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Discussion Starter #1
The slingbox pro-hd was very nice - tried it for a few days.

However it had to be returned because of 2 issues related to the playback software.

1) Incredibly high CPU usage for high bitrate streams (6mbit+). To the point where a Core i5 laptop had trouble keeping up.

2) Lack of post processing - some obvious scaling artifacts.


I liked the idea of near-perfect HDTV streaming. What sort of software/hardware solution could be used in place of the sling?

For example, a HDTV import card + VLC streaming? Or something more sophisticated....
 

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A Hauppauge HD PVR or Colossus plus Sage TV or MediaPortal will do the job for streaming live TV. Support for the Colossus is not finalized but it's available in beta form. I've done it with the HD PVR and MediaPortal but the HD PVR can be a little finicky at times. The Colossus should be better but I haven't used it.
 

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Can those solutions provide near-exact quality to the original 720p signal?

I'm working with a ~5.5Mbit upstream I'm hoping to maximize quality.

Do you need special software to playback the stream? For example sling's firefox plugin felt more like a hack and I don't like flash based solutions.... WMP/VLC native would be nice
 

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VLC should do what you want it but I don't think it supports Hauppauge devices directly. MediaPortal and SageTV do. The HD stream from an HD PVR is 9.0Mb MPEG4 by default but it can be adjusted down. The quality is virtually as good as the original at default capture rates.
 

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A 5 meg connection is not a lot once you factor in ping/latency and other factors between the connection at your home and the one you are on with your laptop. When I cut my cable I went to a 16meg FIBE connection in order to manage all the overhead and other factors.
 

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What are you looking to stream - live TV, video files, etc? If it is not live TV then you have a lot more options since you don't need the tuning device to talk to your streaming hardware.
 

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1) Incredibly high CPU usage for high bitrate streams (6mbit+). To the point where a Core i5 laptop had trouble keeping up.
I don't know about you but when I stream an HD stream from across the atlantic (at 2700kbps), my CPU is only at about 50%. Internally (on my home network), I can stream at 8000kbps in HD as well and I also max out at 50%. I have an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU (Q6600), but a decent video card.
 

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You can change the parameteres in the SlingBox to adjust the video quality in terms of bit rate. I use my SlingBox Pro-HD in conjuction with a SlingCatcher to placeshift HD video, and the quality on the 40" HDTV that I'm placeshifting to looks amazing.
 
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