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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for something that will act like a TiVo in the fact that it will control my DTV Satalite reciever via IR. Does such a beast exist? I see ( over and over ) PVR's for HDTV and whatever else... but, they are all directed to 'cable' users.


HDTV is not a requirement for me. Just a PVR for my PC that has IR.


TIA,


Chris
 

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Chris,


You can use a couple of different packages available now that can use an IR transmitter to control a satellite receiver via IR, plus there's a new one coming early next year called SageTV that I've been testing for about 4 months now. If you can wait, SageTV will be worth waiting for (that's my opinion after trying out Showshifter and Snapstream).
 

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Not yet, unfortunately. If you're in the Dallas-Ft Worth television market, you're elligible to join the beta team.
 

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Could you provide us with any further info on SageTV. I checked out the website http://www.freytechnologies.com/index.htm but would like some user feedback. You said that it compares favorably with ShowShifter and Snapstream. Have you used the new V2.0 for SS or the 3.0Beta for Snap? How does it compare with the standard barers -Tivo and Replay? What tuner card are they recommending? How early next year?
 

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Could you provide us with any further info on SageTV. I checked out the website http://www.freytechnologies.com/index.htm but would like some user feedback. You said that it compares favorably with ShowShifter and Snapstream. Have you used the new V2.0 for SS or the 3.0Beta for Snap? How does it compare with the standard barers -Tivo and Replay? What tuner card are they recommending? How early next year?
 

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I haven't tried either of the new versions of Showshifter or Snapstream, so I can't directly compare to those.


The two big things for me comparing to older versions are much better video quality (to my eyes at least) and seamless control of my Dish satellite receiver. I did have satellite receiver control with showshifter, but it never worked very well. The video quality in Sage now integrates limited functions of dscaler deinterlacing (done correctly under the dscaler GPL), as well as allowing the user to mix and match video and audio filters (ala Zoom Player). I've never seen Replay, but I have found the Sage system to be superior to Tivo. The tivo options are all there (favorites, first runs only, etc) along with a recording profiler that is much more intelligent than tivo's version. I've gone through the 14 day integrated guide that SageTV offers, marked a few shows here and there that I like, and now I have many other shows recording that I like. I'm getting shows recorded that Tivo never did for me. And if it records something that I don't want, it takes one button click to keep the system from ever recording it again. All functions are directly controllable with a remote with IR control built into the system, or via a girder interface (that is user defined - not built into the software). I have no trouble at all running SageTV and my Hipix card at the same time, with SageTV recording SD and my Hipix recording HD simultaneously. That was a big issue for me that SageTV handles nicely. The other big thing that SageTV offers for me is the ability to change the background color of the overlay, and video orbiting (very similar to the way that dscaler does it). A must for widescreen tv owners. The tuner card currently supported is the Provideo 256T, although in the future other cards will be supported as well. And, as for how early next year, I can't say specifically (because I don't know specifically). The software is very stable and we are entering the final stages of testing.
 

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Thanks for the response Mark. It sounds like a great PVR program. I recently bought a Creative Digitial VCR card and an AIW 7000 to test out SS and Snap. I haven't opened them yet so it would be easy to return in the next few weeks. Any idea what other cards will be supported? I did a quick search for the Provideo 256T and didn't find much. Where are these available? Price? Do you know if its too late to jump into the Beta program? I've been looking for a solid PVR solution for a while now, looks like this might be it.
 

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CFReb - the good news is that the developers are looking to add a few more testers for the final stage that we're just entering now. The better news is that assuming you are in Orlando, you are in one of the 25 television market areas that they are supporting for the beta process.


Now, for the price news - the provideo card costs $175, and you can get it directly from Frey - that's their cost for the card. I have no idea what other cards they will support in the future. Only that they have said that at some point other cards would be supported. I wouldn't count on it before the first release version, though.


If you're interested in the beta program, email me at [email protected] , and I'll get you in touch with the developers.
 

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Back to the original question.


A number of DTV recievers have a serial control port eliminates the need for IR output for the HTPC. If i remeber correctly, some of the PVR softwares can utilize the serial port.


Good Luck
 

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Disclaimer, these are all "as far as I remember"

I'll share some of my PVR experience with you....Enjoy


SnapStream Quartz Beta 3 - www.snapstream.com

(This is what I am currently using for my HTPC PVR solution) The new version has a great full screen user interface, integrated EPG (which allows you to "Record Once", "Record Always", and "Record First Run" with nice conflict resolution if you ever schedule two things at the same time) and SnapStream.net which enables you to setup recording from any internet connection and even your mobile phone. SnapStream allows you to stream any recorded show to any other PC on your network. It can record in either Windows Media (7, 8, or 9) and DIVX and can also De-Interlace the video. It supports Live TV viewing and will support "TrickPlay" (ability to pause and rewind, you know TIVO stuff) but they haven't included that in the current beta yet. They also have support for the serial control of a sony or RCA sat receiver and IR blaster but I do not have any experience with this however i am looking into it. My only negative feedback would be that you need a pretty beefy box to run this since it is using all software compression. It cannot take advantage of any TV card with hardware compression (although there is talk about future versions supporting this) AND this is still in beta so they may be able to help the processor usage in the final release. They also have remote support with several aftermarket remote (ATI Remote Wonder, Girder, and KeySpan Remote just to name a few). I am currently running this on a Athlon 1.2, with ATI AIW 7500 and 512 mem and I am looking to install a faster proc so I can tweak the video and be even happier with the video quality.


ShowShifter 2.0 - www.showshifter.com

I just recently tried out this new version and the interface is a little better than their older version but not up to par with SnapStream. ShowShifter2.0 does support DVD playback, music and picture viewing all through their full screen interface which was pretty nice (same features as Windows media center) and you can record in any Windows VCM compliant codec (MPEG4 and DIVX, Indeo and Motion JPEG). No integrated EPG (you get the pleasure of naming all your channels yourself, SnapStream pulls all of the information in for you) you can schedule recording from TitanTV however. Overall not bad, but i was much more impressed with the fit and finish of SnapStream.


Creative Digital VCR - www.creaf.com

Dull looking full screen interface, no EPG integration at all, everything was manual :( Decent remote, hardware MPEG 2 compression. My overall impression of this was: mediocre software, decent quality. And I believe that this also uses a proprietary format that can't be used on multiple machines (as far as i can remember).


ATI TV (the software that comes with the All-In-Wonder) - www.ati.com

There is no user friendly, pretty full screen user interface. The best quality is a proprietary ATI format, so, no recording sharing with other PCs in the house. EPG support. This works well but not great for a displaying on a TV.


The best thing about the four above is that if you ever want more space for recording just replace or add a bigger hard drive to your computer.

The four above all have no monthly fee, although there is talk of SnapStream.Net having a fee :(


Replay TV - www.replaytv.com

the easiest by far to setup (if you don't like to, or have the time to tinker with your PC this is the way to go) best quality recording, comes with an IR blaster to control your cable box. One really cool feature is the ability to send something you have recorded to someone else with a replay tv (provided you are hooked up to broadband) However, that's a problem, you can only send your recording to other ReplayTVs. So, if you want to watch a recording in another room you will need another ReplayTV. Also, there is a monthly fee ~$10 bucks/month (or you can pay $250 and have the service for the life of the equipment) and if you ever need more space, you cannot add it without voiding your warranty ;) (not that we would do such a thing).


I chose SnapStream mainly because of the fact that you can have several people watching different things on different PCs and be recording something else!!! (although i have never needed more than two streams while recording) The streaming works great over 802.11b which not the case if you hit the file directly (which is what you would have to do with other PVR software), SnapStream actually sets up a "streaming server" which allows great video over "narrower" connections. It also allows you to easily shrink the file to play it on a pocket pc (purchase of Pocket PVS required)


So there you have it, hope this helps.


Jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Darn it.. I am in the DFW area.. however, moving WAY south to Harlingen next Friday. *sigh*. Any chance of me still picking it up?
 

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cohnhead,


Can you elaborate a little more please? Do you know any software specifically that will allow this to work? Thanx.
 

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This is a good thread. I like to see people comparing the different software.


I have been a ShowShifter user for a while. My criterea is different than most.


I needed a program that could be operated at a distance (ala XP Media Center Edition) and I needed a program that my wife, who hardly knows how to click a mouse, could operate.


None of the other programs gave me that simplicity. I actually let my wife try the different programs out for a few weeks before I chose. This right click, squint at a long list of choices, and left click business is particularly bad, unless you are at a desktop.


ShowShifter took care of those needs, now we move into the "want" department.


I like the idea of "bring your own codec" since everyone's machine is different. I like the idea of being able to play DVDs inside the same program. I like being able to record in WMV as well, and I can in ShowShifter but I am not limited to it.


I like the idea of using the Dscaler DShow Filter and using the Dscaler .dlls, and I like the picture that the double refresh rate puts out.


DigiGuide has landed in the USA. $12 a year gets you a terrific piece of software and listings. It integrates well with ShowShifter and advanced features of conflict resolution was recently added on by a ShowShifter/Digiguide user. I have not had a chance to learn to use all the features in Digiguide yet, but "Season Pass" is one of them. Digiguide beats the hell out of web sites even if you have a full-time connection.


At the same time, Diguide is simple enough for my wife to schedule a recording.


I am using a Learning Remote with ShowShifter and the Hauppuage IR Receiver built into the tuner card. Uice (which has improved greatly just in the last 5 months) is what use.


Things I don't care about department.


I have zero interest in streaming. Tuner cards are cheap enough now. I use good, old-fashioned wire. It is cheap and reliable. It means I can watch recordings over the network with no fuss. I can schedule and record programs independently with a second tuner card in the network. I use can VNC to control things, if I like.


Perhaps my needs are smaller, but ShowShifter hits the spot for me.
 

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e vey-


Thanks for the XLNT, detailed post! WAF is a big issue for me, too. She only uses the most basic functions of our DirecTiVo (i.e. "Play" a recorded program and delete it when she's finished - I have to do all the scheduling, etc.) so Showshifter sounds pretty good - the one thing I need to know about is system utilization - can you watch a DVD and/or perform other common HTPC functions while Showshifter is recording in the background?
 

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I am looking for a completely integrated media suite for my HTPC. So far I have been using Digital Theatre plu PowerDVD XP, MediaPlayer and Vidomi happily. My problem is the Satellite card (Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-CI) that has really lousy software. Anyone knows where there are plans to integrate support for this card in ShowShifter or other commercial suites?
 
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