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Cable STB vs Ceton/Silicon Dust

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
So is there any loss of video quality when moving from a standard cable company STB/DVR to something like the Ceton or Silicon Dust offerings?

Thanks,

Maiyr
 

Dirigible

Diamond Member
Apr 26, 2006
5,950
7
81
No, in theory.

I have had some computers where I got pixelation from the silicondust tuner. In one case, I started using a USB ethernet adapter and issue was solved.

So for me, the use of networked tuner has introduced another thing that can potentially go wrong. I solved my issue, and find the network tuner far more useful than the cable co box.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
One of my concerns is that my ISP network connection is in the office and the coax for the TV in is in the Living Room. So I was going to get a Homerun, put it in the living room connected to the coax, connect the Homerun to a Wireless bridge via ethernet, which would then connect via wireless to the main router/switch in the office and then wireless again to the HTPC in the living room where I hope to display the output on my TV. good grief :)

Thanks,

Maiyr
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
You can try powerline networking to see if you can get internet to your TV over the powerline. Many people it works fine for and there is also the new Mimo powerlines that are even faster than ever (Devolo 1200 has reviews out and is available EU not in NA yet, and the PLA5405 from Zyxel isn't out yet but should be mid-november judging from what I've seen online).
I'd just wire it though.

As a Ceton InfiniTV 4 user, it's far better than Cable STB. Page Up/Page down are instant and don't take tons of time to move. Well, menus are just instant since it's a PC. Assuming you're using WMC of course. On XBMC, I feel the menus are more clunky, but I've downloaded the newest beta that's out which is supposed to improve the PVR experience so I'll update this post with that info when I use it.

Your whole Diagram though is ONLY relevant with the Silicon Dust Tuners. With the Ceton InfiniTV Tuner (USB or PCI-E) it would go Coax, HTPC, OUTPut. Other devices then would go Coax, HTPC, Wireless Bridge, Switch/Main Router, then Wireless again to go out to the device, but the MAIN HTPC would receive it direct.

I prefer this option since at least you have extremely high uptime on the main HDTV watching device as sometimes, I'll have network issues (Like I'm having right now for the last 3 freaking weeks) and I can't watch HDTV due to whatever network issue I'm having but at LEAST I can watch it on my main HTPC with my InfiniTV4 inside. If I had been using a Silicon Dust setup like you mentioned then I would not be able to at all.

All depends on how/what you use, I prefer the Ceton InfiniTV4 though.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Good to hear about the Ceton. Thanks. That is kind of the direction I am leaning, but I am curious about the Homerun as well.

Yeah, I could just wire it, but I am lazy and really don't want to put holes in the walls. It is an old house so you never know what rat nest you are opening up once you start. I have had projects that looked so simple and turned into nightmares. lol

Thanks,

Maiyr
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,587
469
126
Your whole Diagram though is ONLY relevant with the Silicon Dust Tuners.
Ceton has the InfiniTV 6 ETH, which is a networked tuner. They also have a PCI-E version of the 6-tuner setup as well if you want more tuners but would prefer to avoid networking. However, if you want to use it on multiple machines with fairly random usage, I would lean a lot more toward the ETH as it is Ceton's only offering with tuner pooling. The other models can share the tuners, but you can only setup dedicated shares.

I originally had a 4 PCI-E, and I upgraded to the 6 ETH. It has worked fairly well, but the reviews that complain about it being a little buggy aren't completely off. It ends up getting into this bad state, which makes it unable to tune a channel until you power cycle the device. Unfortunately, there's no way to know that it won't tune until you attempt to do so, which means you could lose a recording. I've owned the device for around a year, and I've had this happen about 3-4 times.

One thing to keep in mind is the biggest downside to these receivers: software support. Microsoft has pretty much cast aside the HTPC enthusiasts, and unfortunately, PlayReady, which is their CableCard DRM, is the only way to view protected content (premium channels like HBO). To be fair, Windows Media Center does work fairly well, but it still has some pretty annoying bugs and we'll most likely never see updates. Personally, I'd like to see a Metro version or at least some way to help it work a bit more seamlessly with Metro. The problem is that since WMC is a normal application, when you exit the program, it dumps you back to the desktop. Metro serves as a nice HTPC menu, and I'd prefer to go back to it.

EDIT:

Also, note that if you record protected content, it can only be viewed on the machine that recorded it. What's worse is when a random show gets flagged as copyright protected for no reason, and you have to watch it on the specific machine. I ran into this problem with certain CBS evening shows a few times. :\
 
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Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Thank you for the comments Aikouka....

As far as only being able to watch on the one PC I am fine with that as there is only one TV in the house anyway. The "bad state" comment is a little disheartening though. I was planning to use XBMC instead of WMC. Is that a problem if I went the Ceton PCI-E route?

Thanks,

Maiyr
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
Thank you for the comments Aikouka....

As far as only being able to watch on the one PC I am fine with that as there is only one TV in the house anyway. The "bad state" comment is a little disheartening though. I was planning to use XBMC instead of WMC. Is that a problem if I went the Ceton PCI-E route?

Thanks,

Maiyr
No. I'm using it right now and I got my network fixed.

My setup is as follows:
Windows 8.1 HTPC With XBMC Ceton PCI-E and 22TB of HDD Storage (filled :( I need more HDDs again!)
Connected to a Powerline Adapter
Network Hub (Asus Router the previous High End one before this new one came out)
Then my Laptop windows 8 as well with XBMC.

I get the bad state once in awhile. It's not like once a week it's like once a month or so. It isn't an issue, you simply restart the computer. If you have ServerWMC as a program that starts the second your PC turns on there is no issue. If you really want to, enable the Remote connect ability on your PC and if you're watching TV on your laptop and the signal cuts out, you can just remote connect to the main PC and restart it.

I'd say that the issue where you need to powercycle in order to get TV happens rarely.

It's been great for Redzone though on Sunday and I like it a lot. XBMC of course gets a ton of praise as well.

I'm testing the 14.0 Beta build of XBMC now with it and it's nice although now I can only use the Confluence skin which sucks. I don't really see the "Changes" to the PVR that they speak of or the channel speed speed up but granted I'm over my network on an older laptop so maybe that's why. I'd so low channel switching speed is the only con of using XBMC but I don't channel surf and I tune in to watch specific thing.

One thing I can say is that I'm not positive if you can use the InfiniTV4 over the network with XBMC natively or if you have to bridge the Tuner to your LAN on your PC in order to do it. I know you need to do it for WMC and I've never changed it since. If you do, it's not hard and I've done a writeup that I posted here for anyone else who had planned to use the InfiiniTV4 with Windows 8 using networks. If you're using Windows 7 though you're fine.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
tential, Thank you for the reply.

I am hoping to bet my build started end of next month. I can't wait!

Maiyr
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
tential, Thank you for the reply.

I am hoping to bet my build started end of next month. I can't wait!

Maiyr
Good luck. I personally love the htpc market and a tuner is more cost efficient than traditional cable boxes after a 2 year contract is up.

I have 5 cable boxes in the house but technically speaking my htpc can replace all of them and I only need a client cheap on at each location but xbmcs pvr isn't 100% up-to my standards for guest use

But I've never tried it with a dedicated remote before so I'm sure if I programmes a remote it'd be game over. That's my next htpc purchase is a remote lol.

Also the add-ons in xbmc are pretty nice. I flip back between live TV, My TV library and twitch streams quite a bit and it's really nice to have all 3 at my fingertips.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,523
939
126
Silicon Dust HD HomeRun Prime :thumbsup::thumbsup:

The Ceton networked tuner gets hot -- someone mentioned putting a fan on it.

I occasionally get the sporadic pixilation someone mentioned -- on certain channels. I find it's a good idea to periodically force the Silly Dust to do a scannel Chan . . ah . . channel scan :biggrin: . . . and then I may re-scan from Media Center.

Nothing is ever perfect, but I'm happy with this. I have an STB as backup when the computer is down for repair. And oh yeah. It's my gaming-home-security-"everything" OC'd system that also feeds my HDTV 24/7. Media Center and the Live TV feed is a low-level process that probably uses less than 3% of ongoing CPU usage. Two monitors -- desktop and the AVR->HDTV.

I discovered I can keep Media Center in a "window" filling the entire HDTV screen so I can use the mouse on my desktop monitor without Alt-Tab operations. I currently game on the desktop with the Live TV running.

I can switch between onboard I/O-panel-connected audio 5.1 surround and the ONKYO AVR 5.1 surround with a plug-in app for Media Center that allows for the switching without fouling up audio configurations. Works great.

If you run TV and another monitor, it is best that they both are 1920x1080. That allows you to keep MC in windowed mode so that it doesn't come up running in a smaller window initially -- requiring you to stretch the window.

PS The Silly Dust integrates seamlessly with an HVR-2250 pulling OTA broadcast. So Silly-Dust cable gives me channel 2, 4, 5, . . . and I also have channels 2.1, 2.2 . . . 4.1, 4.2 . . . 5.1 . . . etc. etc.

Also nice -- when there's a cable outage.
 
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Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
The Silly Dust integrates seamlessly with an HVR-2250 pulling OTA broadcast..
Thank you BonzaiDuck,

I had not thought to ask about channel integration with OTA but an HVR-2250 is definitely on my Christmas list. :)

Maiyr
 

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