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Old 27th December 2009, 01:27   #1  |  Link
eckoman_pdx
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MediaPortal vs MeediOS vs GB-PVR (or other options)

Hello all,

I recently picked up an ATI TV Wonder HD650 TV tuner card. As per the recommendations I read on every site and forum, I ignored the software CD, downloaded the latest drivers from the ATI site, and am ignoring their buggy pvr software. (I'm going to install the card once I post here and log out).

Anyways, I've been looking into PVR's for awhile, and came across 3 freeware ones that catch my eye: MediaPortal, GB-PVR, and MeediOS. Each seemed to seem to have benefits and weaknesses, so I'd like some opinions on which people prefer and why. MythTV is not an option, as I don't run Linux.

As for what I'm doing, I'm pulling in ATSC over the air HD signals. I'm like the record the Rose Bowl in HD, so I'm trying to get this set up in the next few days so I can test it out.

MY System
My system is a little old, but it's not bad by any means. It's a 2.4GHz Intel Core2 Qaud with 12 MB L2 Cache, 2 GB Ram, a 600GB HDD and a 2TB HDD, a Zotac Geforce 8800GT graphics card (with HDCP support,running to a HD monitor, though it shouldn't matter for this). I'm still running XP 32 Bit. I could up the ram and throw Windows 7 64 bit on here, but I don't feel the need, so I've stuck with XP.

Looking into the 3 above programs, as I mentioned, I've seen pluses and minuses for each, and I'm not sure which to install and try.

MediaPortal
As for MediaPortal, it seemed to have the most EPG options, with around 5 or so if memory served me right. The WebEPG plugin that they recommend using caught my eye, as it seems to be less picky and easier to get up and running, use and navigate than XMLTV, which I know has issues with channel names matching up, etc.

On the downside to MediaPortal, I've heard it's a resource hog, slows computers down and takes forever to load. I'm not sure how my of an issue this really will be with my system. Does anyone have any thoughts?

GB-PVR
As far as GB-PVR, it looked nice, and everything I read said it was more lightweight compared to MediaPortal, and it didn't hang up the computers and loaded fast. Again, I couldn't find out the systems they were running, so I have no idea this is a Moot point or not with mine, in comparison to how MediaPortal would run. It seemed like a nice program, and the fact it uses less resources appealed to me.

However, it has only 2 real EPG options listed. The aforementioned XMLTV, and a pay one (even though it doesn't cost a lot) I have no interest in using. I'm sure I can configure and get XMLTV set up, but it just doesn't sound as appealing as the WebEPG option in MediaPortal. However, I do like the sound of this Media Center using less resources.

Also, I read something that struck me as odd. I read that you can't watch the tv program while you are recording it. That struck me as odd, since you'd think you'd be able to watch the tv program as it was being recorded by the media center program. Can anyone verify this?

Also, I was unable to find out if this was a limitation in mediaportal or not. Any thoughts?

MeediOS
Last is MeediOS. Although I know it's still in the test phases (they still list it as Alpha). They do seem to be working towards a good stable release. I've seen it mentioned in here a few times when searching, so I looked into it. I really don't mind using something like this, if this is the program people prefer.

Does anyone have any thoughts, on which of these they like or prefer0 Strengths and Weaknesses I missed? I want to stay away from pay stuff like beyondtv and sagetv, as it's not worth it to me to buy them.

Thanks for the thoughts
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Old 27th December 2009, 01:34   #2  |  Link
stax76
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None of them do DVB well, use DVBViewer!
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Old 27th December 2009, 02:06   #3  |  Link
eckoman_pdx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stax76 View Post
None of them do DVB well, use DVBViewer!
DVB is European based and is not supported nor broadcast in the USA. I'm in the US, so I need to do ATSC, not DVB-T.

I've see in the support forums, DVB viewer seems to be for Europe and other countries that use the various types of DVB broadcast. It doesn't seem to be for ATSC (the US Standard). It mentions DVB-T, DVB-S, and DVB-C. However, I'm the the US, and as I mentioned, we have ATSC HD signals over the air, not DVB-T, so if it doesn't work with ATSC it's useless to me. I suspect that's the case, since the features page states "pull in hundreds to TV and radio stations from all over Europe."

In fact, I see no mention of US or ATSC anywhere, so I'm thinking it won't work with the US standard of ATSC. I don't want to pay $15 for a program which might not work with he US standard of ATSC.

MediaPortal, GB-PVR and MeediOS all work not only with the 3 DVB standrards, but with ATSC as well (so I can view and record US Hi Def TV), which is why I was looking into them. I'm open to programs which work with the US standard of ATSC, but they need to work with ATSC (or both the ATSC and DVB standards), not just DVB.

Any other thoughts? I'm looking for one which works with ATSC, which is how I arrived at the three I mentioned in my first post.

Last edited by eckoman_pdx; 27th December 2009 at 02:17.
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Old 27th December 2009, 02:28   #4  |  Link
blubberbirne
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DVBViewer supports ATSC. Watch DVBViewer Forum
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Old 27th December 2009, 02:35   #5  |  Link
stax76
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DVBViewer is very powerful so I was assuming it works in the US too, if it does ATSC then maybe not as good as DVB since it's developed in germany but I can't tell anything for sure. Try the forum as suggested.
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Old 27th December 2009, 04:46   #6  |  Link
eckoman_pdx
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Well, I registered for the forums there, since you can't search otherwise. Browsing them, there was no such mention either way.

I searched Wikipedia, but the page was deleted on the 21st of December under the reasoning of "Expired PROD, concern was: This is non-notable and unsourced software."

Finally, I searched Google for cached pages, and found an old cached Wikipedia page, which stated it works with ATSC. That's all I found on the issue.

IDK, I know it's only $21.61, but there's no free trial, and I really don't know much about it. I may pick it up in a few months or so, if I like what I see in the forums. That will give me a chance to learn more about it and form and opinion. As I said, I browsed the forums, but haven't found my either way yet

In the meantime, I'd like to stick with something freeware or open source, since I won't be out any money if I don't like it. Does anyone have an opinion on another product?
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Old 27th December 2009, 20:51   #7  |  Link
JackNF
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If you're willing to reconsider throwing Windows 7 on there, you've missed a very solid PVR contender: Windows Media Centre

It's built right into the operating system so everyone running Win7 already has it, it's got a decent free EPG service included and has native support for ATSC and QAM tuners. With resources like The Green Button floating around with tons of tips, tricks, and hacks to help set things up just how you'd like it, IMHO it's easily the best choice for PVR software on Windows.

Last edited by JackNF; 27th December 2009 at 20:58.
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Old 28th December 2009, 04:53   #8  |  Link
eckoman_pdx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackNF View Post
If you're willing to reconsider throwing Windows 7 on there, you've missed a very solid PVR contender: Windows Media Centre

It's built right into the operating system so everyone running Win7 already has it, it's got a decent free EPG service included and has native support for ATSC and QAM tuners. With resources like The Green Button floating around with tons of tips, tricks, and hacks to help set things up just how you'd like it, IMHO it's easily the best choice for PVR software on Windows.
That thought did cross my mind about Windows 7 and Windows Media Center. I've thought about upping my ram to 4-6 gb and installing Win 7 64 bit. I even looked a little bit around the green button site. I keep wanting to save my Win 7 for another build, but IDK. I guess I'm one of those people who hated Vista so much, I became an XP holdout.

My minds not made up on that. I suppose I could install Win 7 as a Dual OS on here (along with XP), so the programs that don't yet support Win 7 will still work. You made a good point though, about Win 7, and I keep floating back to that in my head (it's certainly the easiest route).

One concern I have though, is it saves all it's programs into a Microsoft Proprietary format, and I'd want to get the sporting events into a more accepted format (and possibly into AVCHD format) using the H.264 codec. That way I could play them on the Standalone S360 Blu-Ray player on the other TV. I'm not sure how to go about doing that with the Windows Codec is uses for HD recording. The other thing I needed to look up was the maximum recording size/length in HD. I know Mediaportal's max HD length is some 2000 minutes or something crazy (under NTFS). I'd imagine Windows Media Center is similar in that regard. I'm guessing the codec is a concern to iron out with it. I'll have to poke around the green button more. I'm sure I can find out more info there. Thanks for the link.

I've kind of been leaning towards MediaPortal in the meantime, since it seems easier to set up than GB-PVR. Plus it works on Win 7 (if I liked it), and it doesn't cost money, which makes for a good candidate for now and for comparison purposes later on.

Last edited by eckoman_pdx; 28th December 2009 at 04:55.
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Old 28th December 2009, 10:50   #9  |  Link
eckoman_pdx
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I did a little research after JackNF's post and my last post, in regards to finding a program to convert out of DVR-MS and WTV format.

I came across a program a called MECBuddy while browsing VideoHelp's site. Has anyone used this? How well does it work, and whats the qaulity? It states it can covert files (including .dvrms and .wtv) to H264 .mp4 (Xvid AVI and Divx AVI also). It also states you can choose to convert without resizing it (retaining the original resolution is a big deal to me). It also had a 2 pass encoding option. I've used Mediacoder in the past to convert files, but haven't looked to see it if can do dvrms and wtv.

That's one of the main reasons I've not been willing to install Windows 7 and Windows Media Center. I never liked the fact XP MCE and Vista saved in DVRMS, and I never liked the fact Windows 7 saved in WTV. Those formats are worthless to me.


If this program works well, and the conversions are good, I may have to give it a try. It also works with MediaPortal, besides Windows Media Center.

http://www.mcebuddy.com/Home.aspx

It this program is clean (no spyware, adware, or phone home tendencies) and does the job nicely, I might have to try it. That's one of the things I don't like about BTV. It has a pretty consistent phone home tendency.

Also, while trying to find more info on DVBViewer, I found an alternate program called ProgDVB. It supports ATSC, Hand all HD formats including H.264/AVC, and more.

http://www.progdvb.com/
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/ProgDVB

It's freeware, so I'll be able to test it and try to see if it works with my ATI HD 650 tuner card. That's one of the things I didn't like about DVBViewer. It seemed like a good program, but I can't test it for compatibility before I buy it. Even SageTV and BeyondTV allow that.

Since quiet a few of you liked DVBViewer, do any of you have experience with ProgDVB?

The last one I found while looking into DVBViewer more was DV Scheduler, which again does support ATSC.

http://www.cs.usyd.edu.au/~efax/DV%20Scheduler.html
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/DV_Scheduler

Does anyone have any experience with this program? I'm half tempted to just download them and try them all, since they are freeware. If I do this, I'd love to be able to have more than one installed at once? Is that possible, or do these types of things conflict with each other? I mean, I'd love to install DV Scheduler, ProgDVB, WatchHDTV, GB-PVR and MediaPortal and see which ones I like, and don't like, from set-up to usage, without having to un-install a program before I install the next.

Last edited by eckoman_pdx; 28th December 2009 at 11:24.
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