INPUT NEEDED: Newbie PVR guide

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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #46
(2013-04-15 23:41)lukasnmd Wrote:  
(2013-03-15 14:41)schumi2004 Wrote:  @Ned Scott
What do you want me to give/write?

I'm watching LiveTV through my Synology NAS with a Smargo CardReader Plus in combination with a Sundtek MediaTV Pro (DVB-C) to watch scrambled channels from my provider (EU).

I would like this, since I dont have to open my machine and I also can use an old netbook/RasPi for this task.

Just some questions:

1- Can I add several tuners, or 1 multi-tuner and use the same Smartcard reader, have you tried this?
2- Did you tried with a DVB-S/S2 tuner or know someone with this setup?

I know that this topic is for newbies, but I think that newbies use more than 1 tv in their homes. Especially if they live with their parents, a 2 TV tuner set would be awesome as well, there's no need to make this more expensive.

Yes, this is exactly the information I am after. Free T or FreeSat is not enough to get me into this.

and
3) Does it work with CI+? (Guess not)
4) Currently I have CI+ TV module & and CI+ card in a non CI+ TV.
It still work on most channels, will it also work the same with the smargo?
5) Does it work on Ubuntu? (goes so if works on Synology)


Ned, I am pretty much ready to go out and by what ever you want to recommend for EU/Nordic and test it. I have a raspberry and a couple of ion atoms. I have a cable CI+ card and CI+ TV module. I am looking to ditch this for T or S in a few months.

In Sweden T will be CI+ probably also S.
I have a non CI+ TV and most of the channels still works but I guess in the future that will not be the case.
The FAQ really need to sort this out.

I am interested in the dreambox/enigma2 option but the sat companies give away their own receiver so it is problematic.
I am also willing to test in win8 but prefers ubuntu.
(This post was last modified: 2013-10-09 10:41 by vikjon0.)
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #47
The HVR 930C seem to be the closest I can get locally,
http://www.hauppauge.se/site/products/data_hvr930c.html

It is compatible with the Hauppauge WinTV CI Modul, which I guess can be replaced with teh smargo.
DVB-T2 not supported. Not sure if this is an issue?

EDIT
Ok, HD version is not supported in Linux. Very nice that 930C HD seem to be sold as 930C on some sites.
and that it does not say HD som the stick....
(This post was last modified: 2013-10-09 11:51 by vikjon0.)
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #48
I will buy the Hauppauge PCTV Nanostick T2 HD. With any luck it will actually be the "PCTV Systems nanoStick T2 290e" which is known to work with Linux. If it does not work I will give up and run in Windows.

I have also completely given up on pay tv on PVR. After my cable subscription ends in January i will try free DVB-T in combination with new http://magine.com/ and see how that goes. Next stop would be SAT + dreambox.

BTW, not really the most active part of the forum is it?
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allan87 Offline
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Post: #49
The following system was not trivial to set up, but is running reliably and carefree receiving ATSC OTA.

I am using Mythbackend, running on a non-dedicated mac mini Mid 2010 now running 10.8.5. Previously I was running it on a dedicated 2008ish Macbook (running lion), but I saw that Myth didn't really put much of a load on it, except when flagging commercials, so I moved it to the mini, which is always running anyway, and faster. I have a 500 GB partition dedicated to myth storage. My tuner is an HD Homerun Duo.

Myth was installed via macports and runs as a daemon. There are also prebuilt myth binaries available, which run as an application, but I would not recommend them for the backend. There are significant advantages of the macports installation explained here: http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/MacPorts#Better_Mac_backend

I understand that Myth is easier to set up under linux, but have not tried.

The front end is the cmyth add-on, in XBMC Gotham Alpha on a raspberry pi. For scheduling (also deletion and other housekeeping), I mostly use mythweb, which is excellent. I only use myth frontend very occasionally to edit commercial flags. Otherwise, XBMC (combined with myth web) is vastly superior in every way as a frontend.

Gotham Alpha (I think beta is imminent) is surprisingly stable and refined, but still has a number of (non-showstopping) bugs, and mythbackend has some issues, but all in all, it works great.

Some plusses and minuses:
Pluses - Myth has lots of bells and whistles, including: fairly accurate commercial flagging, mythweb lets you manage your recordings and schedules with an excellent interface that runs in any browser (including tablets and phones).
Minuses - Myth's own interface is confusing and disorganized: Fortunately, you may never need to use it after it is set up (frontend functions are great on XBMC and myth web); No GPU support on the backend. This makes the built-in transcoding feature impracticable, and may make the processor work harder on commercial flagging.

If I were building from scratch, I think the following would be ideal: a small, low power Celeron based unit, running linux with both mythbackend and XBMC on the same box.
(This post was last modified: 2013-10-27 17:29 by allan87.)
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techlady Offline
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Post: #50
Ned,

Thanks for the good effort.
The subject I am interested in is simple video capture. Most users simply want to capture TV, perhaps to watch later. Others also may want to edit out the commercials and keep the video, maybe burning it to DVD.
One thing I think is important in the wiki is to describe the software and devices the way most users experience them. For example, most don't know what an RCA plug is, but they do know (or can see) that their cable or satellite box has red, white and yellow plugs on the back. They may not know what an S-Video plug is or what it can do, so there should be a careful description. Ditto for HDMI.
In fact, why not have photos of the backs of typical cable or satellite boxes with labels?
Also, rather than saying just "cable" boxes, the wiki should say "cable and satellite" boxes, because most have very similar outputs, at least in the United States. Most output both analog and digital (via HDMI) video.
Further, this forum and the wiki use the term "backends." Reading the posts, I see it means some kind of interface device for capturing video, such as Hauppauge or Kworld. It's important to define terms carefully, with examples, so nontechnical people know what you are talking about.
In addition, many people have "back-end" devices that worked fine with Windows XP or 7, and no longer work with Windows 8. It would be good to address that issue directly. You could tell users which devices can work with Windows 8 and which don't, or how to modify their computers so those devices will work.
This may seem like pretty basic stuff, but this is where the rubber meets the road for most people.

Charlotte Wolter
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allan87 Offline
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Post: #51
Devices like Hauppauge and HDhomerun are not backends. They are TV tuners.

Frontend and backend (gross, but useful generalization) are, respectively, server and client software. The myth backend runs all the time, records shows, detects ads, accepts jobs from the front end,and delivers information and media to the front end. and does The front end is the interface between the user and the backend. The frontend and a back end can run on the same machine, or different machines. You can have multiple front ends served by a single back end.

That being said, I think the general idea of the guide being completely free of technical terms is pretty ambitious and will have a limited audience. Setting up myth would be challenging for a person with limited technical knowledge and, I think, such a person would be daunted by the size of a document with the level of information you contemplate.
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #52
(2013-12-04 19:56)techlady Wrote:  Ned,

Thanks for the good effort.
The subject I am interested in is simple video capture. Most users simply want to capture TV, perhaps to watch later. Others also may want to edit out the commercials and keep the video, maybe burning it to DVD.
One thing I think is important in the wiki is to describe the software and devices the way most users experience them. For example, most don't know what an RCA plug is, but they do know (or can see) that their cable or satellite box has red, white and yellow plugs on the back. They may not know what an S-Video plug is or what it can do, so there should be a careful description. Ditto for HDMI.
In fact, why not have photos of the backs of typical cable or satellite boxes with labels?
Also, rather than saying just "cable" boxes, the wiki should say "cable and satellite" boxes, because most have very similar outputs, at least in the United States. Most output both analog and digital (via HDMI) video.
Further, this forum and the wiki use the term "backends." Reading the posts, I see it means some kind of interface device for capturing video, such as Hauppauge or Kworld. It's important to define terms carefully, with examples, so nontechnical people know what you are talking about.
In addition, many people have "back-end" devices that worked fine with Windows XP or 7, and no longer work with Windows 8. It would be good to address that issue directly. You could tell users which devices can work with Windows 8 and which don't, or how to modify their computers so those devices will work.
This may seem like pretty basic stuff, but this is where the rubber meets the road for most people.

Charlotte Wolter

Great feedback, thanks!

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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techlady Offline
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Post: #53
Dear Alan,

In the same vein as my earlier post, what's a "server" and what's a "client"? Most users don't know what they are and what it means, and why should they?
Descriptions have to reflect how most users experience devices. So, to them, a video-capture "back end" or "front end" (two words) is that gizmo that goes between their cable or satellite boxes and their computers. Or, it may go between their home video camera and their computer. However they use it, they know that it captures video. They know there is some software involved, and that the software enables them to set up recording times, where to record the video, etc. They also may use software to edit out commercials or to assemble short videos.
That's it. That's as technical as they get or want to, so discussions of "clients" and "servers" go way over their heads.
Can we just keep it real? How about a few simple instructions for how to make it work with NO discussion whatsoever of the technology behind it. Then, if the user wants to delve deeper, give them some later chapters with more technical detail.

Charlotte Confused
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lukasnmd Offline
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Post: #54
Seriously!? Who with knowledge enough to set up a xbmc with videos databse + video scrapping would not understand the technical words in this thread? And why someone with less information about machines would care about how to watch TV? To that kind of person, watch TV on a xbmc frontend or the cable/SAT box means no diference... And if it does he/she will search for the meaning of the technical words, improving their vocabulary, learning enough to do it again and maybe help to improve it some day. I am against the HARD tech words, but i feel the same way about the non-tech words... This all just my opinion. Thanks for your time.

[Samsung RF511-SD7 + W7 Home Premium x64]
[Apple TV + BCHD v15 + Crystalbuntu 2.0 + 50'' LG Plasma]
[PS3 Super Slim 250GB + PSN PLUS]
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mxlance Offline
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Post: #55
if i may comment at this point?

i agree in part with both techlady and lukasnmd.
those of us who take the plunge in to xbmc are not idiots but we may feel that way from time to time as we attempt to setup and configure xbmc. i am happy with my skin, my choice of media and add-on integration and now would like to see what i can achieve with a PVR setup or something close. my head is spinning trying to sort this PVR thing out and tech jargon does get confusing at times.

i like techlady's idea here
(2013-12-08 01:11)techlady Wrote:  Can we just keep it real? How about a few simple instructions for how to make it work with NO discussion whatsoever of the technology behind it. Then, if the user wants to delve deeper, give them some later chapters with more technical detail.

it is important to reach us where we are, and some of us are right in the middle of the continuum between idiots and tech gurus.

i for one have often found that sifting through the wiki, the forum and even third party sites i can find information that is so simplistic it is almost useless as well as info that is so far over my head it also is nearly useless.

why is it necessary to search for three days and read countless posts just to find the answer to one question? for example can i setup an EPG as a standalone with no integration with a headend or backend. it may sound like a strange question but it may be a place to start for me.

i do try to search before i post.

please do not misunderstand me this is not a complaint. i have been able (eventually) to find the answers to what i was looking for here. but it wasn't really easy to find. if the the goal is to appeal to only the tech geniuses or the brave and bold then steady on. but if the goal is to reach a wide user base then i would suggest the middle ground is a good place to start.

thank you to all and forgive our frustration as we jumping to the deep end with you.
it is fun also.
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dhead Offline
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Post: #56
Hi Ned.

I've set today a Raspberry Pi as Tvheadend server and it worked pretty well.

In the past I couldn't get this setup to work without issues due to usb packets dropouts which sometimes even ended with the usb device crashing.
I've got a collection of at least 7 different usb dvb-t dongles (which continue to grow), mainly generic chinese devices, and in the past I couldn't get any of these work well with the RPi.

Today I installed Tvheadend (latest git commit) in Arch Linux on the RPi and tested three of my dvb-t usb dongles.
To simulate a usual use case of multiple clients connected I recorded 5 channels and watch another simultaneously (I couln't stress it more as the FTA service is pretty limited here and I had only one XBMC client available to test with).
The recordings saved on the sd card.
All the channels are sd (I think 576i), h264 coded with average of 1700kbps for a channel.
Except one dvb-t dongle which was unstable on the Raspberry Pi (it working flawlessly on other platforms) the other two worked great.
I still had a few TS errors but we had not so pleasant weather today.

My conclusion is that with the proper usb tv card and with light load (remember: I only tested sd channels) the Raspberry Pi can do well as pvr backend.
For the time being I will stay with my Pogoplug Series 4 (26$ on Amazon, beat that Pi).
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-30 20:29 by dhead.)
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HikingMike Offline
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Post: #57
(2013-03-15 01:05)Dark_Slayer Wrote:  I'd say a majority (or at least a plurality) are interested in ditching Comcast/Fios/Charter/TWC dvr boxes with a cablecard tuner and HTPC. It's definitely the easiest way to reason (plea) your case for the expense to the wife. I put together a guide for getting things working when the Frodo Beta hit, and I've updated it with some experiences along the way and after the stable release. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1440470/xbmc-l...run-prime/
Thanks for that, I'll definitely check out the guide!

(2013-03-15 01:05)Dark_Slayer Wrote:  Generally TWC and Charter are mostly copy-once
Well which is it? How do I know what's what? This uncertainty right here is a roadblock (see below).

Put me under #5 or #6.
5. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - Linux
6. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - Windows

I have Charter cable with a box from them and a pretty basic package with most cable channels but no premium (HBO, etc.). I got rid of the cable DVR for a while (currently just have a regular cable box) but now the wife wants it back and it costs $20/month which is BS. I desperately want to do PVR and live TV viewing with EPG on an HTPC so I can get rid of the cable box and cable co DVR and have a much better interface, but of course still keep cable service and just $2/month CableCard. I'd love to get rid of cable altogether but the alternatives aren't quite there yet for my wife and I.

I have really been reading up on this stuff for years and each time it still seems like too much of a pain in the ass for me to do it. I like XBMC and have it on an HTPC right now and I use it to play downloaded content. I am glad to read that XBMC recently does support PVR now and live TV.

Now, how can I make this seem like less of a pain in the ass? The thoughts behind the initial post in this thread are a great idea! If there is a simple guide close to my situation, I'd be a lot more confident. I will buy whatever tuner card or HD HomeRun Prime, get a CableCard from Charter, and whatever is required to get this working. I build computers occasionally and have had a computer hooked to my TV in various forms for about 10 years and this stuff is kind of fun for me, but I have to know it will work well before spending money and time getting it all working. I can handle software setup like for connecting XBMC and a PVR, setting up a program guide, etc., but once it's finished, it needs to just work.

Questions:
  • What can I record? With XBMC and otherwise with Windows Media Center. I read different things every time I check for how PVR would work... Comcast sets these channels to copy freely and these channels to copy once blah blah so some you can record and some you can't. TimeWarnerCable sets pretty much everything to copy once so you can only use Windows Media Center for PVR functionality with that. How the hell do I know what I can do? I am not going to set all this up and find out that I can't record any of my cable channels. I guess XBMC/TVHeadEnd is kind of dead in the water for me if it can't record cable channels. Here's the most info I found from Charter and it doesn't say much - http://www.myaccount.charter.com/custome...cleID=2383
  • What tuner do I need? Will HD HomeRun Prime work? It sounds great and simple, and also flexible in case I wish to watch TV in other places in the house eventually (computer/laptop or phone). I already have a great wireless router. Ceton I've heard are great also. I see Hauppage mentioned a lot here.

Requirements:
  • EPG that works well, can change channels with it, and record from there. I need to be able to watch live TV, view the EPG, and record with the same program. No brainer. Cable box/DVR can do it.
  • I need to be able to record most of the channels I get in HD (maybe ~125 cable channels). Otherwise what's the point of a PVR? No HD = stupid.
  • I need to at least be able to record one channel while watching another so minimum 2 streams. I think HD HomeRun Primes have 3 streams which would be just fine.
  • I have only one TV and don't plan to get more. I have my HTPC in the basement directly below it with wireless keyboard and mouse, but it is also used for gaming in the living room and isn't low power so if I knew I could get things working great, I think I'd actually want to build a new purpose-built HTPC with an AMD APU likely to leave on all the time. I don't need an Xbox or some other device as a media extender.
  • This has to be as easy as possible for less-technical wife to pick up and accept. If it's WAY more complicated than the outdated Charter box then we're stuck with that. She is fairly familiar with computer stuff and lots of software but of course things have to be easy to use in couch potato mode to be useful.
  • I would like for things to work with a handheld remote or a nice small wireless keyboard/touchpad. I think XBMC good this way already, right? With regular TV, EPG, PVR functions as well?
  • I'm open to Linux, but if Windows Media Center is required for some stuff then I had better use that just in case.
  • IR blasters are not a solution. Every time I have read about PVR setups and IR blasters being used to change the channel so it can be recorded I throw up a little.

I understand that the cable companies and media companies are to blame for the difficult situation we have here, but this stuff is frustrating. On one hand, I have a cable box that has an interface that looks like it's from 1985, has just 160GB storage, and costs me $XX per month, but works ok for the limited things it does. On the other hand we have computers that are very powerful, can do pretty much anything, lots of cheap storage, and some fantastic, great-looking, flexible software is available to do the same functions better along with lots more awesome stuff that cable boxes can't. They should be able to do anything! But there is a fog over what you can do and what you can't with restrictions, incompatibilities, local requirements, and uncertain long term support. I have to really thank the open source communities for XBMC and all the other software out there getting this going for sure. Let's keep it up.
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #58
I don't know the homerun setup and I think that is what you need to read up on.
I will still comment since I think this interesting and I think the FAQ needs to explain these things, of course while warning readers from staying away for the more more doubtful methods.

Generally speaking and with regards to using a pc tuner instead of a box. (I have not tested any interaction with custom or standard boxes)

1) Will you be able to record your content?
-No idea, but I guess if you can play it in an open player you can also record it without issues.
If you cannot, the opposite will be true and we are talking drm removal which I think is off topic and to be discussed here.

2) Will it be setup and forget - short term?
-You will probably have less availability and more restarts and tinkering compared to the supplier solution.
-Free content will be more stable than payed
-I have only run my test setup a short term and although pretty stable with unencoded content it seems a client subscription can hang the tuner after the client has stopped.(TVHEADEND)

3) Will unsupported decryption of payed content be setup and forget over time?
- No, especially not if the method is borderline illegal. (and even if you have payed for the content the provider&law may have a different understanding of ownership than you)

What is working to day may not work tomorrow and you have to keep that in mind when you decide how to invest time and money.
Depending on country and provider it could be that the future will be interaction with boxes.
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HikingMike Offline
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Post: #59
Thanks for your reply vikjon. A few more thoughts.

HD HomeRun seems like a great way to go, and using a HD HomeRun Prime with CableCard would seemingly guarantee I will view the cable channels I want. It's also 3 streams which is enough for me, and less expensive than Ceton. Of course anything can happen in the future, and there may be rumblings that cable companies in the US will no longer be required to support and provide CableCard. Personally I think it's difficult to imagine them allowing cable companies to drop CableCard or some similar standard as there is a real need for it. I guess this goes for US only. I read now that Europe has DVB standard which is more comprehensive and open.

However, viewing and recording are different things and apparently it is completely up to the cable provider (and probably media lords) if a show can be recorded, and whether it can be recorded with Windows Media Center and/or open software.
(2014-01-11 11:37)vikjon0 Wrote:  1) Will you be able to record your content?
-No idea, but I guess if you can play it in an open player you can also record it without issues.
If you cannot, the opposite will be true and we are talking drm removal which I think is off topic and to be discussed here.
From what I've read many places, this isn't true. It sounds like Windows Media Center can record things (flagged "copy once") that open software can't because it is the only software that has been certified for decrypting cable (and to not allow "stealing" or whatever I guess). For some cable providers, this is most of the content, for others it is just some of the content.

Here's just a quick example I found, but I've read lots more like this:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...id=1302917

From what I've read, a common setup people have working often is a Windows Media Center PC with WMC Extenders (usually XBox360s) on other TVs to allow them to control viewing and recording from other places in the house.

I could give SiliconDust a phone call to ask about their HD HomeRun devices before buying and hopefully they would be helpful and know about my cable provider's policy and how things would work. Would all channels be tunable or not? I'm guessing my cable company's support staff wouldn't be much help.
Quote:I tried chatting with Charter last night, but the CSR I got did not have any idea about Windows Media Center and could only talk about a DVR.
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r2663788...-Recording

However, I don't know of any useful authority that would be able to tell me what channels I could record if I had the various PVR software. Windows Media Center is not going to be supported by Microsoft any longer and I don't think MS would have helped me anyway. And for open software, well here we are, searching forums to see what bits of info other people know.
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #60
(2014-01-14 00:39)HikingMike Wrote:  
(2014-01-11 11:37)vikjon0 Wrote:  1) Will you be able to record your content?
-No idea, but I guess if you can play it in an open player you can also record it without issues.
If you cannot, the opposite will be true and we are talking drm removal which I think is off topic and to be discussed here.
From what I've read many places, this isn't true. It sounds like Windows Media Center can record things (flagged "copy once") that open software can't because it is the only software that has been certified for decrypting cable (and to not allow "stealing" or whatever I guess). For some cable providers, this is most of the content, for others it is just some of the content.

Here's just a quick example I found, but I've read lots more like this:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...id=1302917


I think that is what I am saying. You can't play that in an open player and according to the link it is DRM protected. However, I don't have time to read it more carefully.

Quote:No, PlayReady is the DRM windows Media center uses. You can only play the WTV file back on the computer that recorded it
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