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Discussion Starter #1
I have been using SageTv for 7 years or so and the last 2 years I have been using it with an extender.


The extender is way more stable, it requires less reboots and it causes the computer hosting to almost never need to be rebooted.

It's just terrific!


But now that I am looking to add more clients to the system I find that SageTv has been gobbled up and most likely killed.


So my research had led me to believe that Windows Media Center is the way to go as a replacement. [Please feel free to suggest an alternative]

But that all of the Extenders have been discontinued except the Xbox?

Where did they go?


Is this just temporary?
 

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They were too far ahead of their time.


At launch these things cost several hundred dollars so you were better off getting an Xbox 360.


Another suspicion is that far too many people were trying to use them over wifi. At the same time, avi files and their common codecs were being phased out by most users in favor of h264/vc1 and new containers (mkv, m2ts, etc). Their file support was too limited and their processing power was relatively weak. So people bought them without really know what they were/were not capable of and probably became dissatisfied by poor performance.


The cost to license the Microsoft technology most also be almost prohibitively high. I've said for a while that a WMC extender mode would be a great feature for a Roku or Boxee Box.


There is a new extender by Ceton, maker of two of the competing cable card tuners coming out this year. They will be going into beta test status in the next few weeks. This will be the first modern extender with increased capabilities for new video types and internet streaming support.
 

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Like pitsoccer said, they were too far ahead of their time. Even Windows Media Center Edition in XP was ahead of its time, since there were no multi-tuner cards at the time, and no CableCard tuners until 2007.


In Vista Media Center, CableCard support was added, but the only tuner on the market was the $300 single tuner from ATI. I paid $600 for 2 tuners to have a dual tuner set up.


It wasn't until Ceton came out with a quad tuner where the need for extenders became obvious, but by then, the manufacturer's have abandonded them.


I snapped a bunch of them from newegg for $80, which is what it should have been priced at in the beginning, not $300....


Hopefully, Ceton doesn't make the same mistake with Echo. If XBOX can be had for $140-$150 new, the extender with much less hardware and limitations should not be more than $100, or people won't buy it.
 

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to add to what I said about extender performance:


In WMC the extender logs into the PC remotely as a second user. So essentially two sessions of Windows are running at once, taxing both the CPU and memory.


My htpc has a Vista era Core 2 Duo. It works "pretty good" with one extender in use, and "pretty bad" with two. The idea that the PC's hardware capability would affect this extender set up in another room probably didn't occur to people who were getting talked into buying them at Best Buy to go along with their new Vaio PC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod  /t/1415242/why-are-all-of-the-extenders-discontinued#post_22124812


Like pitsoccer said, they were too far ahead of their time. Even Windows Media Center Edition in XP was ahead of its time, since there were no multi-tuner cards at the time, and no CableCard tuners until 2007.

In Vista Media Center, CableCard support was added, but the only tuner on the market was the $300 single tuner from ATI. I paid $600 for 2 tuners to have a dual tuner set up.

It wasn't until Ceton came out with a quad tuner where the need for extenders became obvious, but by then, the manufacturer's have abandonded them.

I snapped a bunch of them from newegg for $80, which is what it should have been priced at in the beginning, not $300....
Hopefully, Ceton doesn't make the same mistake with Echo. If XBOX can be had for $140-$150 new, the extender with much less hardware and limitations should not be more than $100, or people won't buy it.

But if it supports mkv and HD Audio that is something that xBox doesn't so maybe the $150 price point wont be so bad after all?
 

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Windows Media Center was virtually unknown to the general public when it was first introduced and was only available in an XP version pre-installed on turnkey PCs. Later it became part of Vista and then Windows 7. Extenders were introduced at premium prices but didn't sell well because of limited market exposure and lack of education on the part of the consumer. Many people knew about extenders but just didn't understand what they were all about. With little or no profits in sight, companies abandoned the extender market. Only Microsoft continued support via the X-Box 360.


The key to success for the Ceton Echo is whether it supports the latest codecs, like HD audio and mkv playback, as well as DVD and Blu-Ray. These are areas where all existing extenders fall short, making them less than desirable for most Media Center applications.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't mind playing DVDs and Bluerays on my blueray player as I have been doing. I would for sure like an extender that would support MKV though for movies on my hard drive.


Really my main concerns are that I want it to work as a DVR for TV shows and also be able to play movies off of the hard drive. But, and here is one of the sticky points, It needs to be reliable and easy operate. My wife will have very little patients for something that reboots all the time and F's up shows she wants to watch.
 

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I hear you. It's the very reason why I abandoned the use of extenders and switched to individual PCs at each TV. The main issue I had was that the main PC that fed the extenders had issues and liked to lock up or reboot at random. Definitely not good for the WAF. Individual PCs open up other issues, especially if your TV provider flags their shows as copy once. If you're on FIOS (like I am) or record OTA only then it shouldn't be an issue. You can share unencrypted recordings between PCs for playback anywhere on your network.


Extenders will definitely allow you to use them as a DVR, but the actual recording takes place on the main PC, not the extender. Same with live TV. The signal is transmitted over your network from the PC where the tuners are installed. The UI on WMC extenders looks just like the WMC UI. The X-Box 360 has a different UI for accessing the rest of its features, but once you get into the Media Center portion it looks like WMC as well. If the wife's OK with that interface then she'll be fine.


Watching movies is an entirely different matter. Most extenders don't have support for many audio and video formats. I believe you might be able to play MKVs via an X-Box 360, but I'm not entirely sure. It's the other reason why I stopped using extenders. I rip all of my movies to MKVs and keep them on an unRAID server. I use XBMC for playing MKVs across the network and it works great.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great info, thanks!

So you keep your MKVs on an unraid server, is that the same computer that you have your tv capture card(s)?
 

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Im still using my sageTV extenders; and, still consider it the best server-> client solution ever made. I'm still enjoying unaltered bitperfect audio/video TV delivered to all my extenders; along with On Demand support. I just finished watching a 3D movie on Demand via sageTV... still just as impressive as when I first set everything up years ago.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5artist5  /t/1415242/why-are-all-of-the-extenders-discontinued#post_22126168


Great info, thanks!

So you keep your MKVs on an unraid server, is that the same computer that you have your tv capture card(s)?
No. I've got a Ceton InfiniTV4 and a pair of Hauppauge 2250 dual ATSC tuners in my primary HTPC. I've also got a SiliconDust HDHomeRun dual ATSC tuner and a SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime triple-cablecard tuner connected to my network that are shared between multiple TVs, primarily for live TV viewing but also available to supplement my primary PC for recording if all tuners of the same type are in use.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKANET  /t/1415242/why-are-all-of-the-extenders-discontinued#post_22126930


Im still using my sageTV extenders; and, still consider it the best server-> client solution ever made. I'm still enjoying unaltered bitperfect audio/video TV delivered to all my extenders; along with On Demand support. I just finished watching a 3D movie on Demand via sageTV... still just as impressive as when I first set everything up years ago.
I've heard that about SageTV and their extenders. I was just about to give it a try when it got scarfed up by Google and they shut down the SageTV store online. I wanted to try it with the patch that enabled the Ceton InfiniTV4 with SageTV. I'm on FIOS so I would have been able to receive all of their channels.
 
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