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gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House

[TV] HD-DVR with additional tuners

With more and more TV providers now going with HD DVRs with more than 2 tuners, is there any plans for Brighthouse to be doing something like this in the near future?

DirecTV released the HR-34 Home Media Center DVR and Dish Network recently released "The Hopper". Both of these devices have more than 2 tuners. It would be great if Brighthouse released a DVR that allowed you to record more than 2 programs at a time.



BHNtechXpert
BHN Staff
Premium,VIP
join:2006-02-16
Saint Petersburg, FL
kudos:153
GH we are always examining new technology opportunities. As of this moment I don't have any information for you but as you know that can change very quickly.

breynolds

join:2012-02-15
Melbourne, FL

3 edits
reply to gigahurtz
GH, if you're pretty tech savvy, you can buy/build a Windows 7 Media Center PC and install a CableCARD tuner. There are several brands/types of tuners available today.

Ceton makes a PCIe 4-tuner version and also a 4-tuner USB version. They plan to come out with a 6-tuner version eventually. Just Google "Ceton InfiniTV"

Silicon Dust makes 3- and 6-tuner versions that connect via Ethernet. Google "HDHomeRun Prime".

Hauppauge makes a 2-tuner USB. Google WinTV-DCR-2650

Or... if you're NOT tech-savvy, Ceton is planning to release a 6-tuner DVR named the "Q" some time in 2012.

The limitation to all of the above is that they will only receive your digital channels... no analog. If you buy/build your own Media Center PC, you can also install tuners to receive the analog channels... and Ceton may allow you to connect an external USB analog tuner to the "Q" (per my request and requests from several other people), but the jury is still out on that one.

All of these options also give you the ability to "extend" your DVR to other rooms, effectively giving you an excellent whole-home DVR without any monthly rental fees. The only currently-produced Extender for Windows Media Center is the XBox 360. You can also find used extenders on e-bay. They are the HP X280N, the Linksys DMA-2100 and the Linksys DMA-2200. Ceton is planning to also release a new extender this year, dubbed the "Echo". It will work with either a "Q" or with a Media Center PC.

I have a Media Center PC with 8 tuners (1 analog NTSC, 1 QAM, 2 QAM/NTSC, and 4 CableCARD tuners) and 4TB of storage space. I have four extenders. So, I effectively have a whole-home DVR on 5 TV's in my house.... and no monthly rental fees (except for $3/month for a single CableCARD).
--
Brian Reynolds, Melbourne, Florida


Hardy101

@rr.com
Can I Hire you?


BHNtechXpert
BHN Staff
Premium,VIP
join:2006-02-16
Saint Petersburg, FL
kudos:153
reply to breynolds
said by breynolds:

GH, if you're pretty tech savvy, you can buy/build a Windows 7 Media Center PC and install a CableCARD tuner. There are several brands/types of tuners available today.

Ceton makes a PCIe 4-tuner version and also a 4-tuner USB version. They plan to come out with a 6-tuner version eventually. Just Google "Ceton InfiniTV"

Silicon Dust makes 3- and 6-tuner versions that connect via Ethernet. Google "HDHomeRun Prime".

Hauppauge makes a 2-tuner USB. Google WinTV-DCR-2650

Or... if you're NOT tech-savvy, Ceton is planning to release a 6-tuner DVR named the "Q" some time in 2012.

The limitation to all of the above is that they will only receive your digital channels... no analog. If you buy/build your own Media Center PC, you can also install tuners to receive the analog channels... and Ceton may allow you to connect an external USB analog tuner to the "Q" (per my request and requests from several other people), but the jury is still out on that one.

All of these options also give you the ability to "extend" your DVR to other rooms, effectively giving you an excellent whole-home DVR without any monthly rental fees. The only currently-produced Extender for Windows Media Center is the XBox 360. You can also find used extenders on e-bay. They are the HP X280N, the Linksys DMA-2100 and the Linksys DMA-2200. Ceton is planning to also release a new extender this year, dubbed the "Echo". It will work with either a "Q" or with a Media Center PC.

I have a Media Center PC with 8 tuners (1 analog NTSC, 1 QAM, 2 QAM/NTSC, and 4 CableCARD tuners) and 4TB of storage space. I have four extenders. So, I effectively have a whole-home DVR on 5 TV's in my house.... and no monthly rental fees (except for $3/month for a single CableCARD).

Alright BB... now tell him the hardware investment costs Lets not get him too excited until he finds out how deep it's gonna put a hole in his wallet
--
~All truth goes through three phases. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident. - Arthur Schopenhauer ~



gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
reply to breynolds
I've looked into this, but the costs involved just aren't worth it to me. It's a great setup, and I enjoy watching TV.. just not that much

I do appreciate you taking the time to respond.


gigahurtz
Premium
join:2001-10-20
Palm Coast, FL
reply to BHNtechXpert
No need to tell me the investment costs, I've already researched this and knew it was way more than I was willing to invest


BHNtechXpert
BHN Staff
Premium,VIP
join:2006-02-16
Saint Petersburg, FL
kudos:153
reply to gigahurtz
Sorry... I knew that would get you and it does most people. It's very expensive. I understand what you guys want to do...hell I want to have one just to play but the costs is just too high still.

breynolds

join:2012-02-15
Melbourne, FL

4 edits
said by BHNtechXpert:

Alright BB... now tell him the hardware investment costs Lets not get him too excited until he finds out

how deep it's gonna put a hole in his wallet

I've edited this a few times for clarity... I keep thinking of more stuff!

Well, that all depends on what you want to do with it, how many tuners you want, how many extenders you plan to run simultaneously, and how much storage space you want to have for recordings. With 4TB of storage, I can keep quite a few shows. I currently have over 600 shows recorded, and I'm only using about 2.5TB. I've never had to delete something before I watched it, in order to make room for new recordings. Mind you... this is FIVE rooms... three kids, wife, and me... all scheduling recordings on the same DVR. And, I have about 200 episodes of shows that I don't want to delete! (Two and a Half Men, and... The New Adventures of Old Christine)

I'll give you three examples of systems that will EASILY handle all your HDTV needs. All of them have the same storage space... 2TB. All of them have a Solid State Drive (SSD) for the operating system (FAST!). All of them use integrated Intel Graphics (3D BluRay Playback!). All are top-quality components (You could go MUCH cheaper). And, of course, if you already own a fairly new PC (bought in previous year or two), you probably already have most of what you need. These three systems are easily upgradable (by swapping only a few components) if you ever want to add more rooms (extenders) that will need to watch TV simultaneously. This is important... you can have more than the number of rooms listed below, all connected with extenders, but the systems I recommend below will handle SIMULTANEOUS viewing on the number of TV's (rooms) I list below.

**first is for a 1 room DVR with 4 tuners
**second is for two rooms, same PC configuration as the first
**third is full-boat... five rooms, 8 tuners (could probably even go six rooms with very little degradation in performance, for only an extra $150).

Most of the items below are available at NewEgg.com, and I'll list their item numbers.

================================================================================== ==
1 ROOM, 4 TUNERS:

CPU:  $134.99 - N82E16819115090 - Intel Core i3-2105 3.1GHz CPU with integrated HD3000 graphics
MOBO: $84.99 - N82E16813131716 - ASUS P8H61-M Motherboard
RAM:  $22.99 - N82E16820139659 - Kingston DDR3-1333 RAM 4GB (2x2GB) KVR1333D3S8N9K2/4G
SSD:  $99.99 - N82E16820233223 - Corsair Force Series3 60GB SSD CSSD-F60GB3A-BK
HDD:  $119.99 - N82E16822145475 - HITACHI 2TB Deskstar 5K3000 hard drive HDS5C3020ALA632
PSU:  $79.99 - N82E16817182068 - Rosewill 550W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Power Supply
CASE: $69.99 - N82E16811204030 - nMediaPC 1000B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
REMOTE:$19.99 - N82E16880101008 - Rosewill MCE remote control
TUNER:$198.99 - N82E16815706001 - Ceton InfiniTV 4 tuner CableCARD tuner
ODD:  $57.99 - N82E16827135247 - Asus BluRay/DVD/CD drive
Cable: $3.69 - N82E16812270093 - ByteCC 18 inch SATA cable (two come with mother board, need three)
OS:   $139.99 - N82E16832116992 - Windows 7 Professional - 64 bit

TOTAL: $1,033.58, plus VERY MINIMAL shipping.

================================================================================== ==
2 ROOMS, 4 TUNERS:
Same as above, just add one Media Center Extender (XBox360-no HDD required, LinkSys DMA-2100, or HP-X280N),

about $150.

TOTAL: $1,183.58, plus shipping

================================================================================== ==
5 ROOMS, 8 TUNERS (8 CableCARD):
Same as 1 room, but
ADD:
4 - extenders @ $150 each
1 - $198.99 - N82E16815706001 - Ceton InfiniTV 4 tuner CableCARD tuner

REPLACE the following components from above:
CPU: $219.99 - N82E16819116400 - Intel Core i5-2405S 2.5GHz CPU with integrated HD3000 graphics
RAM: $39.99 - N82E16820148476 - Crucial DDR3-1333 RAM 8GB (2x4GB) CT2KIT51264BD1339
HDD: $129.99 - N82E16822148834 - Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM Hard drive

TOTAL: $1,944.57 plus shipping
OR: You can swap the extra InfiniTV tuner for two Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 tuners ($119 each) to receive QAM/NTSC/ATSC programming... that's the route I've chosen.
================================================================================== ==

Now, I have to add... that you CAN get a real bargain on extenders, if you search e-bay. I paid less than $100 each for my four extenders. The prices I've listed above are for HIGH QUALITY PARTS! These machines should last a long, long time.

Plus! You can make any of the above-listed PC's into a fully functional 3D BluRay player for about $100 by purchasing software (the latest version of Total Media Theatre). All of the above can also play NetFlix (with subscription), and if you add other FREE plug-ins to Media Center, you can get Hulu, automatic commercial-skipping on non-copy-protected shows (the TV networks hate this, but it is SO NICE!), and much, much more! Best DVR you've ever seen!

Lastly, for the pay-back....

On the single-room setup above, assuming $10/month for your DVR rental, plus another $10/month for the DVR "service"... the payback is about 52 months. Not real impressive, but you get a DVR that blows away their DVR... more space, more tuners, BluRay playback ($100 extra), NetFlix, Hulu, etc, etc, etc.

On the Double-room setup above, assuming $20/month for two DVR rentals (4 tuners), plus another $10/month for the DVR "service", plus another $20/month for the "whole-house" service... the payback is about 24 months.

On the FIVE-room setup above, assuming $20/month for two DVR rentals (4 tuners), plus all the other boxes and service you're going to pay for (about $82/month plus tax), the payback is 24 months!

In the single room case, it's hard to justify... you have to get 52 months out of that shiny new PC to get your money back. I would expect a quality PC to run for 10 years (120 months), but with lightning and other possible problems... you never know. But for the Double-room setup (or more rooms) I think 24 months is a no-brainer. In 24 months, I made my money back!

Now, of course, all this assumes that you know how to build, setup, configure and maintain a Windows PC. If you don't... then you can wait for the Ceton "Q". The speculated price for it is around $700. They have stated that the "Echo" will sell for less than the cheapest XBox 360... or $149. So... if you bought the "Q" for a whole-home five room system (assuming $700 for the "Q" and $149 for the "Echo")... you'd have about $1300 in the whole thing... or a pay-back of about 16 months. No brainer.

RE: Hardy101... send me a PM at thegreenbutton.tv. My username there is barnabas1969.

Thanks, Brian
--
Brian Reynolds, Melbourne, Florida

sbiller1

join:2011-05-25
Tampa, FL
reply to gigahurtz
said by gigahurtz:

No need to tell me the investment costs, I've already researched this and knew it was way more than I was willing to invest

Alternatively you could go with a TiVo Elite ($499 retail) but usually available for less with BestBuy reward zone coupons offering 10-12% off. Lifetime service is either $399 or $499 depending on whether or not you can get lifetime service. If you're interested I can probably help you get the $399 but it will take a bit of logistics.

You probably already know that TiVo is releasing a box in the summer that will allow you to stream live and recorded TV from the Elite box. Pricing hasn't been announced but I'm expecting it to be less than $150 and not have a subscription fee.

~Sam

tim tim tim

join:2010-08-14
Lutz, FL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Bright House
reply to breynolds
When you have whdvr service, that takes the place of the regular DVR service. You then just have the box rental and the whdvr service. Not a huge difference but it does drop the cost 10/month from what you figured.

also keep in mind you will be paying for cable cards and tuning adapters for those as well, not a huge increase but still atleast 10 dollars a month. If im not mistaken 1 multistream card can only do 2 tuners.

breynolds

join:2012-02-15
Melbourne, FL

1 edit
said by tim tim tim:

When you have whdvr service, that takes the place of the regular DVR service. You then just have the box rental and the whdvr service. Not a huge difference but it does drop the cost 10/month from what you figured.

also keep in mind you will be paying for cable cards and tuning adapters for those as well, not a huge increase but still atleast 10 dollars a month. If im not mistaken 1 multistream card can only do 2 tuners.

The prices I quoted included two DVR's from BHN to accomplish the (4 tuners) that I mentioned. I may be off by $10/month for the two-room setup, but the $82/month for a 5-room setup with two DVR's (4 tuners) was actually quoted to me by BHN when I started down the road of whole-home DVR.

And you're mistaken about the CableCARD only handling 2 streams. One multi-stream CableCARD (M-CARD) can handle up to 6 streams and only costs $3 per month. The Tuning Adapters are free for the first year, and after that are only $3 or $4 per month. So, you're talking about $6 or $7 per month vs $82/month for a whole-home DVR setup with two DVR's (four tuners) and three dumb cable boxes for the other rooms (total of 5 rooms). For example, let's say we put one DVR in the living room, and one DVR in the master bedroom. Then, a dumb-box in all three kids' rooms.

When you add the $3/month for the CableCARD, plus the extra $3-4/month for the second year and thereafter, it does stretch the pay-back time a little bit, but it still pays for itself. And, the BHN whole-home DVR (whdvr) solution has some serious flaws. In my case, I wanted four tuners (two was not enough, even with a single-room installation)... so the BHN solution was to add a 2nd DVR. This would have allowed anyone in the house to watch any recording on either of the two DVR's.

The problem is with conflict resolution and scheduling recordings. You see, with the BHN whdvr solution, if both tuners on a DVR are busy when a recording tries to start, it cannot fall back to a free tuner on another DVR in the house. That's the conflict resolution part. The other part is that when you want to schedule a recording... and you realize that you already have two scheduled on the living room DVR at the same time slot... then you would have to walk to another room to schedule a show on the second DVR. (Unless you want to use the web-based service from BHN to schedule your shows... but it's got some problems too)

With Media Center, all the tuners are in a single PC... so Media Center handles the conflict resolution based on the tuner priority settings. And users can schedule/delete/watch shows from any of the extenders in the house.

The BHN DVR's also have very limited storage space. You can add an external hard drive to one, but you're still limited to the size of a single external drive. With a Media Center PC, you can setup a humongous amount of storage if you want to.

You also have to consider the value that Media Center gives you beyond that of a plain-jane DVR. One box can be your DVR, BluRay player, Netflix/Hulu/Vudu/Amazon/etc Internet streaming appliance, your music library, your photo repository, and on, and on, and on.

The main drawbacks to Media Center are the startup cost, the frustration dealing with the cable company to install a CableCARD (and getting them to set it up properly), and the setup/maintenance of a Windows PC. The Ceton "Q" runs on Windows 7 Embedded. It will solve a lot of those problems and make this a platform for the average consumer without the hassle of setting up or maintaining a Windows PC.
--
Brian Reynolds, Melbourne, Florida

tim tim tim

join:2010-08-14
Lutz, FL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Bright House
I Agree that the setup your suggesting is awesome, I have seen one in a house before and was amazed by all that it can do.

For me (and 99% of the other people out there) its not worth well over a thousand dollars to watch tv AND have the headache of working on it. You obviously know a bit about computers and im sure you also know how LITTLE most other people know. Im glad more people dont have this stuff, our lives as service techs would be miserable lol.

breynolds

join:2012-02-15
Melbourne, FL
Yep, I do understand the limited knowledge most folks have about computers. I've seen some pretty hilarious things in my 22+ years working in I.T. That's why I'm really looking forward to the Ceton "Q". If they do it right, it could really be a game changer.

The hardest part is getting someone to plop down that much cash up front. Even though it will pay for itself, it's not easy to convince most people. Consider this... If I had paid for the equipment on a credit card, and paid $82/month to my credit card each month instead of paying the same amount to BHN, it still would have been paid for in about 3 years at 18% interest. I call that a no-brainer. If done right, a system like this will still be running fine for at least 5 years... and probably longer.

I'll tell you what... Tim and BHNTechXpert are welcome to come over to my house and play with my system anytime they like. I live in Melbourne, FL... so if you're ever in the area, get in touch with me. I'm not sure if you can PM me here at this site (haven't found that feature yet), but you can PM me at thegreenbutton.tv.
--
Brian Reynolds, Melbourne, Florida


BHNtechXpert
BHN Staff
Premium,VIP
join:2006-02-16
Saint Petersburg, FL
kudos:153
Don't take this wrong but I have seen enough CFL for the next month or two Just got back from a 3 day conference discussing you fine folks here and how we can make things better in fact

Your setup is without a doubt very high on my cool o meter.

breynolds

join:2012-02-15
Melbourne, FL
The offer still stands. If you happen to be coming over this way, just PM me or something. You're welcome to come check it out.
--
Brian Reynolds, Melbourne, Florida