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Cablecard for my HTPC

Krazy4Real

Lifer
Oct 3, 2003
12,218
54
91
I'm looking to get a new tv card for my HTPC. I have Comcast Xfinity service. I currently have a Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1800 in mine. I can only access unencrypted channels with that card. This obviously makes for a very limited amount of channels available to me. I was looking at replacing it with a Ceton Infinitv 4.

Amazon

Is this the consensus best card right now? I would primarily be using it with an xbox 360 in the bedroom acting as a media extender. This would allow me to access all channels in my bedroom in HD (as opposed to SD right now with the free DTA), as well as still have access to all ondemand content through the 360 app. I don't want to pay Comcast another $10 a month for another crappy DVR with a terrible UI stuck in the 90s that decides every so often to not record a program that I scheduled. The hardware in my HTPC should be sufficient to run it.

AMD Athlon II X4 630
4 GB DDR2
MSI 785GTM-E45
2 x 1TB Samsung drives in Raid 1
Lite-on dvd-rw
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 

cybrsage

Lifer
Nov 17, 2011
13,021
0
0
Yes, I have had one for years now. I was a preorder and received mine in the first batch shipped after they gave the Microsoft employees their special order.

I have had no problems with it, though I did tie wrap a 120mm Noctua silent fan to blow across it and my video card. I wanted to make sure the temps stayed very cool.
 

basslover1

Golden Member
Aug 4, 2004
1,921
0
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I've had mine since about Feb or March and I love it. However, correct me if I'm wrong but the extenders can't watch live TV just recorded shows, not 100% on this however.

Your hardware will be fine, I run it on the system in my sig, it's also my every day PC, and it handles both at the same time pretty easily. Though, only downside since WMC locks the screen when it's running (can't move the mouse back and forth between desktops), hitting the left windows key on the keyboard allows me to move the mouse to my other display but this causes some stuttering during play back.

It sounds like yours will be on a dedicated system so I don't see you have any annoyances like I have.

For me it was a bit of an adjustment using my computer as my DVR, but I don't think I'll ever use a traditional DVR again. It works well enough, and for me it's about 20 bucks cheaper a month than renting one from my cable co so it'll pay for it self in about 10 months, so by December.
 

dbailey

Senior member
Nov 30, 2000
338
0
71
I've had mine since about Feb or March and I love it. However, correct me if I'm wrong but the extenders can't watch live TV just recorded shows, not 100% on this however.

Your hardware will be fine, I run it on the system in my sig, it's also my every day PC, and it handles both at the same time pretty easily. Though, only downside since WMC locks the screen when it's running (can't move the mouse back and forth between desktops), hitting the left windows key on the keyboard allows me to move the mouse to my other display but this causes some stuttering during play back.

It sounds like yours will be on a dedicated system so I don't see you have any annoyances like I have.

For me it was a bit of an adjustment using my computer as my DVR, but I don't think I'll ever use a traditional DVR again. It works well enough, and for me it's about 20 bucks cheaper a month than renting one from my cable co so it'll pay for it self in about 10 months, so by December.
You are wrong.. you can watch live tv with the extender. I have an xbox 360 hooked up as my extender. As long as you dedicate a tuner to the extender you can watch live tv.
 

AssassinBen

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2012
3
0
0
You are wrong.. you can watch live tv with the extender. I have an xbox 360 hooked up as my extender. As long as you dedicate a tuner to the extender you can watch live tv.
Dbailey is correct. They are network tuners (like the homerun primes) so they are accessible to any tuner on the network.

For Cable Cards, the best (and really only) 2 options are the ceton card (internal) and the HD Homerun Prime. The homerun primes are external and have 3 and 7 tuner selections.

Both are very very good. We've done dozens of builds with both units and both have had almost all positive feedback.
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
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You are wrong.. you can watch live tv with the extender. I have an xbox 360 hooked up as my extender. As long as you dedicate a tuner to the extender you can watch live tv.
There's no need to dedicate a tuner to an extender. Media Center assigns a tuner dynamically when an extender requests one and releases the tuner when no longer required. The only time a tuner must be dedicated is when using an InfiniTV4 to connect to Media Center on another networked PC. The Silicon Dust does not have that limitation and can dynamically assign tuners even to other PCs. It would be nice if Ceton implemented that capability in the InfiniTV4
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
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It's no different for the Ceton. I use a LinkSys extender (DMA-2100) with a Ceton and there's no need to dedicate a tuner.
 

Krazy4Real

Lifer
Oct 3, 2003
12,218
54
91
Thanks guys for the confirmation. I'll go with the Ceton. I want it to be internal as opposed to an external device like the Homerun. Is $200 a good price or do you think there will be a price drop soon?
 

boomhower

Diamond Member
Sep 13, 2007
7,223
18
81
Thanks guys for the confirmation. I'll go with the Ceton. I want it to be internal as opposed to an external device like the Homerun. Is $200 a good price or do you think there will be a price drop soon?
That's a pretty good price. They go on sale every now and again at newegg for $180 but you never know when that's going to be.

I've had mine for around 8 months or so and love it. I use an xbox 360 as an extender in the bedroom and it works great, even wireless. I started with it hardwired but the ethernet cord kicked the bucket. I hooked up a 5Ghz N bridge I had lying around with the intent to order another ethernet. Turns out it works just fine wirelessly. The router is an E4200 at around 75' through five walls.
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
58
86
Thanks guys for the confirmation. I'll go with the Ceton. I want it to be internal as opposed to an external device like the Homerun. Is $200 a good price or do you think there will be a price drop soon?
You can pick it up from NE for $189 with $0.99 shipping. Not a huge difference but 10 bucks is 10 bucks.
 

necrochaos

Junior Member
Oct 18, 2012
1
0
0
This all sounds good.

What about the Hauppauge WinTV DCR-2650 Dual Tuner Cable Card TV Tuner?

It's only $109 from Amazon. The HDHomerun is $179. The HD has 3 tuners and the Hauppauge only 2.

Looking to put one of these with my PC and a Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver for Home, Premium and Ultimate Edition.

I'd like to stop paying so much to TiVo. I love my TiVo, but it's getting expense. Anyone have any thoughts?
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
58
86
Here's the thing about tuners. When you get used to having 2 you wish you had 3. When you have 3 you'd like to have 4. When you have 4 then 6 would be even better. I have the InfiniTV4 and if Ceton ever comes out with the InfiniTV6 I will upgrade because even though we only have 2 TVs and usually only use the main TV there have been rare instances when all 4 tuners have been in use recording shows and I wish I could watch a live show at the same time.

Besides that, in your case I'd recommend the HD Homerun Prime because you can connect it to your network and use any MCE-enabled device you have to watch live TV; up to 3 streams at any one time. The only disadvantage is that copy-protected recorded shows can only be watched on the PC that recorded it unless you are using an extender.
 

Krazy4Real

Lifer
Oct 3, 2003
12,218
54
91
I picked up the ceton. It is working great. I have tv on my computer and bedroom tv now in hd. They are working on getting live tv available on android devices. It will be perfect once that is ready. Then I'll have tv on phones and the tablet if I'm outside or in the garage.
 

dagamer34

Platinum Member
Aug 15, 2005
2,592
0
71
This all sounds good.

What about the Hauppauge WinTV DCR-2650 Dual Tuner Cable Card TV Tuner?

It's only $109 from Amazon. The HDHomerun is $179. The HD has 3 tuners and the Hauppauge only 2.

Looking to put one of these with my PC and a Windows 7 Vista XP Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver for Home, Premium and Ultimate Edition.

I'd like to stop paying so much to TiVo. I love my TiVo, but it's getting expense. Anyone have any thoughts?
Ditch TiVo.
 

hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
755
18
81
My only caution would be that if this is in addition to a comcast HD DVR box you already rent, I've heard things in the rumor mill that comcast has started to add a $10 'additional outlet fee' for each additional 'box' they lease a cablecard to.

If its your only cablecard device, they shouldn't charge the fee, and they don't charge it in all areas, but if you're getting a cablecard tuner just for the one bedroom TV, you might want to check to make sure you're not going to be paying the same as renting the DVR anyway.

Of course the techie thing to do is still to ditch the comcast box in favor of a DIY setup, but that goes without saying :)
 

Booty

Senior member
Aug 4, 2000
977
0
0
I have the HDHRP (3 tuners) and love it, but have almost outgrown it. I'm going to wait around and see if another external device comes out that supports more tuners on a single CableCard... for some reason I thought I read that a single M-Card can/should be able to support 6 tuners now.

That's thet only downside of the other HDHRP - you need 2 m-cards, and I think Comcast charges $10-15 for the 2nd one (could be wrong on that though).
 

Tegeril

Platinum Member
Apr 2, 2003
2,907
5
81
The last time I had two M cards (for ATI Cablecard tuners) from Comcast (earlier this year, Boston area) the first card was free, the second was $1.50/mo from Comcast. The only downside to switching to FiOS turns out to be that the single cablecard I now use in my InfiniTV 4 costs more than the two from Comcast :p

People should really be checking things before commenting on them in this thread as there have been numerous pieces of misinformation (tuner assignments, extenders not getting live tv, up to $15 for a second cablecard). Comcast's pricing of Cablecards seems to vary wildly by geographic region but should never approach $15.
 
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hoorah

Senior member
Dec 8, 2005
755
18
81
Comcast's pricing of Cablecards seems to vary wildly by geographic region but should never approach $15.
There was a thread about this on DSLreports. They werent charging $15 for the cablecard, they were charging it for an 'additional outlet fee'.

The additional outlet fee seems to vary wildly. Some people have many devices with no fee, some people have one device with 2 cablecards and get charged the fee.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r27584582-Price-Cable-Card-Pricing-

Edit (again): Found the correct thread
 
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Booty

Senior member
Aug 4, 2000
977
0
0
People should really be checking things before commenting on them in this thread as there have been numerous pieces of misinformation ... Comcast's pricing of Cablecards seems to vary wildly by geographic region but should never approach $15.
Sorry, for one, I added 'I could be wrong about that', but whatever... whether the charge was for the cablecard or 'additional outlet fee', the point was that there's potentially going to be a significantly higher charge once you add/need a 2nd card. Maybe it only cost you another $1.50, but it was going to be something like $10 more for me plus whatever taxes/fees (hence my $10-15 estimate).

I was disappointed because I had read threads from users who were, similarly, getting additional cards for cheap - in my case I just couldn't justify the additional monthly cost.
 

kn51

Senior member
Aug 16, 2012
641
88
91
I've been using cable cards with Comcast for over the past year. Basically, I have a server with two Ceton cards and two cable cards.

Yes, the price you pay for the additional cable cards varies widely depending on region. In mine, I basically get docked an additional outlet fee minus a 1.50 credit for customer owned equipment.

My setup is the PC recording the TV via the 8 tuners, and I serve each TV via using Xbox 360s. Works flawlessly for the most part.

I will say, that getting the cable paired via Comcast will be the most frustrating experience in tech support you will likely experience. But since then, my solution has been rock solid.
 

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