SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME Digital Cable Tuner

Aug 24 2011

HDHomeRun PRIME

As the long-time leader in network connected digital TV tuners, when SiliconDust announced the three CableCARD tuner HDHomeRun PRIME labeling it “highly-anticipated” would be an understatement.  Offering native support for Window 7 Media Center via its gigabit Ethernet port, the PRIME is also unique in what is becoming a [welcomely] crowded market for Digital Cable Tuners (DCT) not just because of its attractive price point, but also because as a standalone network device it does not require a PC host or drivers to function with other devices or software implementing the Digital Receiver Interface (DRI) specification.    Explicit network support reaps a more obvious benefit as well--providing freedom to locate the DCT and home theater PC (HTPC) in discrete, convenient locations as well as provide a full cable lineup to chassis with limited (or no) internal PCIe expansion. 

Hardware

The HDHomeRun PRIME’s flat black exterior, muted status LEDs and small size provide an ideal form factor for locating in the A/V stack or most any location with access to cable and Ethernet drops because the built in gigabit port exposes the three internal CableCARD tuners to any other device on the same network.  Inside the retail friendly packaging cables for power, RG6 coaxial and Cat 5e Ethernet are provided with the device alongside a couple quickstart-guides for installation and the download location for drivers because a driver disk is notably absent.  Instead of criticism the slight hassle this omission could cause is actually a good thing as it reduces waste with the files only truly useful for a very limited amount of time as new revisions become available online, but also cuts down on support issues by forcing users to get the latest set when installing the PRIME.

Along the front we find five unlabeled status LEDs; which left-to-right [probably] indicate power/readiness (the light is initially red when starting up then turns green), M-CARD status (off when no CableCARD is present and blinks initially, then becomes solid when one is inserted) and streaming status for the three tuners.  With connectors for coaxial, USB providing connectivity for a switch digital video* (SDV) adapter (aka tuning adapter), Gigabit Ethernet and multi-stream CableCARD (M-CARD) ports located on the back.  Except for the guess-work, the LEDs are just about perfect for a device intended for a media room, with enough light output to be useful but not so bright (or blinky) as to negatively impact the room. 

* The cable provider (Cox) used in testing does not deploy SDV adapters in my location so it was not possible to test this feature   

Setup

To use the PRIME with Windows 7 Media Center (7MC) the setup package downloaded from SiliconDust’s website must be installed on each PC.  For most users this will just require clicking through it, but for those without Microsoft’s .NET 4.0 present the installer will download and install it-- which may require a reboot.

After the drivers are installed the PRIME must be configured on the PC by running “HDHomeRun Setup” either from the last screen of the installer or via the Start Menu (located in the HDHomeRun folder) which enables the tuners to be seen by the instance of 7MC on the PC.  The process is documented in the quick guide and is relatively straightforward--just enter the zip code and set each tuner to “CableCARD”.  The last tab in the tool also provides a checkbox for sending diagnostic information to SiliconDust should there be an issue requiring assistance. 

With initial setup complete the next step was launching 7MC to configure the tuners and pair the CableCARD with the DCT.  It should be noted that pairing only needs to be done once; after it is completed you still need to go through the motions in 7MC on the other PCs but no additional phone calls to the cable provider are required.  For those not using 7MC with Copy-Freely content it is not necessary to run through TV tuner setup in the application as the CableCARD and Host ID (what you need to pair the two) are also exposed on the PRIME’s web interface.  Installing the HDHomeRun software is also not required, but the included configuration utility is an easy way to find the IP address of the device (it is also displayed as a UPnP media device in Windows Explorer) as well as providing useful diagnostic information.

Given that the choice for “Digital Cable” was provided in the setup application, I expected that the PRIME would also function as a ClearQAM tuner with that selected and an M-CARD absent from the device.  This was not the case however, as 7MC was unable to automatically detect a QAM tuner or provide the option when manually configuring the tuners.  That said using the PRIME as a ClearQAM tuner is an odd use case as any functionality it provides would be better served by selecting one of SiliconDust’s lower priced network attached ATSC/QAM tuners

To test the PRIME three PCs were configured to use it as a DCT inside of 7MC.  For an unknown reason one of the PCs was unable to properly locate and configure all of the tuners on the device so it was necessary to force the discovery process by running “%windir%\ehome\ehprivjob.exe /OCURDiscovery” from a command prompt.  Afterwards each was available and was able to connect properly.  With no prior experience with the HDHomeRun’s tuner sharing feature I found that configuring each PC with all of the tuners produced the most desirable outcome for how I expected it to work (feel free to disagree in the comments).  Mostly because when only one was selected tune requests would fail if another PC was currently using that tuner, even if others were free at the time.

In Use

StateWatts
On4.8
One Tuner Active5.7
Two Tuners Active6.4
Three Tuners Active7.1

Taking a brief look at power consumption we see numbers that are consistent with the device’s function and in-line with my expectations for a network connected device of this type.  I am happy to see that draw is directly tied to demand, with the device ranging from 4.8W when not streaming to 7.1W (guessing - 0.2 CableCARD overhead + 0.7x3) when all tuners are in use.

HDHomeRun PRIME Network Utilization

All PC DCTs are essentially network devices, but the PRIME is the first that is explicitly exposed on the network by design.  With that in mind it should be noted that performance may vary among networks depending on the hardware between it and the PC/PCs that receive the data streamed from the device.  That said, given the results captured above while recording three HD streams to a single PC it should be clear that Gigabit Ethernet provides enough headroom for it to function reliably.

HDHomeRun PRIME MC Events

To access the PRIME’s stability and robustness several extended recording sessions were scheduled with all three tuners active across a combination of the three PCs included in the testing pool.  Initial results produced a relatively high fail rate, but after replacing the included network cable with another (Monoprice Cat6) the device became much more reliable with the PRIME able to complete 14 hours of recording before producing the result captured above.  The cabling issue is mostly likely an isolated incident but there does appear to be a larger issue with the device’s firmware, the driver or its interaction with 7MC.  Also, the impact is aggravated because once a specific tuner failed for a specific PC that tuner was permanently unavailable to that PC until the affected machine or the PRIME was rebooted.  Increasing PC count had a small negative impact on overall reliability, with tuner failures occurring more frequently than when only one PC was interacting with the PRIME.  Given the newness of the drivers and device firmware some issues were not unexpected, especially under these conditions.  SiliconDust has been notified of the issues encountered during testing and they are currently evaluating the data for a solution.  Given their proven track record of solid support I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect a quick resolution; we will of course continue testing the device and provide an update as soon as one is available.  Recording issues aside, tuning speed was excellent usually clocking in around three to four seconds when channel surfing and around ten seconds after resuming from standby. 

UPDATE - 09/03/2011

HDHomeRun PRIME 24 Hour Success

I am happy to report that with the latest beta firmware the PRIME was able to complete 24+ hours of continuous, error free recording with all three tuner. Kudos to SiliconDust for getting the issues fixed so quickly.

HDHomeRun PRIME SageDCT

On the PRIME’s product page SiliconDust explicitly calls out Copy-Freely support for the device in MythTV, but SageTV is understandably not listed because DCTs are not officially supported by the company and unlikely now that it is owned by Google with future development as a standalone product in question.  Fortunately, they provide a way for third-parties to enable otherwise unsupported capture devices, so SageDCT was recently updated to recognize and interact with the PRIME, bringing its capabilities to the SageTV platform.

Conclusion

Offering three CableCARD tuners the SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME has enormous potential despite the issues encountered during stress testing.  Its unique capabilities including explicit network support, advanced tuner sharing and excellent form factor position the PRIME for success in the Digital Cable Tuner market.  Coupling the feature set with an attractive price ($249.99) the PRIME reshaped the market for CableCARD devices even before retail availability, and I expect that its combination of feature set and value will continue to do so as the product evolves. 

UPDATE - 09/03/2011

Despite the unique value provided but the PRIME, it was impossible to recommend the device because of the stability issues encountered in the initial evaluation. Happily, with a recent firmware update that is no longer the case as SiliconDust was able to identify, and resolve the problems with the device now able to successfully pass the 24+ hour stress test - reinforcing our confidence that the HDHomeRun PRIME would live up to its potential.

Pro:

  • Network attached via Gigabit Ethernet
  • Great form factor; small, easy to hide, LEDs are bright enough without spotlighting the room
  • Advanced tuner sharing
  • Channel change speed
  • Power consumption

Con:

  • Device stability, especially when using multiple PCs

Thanks to SiliconDust for providing the review unit.

Comments

I've been real interested in the "Advanced tuner sharing" aspect of the HDHomeruns when using 7MC.  I didn't get clearly from your review if you could setup multiple 7MC PCs with all 3 tuners and if one was in use it would pick the next one available.  Is this the way it works?

Yes.  When each PC was setup w/ all the tuners it would select a free tuner (if one was available).  If none is available then the tune request fails.

OK well that answers that question.  Thanks for the reply and the review.

"Recording issues aside, tuning speed was excellent usually clocking in around three to four seconds when channel surfing and around ten seconds after resuming from standby."

Excellent? Seriously? At this speed channel surfing will be unbearable.

Who channel surfs anymore?  I just read the guide or search :S and even then I can't stand watching LIVE TV, ill set a show to be recorded and come back later and watch it so I can skip commercials, etc.. Why waste my time for ads/marketing.. Plenty else I can do with those minutes Tongue

nerdshowandtell wrote:

Who channel surfs anymore?  I just read the guide or search :S and even then I can't stand watching LIVE TV, ill set a show to be recorded and come back later and watch it so I can skip commercials, etc.. Why waste my time for ads/marketing.. Plenty else I can do with those minutes Tongue

Exactly!  If you have a HTPC DVR and still channel surf, you either need a bigger hard drive or are missing the point Smile

"Number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million"

- Not this guy :) 

nerdshowandtell wrote:

Who channel surfs anymore?  I just read the guide or search :S and even then I can't stand watching LIVE TV, ill set a show to be recorded and come back later and watch it so I can skip commercials, etc.. Why waste my time for ads/marketing.. Plenty else I can do with those minutes Tongue

Apparently you're not a sports fan, since you can't stand live TV. Going back and forth between games shouldn't take 4 seconds. This delay is one of many reasons I don't have a crappy cable company STB. I was hoping SD would do better. BTW, channel surfing is a great way to find shows you never would have thought watching by only looking at the guide. This is how we found many of our favorite shows.

Why watch sports live either Tongue

When I sit down to watch some football, I save an hour of my life by recording the game for about an hour and then skipping all of those commercials. By the time I'm at the end of the game, I've caught up to real time.

YES - exactly.. Also if your switching between games, you can set both (or more) to be recorded, and then switching between the two would be just switching between the recordings - not channel changing - which should be faster then tuning.. (depending on media server setup)

try sitting in a room with all the Windows Media Center development team and trying to explain to them why split screen or PIP is such an important feature that needed to be in there (10 years ago), and then you'll realize there simply are not a ton of sports lovers around! (They were literally baffled about why i couldn't just record the other game on)

that being said, have you found any digital STB from anyone that tunes instantly like the good ol analog days? I've used DirecTV, Dish, Comcast, Time Warner and they all experience the same lag.

Cue the new ESPN3/XBox360 update, http://www.missingremote.com/news/2011-08-26/espn3-steps-plate-xbox-360-update, where they can have split screen viewing of two games or events.

Wilma wrote:

Apparently you're not a sports fan, since you can't stand live TV. Going back and forth between games shouldn't take 4 seconds. This delay is one of many reasons I don't have a crappy cable company STB. I was hoping SD would do better.

Conditional access takes time.  As much as we'd like it not to, it's just one of those things that you don't have a choice with if you want the other (good) stuff HD cable nets.

Wilma wrote:

BTW, channel surfing is a great way to find shows you never would have thought watching by only looking at the guide. This is how we found many of our favorite shows.

I'm not sure I buy that, too much like fishing.  Sure you'll catch an occasional "big one", but unless you do it all day you're not going to get enough food to sustain yourself (or your family). 

babgvant wrote:

Wilma wrote:

BTW, channel surfing is a great way to find shows you never would have thought watching by only looking at the guide. This is how we found many of our favorite shows.

I'm not sure I buy that, too much like fishing.  Sure you'll catch an occasional "big one", but unless you do it all day you're not going to get enough food to sustain yourself (or your family). 

Gosh, don't you ever go to the mall (or the park) simply to walk around and see what you come across? Or get in the car just to drive around an unexplored area of your county and see what it looks like? Or, do you always know exactly where you're going and what you're going to do once you get there?

At least in our household, serendipity and exploration are two of the joys of life. Channel surfing gives a way to put the two together when you don't want to leave the house. Sure, often you don't find anything, but so what -- the whole point is to explore.

 

jeam wrote:

Gosh, don't you ever go to the mall (or the park) simply to walk around and see what you come across?

The mall, no.  Whatever potential for discovery exists there is buried under so much useless muck any value that could be obtained is forever diminished by the slog surrounding it.  Which closely mirrors how I feel about channel surfing.

jeam wrote:

At least in our household, serendipity and exploration are two of the joys of life. Channel surfing gives a way to put the two together when you don't want to leave the house. Sure, often you don't find anything, but so what -- the whole point is to explore.

I agree that exploration is an important part of developing the mind, both as an adult and as a child - I just don't think that TV is a good/productive venue for that activity. 

jeam wrote:

Gosh, don't you ever go to the mall (or the park) simply to walk around and see what you come across? Or get in the car just to drive around an unexplored area of your county and see what it looks like? Or, do you always know exactly where you're going and what you're going to do once you get there?

At least in our household, serendipity and exploration are two of the joys of life. Channel surfing gives a way to put the two together when you don't want to leave the house. Sure, often you don't find anything, but so what -- the whole point is to explore.

With the web and information at our disposal, we have a much more effective means of channel surfing and discovery at our disposal. Now, I will scope out what comes on before each season and set up series recordings on every show I might possibly be interested in. This is a vastly superior use of my time and more effective means of discovery than flipping channels.

Wilma wrote:

"Recording issues aside, tuning speed was excellent usually clocking in around three to four seconds when channel surfing and around ten seconds after resuming from standby."

Excellent? Seriously? At this speed channel surfing will be unbearable.

1) Have you used a HD STB lately? 

2) IMO channel surfing (and linear TV) is a primitive way to consume content so the concept itself is unbearable; 3-4 seconds to change the channel makes it slightly less so.

babgvant wrote:

Wilma wrote:

"Recording issues aside, tuning speed was excellent usually clocking in around three to four seconds when channel surfing and around ten seconds after resuming from standby."

Excellent? Seriously? At this speed channel surfing will be unbearable.

1) Have you used a HD STB lately? 

2) IMO channel surfing (and linear TV) is a primitive way to consume content so the concept itself is unbearable; 3-4 seconds to change the channel makes it slightly less so.

This whole series of comments/discussion you could say are in a way arguing against Media Center and TV at all. If channel surfing is last decade and recording is the purpose of HTPC well I can just get a Roku or similar, and stream Netflix, HULU, web browser content and watch that way. I don't have to remember to record something and I do not have to worry did it work or not. I do not have to have TB drives of storage and expensive hardware to support. Actually I think the idea of live TV and channel changing (CableCard) is why I have an HTPC and more specifically Media Center. I can't believe how many people have an HTPC and don't use it for TV at all. It cut my cable bill in half. I do watch more stuff now online but my kids and wife watch a lot of live TV still.

rarefc3s wrote:

This whole series of comments/discussion you could say are in a way arguing against Media Center and TV at all. If channel surfing is last decade and recording is the purpose of HTPC well I can just get a Roku or similar, and stream Netflix, HULU, web browser content and watch that way. I don't have to remember to record something and I do not have to worry did it work or not. I do not have to have TB drives of storage and expensive hardware to support. Actually I think the idea of live TV and channel changing (CableCard) is why I have an HTPC and more specifically Media Center. I can't believe how many people have an HTPC and don't use it for TV at all. It cut my cable bill in half. I do watch more stuff now online but my kids and wife watch a lot of live TV still.

In a perfect world where streaming content offers access to the same pool of real HD content with decent audio w/o commercials whenever I want to consume it - you'll get no argument from me about whether it is better than what we have now.  Of course that world doesn't exist and probably won't in the short term because the infrastructure to deliver that just doesn't exist or in the long term because of licensing windows.

In the current environment only VUDU offers IP delivered content that is good enough to replace what I get from a solution like the PRIME.  That said, the depth of their library is serious lacking when it comes to TV and the pricing model is not comparable either.  Netflix has more content but the time windows and PQ/AQ is not good enough.  Bringing Hulu, or frankly most other web based content, into the equation further erodes the comparison.

HTPC DVR provide the ability to locally cache large amounts of high quality content freeing use to consume it when, where and how we want. While it's true that we still have to leverage linear TV delivery to get the content, it is primitive to continue to base consumption on that outdated model. 

rarefc3s wrote:

babgvant wrote:

Wilma wrote:

"Recording issues aside, tuning speed was excellent usually clocking in around three to four seconds when channel surfing and around ten seconds after resuming from standby."

Excellent? Seriously? At this speed channel surfing will be unbearable.

1) Have you used a HD STB lately? 

2) IMO channel surfing (and linear TV) is a primitive way to consume content so the concept itself is unbearable; 3-4 seconds to change the channel makes it slightly less so.

This whole series of comments/discussion you could say are in a way arguing against Media Center and TV at all. If channel surfing is last decade and recording is the purpose of HTPC well I can just get a Roku or similar, and stream Netflix, HULU, web browser content and watch that way. I don't have to remember to record something and I do not have to worry did it work or not. I do not have to have TB drives of storage and expensive hardware to support. Actually I think the idea of live TV and channel changing (CableCard) is why I have an HTPC and more specifically Media Center. I can't believe how many people have an HTPC and don't use it for TV at all. It cut my cable bill in half. I do watch more stuff now online but my kids and wife watch a lot of live TV still.

Disagree Smile The only reason Channel Surfing ever existed was because back in the day there was no TV guide integrated.

And at least for me, my HTPC is WAYYYY more than just for TV, and can crush a Roku in regards to how i use it. I know you know this, but just in case people unaware skim this thread and take it at full value...

i would like to know how it does with SDV while multiple computers running? I had SDV problems with the Beta drivers from Ceton, i dont have the issue no more.

amador wrote:

i would like to know how it does with SDV while multiple computers running? I had SDV problems with the Beta drivers from Ceton, i dont have the issue no more.

Unfortunately for the review (fortunately for my purposes in general Smile) Cox where I live don't use SDV so I can't test it.  Aaron does have SDV where he lives and is working on the review for the Hauppauge DCT (a two tuner USB version of the PRIME) so there could be parallels.

Andrew,  does the HDHomeRun Setup application just need to be run once, or is it something that needs to be run on each PC?  Also, if it is run from each PC, would the Tuners tab be where you can disable a tuner from being used for that PC, or would static assignment be done manually in the WMC live TV setup process?

The setup package must be installed on each PC that will interact directly with the PRIME when using 7MC.  To control tuner assignment during TV setup select the tuner you want to use on the PC like in the screenshots below.

That's what I thought.  Thanks!

It's lowest power state is 4.8W? No lower standby state and wake-on-LAN?

Yes, it pulled 4.8W when not in use.  Properly implementing WOL would be a hard thing to accomplish, especially in an ecosystem not under direct control by SD.

Clearly there is a trade-off b/w power consumption and flexibility from decoupling the DCT from the PC's power state, but if you plan to use tuner sharing it should be a large net gain compared to a device dependent on a host PC.

I am about to pull the trigger on this thing, but I need a little more information into network performance... Is Gigabit Ethernet a requirement (or just a recommendation)? What about WiFi-n? 

etnpnys wrote:

I am about to pull the trigger on this thing, but I need a little more information into network performance... Is Gigabit Ethernet a requirement (or just a recommendation)? What about WiFi-n? 

Let's call Gigabit Ethernet is a strong recommendation if you want to do anything else with the same network interface on the PC.  I don't have an 100Mb hardware to create a real test environment but it should work with a dedicated NIC.  For one stream wireless will work under the right conditions, but there are too many variables in play (mostly hardware and environmental) for any testing that I do to be valid in a broader context so YMMV.

That's enough info for me to still pull the trigger. Thanx!!

I am using a Xbox to watch TV via a wireless N router with DD-WRT on it. It works but was a bit of work to get it working and currently if I try to do anything else on the network it causes problems. Why they put wireless-N on the Xbox but a 100Mbps card is beyond me

New firmware dropped - updating now.

Change log:

Release 20110826beta1

Windows:
* Do not unregister Prime tuners when saving configuration in HDHomeRun Setup - fixes problem where WMC may stop playing / recording TV during the configuration saved process.

HDHR3-CC Firmware:
* Fix SNR reporting for OOB tuner.
* Report OOB Lock as "weak" if lock but poor signal strength or signal quality.
* Improvements to USB handling.
* Improvements to support logging.

You might want to wait until after the labor day weekend (they don't expect to start stocking other suppliers until then anyway). Once they hit wide availability there may be a price correction. And they might just have worked on that tuner disconnecting issue which happens on both the 3CC and 6CC units.

 

I agree, one week into the revised release date, SiliconDust is shipping orders but they have not filled the orders from people who ordered on the first day.   

Think twice about counting on getting one of these anytime soon.

Got mine yesterday from the egg...picking up M-card manana.

Just updated the review to reflect that the PRIME is now able to complete the stress test successfully.

To run sagedct with the prime do you have to have a windows 7 on for the sagedct to tune or work? I'm assuming since this is a true network DCT that my sage server running windows xp would only need sagedct installed and would not need to have windows 7 computer except for the initial install of the prime software. Is this correct or does  windows 7 need to be in between the sage server XP and the prime for it to work? 

SageDCT should work on XP+.  I need to change the installer to stop enforcing Windows 7.  My bad, I think I changed that for 1.6, but forgot to point it out in the release notes.

So if I buy a prime it will work fine with sage on xp as long as the stations are copy freely. Andrew thanks for your time and all the things you write to make sage better.

Mechlingburg wrote:

So if I buy a prime it will work fine with sage on xp as long as the stations are copy freely.

I can say that the UPnP libraries that SageDCT uses to interact with DCTs with are on XP (pretty sure they were a new feature with that OS) so it should, but I can't guarantee it because I haven't tried Smile

Mechlingburg wrote:

Andrew thanks for your time and all the things you write to make sage better.

[Copy Freely] CableCARD is one of those technologies that completes the HTPC experience, so I'm happy to do whatever I can to bring it to the widest audience possible.

On the podcast, which I'm finally listening to, you mention that the problems have been worked out on the SD problems. However there are current postings (by the minute) with people still losing channel maps, TA problems, communication problems, etc. The last beta was beta2 on 9/07 and while it helped some people there are still many with trouble.

Too bad you don't have SDV in your area since that seems to be a big problem for many people.

Not having SDV is bad from a reviewer standpoint, but I'm really happy that I don't have to deal with it as a user Smile

With the latest firmware revisions I can no longer reproduce the stability issues noted in the review.  I can only speak to issues that I've encountered or can reproduce, so my comments on the podcast should be taken in that context.

I don't mean to diminish the issues that have been reported by others, but I am confident enough in the progress that SD has made with stability to continue evaluating it on my production system (using SageDCT) where I would not have attempted that when the review was published.  So far the results have been very good.

I had no issues with stability for several days using firmware 20110902beta1, however I pushed it and updated to the latest beta firmware 20110907beta2, and now SageDCT no longer works (except if you try to tune a channel several times in a row, it may sometimes work).. Everything else is working still (HDHomerun QuickTV, VLC Player, WMC, etc.) - so something with the SageDCT Connection method broke in this latest firmware.  I've started sending my logs to SiliconDust, so hopefully they can resolve the issue.. 

On a side note, when SageDCT does tune a channel, its INSTANT - and i mean FAST as QuickTV, etc.  So hopefully when this is all said and done, we get the best of both worlds..

- ALSO A SIDE NOTE! -

You can not revert back to a previous firmware with the HDHomerun Prime, so don't upgrade unless you want to be the tester without your TV for a few days Smile

nerdshowandtell wrote:

I had no issues with stability for several days using firmware 20110902beta1, however I pushed it and updated to the latest beta firmware 20110907beta2, and now SageDCT no longer works (except if you try to tune a channel several times in a row, it may sometimes work).. Everything else is working still (HDHomerun QuickTV, VLC Player, WMC, etc.) - so something with the SageDCT Connection method broke in this latest firmware.  I've started sending my logs to SiliconDust, so hopefully they can resolve the issue..

That's weird, I'm using it with SageDCT and everything has worked fine with 20110907beta2.  If you enable verbose logging and email me the log file I can have a look.

SD just released a Beta3 version (had to return to Cable Labs to fix an issue with OOB lock and disappearing channels for many users). This seems to have fixed that issue but there is at least one report that SageTV doesn't work again. (Might be your same user above). Nick has also asked for a log file from the SD utility.

Growing pains. There are still TAs out there that only work for two streams and that's causing trouble where you have to only set-up two tuners in SDV systems.

Also there is a bug with the tuner sharing if you use Live TV it will only work on one Media Center machine since MC doesn't try a second tuner for Live TV and will report no tuner available. This doesn't happen with Media Center Extenders just with the Prime appearing on multiple computers running Media Center. In these cases you should set up a machine for watching tv with only the last tuner and then the other machine won't "steal" it first.

John

johnw248 wrote:

SD just released a Beta3 version (had to return to Cable Labs to fix an issue with OOB lock and disappearing channels for many users). This seems to have fixed that issue but there is at least one report that SageTV doesn't work again. (Might be your same user above). Nick has also asked for a log file from the SD utility.

I think it is the same user.  Updated to B3 this morning and it's working great here.

A very welcome and thorough review. Many, many thanks. Having used USB based ATI cablecard tuners for a number of years, I have had my eye on this for some time now for the added shared network based functionality. One point of clarification on the testing that I am interested to know is that if multiple PCs select the same channel to watch, does the SiliconDust tuner, use multiple tuners or is it smart enough to select one tuner for all devices. If it does use a single tuner in this situation, does the SiliconDust network interface run at 10 Mbps or 30 Mbps? This assumes approx 10Mbps per HD stream. This could be tested with four PC, to see if teh fourth PC can watch the same channel as the other three or if it can select another channel. The point being, if the tuner can handle lots of PCs on a single tuner or not. Although, not apples to apples, a test that I have conducted with a PC, with USB based ATI tuner, selects a channel to watch, and then an extender on that PC selects that same channel, only one tuner is used.

jjwatmyself wrote:
A very welcome and thorough review. Many, many thanks. Having used USB based ATI cablecard tuners for a number of years, I have had my eye on this for some time now for the added shared network based functionality. One point of clarification on the testing that I am interested to know is that if multiple PCs select the same channel to watch, does the SiliconDust tuner, use multiple tuners or is it smart enough to select one tuner for all devices.

I'm not sure that the behavior you want to see is generally desirable (i.e. what happens when one of the users changes the channel?) and would be more a function of the PC SW than the device.  Theoretically it should be technically possible to multicast the TS packets and work out the UPnP orchestration, but AFAIK there's no support for that use case at the device or client level.

jjwatmyself wrote:

If it does use a single tuner in this situation, does the SiliconDust network interface run at 10 Mbps or 30 Mbps? This assumes approx 10Mbps per HD stream. This could be tested with four PC, to see if teh fourth PC can watch the same channel as the other three or if it can select another channel.

The network interface speed (100Mbps or 1000Mbps depending on the network) shouldn't change with streams; how much bandwidth consumed will of course.  IIRC HD streams can theoretically be as high as 38Mbps on cable networks, but are generally < 19 in practice.  It is not uncommon to see > 10.

jjwatmyself wrote:
The point being, if the tuner can handle lots of PCs on a single tuner or not. Although, not apples to apples, a test that I have conducted with a PC, with USB based ATI tuner, selects a channel to watch, and then an extender on that PC selects that same channel, only one tuner is used.

MC should behave the same with the PRIME as it did with the ATI DCT.

The tuner selection of Live TV was an issue up to I think 916B1, the current FW is 920B1. There are random reports of tuner selection issues with recording when using multiple machines. I only set mine up on a single machine and have done two recordings at once and back to back recording and watched live tv while the two recordings were taking place. I don't know what will happen if I set-up the tuner on other machines as well.

There is still one annoying problem. The first SDV tune after a period of time will return a message in the log "channel not available, alternative channel tuned" But it doesn't do that and tunes to the right channel. The bad part is that message is broadcast globally to all machines and extenders on my network and has to be removed for the screnn of any device running a picture (any streaming recorded or live). This only seems to happen with the first tune but why the message is sent to machines that the tuner isn't set-up on or paired with is a bit of a puzzlement.

John

Another update 9/25
Release 20110925a:Windows:
HDHomeRun Setup: Support CC models operating in ClearQAM mode.
HDHomeRun Setup: DVB-C channel scan improvements.
HDHomeRun Setup: GUI improvements.
HDHomeRun QuickTV: Support CC models under XP/Vista.
HDHomeRun QuickTV: Improvements to standalone installer.
HDHomeRun WMP Plugin: Support multiple multicast sessions to the same stream on the same host.
HDHomeRun Config (GUI): Report OOB information for CC models.
Update device firmware to 20110925a.

Release 20110925a:CC models: Fix critical issue causing a range of symptoms including device not responding, device intermittently responding, ehRecvr crashing, and a range of WMC reported errors.
CC models: Fix issue where live TV on a second computer did not recover after the tuner was released by the first computer.
CC models: Fix issue where tuners sometimes failed to be released by WMC.
CC models: Fix issue where channel lineup was not maintained on some cable systems.
CC models: Fix issue which could cause corrupt video on some cable systems.
CC models: Fix issue with Tuning Resolver handling where WMC may not display video after a channel change.
CC models: Fix issue where Cisco/SA Tuning Resolver may go into initialize loop in rare cases.
CC models: Fix issue where OOB lock did not always recover automatically when lost.
CC models: Fix issue where digital channel tuned with NTSC-only tune request.
CC models: UPnP/RTSP/Webserver fixes and improvements.
DVB models: Add support for channel name character encoding seen in Ukraine and Portugal.
DVB models: Improvements to DVB-C handling to avoid duplicate channels with DVB-C channel scan.
ATSC/DVB models: Deprecate support for link layer topology discovery.
TECH models: Add datacast support.
All models: Update help text to report all supported vars.
All models: Improvements to lineup server support.

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