Monday, February 14, 2011

First Sage TV experience

Got a request from a friend to setup a media server for his home and wanted to try out something different other then windows media center. I love Windows media center, but its inability to give live tv to client machines is a big negative....I am not really sure why Microsoft is not able to extend the windows media center experience to other PC's in the house which can act as a client.

Here are the requirements I came up with.
1.Build a server to host all movies and play DVD/MKV/AVI and Bluray seamlessly
2.Dual tuner to record OTA and also stuff from Direct TV STB
3.Enough storage to host movies, pictures, music and home video
4.Same user interface experience in the basement with ability to watch live TV. Also pause and resume in the second room or vice versa was a functionality that I desired to give.

With this in mind, I experimented on a few solutions.
1. Tried the Patriot Box Office (PBO). Even though it played most of the videos, bluray playback was very bad with lot of hiccups even on my 1GB home network. Added to that the User interface was terrible.
2. Tried Western Digital....experience was much better.

But both these solutions coupled with the server PC does not give me live TV. So finally arrived at experimenting Sage TV V7.

Installed Sage V7 on my server and things went pretty well. Sage was able to play pretty much every video including dvr-ms. It cannot however play WTV files. Also it could not play bluray menus, but played blurays without any issues. As a second step, installed Sage client on my laptop and then used the client to watch live tv and other videos and the experience was just amazing.

So finally decided on the solution for my new setup for Karthik.
1.Server running windows 7 with 5 Tb storage. 1 Tb partitioned to hold O/S and Tv recordings. The rest 4TB to hold all the other media.
2.Sage V7 will run on this box and will record TV shows from a Hauppage 2250 dual tuner.
3. For the other room, ordered the Sage HD300 which will act as an extender, giving the same experience in the other room.

Details and photos on the build to follow in the next few days.

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