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Using a CETON and 2 other tuners for 8 Tuners.. How to..


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#1 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 21 2011 - 10:29 AM

Video later, took me all day yesterday to get this right, but now that I know the trickeries, I figured it was worthwhile posting them up!   I had for a while used 2 CETON to get my 8 Tuners.   But quickly, I discovered this wasn't as ideal as I wanted, as it required FOUR SDV boxes.   Because this information on how to is really poorly managed on the net, I'm going to try to take a bunch of pictures, short vids, and begin posting them here on "HOW TO"


:)


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#2 of 31 DaveF

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Posted January 21 2011 - 11:10 AM

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#3 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 21 2011 - 01:10 PM

Living in Kansas City, I have a choice of providers.. for me, I chose Surewest.. the reasons were that I could get 25Mb download at an easy rate, and they were readily available.   Surewest, however, uses SDV (Switched Digital Video) to handle their digital video streams.   For those using cable card, this can be where confusion sets in, and Ceton does a fairly poor job of explaining this portion at their website, leading a lot of people to make big mistakes.   After playing with, and having fun with two cable cards (8 tuners), I decided to switch.  A big part of it was the SDVs.. in my case, Cisco STA 1520s.


For those not familiar, a Switched Tuning Adapter looks and works far differently then you would think.  It is NOT a cable box.   It's RF "output" doesn't need to, and really shouldn't be connected to anything.   What it is is a tuning adapter that sends a signal back to your provider as to what channels to provide your cablecard.    Once you realize this, you'll understand that the configuration needs to be different.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


So, in a situation of FOUR STAs, I end up with a big stack of SDV tuners, and they are connected like this:


              INITIAL CABLE INPUT

                     5-Way Splitter

I-SDV1    I-SDV2  I-SDV3 I-SDV4 I-Cablecard


YOU DO NOT USE THE OUTPUT ON ANY OF THE TUNING ADAPTERS!!!   THIS IS IMPORTANT!!   This also means that you occupy FOUR USB ports for these devices so that you show up in the device manager as tuners.


After a while, however, I have decided to go a different route to accomplish something different, as well as get what I want.   So, I removed a cable card (which I may move elsewhere later) and inserted a trusty ATI-650HD Card (Dual Tuner, HD/SD) and re-attached a SiliconDust HD-HomeRun HD.    These will get me ClearQAM on HD (for 3 more tuners of HD potential content, so 7 there) and 1 tuner for analog only (The first 94 channels in my cable guide.)


They show up in my device manager like this:


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


So, in my device manager I now see: my two Cisco Tuning adapters (under USB) and under Video Devices I see my ATI & SiliconDust... wait, where's the Ceton?!?! The Ceton isn't lost, it will appear underneath the network adapters, not underneath audio/video devices.


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#4 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 21 2011 - 02:13 PM

Next piece of advice:   My Media Center, the unit with 8 Tuners, powers 2 XBOX360s throughout the house for Media Center Extender. With 4Tuners, you're recommended FOUR GIG. Add 1 Gig of Memory for each tuner after that (This is obviously X64 Win7). So, for 8 Tuners, 2 Extenders, I am currently running 8GB of RAM. RAM is cheap right now, very cheap, so grab the kits while you can, it will make this a lot easier to deal with.


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#5 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 12:31 AM

Now we get to why you do this configuration.   There are advantages to using mixed tuners, some of which are because of the way that cable companies handle there station layouts.. I'll address that later.   The first is that we run a utility called "Tuner Salad" (See the Wiki here for CETON) which will enable you 8 tuners.   I had already done this in the past, so no need to do it now.    Going through TV setup is easy - Windows will instantly populate all channels for analog and cablecard, but it does not grab QAM, you will have to manually add later.  I'll get to that.  Ok, once you move into the Windows Guide, you'll see all of your channel lists.   Your analogs will be normal (2-94 or whatever your carrier is)  QAM will show up in your guide as a number and an ID, so say, 121.11.   Cablecard addresses will show up as they do in your cable system.  (224, 398, 660 etc.)


Now the fun begins.

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Here, I'm looking at my guide, I've chosen a channel which is in my analog guide.. Spike.  Now, I also have SpikeHD (but that's cablecard).   But for the sake of this, I want to see the sources for Spike, analog.

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Using the remote control, I click the "I" button (Info) and get the popup guide.  I get the normal choices, to make it a favorite, update my guide, etc.   This time, I'm interested in Editing the Channel.   I'm brought to a screen that lets me rename it (just in case the windows guide is wrong or my cable provider moves it) updating the listings, and for this, updating the source.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Now, it shows us the sources. It shows me that five tuners will manage this analog connection. An ATI Card, and my Ceton cable card adapter. I've decided that I want my ATI card to grab them first, as it has a lower CPU usage. Wait, with cablecard why would I realy do this? Isn't there everything on Digital? Unfortunately no. Having a kid who loves to record NickJr TV, which isn't in the digital tier at Everest, means that channel #29 gets as much work on my DVR as anything else. This lowers down the demands. Ok, so that addresses analogs.   We move on to ClearQAM channels.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Here, I've chosen a clearQAM channel. KCTV5, our CBS affiliate.  I used the same steps as above, except this time on channel 104.3 ... the .X identifies it as ClearQAM.   Here, Windows identifies SIX tuners... 2 ClearQAM (SiliconDust) and 4 Cablecard tuners.   Because these channels are clearQAM, Windows automatically assumes I want the SiliconDust ahead of the cable card.   This is correct.   In fact, I will normally go back and "uncheck" the cable card option so it is not used for these.   This is because CableCard doesn't always see ClearQAM. 

So, what is the perk of ClearQAM adapters?   Well, two fold:  Again, I pick up ThisTV on ClearQAM, which isn't anywhere in Everest digital guide.  But there is another perk.. Everest provides DMX audio channels... (you know, 70s music, 80s music, etc.).   These channels aren't included on CableCard, and while they show up in your guide (900 range channels) they immediately point out "incompatible hardware" when you try to tune them.  And yet, SiliconDust can grab them and provide them into your guide just fine :)


Now, let's look at what happens when we chose a cablecard channel.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Here, I've chosen a cablecard channel, NikP (Nickelodeon Pacific TZ). Windows detects this, and realizes that this is only available on Cablecard, and immediately gives me the options of only cablecard to tune this channel.


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#6 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 01:36 AM

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Now that you have your guide setup, before we move on, we have to setup where it's going to record all of these shows. I won't get into the Windows Home Server portions, so I just want to address local storage. Because of the way your Ceton and cards will want to write data, you are best to have your storage drive NOT as your boot drive. In my case, I am using a 500GB drive for my "Boot", and a 2TB which is divided into my music, picture and TV storage.  Now, here, I've devoted 1TB because that's a likely choice for people.   That's 114 Hours of HD, 278 Hours of non-HD content at "Best".. and "Normal" or below, it's around 800Hrs.   To be honest, if you have a big drive, use "Best".

Also note, moving your TV moves your Live TV pause buffer to this drive.  One of the things you'll notice here is that I've xtended my Live TV Pause Buffer.. Windows normally has it set as 40 Minutes of buffer.   I have set my buffer at 2 hours.   If you want to do that, you can do it here..


http://www.hack7mc.c...dia-center.html


With multiple tuners, this provides each of my XBOX's and my main media center enough look forward and look back time.. so watch a program (without recording) hit pause, and be OK with the idea that they will not lose their spot.  The moment you go over 4 Tuners, you will definitely want to increase LiveTV Pause Buffer.


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#7 of 31 DaveF

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Posted January 22 2011 - 01:47 AM

I've missed the impetus behind all this. Why is it better to have a a complex mix of tuner cards instead of two four-tuner cards?



#8 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 01:51 AM

Hopefully didn't bore you too bad dave :)   I'm just keeping it for those that do it.. I'll post up some Youtubes after I edit them to get my youngest kid out of the clip regarding card installs, cabling, etc. and results.  :)  

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#9 of 31 DaveF

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Posted January 22 2011 - 01:55 AM

No, I'm curious as to what you're doing and why. (And since Tivo seems to get worse and worse with each iteration, I may need a new solution in a year.) I see the how. But I missed the why. Why is this complex mixture better than a simple setup?



#10 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 01:56 AM



Originally Posted by DaveF 

I've missed the impetus behind all this. Why is it better to have a a complex mix of tuner cards instead of two four-tuner cards?


Using 2 CETONs nets me everything on the cablecard * 8.   However, using 2 cable card tuners means I have 4 SDVs (which means 4 plugin boxes stacked next to my HTPC) which must be connected via USB.   cablecard covers most of what I want, however, analog content and "flat media" content is blocked from cablecard.. these are things like DMX channels, and some local channels.    I also mix in (though I'm not getting into this here, as it would require a lot of registry hack explanations) an OverTheAir HD (that's the antenna on the ATI) which receives 14 over the air stations I would not receive otherwise.. mostly stuff like QUBO, etc.


But, using this solution, my cable bill goes down $25 a month by turning in the SDVs, I gain access to HD stations on ClearQAM I wouldn't get otherwise (This!TV) as well as an analog tuner, which is a good fall back in case of an SDV sync error.. it also means analog recordings can be done at lower bitrates and lesser CPU usage, minimizing the amount of power I'm pushing.  :)


For a lot of people, a Single Ceton (4 tuners) would be more then enough.   8 tuners via 2 CETON would be easy.   But I'm showing this because a lot of people other places have looked into it.   They do it mostly to mix in Over-The-Air from a source like SiliconDust and a cable card.   Why would they do that?   Because frankly, Over the Air HD is higher quality then the HD I tend to get after it's went through the cable company.. at least so far that has been my experience.


For me, though, I'm doing it to get rid of some SDVs.  I could just as easily deal with just 2 cable card tuners.   But this solution also gets me full access to all the DMX channels I can't get otherwise (digital audio channels) and a few other channels that my carrier offers but doesn't put in their packages.  :)


NOTE:  later this year, Gateway (Acer) and HP are coming out with Windows 7MC Embedded boxes, which will be slimline cases, prebuilt, with a cablecard input and an HDMI output.  For some looking for this experience without the hastle, the rumored price point on those is going to be about $600, and it may be a great option.


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#11 of 31 DaveF

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Posted January 22 2011 - 03:30 AM

Thanks. I'm starting to read a bit about Windows media computers. Next year might be the time for me to switch from Tivo to a new system. I'm in no hurry, but it's helpful to start understanding the current technology and options. I'm still OTA-only (no cable /dish), so I'm more interested in those options; but that could change in a year. And even with OTA-only, we use four tuners in two Tivos to record everything. Because Tivo doesn't have any "hivemind" approach for coordinating multiple devices in the same household, a four-tuner, single-box system would be a real upgrade for us. What you're doing is overkill for me, but shows the options and features available.


Do you have streaming devices on other TVs in the house that pull content from the 8-tuner uberbox?




#12 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 03:44 AM

Yes.   In our bedroom, we use an XBOX360, which has access for the full media center; so it can access anything we've recorded and show the shows.   You can support up to 8 Extenders, so any XBOX or Linksys Extender (harder to find) will have access to all the tuners and any media you've recorded, and can schedule recordings, etc.   That's why I made the note about extending the buffer. Media center will also share out stored media, check software like MediaBrowser.TV or MyMovies.Info for more information on that, and anything you store will be saved and accessible anywhere also.


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#13 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 03:59 AM

I should probably do one to show a setup with just over the air.. it's actually pretty surprising some of the things you can do with over the air and then IPTV.   I had no problem over the air getting 80% of what I watch, and since IPTV would bring in shows from USA, etc. that broadcast on the net, plus BBC and ITV, it's not a bad solution for the frugal ;)



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#14 of 31 DaveF

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Posted January 22 2011 - 04:24 AM

Frugality. That was the original impetus. Now it's self preservation. Given how much we watch with just five channels, having 500 would be very bad Posted Image (but I don't mind not spending $60/mo on cable)



#15 of 31 mattCR

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Posted January 22 2011 - 10:51 AM

I completely understand ;)  Since I'm providing the tuner, etc. and the first two SDVs are on the house, my monthly cable (for TV) is $40.  I can deal with it.  :)


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#16 of 31 SkellyII

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Posted August 17 2011 - 04:53 AM

Matt, Great post! :tu: Just used your instructions to pair up my old Hauppage 2250 with my new Ceton. BTW: I'm on Time Warner, and they just updated their TAs to the new firmware, so you now only need 1 TA per Ceton. If you're on SureWest, you're probably pretty close to me, I'm out in Lenexa

#17 of 31 mattCR

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Posted August 17 2011 - 05:21 AM

Yep, by law, everyone was supposed to update their TA's on August 1st.  :)   So that was good.


I'm glad this helped!!

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#18 of 31 iridium130m

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Posted August 19 2011 - 03:20 AM

Great guide, i'm getting ready to do this this afternoon to get rid of my crummy Surewest DVR box (i'm on my 3rd one in the last couple months). For the cisco tuning adapters, for a single ceton 4 tuner card, do i only need 1 tuning adapter to cover it?

#19 of 31 mattCR

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Posted August 19 2011 - 03:53 AM


Yep.   That now has to be true.   Before it could be two, but all of the new tuning adapters must support a minimum of 4 tuned channels.

Originally Posted by iridium130m 

Great guide, i'm getting ready to do this this afternoon to get rid of my crummy Surewest DVR box (i'm on my 3rd one in the last couple months).

For the cisco tuning adapters, for a single ceton 4 tuner card, do i only need 1 tuning adapter to cover it?





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#20 of 31 iridium130m

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Posted August 22 2011 - 12:25 PM

Got my ceton tuner, sta1520 tuning adapters, cable card, hdcp compliant video card, etc. etc. Win7 set up, cablecard activated, and I can tune to some of the channels on surewest. -10db on signal strength and a solid picture on what is tuning. As for the tuning adapters, i cannot seem to get them to initialize. I plug one in, green light blinks every now and then (sometime double blinks, then sometime longer solid blinks) but seem to always turn off, and then repeat the cycle every 5 - 10 minutes. Surewest has sent the activation signal multiple times without much luck. Tuning adapter on the 192.168.200.1 ceton web page shows "Waiting for initialization" on the tuning adapters while the ceton infinitv diagnostics say Not sure if this is a function of the media center needing to initialize the tuning adapter, or surewest. But I am at a complete loss now. :confused: Any ideas? Thanks! http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/




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