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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!


I just successfully talked the wife into letting me rebuild/upgrade our HTPC in order to (ostensibly) save some cash on our monthly cable bill. We're getting screwed a bit by verizon to the tune of $230 a month after taxes (my fault of course).


Current bill minus taxes:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Current Charges

11/23 12/22 FiOS Triple Freedom 119.99

• Verizon Freedom Essentials 28.01

• FiOS TV Extreme HD 50.99

• FiOS Internet 20/5 40.99

11/23 12/22 Inside Wire Maintenance 6.99

11/23 12/22 Non-Published Service 2.17

11/23 12/22 Verizon Long Distance Charges 2.00

• International Flat Rate Plan 2.00

11/23 12/22 FiOS TV Extreme HD 67.99

11/23 12/22 Movie Package 15.99

11/23 12/22 HBO 16.99

11/23 12/22 Standard STB Rental 4.99

11/23 12/22 DVR Rental3 @ 12.99 38.97

Current Charges Subtotal $208.09

Current Activity Total $208.09


Current set-up:

4-year old HTPC (in theater):
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) * Vista MCE

* Running TVersity

* PowerColor AX4350 256MD2-H Radeon HD 4350 256MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card

* 1 x AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCIe MCE ATSC/NTSC/QAM Tuner Card w/MCE Remote & L-P Bracket 7 95522 96066 5 PCI-Express x1 Interface

* 1 x ABIT KN8 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard

* 1 x COOLMAX CX-450B 450W ATX Power Supply

* 1 x AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2.0GHz Socket 939 Single-Core Processor ADA3200BPBOX

* 2 GB RAM

* 1.5TB of storage


2 x PS3 (one in theater, one upstairs) for streaming via TVersity

1 X Xbox360 in theater

3 x Verizon DVR (upstairs, in theater, in "den")

1 x Verizon SD box (in workout room)


Goals:
  1. Cut down on FIOS bill for long term savings
  2. Stay within budget of~$600-$800
  3. Maintain streaming capability
  4. Actually utilize 7MC
  5. I get to tinker/build, and that's half the fun right?


Currently, I've kind of given up on using VMCE for live TV. I basically only use it to play/organize movies, pictures, and music locally on the HTPC. I purchased a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium (?) because I read that the QAM support and tuner support in general is a ton better than vista. We use TVersity to stream to the upstairs PS3, and have had good luck with that.


I'm fine with installing a few HDTV antennas in my attic if that makes sense. We were considering returning all but one of the DVRs and taking advantage of streaming. Also (a bit off topic) we were considering canceling the premium movie channels and the phone service as well.


So, I'm looking for advice/ideas on upgrades... What do you all recommend?


Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So far, I've picked up a Radeon 5570 (GPU upgrade not really related to project), a Hauppage 2250, and an Antennas Direct DB2. I'm planning on installing the new hardware this weekend, wiping my OS drive, and installing Windows 7.


So that would give me 2 ClearQAM lines and 1 OTA HDTV line into the box. Once I get that up and running (and the wife used to it), I'm going to start returning the FIOS boxes and change to a lower service tier.


Noob question: Can I have multiple coax lines connected to my DB2 antenna? I'm assuming not...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarbyPope /forum/post/19571613


for 20 bucks at NetFlix, you can get about 15+ movies a month if you just stick them into your computer and send them back the next day. Then you can watch them at your convenience.

Don't follow this advice. It is illegal, and against the terms of service. Why do you keep suggesting bad advice?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forseti /forum/post/19588405


So far, I've picked up a Radeon 5570 (GPU upgrade not really related to project), a Hauppage 2250, and an Antennas Direct DB2. I'm planning on installing the new hardware this weekend, wiping my OS drive, and installing Windows 7.

I would have gone with a MB+CPU+RAM upgrade instead of GPU only. Nowadays, a single-core running at 2.0GHz just doesn't cut it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forseti /forum/post/19588405


Noob question: Can I have multiple coax lines connected to my DB2 antenna? I'm assuming not...

Define. If you mean multiple coax cables getting the same antenna feed, yeah, sure. You just need a splitter (1GHz should do, the 2GHz are for satellite). Can't use the same coax for both cable and antenna, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd /forum/post/19589829


I would have gone with a MB+CPU+RAM upgrade instead of GPU only. Nowadays, a single-core running at 2.0GHz just doesn't cut it.



Define. If you mean multiple coax cables getting the same antenna feed, yeah, sure. You just need a splitter (1GHz should do, the 2GHz are for satellite). Can't use the same coax for both cable and antenna, though.

You nailed my question. That is exactly what I'm asking.


I had an extra Amazon gift card, so I'm not counting the GPU upgrade in my total. I was looking at a MB+CPU+RAM upgrade, and might still do that.Would my current 2GHZ setup hiccup while recording multiple streams??? I'm eventually looking at getting a Ceton card down the road, so I want to be able to handle at least 4 streams.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forseti /forum/post/19591017


Would my current 2GHZ setup hiccup while recording multiple streams??? I'm eventually looking at getting a Ceton card down the road, so I want to be able to handle at least 4 streams.

Assuming we're talking ATSC or clear QAM, no, it shouldn't. That's dictated more by your IO/storage subsystem. Looking at the system requirements, it also seems to be enough for the Ceton but it's unclear whether the 2.0 GHz referred to here is based on Core 2 micro-architecture or perhaps some older tech. Earlier AMD Athlon 64 processors have lower performance clock for clock compared to Core 2.

Quote:
The recommended minimum system requirements for the Ceton InfiniTV 4 are:
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows 7 Ultimate
  • 2.0 GHz or faster CPU minimum, either 32 bit (x86) or 64 bit (x64) - 2.7 GHz or faster dual-core CPU is recommended
  • 2 GB of RAM minimum - 3 GB or more is recommended
  • 1 PCIe slot, which can be either an x1, x4, x8, or x16 type slot
  • HDCP compliant on-board graphics or graphics card
  • HDMI out, or DVI out with separate audio out
  • Multi-Stream CableCARD (M-Card) - available from your local cable provider
  • Digital cable subscription from a U.S. cable provider
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the input. I'm starting to think a CPU/MB/RAM/PSU upgrade might be necessary. Windows 7 rocks, and this is the 4th computer that I've installed it on.


However, this is the first computer that I've used 7MC on. I don't know if it is just misconfigured (or maybe I still need to tweak MCM), but the whole experience seems laggy. When I transition from a movie to live TV it takes about 5-10 seconds. Last night, even just moving from show "button" to show "button" on Internet TV seemed to lag 5-10 secs



And I'm starting to get some heat from the wife... She was used to my old TVersity streaming to PS3s set up, and doesn't understand that this could take a few days to properly set up.


Does anyone have advice on if it sounds like I need to upgrade or if I just need to properly configure 7MC?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forseti /forum/post/19624721


the whole experience seems laggy. When I transition from a movie to live TV it takes about 5-10 seconds. Last night, even just moving from show "button" to show "button" on Internet TV seemed to lag 5-10 secs

What drive are you using for your OS?

Also, were you running anything else at the same time?

'Laggy' operation can be due to a hard drive; if it is stuttering then its probably something else.
 

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I see some slowness when switching to Live TV from something else. I think it has to initialize the TV tuner card, which takes a little bit of time. Once I'm in Live TV things are fine.


Lag within Internet TV is surprising. This is instant for me. Are you using a wired or wireless connection? If wireless, I would recommend upgrading to wireless N if you're not there already.


I would also look at upgrading the CPU. Newer CPUs have more optimizations for working with media. Windows Vista/7 is also optimized for multi-core systems, so you'll see a big improvement in overall performance as well, even at the same clock-speed. Normally I'd recommend an i3/i5 from Intel, but their new CPUs (Sandy Bridge) are coming out early next year and they use a different socket, so you may want to wait.


edit: Just for comparison's sake, here are my specs:

Celeron E3200 2.4GHz (dual-core)

2GB DDR2 800

G45-based motherboard, using onboard graphics

Hauppauge HVR-1250 TV tuner fed by NTSC/ClearQAM cable (still some analog channels left)

1Gbps wired network connection to 12Mbps cable modem connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by hirent /forum/post/19625213


What drive are you using for your OS?

Also, were you running anything else at the same time?

'Laggy' operation can be due to a hard drive; if it is stuttering then its probably something else.

40GB Intel SSD. The OS itself is pretty quick. My Movies and recorded TV are on a 2TB RAID that is pretty quick as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious /forum/post/19625279


I see some slowness when switching to Live TV from something else. I think it has to initialize the TV tuner card, which takes a little bit of time. Once I'm in Live TV things are fine.


Lag within Internet TV is surprising. This is instant for me. Are you using a wired or wireless connection? If wireless, I would recommend upgrading to wireless N if you're not there already.

...


I'm wired in, GigE, so I don't think it's the connection... Is there a possibility that MCM was indexing/scraping and that could slow everything down? I installed MCM and ran it for the first time over a remote session from my laptop. This subsequent session where all the lag was encountered was the first time that I had logged in to 7MC after installing MCM.
 

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I just dropped a 2.8Ghz quad-core Athlon II in my HTPC and the W7MC interface seems much snappier. I previously had a Athlon II 5050e in it.


Now I am just bottlenecked by disk I/O, network I/O and my slow server
.
 

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- The MOST bandwidth required by modern media formats is no more than ~50mbps (1080p blu-ray).

- Now, recording TV is slightly different, as you may end up recording multiple streams. Broadcast TV at 1080i or 720p is NEVER more than 20mbps, so for argument's sake, let's say you're recording 5 streams at the same. That's 100mbps.

- But you could ALSO be playing a stream. So, let's add another 50mbps (max modern media format) to it. We're at 150mbps now.


lest we forget the math...



8mbps = 1MBps (mega bit vs mega BYTE ps).


So, we're at roughly 20MBps at most (and that's a fairly extreme scenario).


So, you guys are telling me that with pci-e, sata 3.0, DDR2/3, 7200rpm drives, super efficient CPUs, quite powerful GPUs with all sorts of decoding offloaded.....we CAN'T manage a measly 20MBps of throughput from a modern PC??
What's wrong with this picture??
 
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