INPUT NEEDED: Newbie PVR guide

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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #1
The PVR guide on the wiki is still very incomplete and confusing to a lot of users. I think I've/we've been going about it wrong. Instead of trying to generally capture everything and be neutral about software and hardware, I say screw it. We've going to revamp it telling people exactly what to do and what to buy for their location and TV source. For example, there will be a guide for USA/cable.

We'll still have everything we currently have, and links for people who already have things, but the idea is that our target audience is starting out with nothing. No fussing with making existing stuff work. If they have a situation that's very complicated (sat TV and IR blasters) then we don't touch it and tell them to google or link somewhere else. In time, maybe we'll get that stuff too.

Over The Air is our main priority. Include other sources when it's easy enough to tell a newbie how to set it up, refer them to somewhere else if it's complicated.

Does that mean we tell people to use one software over the other, if that one software is easier for newbies? Yes. If we can include both as parallel guides, even better, but let's at least finally have a newbie friendly, start-to-finish, guide. Is there a box out there that does both tuner and has a hard drive in it, and is reasonably priced? Holy crap, let's pimp that out. Right now the image for some is that Live TV on XBMC is "pain", and people don't know there are easier options out there, so let's change that image.


How you can help:

Just say what you think is the easiest (and reasonably affordable) set up for each of the following situations for both hardware and software:

Americas/ATSC/QAM/Cable card:
  1. OTA - Standalone device (like on a NAS, a dedicated box, etc)
  2. OTA - Linux
  3. OTA - Windows
  4. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - standalone device
  5. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - Linux
  6. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - Windows


Europe/rest of the world/DVB:
Someone's going to have to help me out here and say what the common/easy situations are for you guys. Outside of OTA, I pretty much know nothing about DVB.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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bibi Offline
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Post: #2
France
In France we use IPTV from the providers box :

France DVB-T :
OTA - Standalone device (no idea)
OTA - Linux (Software : VDR (can post a tutoriel how to configure it for french channel) or TVHeadend - Hardware : Avermedia AVerTV Hybrid Super 007 )
OTA - Windows (Software : Confused - Hardware : Confused)

France IPTV :
Linux : IPTVSimple PVR-addon (which isn't in main pvr addon repository, can post the list of channel for FREE provider)
Windows : IPTVSimple PVR-addon (which isn't in main pvr addon repository, can post the list of channel for FREE provider)
(This post was last modified: 2013-03-13 15:52 by bibi.)
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Atomic Zombie Offline
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Post: #3
Just some info about the TV options in the UK:

The only legal systems are Freeview (Terrestrial , DVB-T2) and Freesat (Satellite S-2). There are 50 Freeview channels, 4 of which are HD. Freesat has 146 channels and 6 of them are HD.

Then of course there is Sky, but I won't be going into that.

(Just a note, Sky and Freesat are on the same Satellite, so an old sky dish will work with freesat.)

I use Freeview, so I use a TBS 6284 (Tutorial for linux setup HERE) which does the job very well.

Any questions, just ask.
(This post was last modified: 2013-03-13 16:15 by Atomic Zombie.)
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BrooksyX Offline
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Post: #4
US OTA Linux (XBMCBuntu)
Software - Backend = TVHeadEnd, EPG = free zap2it.com account & zap2xml.pl & tv_grab_file
Hardware - HVR-1800 PCI-E TV tuner (stripped down version can be found on ebay for $10-20)

The setup isn't to bad but getting the EPG to work was kind of a struggle the first time around.
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #5
At one point I really wanted to recommend as a mostly-easy "standaloneish" device (since it's taxing to run both backend and frontend at the same time, I would just use it as a backend) a Raspberry Pi with Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950Q and TVheadend. It really sounded like a slam dunk at one point: install OpenELEC (or Compile for Raspbian or Arch, which is actually pretty easy), plug in tuner, done, configure rest via web UI. This would be for US/OTA (ATSC)

However, it seems the 950Q specifically has either a missing or bad driver between kernel updates 3.2 and 3.6. I've spent days reading, trying to compile things myself, searching, and have come to this conclusion. The issue doesn't seem to happen on an x86 machine for tvheadend and the 950Q (though when I had tried OpenELEC, there was some other bug that prevented services from being mapped, but it had been fixed in master, so it should be fixed in OpenELEC in due time).

I still really like the idea of recommending to people as a stand-alone/low-power unit to use an R-Pi + TVHeadend. Pre-made SD card images can easily be made with it all set up and ready to go, just plug in a tuner and some USB memory for recordings (or set it up to work via network shares), etc. I'm just at a loss now for what USB TV Tuner to recommend for it. Obviously I'll try to flag someone down and see if the 950Q's drivers can be fixed/re-added, but I've also noticed that the 950Q is north of $60USD now, so something cheaper would be nice as well.

Anyone have any recommendations for a USB tuner for the R-Pi + TVH + ATSC combo? Bonus points if it's inexpensive.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
(This post was last modified: 2013-03-14 06:17 by Ned Scott.)
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awp0 Offline
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Post: #6
For USA items 3 and 6 (Windows install) in the original post, I've had a good experience with Argus TV using the HDHomerun Dual tuner. My cable operator is Comcast and I have several clear QAM channels available. I'm using Schedulesdirect for EPG data. It's been very reliable both on the same Windows XBMC box as well as another RaspberryPi XBMC client.
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Dark_Slayer Offline
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Post: #7
(2013-03-13 14:02)Ned Scott Wrote:  Americas/ATSC/QAM/Cable card:
  1. OTA - Standalone device (like on a NAS, a dedicated box, etc)
  2. OTA - Linux
  3. OTA - Windows
  4. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - standalone device
  5. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - Linux
  6. Cable - If provider has most channels that are copy freely - Windows

Can't speak to OTA or Europe, but the forum I read/contribute in the most is the HTPC subforum of AVS. I'd say a majority (or at least a plurality) are interested in ditching Comcast/Fios/Charter/TWC dvr boxes with a cablecard tuner and HTPC. It's definitely the easiest way to reason (plea) your case for the expense to the wife. I put together a guide for getting things working when the Frodo Beta hit, and I've updated it with some experiences along the way and after the stable release. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1440470/xbmc-l...run-prime/

Generally TWC and Charter are mostly copy-once
Fios used to be all copy-free, and recently they've moved premiums to copy-once
Comcast has been copy-free except premiums for a while
Premiums refer to HBO, Cinemax, Starz, i.e. the $10/month channels

If the backend setups were a little more "guided" it would probably help. (or at least linked to)

While the backend may not be as elegant as an "all-in openELEC" solution it's convenient for multiple-HTPC scenarios. Most multiple HTPC users have an "always-on" server anyway, so a stable tv backend they could run from the server is actually something that's been on their wishlists for a while Smile
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dhead Offline
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Post: #8
Hi Ned.

Please have a look at the Tvheadend/ALARM Disccussion page, (the formatting is way off).
I believe Arch Linux is the best way to get a stable tvheadend server up and running due to the fact Arch's kernel is always the latest (drivers are updated) and the Arch community are great in keep users' submited packages update.

I don't get much reception from ota transmission on dorms so I can't test tvheadend thoroughly but for a cheap pvr server:
A Raspberry Pi works fine with dvb-t usb dongles, if you've got another usb device connected like wifi adpater you may experience some power issues with the dvb-t dongle so better wise using a powered usb adapter.

A PogoPlug 4 is absolutely great, 40$ for the device, 8$ for dvb-t dongle, 8$ for 8gb sandisk cruzer fit usb drive that can hide under the top cover for system, timeshifting cache and recordings and you're set.
You can even go for a 20$ PogoPlug Mobile if you're up for the little challenge.

I'll be more than happy to write some how to's in this matter, the main issue is that I don't get much reception so I can't test this fully thus I can't recommend without real world test.
(This post was last modified: 2013-03-15 04:34 by dhead.)
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #9
(2013-03-15 04:33)dhead Wrote:  Hi Ned.

Please have a look at the Tvheadend/ALARM Disccussion page, (the formatting is way off).
I believe Arch Linux is the best way to get a stable tvheadend server up and running due to the fact Arch's kernel is always the latest (drivers are updated) and the Arch community are great in keep users' submited packages update.

I don't get much reception from ota transmission on dorms so I can't test tvheadend thoroughly but for a cheap pvr server:
A Raspberry Pi works fine with dvb-t usb dongles, if you've got another usb device connected like wifi adpater you may experience some power issues with the dvb-t dongle so better wise using a powered usb adapter.

A PogoPlug 4 is absolutely great, 40$ for the device, 8$ for dvb-t dongle, 8$ for 8gb sandisk cruzer fit usb drive that can hide under the top cover for system, timeshifting cache and recordings and you're set.
You can even go for a 20$ PogoPlug Mobile if you're up for the little challenge.

I'll be more than happy to write some how to's in this matter, the main issue is that I don't get much reception so I can't test this fully thus I can't recommend without real world test.

Had a look and I'm pretty much going to yield to your excellent suggestions there. I'll help with formatting and such if you need it. The original guide was just from my limited understanding and what I wrote down from other people trying to help me set it up. I imagine Pis and PogoPlugs with USB tuners to be the some of the best "stand alone" options, so this is definitely a good path to go down and expand upon.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #10
Everyone, this information is GOLDEN to me. Thank you so much, and keep it coming!

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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dhead Offline
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Post: #11
p.s.
This is how a pvr "server" should look like, note the dvb-t dongle at the back.
http://imgur.com/a/NpSfr
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schumi2004 Online
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Post: #12
@Ned Scott
What do you want me to give/write?

I'm watching LiveTV through my Synology NAS with a Smargo CardReader Plus in combination with a Sundtek MediaTV Pro (DVB-C) to watch scrambled channels from my provider (EU).
(This post was last modified: 2013-03-15 14:49 by schumi2004.)
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dhead Offline
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Post: #13
One thing to consider Ned is that the scan util on the DVB-Apps project of LinuxTV includes frequencies of ota services like dvb-t, atsc ...
These are stored on Linux at /usr/share/dvb.
On tvheadend webgui you can just choose your country and let tvheadend auto configure the frequencies.
So on tvheadend guide you may not need to list all the different settings for every ota provider on the world, just ask users to choose the location and provider from the already included list.
Of course it would be good idea to have a seperate table listing different ota providers settings but simple guide shouldn't include it.

http://linuxtv.org/hg/dvb-apps

From the scan readme:
Quote:...A number of initial-tuning-data files are provided for various dvb-c, dvb-s, dvb-t and atsc networks around the world. If you make a new one feel free to submit it to the linux-dvb mailing list http://www.linuxtv.org/lists.php ...
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #14
Aye, my only concern there was drivers for ATSC tuners, so there might be different hardware recommendations. DVB drivers are a lot more likely to be included in whatever kernel the user is using.

For example, I'm using a 950Q ATSC tuner, which is very common in the US, but so far only OpenELEC on the Raspberry Pi (haven't tested x86 yet) has the driver for it out-of-the-box (used to be included, then got lost in a kernel update, or something).

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around common XBMC words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Video library]] = Video library, [[SMB]] = SMB , [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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Robgue Offline
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Post: #15
I would highly recommend an hdhomerun for usa ota. Also works with clear qam for cable feeds. It's well supported by virtually all backends.
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