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Old 01-14-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
TSDible
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Default OTA Recording to NAS Possible?

The wife and I ditched cable almost a year ago. We use a combination of devices to view OTA, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc. to entertain ourselves.

Everything is going well, but there is one feature that we are missing... OTA PVR capabilities.

I miss the ability to be able to pause and rewind network TV.

So... I'm thinking about building a HTPC with PVR capabilities.

I would like to get it as small and sleek as possible. We have a shelf under our TV, but I don't think it is deep enough for something that is bigger than mITX.

Is it possible to use NAS as the recording location?

I already have a sizeable NAS on the network. I'm guessing the answer is no. Seems like that would take a lot of bandwidth that just wouldn't be available/reliable.

Thoughts?
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:17 AM   #2
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A 1TB drive should be large enough to record several hours of HD video (~50hrs) surely a 1tb drive will fit in a mITX case. Unless you're wanting to archive recordings I don't see why you need to store the video on a NAS.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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True....

I'm trying to make the system as small as possible and still do PVR functions.

I really wanted to go fanless if possible, and no moving parts.

Putting a small SSD in would help me achieve that... but not a lot of room for storage then.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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I don't see why you couldn't. Admittedly I'm pretty new to HTPCs (mine has only been running for a couple weeks), but when I was copying DVDs to the hard drive, I had one DVD being ripped from the HTPC's drive, one DVD being ripped from my computer and saved over the network (both rips going at about 4-5x speed), and a movie being streamed back to my computer at the same time. At a couple points I had two movies streaming to my computer while all this was going on (I had to check that the rips were working correctly). I was noticing sluggishness on the HTPC interface with all this load, but the streams weren't hiccuping. I think the limit was actually file I/O with the hard drive, not network bandwidth: the OS and the media folder are on the same drive, and multiple files being written simultaneously = lots of time lost to drive seeks. Anyway, that's somewhere between 10-30 MB/s over the network (80-240 Mbps), with an additional ~10-20 MB/s being written to the drive locally. (Some rips went faster than others, and I'm not really sure why.) If you have GbE, that's actually not that much.

Anyway, my cable card has 4 tuners, and an hour of recorded HD content is about 4-5 gigs. Going flat out with all 4 tuners operating, it would only be about 5 MB/s total streaming load.

For what it's worth: I'm not sure I'd go completely fanless, especially in a small case. My internal tuner (Ceton InfiniTV 4) runs rather hot when it has no airflow, as does the passively cooled graphics card. It doesn't need much, and you can put an ~800 RPM fan in there that you'll never hear, but I'd personally not sit it there to cook, even if you can heatsink the processor adequately with one of those fanless-style cases.

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Old 01-14-2013, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.71828183 View Post
I don't see why you couldn't. Admittedly I'm pretty new to HTPCs (mine has only been running for a couple weeks), but when I was copying DVDs to the hard drive, I had one DVD being ripped from the HTPC's drive, one DVD being ripped from my computer and saved over the network (both rips going at about 4-5x speed), and a movie being streamed back to my computer at the same time. At a couple points I had two movies streaming to my computer while all this was going on (I had to check that the rips were working correctly). I was noticing sluggishness on the HTPC interface with all this load, but the streams weren't hiccuping. I think the limit was actually file I/O with the hard drive, not network bandwidth: the OS and the media folder are on the same drive, and multiple files being written simultaneously = lots of time lost to drive seeks. Anyway, that's somewhere between 10-30 MB/s over the network (80-240 Mbps), with an additional ~10-20 MB/s being written to the drive locally. (Some rips went faster than others, and I'm not really sure why.) If you have GbE, that's actually not that much.

Anyway, my cable card has 4 tuners, and an hour of recorded HD content is about 4-5 gigs. Going flat out with all 4 tuners operating, it would only be about 5 MB/s total streaming load.

For what it's worth: I'm not sure I'd go completely fanless, especially in a small case. My internal tuner (Ceton InfiniTV 4) runs rather hot when it has no airflow, as does the passively cooled graphics card. It doesn't need much, and you can put an ~800 RPM fan in there that you'll never hear, but I'd personally not sit it there to cook, even if you can heatsink the processor adequately with one of those fanless-style cases.
I may just have to give it a try....

I already have an HDHomeRun dual tuner. I'm going to start with that, and if I need more tuners, I will add a second one.

I probably will need at least a quiet CPU fan... Right now I'm thinking of going with a Sandy celeron setup and using integrated graphics.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #6
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I don't believe WMC will record to a mapped network drive or to a NAS. At least I couldn't make that happen. Local drives only.

You can record locally and use other software to monitor the local folder and move it to the NAS once recorded.

For your "small as possible" thought - I'm using an Intel NUC as one of my HTPCs. Doesn't get much smaller than that for a full computer.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:39 PM   #7
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You really don't need much local space and the drive speed isn't terribly important for just two tuners. How about a 2.5 inch HD in a small passive USB3 or ESATA external case? I use a script to move files to my WHS box when I have less than 150GB of local space. It works great.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1408666/po...n-space-is-low
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:40 PM   #8
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I was really hoping to go the Linux XBMC route... now that the new RC supports tuning and PVR functions.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:54 PM   #9
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How about a 2.5 inch HD in a small passive USB3 or ESATA external case?
If writing to a NAS isn't possible, I'd probably recommend something along this line. It may not have to be a 2.5" HDD as you'll be limiting your HDD capacity. Get a small Mini-ITX box and just put a large, external HDD beside it. You can easily find 2TB+ options which will be way more than enough.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:46 AM   #10
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It is possible to record to an NAS using iSCSI. There have been a few thread over at AVS on the subject. Haven't tried it myself but, allegedly, it works very well.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:03 PM   #11
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It is possible to record to an NAS using iSCSI. There have been a few thread over at AVS on the subject. Haven't tried it myself but, allegedly, it works very well.
This is what I was going to recommend. If you have a decent NAS this shouldn't be an issue. What kind of write speeds do you get to the NAS now? I'm guessing that this is a NAS appliance.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:39 PM   #12
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I play full blu-ray rips off my NAS. I have no problem with delays or malfunctions when pausing or skipping either. If it will do that, I can't see recorded TV being a problem. I use Windows Media Center for my PVR needs, and it allows you to specify the directory that you want to store your recordings on. It should be no problem to set it to record to a folder on your NAS.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:09 PM   #13
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This is what I was going to recommend. If you have a decent NAS this shouldn't be an issue. What kind of write speeds do you get to the NAS now? I'm guessing that this is a NAS appliance.
I honestly haven't tested my write speeds when hardwired. I'm sure that is what I would have to do to record OTA content.

Quote:
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I play full blu-ray rips off my NAS. I have no problem with delays or malfunctions when pausing or skipping either. If it will do that, I can't see recorded TV being a problem. I use Windows Media Center for my PVR needs, and it allows you to specify the directory that you want to store your recordings on. It should be no problem to set it to record to a folder on your NAS.
I don't think I will have any problems playing... I do that now. It is the recording that I'm leary of.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SlitheryDee View Post
I play full blu-ray rips off my NAS. I have no problem with delays or malfunctions when pausing or skipping either. If it will do that, I can't see recorded TV being a problem. I use Windows Media Center for my PVR needs, and it allows you to specify the directory that you want to store your recordings on. It should be no problem to set it to record to a folder on your NAS.
WMC can't record to networked storage, but can play from it. This is unlikely to be remedied, since Win8 doesn't even include it (aside from pro).
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:13 PM   #15
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120gb ssd will still give you a good amount of recording time. from there, you can share that folder on the network so other pc's can watch the recordings.

but if you really want to store to a nas, then there are programs that will automatically take your mce recordings when theyre done, transcode them into smaller mkv files and store them on a network drive. its completely seamless and automatic. i actually might go back to that system myself, as i too dislike spindle drives in my htpc and i dont want to spend the money on ssd's yet.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:17 PM   #16
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120gb ssd will still give you a good amount of recording time. from there, you can share that folder on the network so other pc's can watch the recordings.

but if you really want to store to a nas, then there are programs that will automatically take your mce recordings when theyre done, transcode them into smaller mkv files and store them on a network drive. its completely seamless and automatic. i actually might go back to that system myself, as i too dislike spindle drives in my htpc and i dont want to spend the money on ssd's yet.
Yep. This is what I was going to recommend. For those using my guides I have a few guides that show you how to do this and set it up to happen automatically.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:45 AM   #17
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I actually found a 500GB laptop drive in my pile o' stuff the other day.

Now I just need to find a suitable system to put it in. I also have plenty of DDR3 204pin memory laying around. I have the HDHomeRun ready to go... I can try it out on the cheap, and then move to SSD if it is meeting my needs.

Can anyone recommend a small system that can:

1. Provide live viewing for OTA with PVR capability

2. Serve as a Plex media server to other systems in the house (Roku, PS3). That way, I can turn off my power hungry desktop moster when not in use.

3. Run Linux/XBMC

I would really like to go Linux/XBMC if possible, but I'm open to Win 7 WMC if that really is the best route.. My TV and Roku both do Netflix natively. So linux compatibility is high on my list.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:51 AM   #18
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Yep. This is what I was going to recommend. For those using my guides I have a few guides that show you how to do this and set it up to happen automatically.
I was actually thinking of purchasing access to your site the other day...

Do you have a guide that is similar to what I'm looking for? A more appliance-like device?

How would an Intel NUC meet my needs? They seem interesting... Or is there something better?

I see the Acer Revo looks pretty nice as well... but how would an AMD E Series processor perform? I do want to run Linux... but I guess if I got something with Win 7 pre-configured, it would be very easy to use WMC instead.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:59 AM   #19
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I actually had another thought today...

What if I said to heck with what the system looks like....

And instead just built it with low power equipment and used some type of IR Blaster setup to store it away in my basement?

The area I would put it is directly under our main living room. I'm pretty sure I could get a long enough HDMI cable.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:42 PM   #20
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Another idea...

Building on the above... what if I build a new lower power server to pull double duty?

Linux running XBMC on a SSD with a drive for recording.... plus 4 drives in a RAID 5 array for NAS?

I would probably need a bit more power... but since there are only two users in the house... I'm not sure it would need to be a lot more...

Thoughts?
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:10 PM   #21
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For me personally, I'm not a fan of devices pulling double duty, only because if something goes wrong, the whole device's functionality for both tasks may go caput. I had considered doing this with WHS2011 pulling server duties as well as htpc functions, but decided against it. If you you've got the hardware/resources to buy/build a NAS, I would do that and let the htpc function as an htpc. Of course, linux might be easier to fix etc, it was just my opinion to not let my server pull double duty. Aside from my opinion, I don't think you'd have a problem doing what you're proposing.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSDible View Post
I actually had another thought today...

What if I said to heck with what the system looks like....

And instead just built it with low power equipment and used some type of IR Blaster setup to store it away in my basement?

The area I would put it is directly under our main living room. I'm pretty sure I could get a long enough HDMI cable.
My choice would be to build a server with all your tuners, media storage, etc as the back end, and build the HTPC as an ultra low power mITX setup with barely more storage than you'd need for the OS, or whatever you can get away with in an SSD. That solves your recording to a network drive problem because the recording would be happening on the server, and the HTPC would only have to access the networked storage for playback.

I believe that would be quite a bit more expensive, but If I ever got serious about recorded TV that is accessible throughout my house, that's how I would do it.

Currently I just have blu ray rips on my NAS while I use a 3 tb external drive connected via usb3 to store my recorded television. I was unaware of the networked drive limitation in WMC, but I never intended to use the NAS for recorded TV anyway.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #23
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My choice would be to build a server with all your tuners, media storage, etc as the back end, and build the HTPC as an ultra low power mITX setup with barely more storage than you'd need for the OS, or whatever you can get away with in an SSD. That solves your recording to a network drive problem because the recording would be happening on the server, and the HTPC would only have to access the networked storage for playback.

I believe that would be quite a bit more expensive, but If I ever got serious about recorded TV that is accessible throughout my house, that's how I would do it.

Currently I just have blu ray rips on my NAS while I use a 3 tb external drive connected via usb3 to store my recorded television. I was unaware of the networked drive limitation in WMC, but I never intended to use the NAS for recorded TV anyway.
That was my original plan... but I don't think that would handle PVR functions for live TV. Pause, Rewind, etc.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #24
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Shows play perfectly over a (wired) network. I've never tried recording to a network location, but I play OTA recordings over the network all the time. You could also record to a small-ish local SSD, then immediately transfer the shows to a server/NAS. You could do that with maybe a 120gb SSD.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:48 AM   #25
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Shows play perfectly over a (wired) network. I've never tried recording to a network location, but I play OTA recordings over the network all the time. You could also record to a small-ish local SSD, then immediately transfer the shows to a server/NAS. You could do that with maybe a 120gb SSD.
Again...

I'm not worried about "recorded" content. There are all kinds of boxes that can make that happen. I do it now on my Roku, Google TV, PS3, and even DLNA through the TV.

As I stated in the first post, the main feature I miss it the ability to use PVR features on live TV. That in part is going to choose how I build the system.

I'm still leaning towards saying the heck with what it looks like... using an IR Blaster, and putting it in the basement (finished) underneath my main living room.
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