SageTV Tips

SageTV Tip #9: HD Content With HDHomeRun

I purchased an HDHomeRun receiver, and I now have access to four "local broadcast" HD channels through SageTV! The channels seamlessly show up in SageTV’s Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and I can now view and record any show on those channels. And any HD content vews, records, and plays back in full HD glory! Read on to see my experience with this excellent product… Some Background On HD In The PVR World HD content is typically provided in one of three ways: Satellite, Cable, and Over-the-air (OTA). Unfortunately for PVR applications like SageTV, Satellite providers encrypt all channels, so a Set-Top-Box (STB) is required to receive HD content. And in almost all cases, there is no PC-compatible output on the STB to pass through the HD content to be able to record the (true) HD content. Cable providers also encrypt most channels and therefore also require a STB for decoding. […]

SageTV Tip #8: Video Stutter & How I Eliminated It

I’ve been struggling with "video stutter" issues ever since I built my SageTV-based Home Theater PC. Some shows would play back fine, others would be slightly jerky, and still others seemed to have intermittent "frame skips". After installing a new HD receiver, the problem worsened. Read on to see how I resolved the issue, and how I now enjoy excellent quality SD and HD video with SageTV…. I’ve tried lots of combinations of settings, and even purchased nVIDIA’s PureVideo decoder. This improved things, but I still was plagued with video stutter problems. Then, I added HD to the mix, and HD video became unplayable. I don’t know what possessed me, but I went into SageTV’s setup screens and began playing with all of the "video renderer" and "video decoder" combinations. After some trial-and-error, I found that choosing the "VMR9" renderer and the "InterVideo" decoder produced excellent, stutter-free video on both […]

SageTV Tip #7: Other SageTV Customizations

The third type of SageTV customization is simply “other” customizations. These customizations vary widely in scope and function, but provide great enhancements to your SageTV experience. From custom channel logos to remote Web access, these other customizations propel SageTV ahead of the competition in form and function. Read on to get a taste of the additional customizations available to SageTV…. For brevity, I won’t detail all of the available other SageTV customizations, but here is a list of the general categories of customizations that are currently available: Automatic Commercial Detection and Advance Channel logos SageTV Web Interface XML File Creation External Status Monitor Directory Monitor Control Applications via Windows Messages SageTV Backup Plugins to Support Additional Media File Formats All of the above customizations are excellent, but I find two to be most useful to me: 1. Web Interface This fantastic customization lets you remotely control many aspects of SageTV […]

SageTV Tip #6: STV Import Modules

The second type of SageTV customization is the STV Import Module, or "STVi". These plugins get imported into the default STV to provide additional features and functions. By simply installing a couple of these plugins, you can really improve upon SageTV’s already amazing core features. Read on to learn about some of the best SageTV STVi’s available…. For me, this is where SageTV really shines. By letting third-party developers create innovative plugins, SageTV has enabled the user to tailor his SageTV experience in ways that SageTV probably never dreamed of. Below is the current list of Plugins. The descriptions should be pretty self-explanatory, but I did provide links for you to see the details if you want. Note that the STVi’s marked with an "*" are the ones that I have installed on my SageTV system. I find these to be the best mix for my needs. "Dynamic Customisable Main […]

SageTV Tip #5: Alternate STV’s

The default SageTV User Interface is called an "STV". This is simply a file that defines the overall look-and-feel of the user interface (such as how menus are displayed, what graphic elements and colors the user sees, etc.) and the general functionality of that interface (such what menu choices are available, and what specific functionality is available to the user.) Probably the most ambitious SageTV customization is the "Alternate STV". Read on to learn more about how some dedicated developers have dramatically changed the overall SageTV experience…. The default STV is very complete, and provides simple navigation using just a remote. Its layout and features are presented fairly logically, and it provides all of the "core" functionality available to SageTV. Unfortunately, some consider the default STV to be somewhat dull and lacking in modern styling. Though it does look good, and it’s pretty intuitive to use, its overall design is […]

SageTV Tip #4: SageTV Customizations

SageTV provides lots of opportunity for third-party developers to provide enhancements and additions to core SageTV functionality. There are currently 3 general types of customizations: STV’s, STV Import Modules, and Other Customizations. Read on to learn about these types of customizations, what they are, where you can get them, and how they can improve your SageTV experience…. One thing that really impresses me about SageTV is that unlike some competing products, SageTV is very user-tailorable and user-extendable. This means that your investment in SageTV is not limited by what SageTV provides. Many dedicated and innovative developers have come up with customizations that improve upon and enhance SageTV’s core features. You have the opportunity to customize your SageTV experience into something that suits your personal needs. There are generally three types of SageTV customizations: STV’s, STV Import Modules, and Other Customizations. I’ll be posting separate Tips that detail each of the […]

SageTV Review: Animusic

This isn’t so much a tip as a plug. We were watching our local PBS station and saw part of a show called Animusic 2, the second of a collection of animated, computer-generated music videos. I immediately fell in love! I found the DVD at as well as the official Animusic site and bought both Animusic and Animusic 2 DVD’s. So what makes this relevant to SageTV? Well, SageTV plays these DVD’s perfectly, and they look absolutely stunning on our 42" Westinghouse W4207 Widescreen LCD HD monitor. This collection of musical shorts really demonstrates how music and computer animation can come together to create a stunning, engaging experience. Once you see it, you’ll want to show it to family and friends. The Animusic site has lots of nice sample videos and screenshots, and offers lots of interesting onfo about these DVD’s. I highly recommend these! Screenshot from Animusic: {mosimage} […]

SageTV Review: Westinghouse W2407 42″ HD Monitor

After building a Home Theater PC (HTPC) based on the SageTV PVR software, I decided that a 27" tube TV with an S-Video connection just wasn’t up to the task of providing maximum performance and display quality that a SageTV-based HTPC can provide. Thanks to an excellent "Black Friday" deal at Best Buy, I was able to economically add a new W4207 to our home theater setup. Read on for my review of this excellent value in LCD HD monitors, and how it fits into my SageTV setup…. CLARIFICATION I’d like to start off by clarifying one thing: The Westinghouse W4207 is not a TV–it is an HD monitor. This is determined by the fact that the W4207 does not have a built-in tuner. It will not tune analog or digital cable, and it will not tune OTA HD broadcasts. In order to view any content, you must connect it […]

SageTV Tip #3: All About My SageTV HTPC

I decided to build a Home Theater PC (HTPC), and with SageTV at its core, it is proving to be an excellent choice. Read on to learn why I decided to build a HTPC, what componets I chose, the issues I had, and my plans for the future…. Why did I build an HTPC? I’ve been a long-time DVR user, having used several ReplayTV models and a Moxi HD DVR. Each of these "standalone" DVR’s have excellent features, are very capable, and have stood the test of time (I purchased the first ReplayTV box very shortly after its initial release.) That said, there are three issues that were bugging me that caused me to decide to build an HTPC to replace them: 1. None of my ReplayTV boxes could reliably control our Motorola DCT-2000 Cable box. Unfortunately, cable companies don’t give you a lot of choice in Digital Cable boxes, […]

SageTV Tip #2: Why did I choose SageTV?

After reviewing the major Personal Video Recorder (PVR) software offerings, I decided that SageTV was my application of choice. Its feature set and price point made it very attractive, and there were several other "features" that swayed my decision. Read on to see why I chose SageTV over the competition…. There are several excellent PVR offerings to choose from, and they all have their benefits. These range from free applications like GB-PVR and MythTV to commercial applications like BeyondTV and SageTV. These applications are all excellent, offer feature sets that are surprisingly complete (although, some are more complete than others), and have excellent user and developer support. The free offerings are amazingly robust. I found that GB-PVR and MythTV to be very interesting solutions. There are other free offerings, but these two were the "biggies" that caught my eye. GB-PVR GB-PVR is clean, and feature-rich, and has a close user […]