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Snapstream or Sage TV?(Click here to view the original thread with full colors/images)
Posted by: kendee1
Has anyone used either Snapstream or Frey-Sage TV?
Snapstream was featured on Tech TV's The Screen Savers yesterday and I was intrigued and they gave it favorable reviews. It seemed to bring PVR functionality to a PC with a TV Card. I often find myself using my PC's TV card when the wife is dominating the main TV & Tivo with the likes of Food TV and Trading Spaces.
Posted by: bobg573
I've been a happy Snapstream user for close to two years. I built a dedicated Snapstream server so I could keep up with my History Channel shows and to keep a catalog of shows to watch on my computer while I'm working late. I record all my "Dad-only" stuff on my Snapstream machine and let my wife and kids monopolize the TiVo (except for the several shows that my wife and I watch together).
Snapstream does all its encoding in software, so the quality you can get depends entirely on your CPU power. I record everything at what it calls "Cable/DSL Medium", which produces a 320x240 video with 32kbps 44kHz mono sound and a file size of about 185MB per hour. That's not good enough for full-screen viewing, but it's fine for watching in a little window in the corner while I'm concentrating on other stuff. (I've got an old Next Generation episode running right now.) My server's CPU utilization hits about 35% while recording at that quality level, so I could user a higher quality if I wanted. But at this level I can keep *lots* of old shows on disk and there's minimal load on my network and CPU while I'm watching something.
My server specs:
o Pentium 4 at 1.6Ghz
o 256MB memory
o Three 80GB disks - 2 as RAID-1 (mirrored) array, 1 standalone for now
o Hauppauge Win-TV tuner card
o Soundblaster Live! audio card
o Windows XP Home
o Snapstream V2.0
The same machine also acts as a print server and file server for MP3 files.
A lot of people seem to have trouble getting Snapstream to work reliably, but I've been lucky with it. That may be due to good hardware choices. I first tried a leftover ATI All-in-Wonder card and had problems, so I switched to the Hauppauge card. I also found that the built-in audio on my Intel motherboard gave poor sound quality, so I installed a leftover Soundblaster card.
With a dedicated server, I have very little trouble with missed shows. To be extra safe I installed a utility to reboot my server every night. These days I might miss one show in several hundred recordings. (That reliability doesn't include misses due to schedule changes - this version of Snapstream doesn't have any automatic schedule-tracking features like TiVo.)
I'm happy enough with version 2.0 that I may not bother upgrading to version 3.0 when it finally becomes available.
I have no experience with Sage TV. In fact, I never heard of it until now. Its ability to use hardware encoding is interesting. That lack is the biggest drawback with Snapstream.
Posted by: MighTiVo
The screenshots for snapstream 3.0 look very nice:
SageTV doesn't look quite as refined:
Posted by: pvrgeek42
SageTV is also considered highly stable by its users. And it has support for multiple tuners. And their latest addition of networking features is really interesting. It's much more of a networked PVR than Snapstream is.
Snapstream even says in their release notes for 3.0 (and this is the final release for 3.0, not a beta):
MPEG-2 TV and Recordings can hang under high cpu stress from other applications.
MPEG-2 TV can hang after many hours of uninterrupted usage.
I don't know about you, but I don't think Snapstream is even considered a realistic option for a PVR because they even say it might crash and then I'd miss my recordings! I evaluated both and chose SageTV as the easy winner. :)
Posted by: MighTiVo
Snapstream 3.0 available now
$49 till 6/15 then $99
Maximum control over your television: don't just record and rewind your favorite shows intelligently -- play them back on your TV, PC, Pocket PC, or your wireless home network. Record shows in MPEG-2 or Windows Media. You can even remotely control Personal Video Station 3 from an Internet browser, your WAP cell phone, or a web-enabled Pocket PC.
All of this with... with no subscription fees and no high hardware costs.
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