Best Option to Route OTA Signals? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-20, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Best Option to Route OTA Signals?

Hi guys first post here. My first step in cutting the cord was to build a HTPC that's finally out of the way next step is to figure out what would be the best way to watch OTA channels. I have a Samsung 6400 LED TV and a Pioneer sound System and a HTPC that goes HDMI to my sound system. What would be the best way to route the OTA signal?

1-OTA (RF) to Samsung TV, optical audio out to the sound system.

2-Buy a PCI TV Tuner RF in the card and I assume both audio and video will come out of the HDMI cable to the sound system. the advantage of using a PCI TV tuner card is I don't have to run any extra cable and I can use it as a PVR. Down side is I have to wait for the computer to bootup before I can start and watch TV.

3-Buy a ATSC to HDMI converter but I heard those are pricey,


I haven't officially Installed the antenna yet I bought it last week and ran some test with it today I have 5 TVs to feed in the house but the Samsung is the one that is in the entertainment room.

Thanks
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-20, 09:47 AM
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Two main options people seem to use for this are:

PC tuner card, as you mentioned. Based on what software you use (WMC for example) can easily tune TV, and set up recordings, etc.

Other option, is something like the HDhomerun software. This would be a central device, that can then be set up to record things, etc out to a specific PC hard drive, etc, and accessible by other devices... but would then require a playback device on all the other TVs as well.

If the other rooms ONLY have the TV and nothing else.. might be cleanest to just go the tuner route.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-20, 10:37 AM
 
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There are a few options. Since you already have an HTPC set up, probably makes sense to leverage that. If you have hard-wired network to the HTPC, then I would get a HDHomerun tuner so you don't have to deal with extra wires and heat in the HTPC.

If you're wireless to the HTPC, go with a PCI card like the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 since you won't quite have the guaranteed network bandwidth for a HDHomerun.

If you're running Windows on your HTPC, probably the easiest software to run is Windows Media Center. More info about that in this thread. http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=110789

And for something completely different, take a look at TabloTV which seems like an interesting solution if your family is tablet-friendly. http://www.tablotv.com/

Have fun!
-Pete
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-20, 12:01 PM
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I agree with the HDHomerun solution. That's what I use and it's a lot cleaner than using a PC tuner card. The HDHR is connected beside the main router where the internet and RG6 enter the house. From there, the home network does the rest. I'd recommend a model that does MPEG4 compression (HDHC4) for wireless use. The MPEG2 HDHR4 is fine for wired network use. A large number of devices can be used with the HDHR4. An HTPC can be used for recording. From there any networked DLNA device can be used for watching the HDHR directly or for watching recordings. That can be a $30 Miracast dongle (with compatible phone or tablet), an inexpensive Android dongle or player (with app), a conventional DLNA media player, a DLNA compatible "smart" TV or another HTPC.

If RG6 is to be used to the TVs, a head end preamp or distribution amp will be required to compensate for splitter losses. That isn't necessary with a HDHR.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-20, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Very interesting I've never heard of HDHomerun I'm actually running XBMC and my HTPC is LAN wired. I haven't red much about the HDHomerun I guess I can look on Youtube but does it mean that I could watch the OTA feed on any computer that's on my home network? is it similar to a Slingbox?
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-20, 11:12 PM
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one drawback to the hdhr is it's not exactly the most sensitive tuner around.
So ya may have some reception issues with the weakest of signals, that other tuners would be able to pull in.
It's actually the weakest tuner in the house here (hdhr3).

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-21, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Not the most sensitive sensitive as in?

Here's what I was thinking in my setup now including the HDHomerun

OTA signal to my basement where I have a 6 way amplifier that will go straight to 4 TVs out of 5. The 5th one (Home Theater Room) will get the OTA feed to the HDHomerun so I can watch live TV with XBMC then aRj45 ethernet cable will be network to the HDHomerun so I can watch live TV on any computer in the house that is on my network. Is that the right way to do it?
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-21, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
one drawback to the hdhr is it's not exactly the most sensitive tuner around.
Agreed. The HDHR3 devices are not good for DXing and very weak signals. They are very good for local to mid range signals. The HDHR4 series is much more sensitive and probably rivals any consumer device out there. They are just becoming available in quantity at the consumer level.

Poor sensitivity is a general issue with computer ATSC TV tuners. Some companies cannot get newer chips in sufficient quantities because the big TV makers have priority for new chips. I've seen this issue in a number of TV tuners, not just the HDHR. Companies such as Hauppauge may get them sooner than Silicon Dust (HDHR) but don't advertise the fact with new model numbers. A new WinTV-HVR-2250, for example, may have very good sensitivity but one made a few years ago will not.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-22, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
I agree with the HDHomerun solution. That's what I use and it's a lot cleaner than using a PC tuner card. The HDHR is connected beside the main router where the internet and RG6 enter the house. From there, the home network does the rest.
Actually some people put the HDHR in their attic to shorten the RG-6 run from antenna to tuner. But then you need power and an ethernet cable in your attic. The HDHR, and you should get the V4 unit if you can - it is available from Save & Replay which is a sponsor of these forums, have two tuners so that you can use one to record and one to watch live TV.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-23, 03:06 PM
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If you didn't want the HTPC in the living room rack and have an Xbox 360 you could leverage the Windows Media Center extender capabilities. You didn't mention which software you were planning on using on the HTPC however. Xbox 360 starting next month will no longer require Live Gold for access to the tv streaming apps. They can be found for $120-$150.00 if you look around (reg $199.00). (media remote $30.00) If you were to pair the Xbox with a Roku 3 ($110.00) on the front end and put Windows Media Center (for OTA Live + PVR'ed content) and Plex Server on the HTPC. (for ripped content / different streaming channels) on the back end, you would end up with a pretty sweet setup. Roku 3 does not have Optical output however the Xbox 360 does. Some TVs will do the conversion for you as well. Not sure if you are in a position to invest in more stuff but something to think about anyway.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-25, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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I'm using XBMC on my HTPC and all the computers in the house and I have a Netflix account that I never use since I got XBMC. To get back to the HRHD sensitivity are you guy talking about RF sensitivity? As in does the unit has a ATSC built in antenna? I want to go from the OTA antenna then to a 1 IN 5 OUT amp, 4 OUTS to various TVs around the house and 1 output from the amp to the HDHR box from there all my computers are on my home network and connected with Rj45 since WiFi doesn't work too good with XBMC
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-25, 08:09 PM
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What you described above should work well.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-27, 10:56 AM
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Yes, RF Sensitivity. Basically when a tv or device scans is it able to pick up the channels with the weaker signals and are the channels stable / watchable. I have a similar setup to you for my OTA. Family doesn't use it in my case since discovering Hulu. I still do however for news hockey and other shows here and there.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-28, 01:43 PM
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If it matters you, you could leave the computer in standby and it will start up faster. I use WMC, and it starts the PC up on its own (From S4 Standby) to record things. I start watching things from the recording list, rather than live TV. I can also start and turn off the PC with the MCE remote, from/to S4.
The "List" button opens WMC to the recordings list.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 2014-05-28, 06:33 PM
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HTPCs should definitely be left in standby to facilitate fast startup and software initiated startup for recording. Most PVR software will handle startup from S3. Other standby modes may be possible with some software and hardware.
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