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Sage TV
Old 01-18-2011, 01:49 PM   #1
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Sage TV

In another thread a poster (RonBoyd) was nice enough to post some screen shots of his screen using Sage TV.

I have done some reading on this, and have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I would love to give up my cable TV, but not being able to record (with a TV Guide type menu to work from) is more than I can take. (Are we not just too spoiled) I have a DVR (Phillips) that can record shows, but with just OTA TV you lose all tv guide listings, and you wind up having to record by time and date, and then have to have it on the right channel for it to record the show you want to. This is not much better than using a tape or DVD to record with.

Anyway to my Sage TV questions. I understand you have to purchase two different software programs. One which will change the channel on your TV and one for using a TV guide menu that you can record from. Is this correct?

Then I know you need to buy a couple of cards to put into your computer, and a remote. This computer has to be hooked up to the TV somehow. So where does the remote come from? Can you control the programing from the remote or do you need to get on the computer to control what you want to record. If you have to control it on the computer than this is not very convenient, unless of course you got one of those long range wireless keyboards and mice. Is that how it's done?

How difficult was it to set it up? I am not all that computer savvy (changing computer settings and all that stuff) Is it something that requires someone with a fair amount of computer knowledge to set up?
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
In another thread a poster (RonBoyd) was nice enough to post some screen shots of his screen using Sage TV.
How difficult was it to set it up? I am not all that computer savvy (changing computer settings and all that stuff) Is it something that requires someone with a fair amount of computer knowledge to set up?
Oh! No. It is nothing that complicated. It does, however, involve some hooking up of hardware and but only a single software install.

For the TV signal (and this doesn't apply to those that have cable/satellite -- in which case you would skip this step) I have a roof top antennae connected to two SiliconDust HDHomeRun-US devices -- these each have dual tuners -- the same as used inside your TV set to lock in to a specific channel. These are connected to the roof-top antennae by a cable coming down to a 4-way splitter. They are then plugged into my Home Network via Ethernet cable. (I assume that the Cable/Satellite STB repaces all that but have no personal experience.) I should also mention that this, also, powers the signal for Windows Media Center at out house.

The SageTV Software is then installed onto whichever computer you intend to use (and this should probably be an old one specific to this purpose but in my case it is my main one). There is a somewhat lengthy setup but it is essentially the same as what you have to do with a new TV set -- finding the channels you want, etc.

Then in the room with the TV you connect the SageTV HD Theater to the TV (actually, in my case, it goes to a AV Receiver first before the TV) and back to the Home Network via Ethernet Cable (this can be wireless but I've found the bandwidth leaves something to be desired).

This device is placed anywhere you want -- even out of sight with an optional device -- but it is quite small and inobtrusive. The Remote Control operates this device.

Anyway, that is basically all there is to it.

Oh, there is an additional piece of software involved if you wish to run the system and/or watch TV from a remote location (like across the country). They call it "Placeshifting."
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #3
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I will re-post so that we can dispense with Links:

Let me add a little more about SageTV. (Granted, it is good to be in an area where there are several dozen TV channels available Over The Air (OTA).

These are shots from the TV Screen and are controlled by the Remote Control device. (Well, actually -- in full disclosure mode, they are shots from my computer but it is identical on the TV.)

Shows Previously Recorded waiting disposition:

Recorded.jpg

And those shows that are scheduled to be recorded:

scheduled.jpg

Notice on the left, there is the Guide that you can flip through to decide what to watch or record:

Guide.jpg

And this kind of thing is available for lots of other stuff too -- your Music, Your Photos, your DVD/BluRay player, Online stuff (including TV), etc:

Menu.jpg
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:33 PM   #4
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The available computer that I have has Windows XP on it. I have Vista on my laptops, but not a copy I could put on the XPS desktop. Do you need Windows Media Player with the software, or does the software you buy from Sage TV provide a similar program?

Don't you need to install some tuner cards inside your computer that your going to use?

Is the remote that you buy with the Sage box you mentioned then control all the recording options and play, pause etc. Also, does this work with satellite TV as well as OTA. I don't get very many OTA channels where I am, so pulling the plug is a difficult decision. I wouldn't even consider it if I couldn't have some sort of recording device. Once you get used to that, it's hard going back. It would be almost as bad as saying you had to get up and change the channel on the TV every time you wanted a different station. (well, maybe not that bad)
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:53 PM   #5
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The available computer that I have has Windows XP on it. I have Vista on my laptops, but not a copy I could put on the XPS desktop. Do you need Windows Media Player with the software, or does the software you buy from Sage TV provide a similar program?
No, neither Media Player nor Media Center is needed (or even used). SageTV is a separate entity entirely. The requirements are only:

Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Windows Home Server, Vista or Windows 7
and 128MB RAM, recommended 256MB RAM

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Don't you need to install some tuner cards inside your computer that your going to use?
You do need a Tuner (just as your TV set does). I elected to go with external ones (the HDHomeRun-US mentioned above) because I wanted to access multiple channels at the same time. (This, BTW, is how Picture in Picture works on some TVs -- they have two tuners) Anyway, I didn't want those bulky coax cable attached to the back of my computer... even if I had the room to do that. The External Tuners simply gave me more flexibility but YMMV.

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Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Is the remote that you buy with the Sage box you mentioned then control all the recording options and play, pause etc. Also, does this work with satellite TV as well as OTA. I don't get very many OTA channels where I am, so pulling the plug is a difficult decision. I wouldn't even consider it if I couldn't have some sort of recording device. Once you get used to that, it's hard going back. It would be almost as bad as saying you had to get up and change the channel on the TV every time you wanted a different station. (well, maybe not that bad)

Yes, everything is controlled by the Remote Control. Now, you can use SageTV with the computer it is installed on -- and then you use a keyboard/mouse combination -- but I never do that.

Now, before we go further, I must point out that, while I believe it is within the skill set of anyone who can participate on this Forum, the Owner's Manual (some 300 pages ) is quite overwhelming. And the only Help you will get is from a Forum that has mostly Geeks participating (but nevertheless very helpful).
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:20 PM   #6
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People who want to get a little geeky could install Linux on an old PC and use free, open source MythTV. I remember looking at it years ago and it seemed pretty capable. A Wikipedia chart shows it as comparable to Sage TV.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
People who want to get a little geeky could install Linux on an old PC and use free, open source MythTV. I remember looking at it years ago and it seemed pretty capable. A Wikipedia chart shows it as comparable to Sage TV.
I built a MythTV box a year ago and am very pleased with the results. I use it to get the open (un-encrypted) HDTV digital channels on cable. I have a basic cable subscription. Mythtv is very stable and has a good User Interface.

Settling on a parts list, installing and integrating the pieces was a bit of work (probably more than Sage TV), but there is a very helpful internet community to assist.
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Old 01-22-2011, 11:50 AM   #8
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Here is another good "comparison" chart of Media Players:

Media Players Comparison Guide
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"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." ~(perhaps by) Yogi Berra
"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."~ Lau tzu
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:01 PM   #9
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Very helpful are the "Beginner's Guides" found here:

Beginner | Missing Remote
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:11 PM   #10
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I built a MythTV box a year ago and am very pleased with the results...
This has been on my To Do list for many years. Maybe after I retire, semi-retire, whatever.
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