Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Switch To SageTV

For the past 6 years, I've been using BeyondTV as my dvr/pvr software, recording lots of tv shows. This spring I made the switch to SageTV for a number of reasons:

SnapStream has pretty much quit working on the consumer version of BeyondTV, and switched to an enterprise level version (targeting large companies), meaning there's no innovation on the horizon for the consumer level product. That in and of itself would not have been enough to make me switch, as I really do like BeyondTV, but it was enough to get me to start looking at the alternatives, as I figured the writing was on the wall.

Enter SageTV, which was always the main competition for BeyondTV at least in my mind (Media Center didn't count, and most of the others had no commercial backing), which after doing some research, I discovered that SageTV supports other media, such as music, and photos, as well as many more video formats (mkv, dvd, etc.). This started to get me interested, and then I discovered the HD200 SageTV HD Theatre, which is a little set-top box that will connect to the SageTV server, and will play pretty much anything you can throw at it. This was the main selling point, considering that we're building a new house, and running cat6 / ethernet cable to every room was already in my plan, which is much easier than running vga cables to the main tv locations, and then trying to control computers that will be sitting in the basement.

Made the switch, having only a couple issues.  The first being I had trouble importing the metadata from BeyondTV into SageTV, so I had to use the Batch Metadata Tools (BMT) plugin to set all the files metadata, which worked beautifully, even if it was time consuming.  The second issue was configuring my tuners, as I ran into a bug with the Hauppauge drivers when using 4GB ram.  After that, everything has been smooth. 

So after about 6 weeks of use, I'm really liking the ease of use with the HD200, I will admit that I miss the BeyondTV interface, as I used it for so many years, that I know where to find things much more easily, but there's nothing wrong with the SageMC plugin interface that I am using with Sage.

Now with SageTV 7 in beta, it's looking really good, and I'm having a hard time not upgrading to the beta, even though I don't really want to be running beta software.  More information about the beta including screenshots can be found at the GeekTonic blog.