?
Mac Mini (of some sort)for Plex server (If possible I'd like to use this as a central server for backing up laptops and iDevices, light email duty too).
Some sort of external storage NAS for DVR (can I use this for backing up everything else too?)
New router?
Soundbar I was thinking Sonos, but I read somewhere that it does not play well with Samsung. Our current house doesn't justify going with a full blown speaker layout.
Some sort of DVD/bluray/4k bluray player, if only to get our current library off of the discs. And occasionally something we borrow from friends.

Software:
Plex server
Mythtv?
???

What else do I need to know?
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-31-2017, 06:14 AM
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You need something to do the recording. MythTV I believe can do this bu tit historically was difficult to install unless you were fairly tech savvy. It sounds like they have an actual Mac installer now so that might be a good way to go. I have used EyeTv for a number of years now and like it. EyeTv does cost some money but it has a good program guide and records your shows. It will also stream to your iOS devices. If you are going to get another computer like a mac mini just put it next to the TV and plug in an HDMI cable. No need to fuss with finding a compromised app that will work with the appleTv. I am not a fan of Plex. They seem to be coming around a little but they are out just to suck money out of your wallet just to watch your recorded shows even with in your own house. I prefer Kodi. If you are dead set on using your appleTv you can jail break it and put Kodi on it. Again just connect your computer to the TV and avoid all the limitations service providers put on portable devices versus a desktop computer. I have 2 HDHomeruns connected to my system with EyeTV and they work great. They didn't have a wifi option when I got mine so they are just plugged into my router. Your choice if you think your wifi network can handle the bandwidth or play it safe with a wired connection. I am sure you will find people just a passionate about their choice as I am about mine. Mostly it comes down to the UI and what you like and don't like. This mostly deals with how to get your OTA signal saved and then to your TV. I am not much help with the other hardware you might be wanting. You will probably need some added storage but a mutibay external vs NAS is up to you on how much money you want to spend.

Quickly:
Tuner: HDHomeruns are very good. Connect or Extend depends how you want to connect it to your network. I prefer a cable but I am old school.

Recording/scheduling:
I like EyeTV. MythTV has the capability but I never got it running although it does now have an actual installer so it might be easier to use now. Both require a paid subscription to get the EPG.

Streaming:
EyeTV can be used for playback but is clunkier than other software.
Kodi works great no cost many skins so can choose what UI you like. Need to jailbreak iOS devices if you want to use it there.
MythTV I never got it up and running so I don't know what its UI is like. Also not sure if it can stream to iOS.
Plex big money grab with teh need for subscriptions to do basic streaming and lock into one UI.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-31-2017, 11:53 AM
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I'm biased--I created the all-in-one MythTV installer for OS X.

I'm doing much of what you are interested in. I have a 2013 Mac Mini connected to my 50 inch TV. I record OTA via 2 HDHomerun tuner boxes (total of 4 tuners). No need for a NAS, I just have a couple of external USB drives attached to the Mini for storage. In addition to TV, I've ripped a few DVDs. MythTV has a built-in video manager with metadata, etc. Rock solid setup. The software never crashes. Every once in a while, bad weather messes up reception so that a recording fails, but that's it.

However, we don't watch on iPhones or iPads. You have to trade off picture quality for file size and compatibility. You have a big 4K TV so the uncompressed OTA format (MPEG2, up to 19 MBps) will look really, really good. I'm also a big fan of multi-channel audio and I've got a 5.1 setup that I really enjoy.

MPEG2 is basically not supported on phones and tablets. And wireless networks don't consistently deliver anywhere near throughput that they brag about. So the video needs to be re-encoded to X264 and re-compressed so wifi can keep up. Everybody has a different tolerance for video compression. An option for you is the HDHomerun Extend. It has built-in hardware to re-encode and compress with a few different quality/size options.

http://www.silicondust.com/product/hdhomerun-extend/

Myth also has an experimental feature to re-encode/compress on the fly and play the resulting video in a browser window on your phone or tablet. It is OK if you want to play from beginning to end but there is no commercial skip or other features.

An issue you didn't mention is remote control. MythTV supports the (gum stick) Apple Remote. Even though it only has 6 buttons, you can access every feature in Myth via menus. Newer Mac Minis no longer have a built-in IR receiver so you need to think about how you're going to control the system. You can use a Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad that doesn't always pass the spousal approval factor.

Re the AppleTV, someone wrote a MythTV client for it. I haven't heard a great deal about it. I can't remember if it can play MPEG2 content or not. From the AppleTV, you should be able to search the App store for "mythtv" and find out more.

HTH,

Craig
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-31-2017, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Can you explain why I would need the Extend over the Connect? Part of why I was thinking plex was the streaming ability to the iPhones and iPads. If I need to re-encode something, I was thinking of handbrake on the Mac Mini. Is there an efficiency to using the Extend instead?
As for remote control, that's part of why I was thinking Plex, that way I can minimize the need to access the mac mini for the gf, and she can do almost everything through the apple tv.

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Originally Posted by Pvr4Craig View Post
I'm biased--I created the all-in-one MythTV installer for OS X.



I'm doing much of what you are interested in. I have a 2013 Mac Mini connected to my 50 inch TV. I record OTA via 2 HDHomerun tuner boxes (total of 4 tuners). No need for a NAS, I just have a couple of external USB drives attached to the Mini for storage. In addition to TV, I've ripped a few DVDs. MythTV has a built-in video manager with metadata, etc. Rock solid setup. The software never crashes. Every once in a while, bad weather messes up reception so that a recording fails, but that's it.



However, we don't watch on iPhones or iPads. You have to trade off picture quality for file size and compatibility. You have a big 4K TV so the uncompressed OTA format (MPEG2, up to 19 MBps) will look really, really good. I'm also a big fan of multi-channel audio and I've got a 5.1 setup that I really enjoy.



MPEG2 is basically not supported on phones and tablets. And wireless networks don't consistently deliver anywhere near throughput that they brag about. So the video needs to be re-encoded to X264 and re-compressed so wifi can keep up. Everybody has a different tolerance for video compression. An option for you is the HDHomerun Extend. It has built-in hardware to re-encode and compress with a few different quality/size options.



http://www.silicondust.com/product/hdhomerun-extend/



[snipped]



An issue you didn't mention is remote control. MythTV supports the (gum stick) Apple Remote. Even though it only has 6 buttons, you can access every feature in Myth via menus. Newer Mac Minis no longer have a built-in IR receiver so you need to think about how you're going to control the system. You can use a Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad that doesn't always pass the spousal approval factor.



Re the AppleTV, someone wrote a MythTV client for it. I haven't heard a great deal about it. I can't remember if it can play MPEG2 content or not. From the AppleTV, you should be able to search the App store for "mythtv" and find out more.



HTH,



Craig
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-01-2017, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yegg View Post
Can you explain why I would need the Extend over the Connect? Part of why I was thinking plex was the streaming ability to the iPhones and iPads. If I need to re-encode something, I was thinking of handbrake on the Mac Mini. Is there an efficiency to using the Extend instead?
As for remote control, that's part of why I was thinking Plex, that way I can minimize the need to access the mac mini for the gf, and she can do almost everything through the apple tv.
There are lots of options to re-compress. The HDHR Extend does hardware compression in real time as the signal is received. You can do it in Myth (or Plex) but it can take a lot of CPU. If you want to have 4 tuners, say, recording at the same time, it would take a heck of a machine to recompress them all in real-time.

Myth includes a transcoding utility based on FFMPEG. You can have that run automatically on new recordings but what seems more popular is to run the commercial flagging utility automatically. Most people then review and tweak the commercial breaks, since automatic flagging isn't perfect, and then cut the breaks out. Then transcode the remainder.

For me, I just skip commercials as I watch the unadulterated original and use the 10-second skip if commercial flagging messed up.

Craig
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-01-2017, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvr4Craig View Post
There are lots of options to re-compress. The HDHR Extend does hardware compression in real time as the signal is received. You can do it in Myth (or Plex) but it can take a lot of CPU. If you want to have 4 tuners, say, recording at the same time, it would take a heck of a machine to recompress them all in real-time.



Myth includes a transcoding utility based on FFMPEG. You can have that run automatically on new recordings but what seems more popular is to run the commercial flagging utility automatically. Most people then review and tweak the commercial breaks, since automatic flagging isn't perfect, and then cut the breaks out. Then transcode the remainder.



For me, I just skip commercials as I watch the unadulterated original and use the 10-second skip if commercial flagging messed up.



Craig


Am I reading correctly on the HDHomerun website that the extend is 802.11n instead of 802.11ac? Isn't that a slower connection speed?
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-01-2017, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
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Am I reading correctly on the HDHomerun website that the extend is 802.11n instead of 802.11ac? Isn't that a slower connection speed?
HDHomerun boxes don't have Wifi--they require a wired ethernet connection. (And coax from the antenna or cable co.)

If you want to serve a wireless device, AC is needed for the non-transcoding output of the Connect. The Extend only requires N.

Craig
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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So what do I need for HD space and processor to be able to handle transcoding?
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-02-2017, 02:56 PM
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So what do I need for HD space and processor to be able to handle transcoding?
Well, if the HDHomerun Extend is handling the transcoding, then any old CPU will be fine. I *think* my quad-core i5 will handle transcoding 2 streams but I really haven't tested.

For HD space, the answer is "lots"! Multi-GB drives are pretty inexpensive so dedicate a 2-to-4 GB and you'll be good. Broadcast MPEG2 requires 6-8 GB per hour. Transcoding will reduce that by a lot...at loss of some quality. You choose.

Craig
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-07-2017, 06:47 AM
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I'm running EyeTV with two HD Homeruns and a NAS, UnRaid server.
I've tried Plex and Kodi but just keep going back to EyeTV for playback of EyeTV recordings because I can't seem to get the former 2 to list recordings grouped by show and date the way I like without me doing something, and deleting after watching, plus EyeTV is easy to use for my wife. Keeping recording and playback in one app is much simpler.
I started with a 2009 MacMin and an external HDD about 8 years ago and quickly found a need for more storage that I can increase easily.
I'm now running 2012 MacMin and 7 terabytes of storage on an UnRaid server that I built and has severed me well for 7 years.
All components connect to a switch located close to the MacMin to avoid traffic on the rest of the wired network.
We are recording at times 4 OTA HD programs and watching a 5th, so it gets fairly hard use.
Below are the components in my NAS, I would like to upgrade the cpu to a XEON but really don't need to.

Home Theater Server: V 6.1.9 plus • SeaSonic SSR-450RM • SanDisk Cruzer 2GB • SuperMicro X9CSM-F-O • Intel i3 3240 • 4GB Kingston Value RAM KVR1333D3S8E9SK2/4G • Fractal Design Define R5 • Seagate Barracudas 7200rpm • Parity 2TB • Data 5x1TB + 1x2TB
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post #11 of 11 Old 04-10-2017, 10:13 AM
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This is a brief overview of the EyeTV and Plex/Kodi/Myth interfaces to help the OP make some initial decisions on what to use. As noted earlier I have not used MythTV but I am assuming its UI is similar to Plex and Kodi. You will need EyeTV or MythTV to record then you playback choice is more preference driven. All these programs will playback your recordings it is just up to you on how you want to manage the files and have them presented to you. There is no right or wrong way here. All of these are slightly different and none are 100% perfect. Everyone's situation is also different so what works for me might not work for you or vise versa. The good thing is this doesn't have to cost a lot to find what you like best.

EyeTV:
This is a program designed to recording and playback of its recordings. After reading ways people have joined multiple files into one I can see some possibility to add ripped DVDs or other recordings to EyeTV but that is not what the software is designed for and gets a bit complicated. The recordings can be sorted by the use of smart playlists. This is nice to get all the recordings of one show in a single folder. These items in these playlists are listed in chronological order in which they were recorded. This is great until you miss an original air time and have to record a rerun of that episode. The rerun episode will be listed in the order that is was recorded not the episode order. Also you cannot create season specific playlist after the fact. The only way to get a season specific playlist is to record using a season specific recording schedule. This will then separate out specific seasons into playlists still sorted by date not episode number and you then need to remember to make a new recording schedule for the next season. I don't like having to remember to generate new recording schedules every year so I cannot separate out my playlists by season. The UI is also designed to use at a computer not 10ft away on the couch. It is usable from the couch. You can delete watched files from within EyeTV.

MythTV:
MythTV does have recording capabilities. You should also be able to add ripped DVDs. The UI is most likely designed to be used form the couch. Since I have not used this I do not know how its database and file management works.

Kodi/Plex:
Both of these are just for playback and designed to be used form the couch. They both require the TV show filename to be ShowTitle S##E##. The program then reads this file name information and scrapes online databases to get metadata. You can also add ripped DVDs. This allows the TV shows to be listed by Show-season-episode no matter when it was recorded. Since EyeTV does not save the recordings in the correct filename structure you need to run an applescript that reads the metadata from EyeTV and generates the correct filename. Don't worry no coding is required. Before the original EyeTV forum went down this script was passed around a lot. I can easily supply it if you want. This script runs automatically after each recording is finished. There are some pluses and minuses to this system. Sometimes the season and episode numbers from the EPG in EyeTV are not the same in thetvdb.com. Two shows that come to mind are Mythbusters and Nova. Also if over the years there have been different shows with the same name you will need to tell the program which show version to use. This usually only needs to be done once. Deleting files is more complicated than just using EyeTV. The scripts that generate the files names actually generate a separate folder with aliases with the correct file names. This means to delete the file you need to go into the EyeTV archive to actually delete the file and into the Kodi or Plex folder and delete the alias.
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