Htpc dvr

Nov 18, 2005
28,558
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#1
Also up for consideration: HTPC/DVR Server, with Extender near the TV.

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story below
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I've been out of the game so long (HTPC's, self-assembled DVRs, etc).. I used to tinker around with it before Ceton came around and CableCARDs were introduced to PCs, and the quality was just not there. At that time, I settled on a Moxi HD DVR. Which, I still have and, after not using for so long, I am bringing back into service now that I have the opportunity to do so.

But Digeo/Arris don't sell their "extenders" anymore, they are locked down devices, and there's always the threat of pulling guide service/support.
It's a nice device, I love the interface... but like all cable equipment, especially cable boxes, it's not exactly the fastest device out there.
Plus, I have the original 2-tuner version. HDD storage expansion (external, e-sata) is easy enough, but it's still everything else I listed above.

I like the idea of the whole "it just works" approach, but I do like the custom world too. I'm looking for that right balance. I don't want to have to spend a ridiculous amount of time getting things up and running... and if things go wrong when I'm not home and a roommate calls, being able to tell them something stupid simple is really, really appealing. :D
I love my IT job - but I don't care to have to keep doing work after-hours, and if I am, it's for work or my own non-shared stuff.

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/story
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What's the most power-efficient and cost-effective build that can serve up HD (including 5.1 sound, quality sound and video mind you, to a receiver over HDMI) using at least 4 tuners (perhaps 6 tuners) ?

I'm looking for power-sipping when not doing anything, and not much more than power-snacking when either recording 4+ tuners or recording and serving live, and/or recording and streaming and etc etc... just imagine the worst case scenario for resource demands. ;)

What kind of processor am I really looking for, in this case? Memory?
Discrete GPU necessary, and is that doing HDMI with audio pass-through from a discrete audio card?

Is the Ceton 4-tuner (if not 6-tuner, though I don't believe that's available) even able to provide video/audio quality that rivals/matches/bests any cable box and/or locked-down consumer device (like Moxi or Tivo)? This is more important than anything else. If it's softer than other cable devices, for instance, I just don't care for it. If there's a brand other than Ceton that produces a better CableCARD platform for HTPCs, please let me know. Is the HD Home Run equipment a better route?

Storage is cheap (relatively), so I'm not worried about that.
But can someone put together a power-efficient, cable-box (or taller but similar dimensions) or other SFF size HTPC?
Again, if it's even easier (and helps make it cheaper and/or more power efficient), I can also tolerate a server-type approach and utilize Extenders (though that would be an additional cost; I do not own a 360 though I do have a PS3 if that matters). That way, if big and bulky makes it cheaper to provide a more power-efficient build, for whatever reason, I would consider that route.
 

snoturtle

Golden Member
Apr 28, 2001
1,609
0
81
#2
If it helps any this is what I have setup in my house

1 server intel 2500k
Running PS3 media server and WMC for the extenders
2 ps3's
2 slim xbox 360's
1 Acer Veriton nettop htpc http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16883103785
1 HD Homerun Prime

I bought the Acer to see how well it would work replacing the ps3/xbox combo that is on the TV's

Right now the ps3 gets used for movies and tv shows that are ripped and the xbox gets used as an extender
You can use a ps3 with the HD homerun to tune channels directly but there is no guide just a list of channels

With the Acer running WMC for live tv/dvr and XBMC running for everything else seems to work great

The newest version of XBMC can also tune and record from the hd homerun but isn't quite as good as WMC yet

Not sure if that helps at all but if you have any other questions post them :)

On a side note I would wait a little bit the new HD Homerun should be out soon and that records in H.264 instead of MPEG2 to cut down on bandwidth and storage needs
plus it bumps up to 4 tuners instead of the 3 that are there now
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,200
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#3
What kind of processor am I really looking for, in this case?

Most likley you want a APU. If I were doing a clean sheet building I be buying a AMD apu. Probably quad core. The new intel haswell chips are a bit better, but they are considerably more expensive.

Memory?

You really only need about 4gb. Might get 8gb just for safety since its cheap.

Discrete GPU necessary, and is that doing HDMI with audio pass-through from a discrete audio card?

Nope. Modern IGP are normally up to the task of running a HTPC. (If you're not planning on it being a gaming PC as well)

Is the Ceton 4-tuner (if not 6-tuner, though I don't believe that's available) even able to provide video/audio quality that rivals/matches/bests any cable box and/or locked-down consumer device (like Moxi or Tivo)?

The Ceton box records the digital stream that your cable co is sending you. There is no re-encoding. Its as good as you'll get from a cable signal. (All cable card tuners are like that)

Is the HD Home Run equipment a better route?

Depends if you want an external device. I don't think they offer an internal card. I wouldn't hesitate either way. It used to be that Ceton wasn't accessible to other PCs on the network, but they fixed the network sharing a long while ago. I think I buy them more on how many tuners you think you'll want now. Silicon dust comes in 3. Ceton does 4 or 6. Every once in a while I run into conflicts even with 4 tuners. I'd just buy the 6 since it only needs one cable card then.

But can someone put together a power-efficient, cable-box (or taller but similar dimensions) or other SFF size HTPC?

They make HTPC specific cases that will match your stack. I know their are half height models available, but cooling for the Ceton PCI card would be a concern for me (It gets a little warm) If use one of the network or USB tuners you can get a tiny m-itx box.

Again, if it's even easier (and helps make it cheaper and/or more power efficient), I can also tolerate a server-type approach and utilize Extenders (though that would be an additional cost; I do not own a 360 though I do have a PS3 if that matters). That way, if big and bulky makes it cheaper to provide a more power-efficient build, for whatever reason, I would consider that route.

Unless you're adverse to having a PC in the living room, I'd use it to save the cost of an extender. Plus the host PC tends to be more responsive than the extenders. Unless you need some hardcore storage space and want raid, etc, etc where you need a big chassis I don't think its worth it. OTOH if you have some old noisy components laying around it means you can use those and put them where you don't have to worry about noise.

The biggest issue you'll run into is extenders. There is the 360 which works great and is cheap now. The other is the Ceton Echo. I understand that if you plan on using your HTPC as a media server where your echo will be required to play a ton of formats, the echo can be fussy. I have two of them and they work fine for the TV. Better than the old dlink extender I had before. Just a little slower to respond than the host. No word on if the xb1 will be an extender. The echo is kinda stupid expensive normally. $180 right? At least Ceton regularly has a $50 off sale virtually every holiday for both their tuners and echos.
 
Nov 18, 2005
28,558
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#4
I guess while we're in the spec phase, what about Blu-ray?

In the same entertainment-center setup, I will have a PS3, which has always been my lone Blu-ray player. Eventually I'll get a PS4 (not sure if at launch or not), so I'm not too worried about killing my launch-model PS3 (which has been a tank, though I haven't been a hardcore user of it for either gaming or movies compared to some people - in college I stressed it for sure, doing both).
However, while it's boot-up time isn't bad compared to some other early Blu-ray players, if I can get an equivalent experience out of something that's always on, I wouldn't mind the HTPC also becoming the Blu-ray player.

That still goes hand-in-hand with figuring out the best overall a/v solution.
This will be hooked up to a receiver (7.1 capable, 5.1 configuration) using HDMI.
That receiver can handle lossless 5.1 PCM. It's been awhile since I've dug into what formats it can handle at what bitrates and whatnot, especially for PC usage, but I *think* it can handle DTS-MA. I'm pretty sure I have my PS3 configured to push out 5.1 PCM, so that might be because the receiver cannot handle a certain format that the PS3 actually can. It was that or some other reason, which actually could be many. Hmm... I'll look later.

Anyhow - let's say I go the APU route. Is the AMD A10-6800K a good choice? I hope so, since it appears to be the top-end APU. Oddly cheap if that's the case. :|

Would that allow some mild gaming at 1080p? Could be cool to have a real use for Steam's Big Picture mode. :)
That being said, the display in the living room is currently a 720p tv, which is something I have a strong desire to correct in the future (as well as step-up from the 32" size), but for now it works.

Quite important:
sound pass-through, alongside any integrated video processing, over HDMI.
Depending on the capabilities of the receiver, if it's simply passing straight audio (including the possibility of Blu-ray, though I may go disc-less or with a basic dvd-rom), do I even need to worry about audio-processing? As in, if the video content has some Dolby or DTS soundtrack, will it just get passed untouched to the receiver over the motherboard's HDMI port?
If I want/have a need for the HTPC to decode advanced formats like DTS-MA, or otherwise provide 5.1 PCM audio to my receiver, is there a worthy sound solution?
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,200
43
106
#5
I guess while we're in the spec phase, what about Blu-ray?

I'd put one in. Not a huge expense these days and you save an additional box.

...I wouldn't mind the HTPC also becoming the Blu-ray player.
Well there are two advantages- 1) you can rip the blurays to create a media library and 2) less futzing with inputs when doing things. I can't really speak to the reliability of PC based bluray playback.

Anyhow - let's say I go the APU route. Is the AMD A10-6800K a good choice? I hope so, since it appears to be the top-end APU. Oddly cheap if that's the case. :|

It's what I'd probably buy. And yes, it is cheap. That's the point.

Would that allow some mild gaming at 1080p? Could be cool to have a real use for Steam's Big Picture mode. :)

Some. Just check out the reviews online. APU graphics are surprisingly strong. At least if you're not planning on playing the latest AAA FPS games. A xbox wireless receiver+controler and many of the indie titles could be a lot of fun though.

Quite important:
sound pass-through, alongside any integrated video processing, over HDMI.
Depending on the capabilities of the receiver, if it's simply passing straight audio (including the possibility of Blu-ray, though I may go disc-less or with a basic dvd-rom), do I even need to worry about audio-processing? As in, if the video content has some Dolby or DTS soundtrack, will it just get passed untouched to the receiver over the motherboard's HDMI port?

It should push the audio fine over HDMI. However I would have to look up the higer res bluray audio formats. I push DTS, 5.1 etc over it on my PC.

If I want/have a need for the HTPC to decode advanced formats like DTS-MA, or otherwise provide 5.1 PCM audio to my receiver, is there a worthy sound solution?

I'm just going to point you at a couple articles.
AMD APU- This is the older trinity, but not much has changed other than a slightly clock jump
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6335/amds-trinity-an-htpc-perspective

Latest haswell as htpc
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7007/intels-haswell-an-htpc-perspective

general HTPC tips
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6674/...f-an-ivy-bridge-htpc-windows-8-madvr-and-more

Sample build
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6449/holiday-2012-amd-trinity-buyers-guide/3

What to expect on gaming. the a10-6800k has a slightly better gpu.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7106/...t-1-the-apu-and-radeon-hd-8650g-performance/3
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
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#6
What you are looking for depends on a few factors. How many TVs will require a signal at any one time? Do you already have wired ethernet in place? Do you record, or plan on recording, multiple shows that are on at the same time? Does your cable plan include premium channels and does your cableco have all channels flagged as "copy freely," or at least the non-premiums?

If you think you need a lot of tuners the Ceton InfiniTV6 ETH is the best available at the moment. It's a 6-tuner external unit that uses a single M-card and connects via ethernet. Like the HD Homerun Prime you don't have to have it connected to a specific computer. You connect it to a router and it's available to any system on the LAN that has WMC (or XBMC running the PVR add-on). Also like the HD HR Prime, and unlike the InfiniTV4, it has the ability to dynamically allocate tuners on an as-required basis and releases those tuners back to the tuner pool when they are no longer in use.

For Blu-ray, the direction you should go depends on whether or not you plan on ripping your disks to local storage. If you don't plan on ripping your collection then stick with the PS3 for playback. Software that will playback BD with all the bells and whistles will cost extra. Most BD players/writers only come with trial versions or limited-feature versions of BD playback software and you have to pay extra to get all of the features unlocked.

Regarding "sound pass-through"....I think the phrase you're looking for is sound processing. How you go about it depends on the capabilities of your receiver. If your receiver can do both DTS-HD-MA and TrueHD then you don't want the computer software doing any processing of the sound. If, for some reason, you have to use PCM via optical or coax then you would want the software to do the processing because no receiver can process a PCM stream into DTS-HD-MA or TrueHD. For 5.1 systems there is absolutely no difference between DTS-MA/TrueHD processed in software and sent via PCM to the receiver and a bitstreamed HDMI signal decoded by the receiver into those same formats. The above only applies to BD as well. For live cable and recording the signal will be sent unadulterated unless you specificall configure Windows to do some sort of pre-processing.

One advantage of the InfiniTV6 ETH is that the computer itself can be a SFF system since you don't need to shoehorn an internal cablecard tuner into it. Some folks over at AVS use ITX systems mounted to the back of the TV with just a USB IR receiver peeking out to use with a remote. If you plan on using a phone for remote control you don't even need that.

Anyway, there are tons of options. Determine what present and near-future capabilities are important to you, set a spending limit, and design your system around those factors.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#7
What you are looking for depends on a few factors. How many TVs will require a signal at any one time? Do you already have wired ethernet in place? Do you record, or plan on recording, multiple shows that are on at the same time? Does your cable plan include premium channels and does your cableco have all channels flagged as "copy freely," or at least the non-premiums?

If you think you need a lot of tuners the Ceton InfiniTV6 ETH is the best available at the moment. It's a 6-tuner external unit that uses a single M-card and connects via ethernet. Like the HD Homerun Prime you don't have to have it connected to a specific computer. You connect it to a router and it's available to any system on the LAN that has WMC (or XBMC running the PVR add-on). Also like the HD HR Prime, and unlike the InfiniTV4, it has the ability to dynamically allocate tuners on an as-required basis and releases those tuners back to the tuner pool when they are no longer in use.

For Blu-ray, the direction you should go depends on whether or not you plan on ripping your disks to local storage. If you don't plan on ripping your collection then stick with the PS3 for playback. Software that will playback BD with all the bells and whistles will cost extra. Most BD players/writers only come with trial versions or limited-feature versions of BD playback software and you have to pay extra to get all of the features unlocked.

Regarding "sound pass-through"....I think the phrase you're looking for is sound processing. How you go about it depends on the capabilities of your receiver. If your receiver can do both DTS-HD-MA and TrueHD then you don't want the computer software doing any processing of the sound. If, for some reason, you have to use PCM via optical or coax then you would want the software to do the processing because no receiver can process a PCM stream into DTS-HD-MA or TrueHD. For 5.1 systems there is absolutely no difference between DTS-MA/TrueHD processed in software and sent via PCM to the receiver and a bitstreamed HDMI signal decoded by the receiver into those same formats. The above only applies to BD as well. For live cable and recording the signal will be sent unadulterated unless you specificall configure Windows to do some sort of pre-processing.

One advantage of the InfiniTV6 ETH is that the computer itself can be a SFF system since you don't need to shoehorn an internal cablecard tuner into it. Some folks over at AVS use ITX systems mounted to the back of the TV with just a USB IR receiver peeking out to use with a remote. If you plan on using a phone for remote control you don't even need that.

Anyway, there are tons of options. Determine what present and near-future capabilities are important to you, set a spending limit, and design your system around those factors.
I have heard stability complaints for the 6-tuner product, with the same users raving about their PCIe 4-tuner card.

Is that absolutely the case that the 4-tuner card cannot dynamically allocate tuners? If it cannot, what does that mean in the end? That a tuner is dedicated to a remote viewer and cannot be viewed on the local system?

I want to plan on watching and/or recording multiple shows at once.
Even if I or my roommates do not use that much, if at all, over the next year, I want this system future proofed to be able to handle such. It may outlive useful console-like gaming uses, but that's really just going to be a nice bonus.

I see the point of BD on HTPC. I might still include a BD-ROM, but I'll reserve it for archival purposes. I'll have the option of expandable storage, either in the HTPC itself, in a NAS box, or on a server to be build in the future.

Regarding audio pass-through / sound-processing... I certainly did not mean sound-processing. ;)
At one point, not all PC HDMI components allowed audio to tag along on the cable, and if they did, not all formats could be handled.
If I was utilizing audio-processing/decoding on the HTPC itself, it would be hardware, not software.

I wouldn't do PCM 5.1 over anything but HDMI. The PS3 can handle it, why would I bother with additional cables from the HTPC?
Since I might want to utilize BD archival, this might still be a important piece I want addressed in this HTPC build.

I don't understand the "no receiver can process PCM into Dolby or DTS" bit... that would only add more steps and is rightfully not possible. Once it's in PCM it's in raw discrete channel language, which requires only minimal skills from the receiver.


I wouldn't mind a SFF system with an external network tuner - but I demand stability, and what I've heard leaves me worried on that front. SFF is also going to leave me limited in terms of video/audio card expansion, if that's the decided route. It would remove a hot component from the system, which is a welcome idea... but I don't want a flaky experience that requires reboots and powering down the connected equipment (such as the cablecard device itself and the tuning adapter).


And whatever the choice, I'd be using it with my Harmony One, so I would also need to add an IR receiver.
 
Sep 12, 2004
16,852
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#8
I have only used the InfiniTV4 PCIe version (for over 2 years) so I can't speak for the InfiniTV6 ETH. While it hasn't been absolutely perfect, and there was an initial tweaking-curve to learn, it is now as stable and reliable as any cable box I've ever used. It's far more configurable and customizable as well. And the WMC guide interface blows away any cable box I've ever used. Use it for a while then use Comcast or Brighthouse. You'll want to puke

The 4-tuner internal and the USB-based external Ceton units cannot dynamically allocate tuners. Tuners can be assigned over the network but they are dedicated, not dynamic. Ceton has a 6-tuner internal card coming out soon and that is not going to change. Only the 6-tuner Ceton external and the HD Homerun Prime (also an external Ethernet-based device) can currently do dynamic allocation. The Ceton version is still in beta since their 6-tuner external is relatively new, but reports from AVS are that it works well.

The problem of receivers not being able to process/decode available formats is pretty much a thing of the past. When HDMI was relatively new it was an issue. Not so much today. A newish low-end receiver in the $250 - $300 range won't have that problem.

For PCM, it's not an issue over HDMI. PCM is only necessary over optical or digital coax connections. It's another legacy issue. If you go all HDMI you won't have to worry about it.

My personal experience has been that Intel systems are far more reliable for using the IGP. I tried at first with AMD and built 2 different systems. I also tried two different discrete AMD video cards because, supposedly, their PQ was superior. AMD video/audio drivers drove me nuts. I finally gave up and went Intel. Once I did my system has been nearly perfect. ymmv.

I use a Harmony One and an 890 with my system. Both work great with a cheap USB IR MCE receiver.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#9
I have only used the InfiniTV4 PCIe version (for over 2 years) so I can't speak for the InfiniTV6 ETH. While it hasn't been absolutely perfect, and there was an initial tweaking-curve to learn, it is now as stable and reliable as any cable box I've ever used. It's far more configurable and customizable as well. And the WMC guide interface blows away any cable box I've ever used. Use it for a while then use Comcast or Brighthouse. You'll want to puke

The 4-tuner internal and the USB-based external Ceton units cannot dynamically allocate tuners. Tuners can be assigned over the network but they are dedicated, not dynamic. Ceton has a 6-tuner internal card coming out soon and that is not going to change. Only the 6-tuner Ceton external and the HD Homerun Prime (also an external Ethernet-based device) can currently do dynamic allocation. The Ceton version is still in beta since their 6-tuner external is relatively new, but reports from AVS are that it works well.

The problem of receivers not being able to process/decode available formats is pretty much a thing of the past. When HDMI was relatively new it was an issue. Not so much today. A newish low-end receiver in the $250 - $300 range won't have that problem.

For PCM, it's not an issue over HDMI. PCM is only necessary over optical or digital coax connections. It's another legacy issue. If you go all HDMI you won't have to worry about it.

My personal experience has been that Intel systems are far more reliable for using the IGP. I tried at first with AMD and built 2 different systems. I also tried two different discrete AMD video cards because, supposedly, their PQ was superior. AMD video/audio drivers drove me nuts. I finally gave up and went Intel. Once I did my system has been nearly perfect. ymmv.

I use a Harmony One and an 890 with my system. Both work great with a cheap USB IR MCE receiver.
For the 4 tuner vs 6 tuner - that's exactly what I've heard with the 4-tuner PCIe... initially either drivers/firmware were a little flaky, or it just takes a little know-how to get the configuration right... but I've heard it's just as stable if not more so than any cable box.
But I have not heard the same opinions of the 6 tuner. I've heard of slow channel changes, possibly signal degradation (or just weak signals from the provider), flaky SDV/TA channel requests, etc.
It seems a mixed bag - I've read a few opinions that rave about the 6 tuner device.

I'm really trying to determine if I need 6 tuners or not. I think at this point, because I don't want to deal with locking tuners to certain devices, I might just be settling on an external device and choosing either the 6-tuner Ceton box or the 3-tuner HD HomeRun Prime.
I think I could deal with 3-tuners. I'd rather not limit myself to that, when there is the ability to use other devices on the network to watch TV.
But that's also just going to add to the pile of devices too:
Cable modem/router, my .11ac and gigabit router, the tuning adapter, cablecard tuner, htpc, ps3, and receiver.

It would help allow the HTPC to be smaller, so it's sort of the same in the end. Curious about the power draw of the external tuners - and what it could help me save by building a smaller htpc.

I really want to consider the Haswell chips, I mean I've been an Intel-only guy for awhile now (and have stuck with Nvidia for the past few GPU generations)... but the A10-6800K will have that much more GPU power behind it (perhaps even the A10-6700 - same GPU, apparently ever so slightly less capable CPU, looks like clockrate only is different as opposed to cache or core configuration. That brings a 65W TDP as opposed to the 100W of the 6800K).
 
Sep 12, 2004
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#10
Considering that the 6-tuner version has only been out for a little more than a couple of months the issues don't seem too bad. Most problems concern signal strength. It does seem to be more sensitive to that factor than the 4-tuner internal version but Ceton is pretty good about releasing firmware/hardware/driver updates to address those problems.

Sucks that you have to use a tuning adapter. There have been rumors that Ceton and Silicon Dust are coming out with units that will have tuning adapters built-in but who knows when that will happen?

This article from Missing Remote has some info on power draw of the Ceton unit. It's not too bad, though the fact that power doesn't drop when a tuner is finished being used is a bit strange. Hopefully Ceton has or is addressing that issue with an update. From what I've read they have also improved the tuner pooling problems since that article was written.

As far as GPU choice that's a personal preference, imo. I haven't had success with AMD hardware for my HTPCs but others have. Go with what's right for the factors most important to you.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#11
Considering that the 6-tuner version has only been out for a little more than a couple of months the issues don't seem too bad. Most problems concern signal strength. It does seem to be more sensitive to that factor than the 4-tuner internal version but Ceton is pretty good about releasing firmware/hardware/driver updates to address those problems.

Sucks that you have to use a tuning adapter. There have been rumors that Ceton and Silicon Dust are coming out with units that will have tuning adapters built-in but who knows when that will happen?

This article from Missing Remote has some info on power draw of the Ceton unit. It's not too bad, though the fact that power doesn't drop when a tuner is finished being used is a bit strange. Hopefully Ceton has or is addressing that issue with an update. From what I've read they have also improved the tuner pooling problems since that article was written.

As far as GPU choice that's a personal preference, imo. I haven't had success with AMD hardware for my HTPCs but others have. Go with what's right for the factors most important to you.
While I've been also kicking around the idea of the 6-tuner, another factor, unfortunately, is price.

I would like to keep costs down as much as possible, both up-front (price) and long-term (energy).

I think a build around an APU like the A-10 6700 is going to be best in terms of performance per watt - but I'm still checking to see if I can get a non-gimped Intel part for a good price, low TDP, and also include a cheap GPU without increasing the wattage.



About the CableCARD tuners:

If I want to have all the tuners "available" on the main box, but I want to use other computers with WMC on them as well to perhaps watch one thing here or there, do I need dynamic tuners? I imagine they have to be assigned for full WMC devices, yes?
What about WMC Extenders? If I can't by other means, could I get away without dyanmic tuners by using WMC Extenders or some other network-streaming method to push to other devices besides the main one? Especially if I use an internal card?
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,200
43
106
#12
About the CableCARD tuners:

If I want to have all the tuners "available" on the main box, but I want to use other computers with WMC on them as well to perhaps watch one thing here or there, do I need dynamic tuners? I imagine they have to be assigned for full WMC devices, yes?
What about WMC Extenders? If I can't by other means, could I get away without dyanmic tuners by using WMC Extenders or some other network-streaming method to push to other devices besides the main one? Especially if I use an internal card?
If you use extenders, the tuners are assigned to the host computer. I watch live TV on my extenders and never bothered to setup the network sharing. You can also watch most WMC content on other computers by browsing to the recorded TV directory. However copy once content (typically hbo, showtime, etc) is only viewable on the WMC computer or a extender. Plus if you want live TV on other computers you'll need the network tuners.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#13
If you use extenders, the tuners are assigned to the host computer. I watch live TV on my extenders and never bothered to setup the network sharing. You can also watch most WMC content on other computers by browsing to the recorded TV directory. However copy once content (typically hbo, showtime, etc) is only viewable on the WMC computer or a extender. Plus if you want live TV on other computers you'll need the network tuners.
That's about what I was figuring.


Other considerations:

HBO Go, Netflix, and Amazon tv - to get 5.1 HD streaming, am I going to be limited in how I access the services? With IR on my PC, can I utilize my Harmony One and fully interact with Windows 8 "Metro" apps for Netflix and HBO Go?
I've seen mixed reports for the above, but I haven't been able to spend a whole bunch of time searching since I am at work right now. ;)


In the event most of my content I record is copy-once, are Extenders pretty much the only option for viewing that content elsewhere?

I think I'll be dropping the requirement to really do much gaming - I wouldn't mind the capability to support it either with basic IGP graphics or with added expansion, but I also want the coolest, smallest, most power-efficient machine I can build, for a modest budget.


I think I'm dropping the notion of BD-ROM, perhaps no optical disc drive at all.

I'm still interested in some limited Steam gaming, like indy titles, but that's going to be a bonus. I have a gaming PC - on a gigabit network, I might even be able to utilize that to actually game, wouldn't you think? Might need something to pass on KB/M signals... but that's an add-on possibility for the future.

For full features, with an i3 chip be better than the A-10 6700 APU? As in, full ability to process 3, 4, or 6 tuners, possibly transcoding work, etc?

Should I worry about fanless or get a roomier case focusing on low dBA fans?
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,200
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#14
HBO Go, Netflix, and Amazon tv - to get 5.1 HD streaming, am I going to be limited in how I access the services? With IR on my PC, can I utilize my Harmony One and fully interact with Windows 8 "Metro" apps for Netflix and HBO Go?
You mean on the extender? You should be able to use the PC normally for any apps you have. Extenders you rely on the native apps- xbox 360 has a bunch. The ceton echo is getting android based apps soon.

In the event most of my content I record is copy-once, are Extenders pretty much the only option for viewing that content elsewhere?
Pretty much, but this is highly dependent on your cable co. They set the flags.

I'm still interested in some limited Steam gaming, like indy titles, but that's going to be a bonus. I have a gaming PC - on a gigabit network, I might even be able to utilize that to actually game, wouldn't you think? Might need something to pass on KB/M signals... but that's an add-on possibility for the future.
I've heard of such software, but not used it.

For full features, with an i3 chip be better than the A-10 6700 APU? As in, full ability to process 3, 4, or 6 tuners, possibly transcoding work, etc?
IIRC the a10 has a better gpu and I like having the multiple core architecture for the sort of workload a HTPC sees. Either should work though.

Should I worry about fanless or get a roomier case focusing on low dBA fans?
If you're not gaming, I'd focus on passive cooling. You don't want to listen to fan during quiet passages in movies.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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#15
That's about what I was figuring.


Other considerations:

HBO Go, Netflix, and Amazon tv - to get 5.1 HD streaming, am I going to be limited in how I access the services? With IR on my PC, can I utilize my Harmony One and fully interact with Windows 8 "Metro" apps for Netflix and HBO Go?
I've seen mixed reports for the above, but I haven't been able to spend a whole bunch of time searching since I am at work right now. ;)
That's another can of worms. From what I've read, Harmony remotes currently don't work with Metro apps. In Win 7 the Harmony will work with the WMC Netflix add-on and Hulu 3rd-party add-on, but it doesn't work with HBO Go or Amazon. I use an I/O Gear wireless keyboard to control those apps.

Another issue with Win 8 is that the only extender that works with it is the XBox360. The older WMC extenders (Linksys, HP, etc.) won't function under Win 8 and neither does the Ceton Echo.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#16
That's another can of worms. From what I've read, Harmony remotes currently don't work with Metro apps. In Win 7 the Harmony will work with the WMC Netflix add-on and Hulu 3rd-party add-on, but it doesn't work with HBO Go or Amazon. I use an I/O Gear wireless keyboard to control those apps.

Another issue with Win 8 is that the only extender that works with it is the XBox360. The older WMC extenders (Linksys, HP, etc.) won't function under Win 8 and neither does the Ceton Echo.
Well I wasn't really fond of the idea of needing to purchase the Extenders. I own none, do not own a 360 -- and purchasing one cheap is an ugly idea, they are power hungry compared to something like the Ceton Echo; I'm surprised the Echo's don't work with Win8 MCE.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#17
I think I am set on deciding external network tuner, though can't decide between HDHR Prime (3 tuners) or Ceton InfiniTV 6 Eth (6 tuners).

That being said, is there general agreement that an Intel i3 + AMD 7750 (low-profile) is going to be the better route for both performance AND power consumption, compared to the AMD APUs like the A 10 6700 or 6800K ?

I wouldn't utilize the full GPU that often for gaming, though by having the option I probably will more than I suspect, but I'd want extra capability so I'm not restricted when it comes time to do any transcoding.

Especially for transcoding purposes in mind, with minimal/no video quality loss, is having a basic discrete GPU like the 7750 going to be the better option than any integrated solution? Am I losing any capabilities with the i3? Any recommendations for a better Intel chip that is full-feature but affordable?


I've also given up the hunt for the truly fanless, silent PC. I think I still want to get a case that either requires or easily allows the use of a PicoPSU, but "silent fans", especially if nothing needs to be cranked up to max airflow for insane cooling, really wont be audible from the cabinet and the 6-10ft seating distances we have.

I'd rather have a case with good airflow, hopefully still low-profile (like an A/V rack device, excluding a large receiver), then pay for more, and have major restrictions on expansion, by going the fanless route.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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#18
Specifically, I am looking at something like this:
Core i3-3245 or similar
Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB

If I can, I'd like to get an i5 and probably underclock/undervolt a little.

Specifically, will that kind of combo, with the right amount/speed of RAM, serve me well for 3 or 6 tuners, possibly an extender in the mix (let's future-proof to some degree), full intention of recording, watching, and utilizing web streaming services (Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon), and probably end up transcoding at times. More in line of future proofing than an express need/intention to use right away, I wouldn't mind having it be compatible with SVP (never used it, might hate it, would like to try it if I have the media for it) and live transcoding, like with MadVR (as I've read about, but again have no experience).

For the most part, as long as it's in the "HTPC" realm, outside of heavy gaming, I want to be able to do it. In some respects, it is mixing together Media Server and HTPC duties, but that's where I want it.
And for when it's not using its max horsepower, it should be sipping power.

Also, would I need to be utilizing LucidLogic's Virtu for IGP/discrete GPU mixing? Should I, is another question?
I need to ensure any/all audio and video can pass through the internal circuitry and, regardless of whether the HDMI port is on the video card or motherboard, I want the audio bitstreamed without issue, untouched.
And for any audio that's not in a good codec from the source, like it's stereo or whatever, I want to be able to upsample, unless you all really think the Receiver will produce better results with Dolby Pro Logic or DTS Neo:6 (I think that's the DTS offering my receiver has).

Thoughts?
 
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