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HTPC Fine tunning and Issue help


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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   intrex

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Posted November 29 2010 - 03:53 PM

Hey Everyone,


I am working on a new HTPC with over the air cable to get rid of my current cable charges.  This is the system that I built this weekend.


http://secure.newegg...Number=14339505


I then setup up one of these beasts in my attic.

http://store03.prost...-fdsh-HD/Detail


Aside from the fanless heatsink being too big and buying DDR3 memory when I needed DDR2 everything went fairly smoothly.

Windows 7 Enterprise with WMC is setup and running.  On the initial connection to the antenna I am receiving 30 channels over the air.  All of the major networks are coming through in HD.

I didn't even think about recording one show while watching another one. This was something we had with our cable company so my wife is demanding the same functionality. It looks like I will need to get another digital card to be able to do this. Should I get the exact same card that is in there right now? Can I just use a splitter on the coax from my antenna that I am currently using as my digital feed?  Should I just scrap the current card and get single card that has multiple tuners on it?

I was kind of surprised at how easily the media center interface became laggy. If I am watching an HD chanel and then bring up the guide it is noticeably slower. It could be a memory issue because the system is only recognizing 2 of the 4 installed gigs, but even with 2 gigs I would think it would be more stable that what it currently is.

Does anyone know know a way to intelligently control the fan speeds in the case? There are 3 case fans but only 1 fan header on the mobo. I ended up hooking the fans directly to one of the cpu connections with a splitter. This works fine but the fans run full blast non stop. The motherboard has a gpu nos fan header but I really need to power all three fans for decent air flow.


Once I get these issues worked out I am going to try to get WMC to appear more like a PC rather than booting up into the PC and then opening WMC.  I am sure there are tons of tutorials about the best way to do this and integrate an nice remote.  Can you guys recommend a good tutorial?

Once that is all hooked up I will be putting xbox 360's on the other 3 TVs in the house.

Thanks for any feedback,






#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted November 29 2010 - 10:47 PM

First off welcome to the forum. I would either replace the Hauppauge 1850 or if you have the slot add in a Hauppauge 2250 http://www.hauppauge...ta_hvr2250.html You will have to put in a cable splitter if you use both cards which will allow you to record two shows at once while watching another or if you use a single 2250 be able to watch one show while recording another. As far as why you are only seeing 2G of your available 4G and your fan issues I will leave that to others that no more about this stuff than I do. Parker

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#3 of 11 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 02 2010 - 04:07 PM

OK, here's my recommendations.  Changing to a 2250 is a smart move, however, you might be better off to go a different way altogether.   The SiliconDust HDHomeRun will provide you 2 HDTV/ATSC tuners over ethernet.   I often suggest this for three different reasons:   First, it provides minimal CPU usage in comparison to most cards.   Second, by moving the device outside of your HTPC, you lower heat, and you allow yourself to frame your antenna if you are doing that in a better location.  It also gives you QAM support.   Little known fact: many cable providers (almost all) will provide you basic level QAM support with just a broadband connection... but even if not, the third reason is the most often I site: adding a Silicon Dust means you add 2 tuners to your mix (for 3 tuners) without changing out or altering your HTPC.  It's a good add-on. 

You asked "Why Laggy"   It has very little to do with memory or your drives, it has a lot to do with the CPU you are using.  The Regor 240 is not an ideal candidate for HTPC.... that's not to say it can't be done, but if you're pushing 1080P on that board, with that HDD, you're dealing with too many bottlenecks, and the Regor is clamped (no L3, minimal L2) where it can't shuttle information ahead of the drives far enough to pay off.  This is where I normally tell people:  if you're going with a lower end processor, have a fast boot drive and a second drive for video.   Because the paging is going to kill you and your processor can't get ahead.   So, something like a Phenom II 555 with 6MB of L3 would make an incredible difference (http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103846).

Ok, but let's say you stick with where you are at.

First, you need to make sure you're using the latest catalyst drivers (10.11 are the newest, though since 10.9, it's been pretty good sailing).  As far as fan controls go, one of the biggest things I tend to do is eliminate fans as much as I can; you've got a decent start.   But switching to a 45nm CPU and lowering the cards you put in the case helps.   You shouldn't need 3 vent fans, but if you want them and need a controller, they are easy to find.  I generally like the vantec fan controllers, though there are others out there.


As to only seeing 2GB.. first, you need to make sure you are running a 64Bit OS if you want 4G.   A 32bit OS can only address 3Gbs of memory as a ceiling.  Subtract from that the ammount of memory being taken by your onboard video.  If you're seeing something like 2.75GB of memory, then you're seeing as much memory as a 32Bit OS will see (minus the video share).   Which would be correct.


As to the remote control issue, I've found very few things beat a Harmony.   But if that's not your budget, the Microsoft Media Center remote, available damn near everywhere for about $19, is both effective and easy to use.


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#4 of 11 OFFLINE   intrex

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Posted December 04 2010 - 04:09 PM

Thanks for all of the feedback,


I have a new motherboard and more memory coming in the mail.  We will see how everything performs with the new hardware.  I wish I would have posted all of the specs on here before ordering the original setup :).  I may end up sending the processor back also.

Logitech had a good deal on refurbed Harmony 1100 so I picked one up.

The homerunHD option looks pretty interesting.  It looks like I could hookup my digital antenea and my basic cable service.  I am assuming I would then have both tuners taken up and wouldn't be able to watch and record tv from either of the sources at the same time?  That would mean that I would actually need two homerunHD boxes.  It still sounds like a pretty cool option to keep the tuners outside of the htpc.  Do you loose any picture quality or framerates using one of these as the source for windows media center?  Would I still be able to stream live tv to extenders using the homerun box.    Does streaming tv to an extender use up a tuner?



#5 of 11 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 05 2010 - 04:11 AM

Yes, it does.   If you have 1 HD Homerun, you have 2 Tuners total.  You can watch one channel and record another.  If you have an extender, you can watch one, and it can watch a different one.  If you are only watching the same, then it can split and still record.   I hope this makes sense.



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#6 of 11 OFFLINE   intrex

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Posted December 05 2010 - 05:37 AM

This may seem like a stupid question but does the number of tuners always equal the number of coax inputs?  It looks like the HDHomeRun has one input for each tuner.  To do what I am hoping to do I am going to have coax splitters and boosters everywhere :(.  It seems like it should be possible to have multiple tuners on a card or box with just one coax input.  Also if I have an antenna that picks up FM radio and digital TV do I need some type of special splitter to filter out the fm radio channels to another cable?


Thanks,


Bryan



#7 of 11 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 05 2010 - 01:20 PM

You can have multiple tuners on one input, but a lot of devices don't do this.. some PCI cards do (the 2250) but remember, that only matters to the point where they are received.  After that, if you use XBOX or Media Centers, all data is carried via ethernet in any case.



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#8 of 11 OFFLINE   intrex

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Posted December 06 2010 - 02:49 AM

Oh yeah,


I have a very solid network in the house (wired Cat6 Gigabit Media Cable and gig switches) and know how everything will be streamed with the extenders.  My issue is that I am going to have 3 extenders on TVs that could feasibly want to watch TV at the same time. I am going to need at a bare minimum 2 tuners for my OTA antenna and 2 tuners for my basic cable.  I may end up waiting on the hdrn prime to be released and just get 2 of those if the reviews are decent.  Looks to be about the best solution for the money.

Edit***


I was doing some reading on the HDRN forum and it looks like the Prime won't do what I want :(.  It sound like the tuners are not able to capture OTA (8-VSB?) they are only meant for cable company QAM channels.  Am I reading this wrong or is that the case?  The main reason I am doing all of this is to cut 100$ off of my cable bill by switching down to the most very basic service $14/month and getting HD local using my digital antenna.  Everything else we watch is going to come from HULU and NetFlix.


Thanks for all of the help Matt



#9 of 11 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 06 2010 - 03:42 AM

The prime would be ideal.  You could use 2 and Tunersalad to give you 6 tuners.. which would be plenty.   Right now, I'm using 2 Ceton, for 8 CableCard tuners.   I power 3 extenders without a hitch.  I will say, I will probably dump these for HDPrime when available if it holds up, as it would slim my media center down incredibly.


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#10 of 11 OFFLINE   intrex

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Posted December 27 2010 - 03:26 AM

Everything is finally up and running completely smoothly.  I ended up going with an upgraded processor and 8gig of memory.  I was about to get an xbox 360 to start playing with the extender functionallity of MCE.  After doing some reading I am now wondering if I need to look at other extenders.  Is it still true that you can't watch streaming netflix through xbox as an extender without paying for an xbox live gold account?  How about Hulu streaming?  If that is the case I will be on the hunt for a different extender.

Does anyone here have any suggestions for a good extender that also allows Netflix and Hulu streaming?



#11 of 11 OFFLINE   intrex

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Posted January 12 2011 - 02:33 AM

I have run into yet another snag.  It turns out several of the channels that we watch on our standard cable from time warner are analog channels.  My initial haupage card has an analog input so I am able to get the channels into wmc but it only gives one tuner.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a dual analog tunner.  I need to have atleast 3 tuners available for these analog chanels all together. 

I was looking at the http://www.hauppauge...ta_hvr1850.html but I am assuming the dual tunner on this means that you could watch a total of two tunners at the same time not 2 analog + 2 digital off of this card at the same time (please correct me if I am wrong about that).


I am going to have a complete coax mess.  It looks like I am going to have a bare minimum of two 4 port amplified splitters once this is all said and done.


Are there no tuners out there that can get analog and digital off of the same coax cable just like any standard tv does?


Bryan