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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been out of the market for a few years, and boy have things changed in some ways, and not at all in others. Makes my head spin and I'm hoping you guys can help narrow down some things for me.


I currently have 4 rooms where I want to watch TV. I presently have two Tivo HDs, and two Verizon FIOS cheap tuners which do Composite video. One of my Tivos is dying a slow and painful death and I'm looking for new options now that it's coming close to bonus time.


In my HT, I have a small closet, so I have room for a server. Ideally I'd like to use a single server and put all my tuners in there and get some M CableCards and hopefully be able to handle 4 simultaneous channels for live or recording. Since this is where my projector wiring terminates, this server can output HDMI to my HT, but it's not a firm requirement.


Then I'd love to have a box at each TV which can access the server. Be it for live TV, recorded TV, ripped movies (XViD, MKV), and optionally audio (MP3, FLAC).


I don't mind rolling up my sleeves and doing a unix installation if it's the best option.. I've been running Linux since the 0.99 kernel. But I don't mind running windows or an appliance if they're better in this area.


I see that I can run Windows Media Center on Win7 and use Linksys 2100s as media extenders... but I'm not sure if that's my only option. It seems like MCE is 2007 technology that has never advanced, which worries me. SageTV seemed like a good alternative, but then Google bought them and now I'm not sure. Any other options?
 

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I guess the question is how many places do you need to view HD Cable TV and is a central recording store critical to what you were envisioning.


A Win 7 PC can support up to 8 cable tuners theorectically. The most mature product is the Ceton InfiniTV 4 which is a 4 tuner device whose tuners can by statically assigned to Win 7 PC clients. All 4 tuners can be assigned to the host or none to the host and 1 to 4 assigned to a client PC. Normally windows only supports 4 tuners of a type - in this case - Digital Cable Tuners. There is a registry hack around called TunerSalad I believe that raises that to 8 tuners of a type.


The one thing that needs to be understood about protected channel content. Which might be HBO only with your provider and almost everything with another provider is that you can only view the recorded content on the device that recorded it. Now if you use Windows Media Extenders instead of Win 7 PCs as tuner clients you get around this limitation. You are though stuck with whatever limitation the Windows Media Extenders (currently only the XBOX 360) enforces, which are significant.


Silicon Dust will offer a 6 and even 8 tuner devices that don't require a PC host, with the further advantage that the individual tuners are dynamically assigned on an as need basis. The same limitations regarding protected content apply. Some folks have just very recently received the 6 tuner device and there are questions about how ready the software is. There is no doubt SiliconDust will produce a stable an excellent device and drivers, they are just 6 months or more behind Ceton in getting solid product to market. A few patches and you can expect their stuff will be working well enough to be in production. The 4 tuner Ceton just got a firmware and driver upgrade and works quite well for most folks. The Ceton retired my Tivo HD.


For this conversation to go anywhere one really needs to understand your needs better, do you just need to view in many places? Do you record a lot and need consolidated storage for recordings? Does the device you use to view live TV need to play virtually all kinds of high definition content?
 

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I can only tell you what is working for me, not what you should do. First, WMC7 is not what I would call outdated technology. It's slick, functional and flexible (with the proper add ins.) I've got a couple Hauppauge HD-PVRs connected to HD cable boxes. These are sitting on my main "server" rig, which has a boatload of space for tv recordings, all my movies and music on it. I've got 3 client PCs spread throughout the house, all of them rely on the server. Im using DVBLogic's Server Network pack to distribute all live TV content to my client PCs (full 1080i with DD5.1 audio). I use Babgvant's recording broker to ensure that all tv recordings will be performed on the server machine, regardless of which machine it was scheduled on. That tv recording directory is shared out to all the client PCs so anyone can watch anything, anywhere. Additionally, i've got DVRMSToolbox with ShowAnalyzer running on the server, providing commercial skip data. With the DTb plugin installed on all clients, pointing at the shared commercial skip data location, all clients have auto commercial skip enabled. Also, and possibly most important, I am running 32 bit windows on the server box, so that I can leverage firewire channel changing, and not have to worry about IR Blasters. Yes, there's the 4GB cap on 32 bit winders, but that's more than enough for an HTPC.

Now, why do this instead of going with CableCARD of some sort? Simple. DRM. Every one of my recordings, regardless of the source or channel will be DRM-free, and playable on any PC, as well as open to use any add-in I want for file manipulation, whether it be commercial skipping, conversion, whatever I want.

The whole thing just works.
 

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As well, I can tell you my setup....


I have the new HDHomeRun Prime 6-tuner and it works great...albeit as with any new technology, there are a few bugs, but they're working them out and the tech support has been awesome.


The HDHomeRun Prime is a network Tuner, so I have mine installed in my networking closet and then every computer/device accesses it over the network. I think the easiest solution for all is to have a "main" computer which acts as the recorder for live content and then have xbox's at each other location within the home. The xbox's can watch live TV and watch ANY content recorded on the "main" computer, included the copy protected content. The only down side to this approach is the lack of support for video formats on the xbox's. So there might be a bit of your personal collection that won't play through the xbox's... so you can either re-encode all your content or have another device to play those.


So things to know:

Windows Media Center is the ONLY solution if you want watch/record copy protected TV

Extenders are the ONLY solution for watch recorded copy protected TV (when recorded on a "main" computer)

---Extenders include the Xbox and the Linksys extenders

---Another HTPC cannot be an extender

------This is due to the copy protection on random shows


...That's all I have for now, let me know if you have any questions, lol.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckellyusa /forum/post/0


As well, I can tell you my setup....


I have the new HDHomeRun Prime 6-tuner and it works great...albeit as with any new technology, there are a few bugs, but they're working them out and the tech support has been awesome.


The HDHomeRun Prime is a network Tuner, so I have mine installed in my networking closet and then every computer/device accesses it over the network. I think the easiest solution for all is to have a "main" computer which acts as the recorder for live content and then have xbox's at each other location within the home. The xbox's can watch live TV and watch ANY content recorded on the "main" computer, included the copy protected content. The only down side to this approach is the lack of support for video formats on the xbox's. So there might be a bit of your personal collection that won't play through the xbox's... so you can either re-encode all your content or have another device to play those.


So things to know:

Windows Media Center is the ONLY solution if you want watch/record copy protected TV

Extenders are the ONLY solution for watch recorded copy protected TV (when recorded on a "main" computer)

---Extenders include the Xbox and the Linksys extenders

---Another HTPC cannot be an extender

------This is due to the copy protection on random shows


...That's all I have for now, let me know if you have any questions, lol.

Good info for the OP. The one thing that jumps out at me is al of the caveats revolve around copy protection. That is the reason I'll never have a CableCARD tuner with the current restrictions. I had one for. 6 months, and off to eBay it went. Using a few HD-PVRs, in conjunction with DVBLogic's Server Network pack and babgvant's recording broker turns my client PCs into fully functional extenders, with the ability to view live tv from any channel, in HD, with DD 5.1 audio, with zero DRM/copy protection. It works great. If you're lucky enough to have a cable provider who does not implement DRM, then yeah, CableCARD will be functional. However, if you're on TWC, fuh-git-abowt-it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by gtgray /forum/post/20821503


I guess the question is how many places do you need to view HD Cable TV and is a central recording store critical to what you were envisioning.


A Win 7 PC can support up to 8 cable tuners theorectically. The most mature product is the Ceton InfiniTV 4 which is a 4 tuner device whose tuners can by statically assigned to Win 7 PC clients. All 4 tuners can be assigned to the host or none to the host and 1 to 4 assigned to a client PC. Normally windows only supports 4 tuners of a type - in this case - Digital Cable Tuners. There is a registry hack around called TunerSalad I believe that raises that to 8 tuners of a type.


The one thing that needs to be understood about protected channel content. Which might be HBO only with your provider and almost everything with another provider is that you can only view the recorded content on the device that recorded it. Now if you use Windows Media Extenders instead of Win 7 PCs as tuner clients you get around this limitation. You are though stuck with whatever limitation the Windows Media Extenders (currently only the XBOX 360) enforces, which are significant.


Silicon Dust will offer a 6 and even 8 tuner devices that don't require a PC host, with the further advantage that the individual tuners are dynamically assigned on an as need basis. The same limitations regarding protected content apply. Some folks have just very recently received the 6 tuner device and there are questions about how ready the software is. There is no doubt SiliconDust will produce a stable an excellent device and drivers, they are just 6 months or more behind Ceton in getting solid product to market. A few patches and you can expect their stuff will be working well enough to be in production. The 4 tuner Ceton just got a firmware and driver upgrade and works quite well for most folks. The Ceton retired my Tivo HD.


For this conversation to go anywhere one really needs to understand your needs better, do you just need to view in many places? Do you record a lot and need consolidated storage for recordings? Does the device you use to view live TV need to play virtually all kinds of high definition content?

I picked up a HD Homerun dual ATSC tuner on ebay for next to nothing, so I'm going to use that for local HD channels, and planning on a Ceton for 4 QAM cablecard channels. I need live TV in 4 locations, but chances are only 2 would be active at any time for live viewing... possibly another 2 for recording based upon my typical Tivo utilization.


I need HD on two of those locations, can get away with SD on two, but would prefer HD on all four. In addition to the live content, I'd like a common view of all recorded content. What I dislike about Tivo is that each box is its own island and you have to push or pull content to it... it's annoying.


In doing some digging it seems like my only real option with 7MC is to run a single server with a few Xbox 360 extenders... yet the 360s can't handle MKVs beyond 10 mbps, which is limiting. And the 360s can be LOUD. I wish one could pool multiple 7MC servers within a house to share common resources like tuners and coordinate recording... but it's not there.


I just found NextPVR which *might* be useful?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostlobster /forum/post/20821712


I can only tell you what is working for me, not what you should do. First, WMC7 is not what I would call outdated technology. It's slick, functional and flexible (with the proper add ins.) I've got a couple Hauppauge HD-PVRs connected to HD cable boxes. These are sitting on my main "server" rig, which has a boatload of space for tv recordings, all my movies and music on it. I've got 3 client PCs spread throughout the house, all of them rely on the server. Im using DVBLogic's Server Network pack to distribute all live TV content to my client PCs (full 1080i with DD5.1 audio). I use Babgvant's recording broker to ensure that all tv recordings will be performed on the server machine, regardless of which machine it was scheduled on. That tv recording directory is shared out to all the client PCs so anyone can watch anything, anywhere. Additionally, i've got DVRMSToolbox with ShowAnalyzer running on the server, providing commercial skip data. With the DTb plugin installed on all clients, pointing at the shared commercial skip data location, all clients have auto commercial skip enabled. Also, and possibly most important, I am running 32 bit windows on the server box, so that I can leverage firewire channel changing, and not have to worry about IR Blasters. Yes, there's the 4GB cap on 32 bit winders, but that's more than enough for an HTPC.

Now, why do this instead of going with CableCARD of some sort? Simple. DRM. Every one of my recordings, regardless of the source or channel will be DRM-free, and playable on any PC, as well as open to use any add-in I want for file manipulation, whether it be commercial skipping, conversion, whatever I want.

The whole thing just works.

Great info... I hadn't run into any way of pooling multiple 7MC machines while coordinating recording and show distribution. I've got more homework to do now.


Luckily I have a 7MC VMware instance going to play with. I want to work out the kinks before dropping big bucks on a solution.
 
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