New HTCP setup

Topics about Android / Amazon / iOS / AppleTV / Kodi and other TVMosaic clients
Plantje
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 6:53 am

New HTCP setup

Post by Plantje » Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:23 pm

Hello,

Yes, I will be cross posting these questions, because I think one website can help me better with one part and another website can help me better with another question.

Currently I have a quite old HTPC with the following specs:

Pretty old HP Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q9300 2.50 GHz desktop
4GB RAM
Nvidia GeForce 9400 GT with total memory of 2519MB of which 512MB dedicated and 2007MB shared
Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
Windows 10 runs on SSD.
Media and recorded tv are on a 2TB internal HDD
2x Floppy DTV with Alphacrypt CAM
1x HDHomerun duo connect
Smartmouse
TV Mosaic
DVBJCam
NewCS
Philips TV

This setup is on 24/7 so I can watch TV whenever and wherever I want. But that seems to be over the top.

Problems that I experience are:
System uses quite a lot of power and is on 24/7
YouTube lags in Edge, because the CPU peaks to 100% and then drops again
The image seems blurred in Netflix, Kodu etc. Seems to be to let things appear smoother. That can be fixed by disabling PC mode on the TV, but then applications like Windows Explorer and Edge show lines like they're double.
When watching TV in the bedroom through Kodi or VLC after about 15 minutes the broadcast starts to stutter and buffer. That happens with recorded TV as well. I am not sure if this is caused by the client or the server.

What I want to achieve is:
Watch live and recorded TV without issues
Less power usage
Get rid of several types of tuners

My idea of the new situation:
HDHomerun HR5-4DC (someone mentioned that oddly enough the new one has 100Mbit instead of 1000Mbit)
Less power consuming Windows 10 machine that runs TV Mosaic
External HDD for recorded TV and media

I've got the following questions:
I prefer to have one Windows 10 machine that can do it all. What would you advise? One machine for TV Mosaic that also runs the front end apps for media consumption? Or one Windows 10 machine for TV Mosaic and a separate Android box with Android TV as front end.
Is it an issue to have recorded TV on an external HDD? Or is that speed way higher than what is needed by 4 streams?

In case of one machine: what type of machine would you advise? What configuration and specs?

In case of a separate Android TV box I was wondering if the following apps are available:
Kodi
Ziggo Go
Feedly
YouTube
Google Assistent (in Dutch)
Skype
Spotify
Netflix
TeamViewer (preferably to take control of the device as well)
Agenda app (with use of Microsoft accounts)
Domoticz
Toon
Foto and video viewer with options to delete files

Can a bluetooth keyboard be used with an Android box?
Is it possible to use a webcam with an Android box? (For Skype and Google assistant)
Can an android box be connected to my amplifier using a micro jack?

Maverickz
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:37 pm

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Maverickz » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:08 am

You didn't mention if you do any transcoding of the recorded files or not. If you do, I don't really see any way to reduce power since to do transcoding quickly and efficiently you need a good Video card, with means a desktop style PC and all the power requirements that go with it.

If you do not do any transcoding, you could go with a low power mini-PC and external HDD that could save power. Not sure how much it will save though. Really in most homes it's the Air conditioner and heater that uses the most electricity anyway I doubt you would notice a difference in your bill.

It may be a bit unrealistic to expect one machine to record one program, while streaming another program to the tv, while transcoding a previously recorded program, while you watch YouTube videos on it, while skyping with your buddy.

Here is my setup (abbreviated version)
  • One Dedicated Media Server - Runs TV-Mosaic and handles the recording, and streaming of live as well as storage for all media files, it is also my central file/backup server.
  • Three Amazon Fire TV boxes/sticks (one for each TV) - Runs, TV Mosiac app(live TV and manages recording schedules), Netflix, Kodi (personal media files and recordings), YouTube app, and more.
  • One laptop for each family member for day to day work/tasks, skype, email, etc.
Most of those apps Android boxes will run, but ONLY the ones with Android TV OS (not regular Android) will run Netflix and YouTube in HD (they do run in SD). Some of those apps I have never heard of, so you will need to look in play.google.com or search for them individually. You can use wireless KB and mouse with Android boxes but most only come with 1 USB port so you may need to get a USB hub, for Bluetooth that will vary based on the specific box if it is supported or not. I think some do.

For audio (in the living room only) I just have all of my devices (AFTV, BluRay player, and game consoles) connected directly to the TV via HDMI, then I have one single Optical connection from the TV to my Receiver. This way I don't even have to change sources on my receiver when I switch from one device to the other on my TV, it just always works and keeps things simple. In the bedrooms there is no receiver so all audio plays through the TV.

Let me know if you need more help or info.

OH and for god's sake STOP using Edge. It is the worst browser in existence. Use Firefox or even Chrome. When I setup a new computer I open Edge exactly one time...to download a better browser.

Addendum on power: I actually have the media server, 6 laptops, 1 AFTV Box, 2 AFTV Sticks, 1 Nvidia Shield, 4 TV's, and 1 receiver and all of that makes relatively little difference in my power bill. As I mentioned before it's my A/C that accounts for like 85%-90% of my bill, and then you have the lights, refrigerator, deep freeze, oven, microwave, etc. So really the electronics really don't account for much....unless you are trying to live off-grid using only solar or wind power.

Oberon
Posts: 1288
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:45 am

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Oberon » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:26 am

Good discussion, guys.

Just want to add couple of things to it.

You do not need a good video card to do transcoding quickly. You may, of course, but Intel CPU generation 6 or newer will do the job equally good.

Further, I personally prefer NAS-based setup. I run ASUSTOR intel-based NAS at home as a media server with TVMosaic/Plex/torrent/etc. and several android based boxes wit TVMosaic/Plex/Kodi/Netflix etc. apps.
It is as power efficient as it can get.
The only downside of using android boxes as a client is that it is difficult to find one with a good video quality. The only close to perfect one that I know is NVidia Shield. AFTV are good, but de-interlacing is not working properly (I do not know if it was fixed ion the last generations of aftv). The rest may suffer from bad upscaling or blurry images.
If someone has an android box with a proper video output quality, I would be curious to hear.

Maverickz
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:37 pm

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Maverickz » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:49 pm

Oberon wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:26 am
You do not need a good video card to do transcoding quickly. You may, of course, but Intel CPU generation 6 or newer will do the job equally good.
I did not know that. My server is running a Xeon E3-1225 v3 which is Haswell (4th gen) based and while it does do encoding it was very slow until I dropped in an Nvidia graphics card.
Oberon wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:26 am
AFTV are good, but de-interlacing is not working properly (I do not know if it was fixed ion the last generations of aftv).
The AFTF only has a problem deinterlacing MPEG2 Video formats. So, I had deinterlacing issues on my AFTV boxes when I was using NextPVR (unless I turned on transcoding for both live and recorded streams), BUT your TV Mosiac Android app seems to be doing deinterlacing for both live TV and it's recordings on the AFTV just fine. This is the primary reason why I switched to TVM from NextPVR in the first place (plus the TVM Android interface is better than the NPVR Android interface). The AFTV has zero issues deinterlacing x264 or x265 (HEVC) video formats, regardless of the container format.

I do transcode the recordings because I run them through MCEBuddy+Comskip to remove commercials and then transcode them to a x264 .ts (transport stream) WITHOUT deinterlacing (to save time) and then play them back in Kodi. If I leave the recordings in MPEG2 .ts format then Kodi cannot deinterlace them properly. I may stop doing the MCEBuddy+Comskip thing though, because I just can't seem to get it quite right with the cuts.

I have tried out a few different generic Android boxes and my biggest problem with most of them was that Amazon Prime, Netflix and YT don't normally allow HD content to boxes that do not pay them royalties for "certification". Now there are ways to side load YT apps to get 1080p on regular Android boxes but Netflix actively prevents that. So if you don't use Amazon Prime or Netflix, then really, any decent Android Box would be fine. For a list of Android TV OS boxes and what they can do, look at this chart: Android TV OS Boxes. If you want to look at the full list of Android boxes (including non-Android TV OS boxes) here is the Full Chart. NOTE: The AFTV devices are not listed in the first chart since they do not run Official Android TV OS but they are listed in the second chart. The guy that did those charts (Chigz Tech Reviews on YT) recently put out a Top 10 for 2018 video and if I were buying new Android boxes today I would probably go with his #4 pick the Xiaomi Mi Box. I would also get a USB Ethernet Hub which adds 3 USB slots AND a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port (although depending on needs the hub will not be necessary for everyone).

Don't get me wrong I like my AFTV Gen 2 Box, it works great, but after using the Shield, I have decided I personally prefer the true Android TV Interface (more customizable AND you get access to the full Google Android TV Play Store).

Oh and the NVidia Shield has no issues deinterlacing anything including MPEG2.TS. It has handled everything I have thrown at it. It is also one of the most expensive boxes around. I have no firsthand experience with deinterlacing and the Mi box but I would think it would do just fine.

Plantje
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 6:53 am

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Plantje » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:03 pm

Thanks for the replies! Let me (long overdue) read through them and see if I need som more info

Plantje
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 6:53 am

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Plantje » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:47 pm

Ok, first things first: there is completely no transcoding done here. So, thanks for the info on that, but it is not something worthwhile considering here.

Further I read two replies mentioning a dedicated machine for connecting tuners, running TV Mosaic and storing media and a separate one for viewing stuff. In my case the first machine (tuners, TV Mosaic and storing media) would still be Windows. That is mainly because I am used to it and I have purchased TV Mosaic for Windows.
I don't think I would need a very powerful machine just to connect the HD Homerun tuners (which are actually just a network connection), TV Mosaic and storing media. @Oberon, could you shed a light on that? I would expect the machine to display all that data requires more horse power.

When it comes to saving power: I live in the Netherlands; an A/C at home is not very common :) But, I do agree. The HTPC I currently have, uses a little over 2 kWh a day when running 24/7. The thing is: it is running for more than half the time when it is not needed to run! So, I should be able to save about 50% of the cost just by putting it in standby. Apart from the fact that Kodi still has some weird issues with displaying the screen if the machine has been in standby that doesn't work when I go to bed and want to watch some TV there. For some reason if TV Mosaic starts a recording the machine is woken up and stays awake for the duration of that recording. However, if I want to use the tuners to watch live TV from my bedroom using TV Mosaic on the HPTC it still goes to sleep. @Oberon: is that something that can perhaps be fixed from the TV Mosaic end? If TV Mosaic can wake up a machine to do a recording and keep it awake during the recording it should be possible to wake up a machine if TV Mosaic is approached to use one of the tuners? Or at least keep the machine awake during the use of TV Mosaic? (Albeit I use Kodi to watch TV, but the TV Mosaic service is still used)

I hear a lot of good stuff about the NVidia Shield and if I go for a dual setup the NVidia shield would definitely be a very good option! As well as the Xiaomi Mi Box 4. Whereas the latter is way cheaper! Full Android TV seems the way to go. I need Netflix to be in full HD and it sounds logical to go for Android TV. Next to that I heard quite some issues with the normal Android boxes. Software updates not coming through etc.
I will look for those apps myself.

The size of the devices is not really an issue nor is how much noise they make. Everything is in my garage, so that is fine.

For audio I am also looking for some Sonos like setup.

@Maverickz, what OS do you run on your media server? And what is the configuration of that machine? (Especially interested if it is running on Windows.)
And when it comes to Edge: well, yeah... I don't have any issues with Edge... just on that machine. And on that machine a dedicated YouTube app (MyTube) has the same issues.... at times... not always.

Maverickz
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:37 pm

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Maverickz » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:22 pm

Actually my media server is running Windows Server 2012 R2. I use Win Server because I also use it for DHCP, Email Server, Web Server, and a central file Server for PC backups.

Plantje
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 6:53 am

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Plantje » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:38 am

Thank you for getting back to that. A dedicated Windows machine running as a server for all my media, TV Mosaic and my tuners comes more and more to mind.

@Maverickz: What do you see as the main advantage of the Fire TV box over an Android TV box? And what type of tuners do you use?

@Oberon, had two questions in my previous response (see highlighted in bold). I would appreciate it if you can take a look at those.

Maverickz
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:37 pm

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Maverickz » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:12 am

Plantje wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:38 am
Thank you for getting back to that. A dedicated Windows machine running as a server for all my media, TV Mosaic and my tuners comes more and more to mind.

@Maverickz: What do you see as the main advantage of the Fire TV box over an Android TV box? And what type of tuners do you use?
I have had my Fire TV box for a few years and at that time they were, I think, the only box that used the Android TV OS (albeit a customized one). Now there are a few more choices. If I were buying new today, I might consider an Nvidia Shield if I had the budget, or perhaps a Xiaomi Mi box for less of a budget. The reason is both of these devices run the official Android TV OS so they can play Netflix and Youtube in 4k resolution AND give full access to the Google Play store (TV edition) for apps. The Shield also plays Amazon Prime Video in 4K but I am not sure about the Mi box (due to the Google Amazon feud). You would need to investigate that if you will be using Prime.

Most "Android" boxes actually use the phone version of Android with a more TV oriented interface and may not be able to play Netflix or YT in HD even if the box claims to play 4k content. This has to do with licensing of the ability to play 4k content from Netflix and other providers.

The primary reason to use FireTV devices is if you use Amazon Prime Video and prefer that content to be front and center on the home screen. Also they are good hardware for the price. If you get a FireTV 4K device it will play Netflix in 4K and Youtube 4k as well BUT you will have to side load Youtube or use the app "Smart Youtube" (again due to the Amazon Google feud). Also the Amazon app store is a bit more limited currently than the Google Play store. So if there are specific apps you need, check availability on Amazon. Although if the app is free (doesn't need to check the store to see if you bought it) you can side load anything to any of these boxes.

So in essence which box to get will depend largely on where you plan on getting your content from and which apps you want the most. If all you will be using it for is content you record locally or streamed from an "unlicensed' app such as Kodi then really any box that can play 4k could work.

One more thing to note, not all boxes have an Ethernet port (all have Wi-Fi) but if you need one you can buy a USB hub with built in Ethernet adapter. Check device specs for details.

Here is a document that a YT reviewer put together for Android boxes to show their specs and capabilities to help make choosing a bit easier...hopefully.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

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For tuners I use a Hauppauge Win-TV USB dual tuner plugged into the back of my previously mentioned server.
NOTE: To use this or any other tuner on a Windows Server OS, you will need to download and use a tool called serverbda to add some missing components to Windows Server OS'es. This is not needed for regular Windows OS's. Also Hauppauge comes with a tool called WinTV. You will need to start the installation process to install the drivers but activating and installing the main program is not required if you don't want it.

For an antenna, call Antennas Direct (get the number from the website) and give them your address. They will check topography, station locations and distance from your house and recommend the proper antenna. I went with an attic mount installation because my HOA are a bunch of Nazi's.

I get my epg data FREE from zap2it, using a free tool called zap2xml. You can find more details about setting it up here:
https://forums.nextpvr.com/showthread.p ... post527763

Maverickz
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:37 pm

Re: New HTCP setup

Post by Maverickz » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:27 am

First I want to apologize, I was quite tired when I made that last post and now realize I repeated myself a bit from earlier posts.
Plantje wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:47 pm
For some reason if TV Mosaic starts a recording the machine is woken up and stays awake for the duration of that recording. However, if I want to use the tuners to watch live TV from my bedroom using TV Mosaic on the HPTC it still goes to sleep. @Oberon: is that something that can perhaps be fixed from the TV Mosaic end? If TV Mosaic can wake up a machine to do a recording and keep it awake during the recording it should be possible to wake up a machine if TV Mosaic is approached to use one of the tuners? Or at least keep the machine awake during the use of TV Mosaic? (Albeit I use Kodi to watch TV, but the TV Mosaic service is still used)
For the wake up issue, have you looked into "Wake on lan"? I think this should do what you want.
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/wake-on-lan-windows/

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