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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've about given up on my HTPC. At it's best, it was an expensive VCR, at it's worst it was a useless box that would crash whenever I tried to do DVR stuff.


I did my homework before I built it, and I think my hardware is up to snuff. I have:


Motherboard: Foxconn A7GM-S

Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB)

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+

Video: Onboard 780G, latest drivers from AMD.

Tuner: HVR 1600

HDD: An old seagate barracuda 160 GB I had.

OS: Tried XP Pro first, then Vista Business.

Display: 42" Panisonic Plasma 1080p via HDMI.


This hardware should be good enough to do HD, right? (I get a few QAM channels and about 70 analog channels.)


I've been working mostly with GBPVR, and I never could get time shifting of Hi-def shows to work right. At times, it would freeze up from just watching TV, and It's never been stable enough to actually use for channel surfing. It would record shows though very reliably, and watching recorded Hi-def was OK. I recently tried Media Portal. The install went ok, I found all my channels and got QAM working, but I can't channel surf with it either. I have not gotten the TV guide configured yet so I don't know how media portal does at recording. Also, the UI seems to lag sometimes in media portal.


The final (maybe) nail in my HTPC coffin is that now, for some reason, GBPVR is recording shows with some weird .dvr file extension that I can't seem to view with anything on my computer making it effectively useless now.


Is there a root cause to my HTPC woe's? If I can fix it with better/different hardware I might give it a try, but I've about had it with monkeying around with the software. I'm to the point where thinking about it gets my blood pressure up.
 

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Give BTV or Sage a try (my personal preference is BTV - easier set up and single purpose PVR software). Both have free trial for 30 days and excellent user forums. XP pro seems to be the preferred OS for most Sage/BTV users.


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Quote:
I've been working mostly with GBPVR, and I never could get time shifting of Hi-def shows to work right. At times, it would freeze up from just watching TV, and It's never been stable enough to actually use for channel surfing.

Try setting it to use live preview mode for live tv. This is generally more stable than time shift mode, and has the advantage of faster channel changes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by teookie /forum/post/15525154


The final (maybe) nail in my HTPC coffin is that now, for some reason, GBPVR is recording shows with some weird .dvr file extension that I can't seem to view with anything on my computer making it effectively useless now.

The file extension you end up with depends on the mux you used for recording. The 'Microsoft DVR-MS' mux will give you .dvr-ms files. The 'TS Mux' will give you .ts files. The Cyberlink or ATI muxes will give you .mpg files.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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The file extension you end up with depends on the mux you used for recording. The 'Microsoft DVR-MS' mux will give you .dvr-ms files. The 'TS Mux' will give you .ts files. The Cyberlink or ATI muxes will give you .mpg files.

Ok, but it just started recording in .dvr instead of .mpg all on it's own. I actually think a setting got changed somewhere when I installed media portal, as I didn't uninstall GBPVR first. After a quick scan though, I couldn't find out what had changed...
Quote:
Give BTV or Sage a try (my personal preference is BTV - easier set up and single purpose PVR software). Both have free trial for 30 days and excellent user forums. XP pro seems to be the preferred OS for most Sage/BTV users.

I downloaded and installed the Beyond TV trial and holey cow it works great! The only thing is my TV guide is mapped incorrectly, but that should be easy to fix. Besides that though it seems to be working perfectly. The UI doesn't lag, I can channel surf between anolog and digital w/o crashing, I can pause-rewind-play 1080i content w/ no problems. Basically all the stuff I could never get to work before is now working. It may be that I just needed to try different software. Sucks that the software is $100 though.
 

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I downloaded and installed the Beyond TV trial and holey cow it works great! The only thing is my TV guide is mapped incorrectly, but that should be easy to fix. Besides that though it seems to be working perfectly. The UI doesn't lag, I can channel surf between anolog and digital w/o crashing, I can pause-rewind-play 1080i content w/ no problems. Basically all the stuff I could never get to work before is now working. It may be that I just needed to try different software. Sucks that the software is $100 though.

Play with it for a while. If you just want PVR capabilities (no pictures or multimedia) it is great software. Not free, but IMO the best $100 I ever spent on software. I have tried/purchased them all (Sage, GBPVR, ATI MMC) and I always end up back with BTV. Posting any problems you have in the user forums http://forums.snapstream.com/vb/index.php will get you all the help you need to get the full benefit of BTV.


As usual, IMO YMMV, etc.


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I say keep working with GBPVR. I've used nothing else for years now and love it. Also great support over there on the forums.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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I say keep working with GBPVR. I've used nothing else for years now and love it. Also great support over there on the forums.

I think I'll do that actually. Knowing now that it is possible with my hardware to get smooth playback has re-invigorated me. Just knowing that it can work removes a large measure of doubt from my mind. Plus, if a little bit of work can save me $100...


And I agree, SUB provides the best support out there for any software free or no.
 

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Forego the Microsoft .dvr-ms wrapper and switch to .ts. I'm guessing a lot of the issues you're experiencing is because of .dvr-ms. Never had time-shifting problems using Cyberlink MPEG Muxer (filter came with the ATI HDTV Wonder). Install Haali Media Splitter if you want to be able to play the .ts files on other DirectShow players.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by teookie /forum/post/15525154


I've about given up on my HTPC. At it's best, it was an expensive VCR, at it's worst it was a useless box that would crash whenever I tried to do DVR stuff.

...

Video: Onboard 780G, latest drivers from AMD.

Tuner: HVR 1600

HDD: An old seagate barracuda 160 GB I had.

OS: Tried XP Pro first, then Vista Business.

Display: 42" Panisonic Plasma 1080p via HDMI.


This hardware should be good enough to do HD, right? (I get a few QAM channels and about 70 analog channels.)

....

I was using XP and tried many different MCE-alternatives like MediaPortal, GBPVR, Meedio (no longer called meedio), and others.


I too just wasn't having luck 100% with any of them. Too many issues, too complex setups, etc. Vista Business doesn't help either.


But then I took someone else's advice here. I forget their screenname. And I switched to Vista Home Premium (Ultimate has Vista MCE also of course) and an MCE remote/IR blaster/receiver. 3rd party free util DVRmsToolbox and LifeXtender .


And 2 awesome things happened. #1, everything was super easy to setup. #2, everything just worked. I was using a FiOS STB with the IR blaster and it controlled the channels perfectly, DVR functions work perfectly, LifeXtender automatically removes the commercials to save HDD space, and it just works!


I have since dropped the FiOS STB because I didn't like Verizon's services and found that I just wasn't watching more than basic cable. So now I am just DVRing basic cable and locals. But I did use that IR blaster setup with FiOS for 3 weeks and it was working within 5mins of setup. Just worked.


I don't want to call it my recommendation since it was recommended to me on this forum, but here is my stamp of approval:


Software:

OS: Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, 32bit.

Free: DVRmsToolBox

Free: LifeXtender

Free Codec pack: Shark007 VistaCodec to cover all formats, not required.

Free QT alternative: Shark007 Quicktime Lite for VCP This is super easy and light. And the performance of MOVs in WMP 11 is so much better than in QT. No more video shearing-tearing.


Hardware I am using on 1 of my older HTPCs:

Intel Pentium D 3.6Ghz (dual core)

2 GB 800Mhz ram

Intel Bad Axe motherboard

PCI-E Nvidia 8600GT 512MB dual DVI video card with DVI->HDMI adapter

Onboard audio that using Digital coax (optical available) Vista just worked with this, didn't have to setup anything and my receiver does DTS and other formats with no tweaks.

Sata HDDs 500GB and 640GB

onboard gigabit nic

MS IR blaster/receiver/remote pack from XP MCE. But the newer Vista one is cooler with a zoom/aspect ratio button. I need to get one.



I use 32bit since I don't need over 4GB ram or the tiny few 64bit apps on my HTPC. This also covers the MCE apps supplied by Vista. Make sure to have SP1 installed and Vista fully updated to take advantage of the updated EPG guides and remote codes, etc.


I used to use CCCP and the Klite codec packs, but I like the Shark007 packs way better.


Anyways. If you try again, try out Vista's MCE with MCE remote bundle and free DVRmsToolBox and LifeXtender. It's super easy and just works.
 
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