Originally Posted by Kylepdalton
As a heads up here for you. Any cable card tuner whether it be a internal one like the InfiniTV 4/6 or a network tuner like the HD Homerun Prime should allow you to record any stream coming in as long as you are using Windows Media Center. This includes the premium channels. The only thing you do lose is the ability to rent a movie or watch on demand programming.
Another issue is that the InfiniTV internal tuners only allow you to watch and record content with that PC. Meaning you can not go to another TV and PC without a tuner and watch live TV. There are only two ways to deal with that issue. Buy Xbox' 360's or Ceton WMC Extenders (which are not W8 compatiable) Just loading a single PC with a whole lot of tuners is not ideal if you want live TV elsewhere. That is where a network tuner like the Huappauge and HD Homeruns come in. Any other PC with any version of WMC can use a network tuner so you wouldn't need to buy a tuner for each machine.
Does that make sense? I'm reading what I wrote myself and scratching my own head. (Also another reason to just do a PC at every TV instead of an extender is because Microsoft is phasing that out. They were never that common to begin with.)
It sounds more complicated than it really is honestly. The only real hurtle for you would be moving and storing recordings from the main HTPC and other HTPC's. A script or some programs can be used to move them easily enough though. I have a similar smaller setup for my parents to use and they can operate it just fine. Once everything is up and running the only thing that causes a shutdown of my system are windows updates.
I have absolutely no problems streaming any content across my network. In fact I had a friend bring over a 4K TV and I could stream 4K content without any issues. Though my network is a bit more complex than most others. You shouldn't have any problems with GigE connections. As far as mounting an ISO image of a bluray over the network that is easily done as well.
My apartment was prewired with Cat5e so I didn't do any new runs. Just one connection per room with a TV. My office is where all of my servers and networking stuff sit (hence why some of the machines have dual NICs that are teamed for more bandwidth). It isn't necessary for nearly any media setup but I have other things going on aside from that. Other options for you if you need are the MoCA adapters and powerline adapters if you have no way of getting a Ethernet cable to that room.
As far as something to read to set it all up I am not sure about. Most of this was trial and error and put together over the past 3 years. I'm sure though that if you run into any problems you'll be able to find someone here to help you out, myself included. When I really urge people to do is think about how many TVs need the ability to watch and record TV, how much content you plan on serving up, and last but not least how much you are wanting to spend. If I were to buy everything I have right now in one go it would be close to $2000 or more not including the TVs.
If you already have a NAS then use it to store and distribute media. If you don't then just load up on hard drives on the main HTPC with the internal tuners and share the folders over your network. Use some scripts or programs to shift the recorded media to a central location for easy access.
If I were you I would start with getting an ethernet connection to every room. Then start on your main HTPC build with internal tuners. Then get a network tuner (InifiniTV 6 Eth would be perfect for you) and connect it to your network. Then start looking at mini itx builds for the other HTPCs at your other TVs. If you put one tuner like the InfiniTV 4/6pci in the main HTPC and then add a InfiniTV6 eth to your network then you would would be able to watch and record up to 10 to 12 channels at once. (Again the main HTPC is the only PC that can use the internal tuner for live TV but the network tuner can be used by any other PC.)
Feel free to ask anything about my setup since I can't point you towards anything in particular to read up on.
Thanks for the great detailed post. I find your setup interesting and functional. As I have stated I now have 4 1080P LCD tv's with maybe a 5th in the future.
So if I purchase an InfiniTV internal tuners for the HTPC, which will go in a wall unit in my family room that also houses my Yamaha home theatre, So this will only allow me to record and view live tv on that HTPC and no where else without a tuner. To be able to record and watch live TV on all other TV's I need the HD HomeRun Prime HDHR3-6CC-3x2 network tuner. Looks like I will need 3 M cable cards, two for the Homerun and 1 for the Infini. Just curious if you can put these cable cards downstream from a whole house cable amplifier? I do have one in the attic. My router is an Apple Time capsule and it should play well with this setup?
I noticed the Homerun Prime needs these requirements:
Dual (or more) core processor. Intel Atom and AMD Fusion C/E/G/Z series are not recommended due to limited processing power.
Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate, Professional, or Enterprise
4-8GB disk space per hour of HD recording, 1-2GB per hour of SD recording
100 or 1000Mbit Ethernet network, 1000Mbit recommended
Subscription to digital cable service
CableCARD (M-Card) from your cable provider (x2)
Video card with support for hardware decoding and HDCP (NVIDIA 9500 or newer, ATI HD3000 or newer, or Intel HD Graphics). ATI GPUs prior to the HD5000 series and Intel Sandy Bridge GPUs may have problems decoding some content including premium channels like HBO.
Display device that supports HDCP
DVI or HDMI connection between the video card and display. Note: VGA/component connections can also be used between the video card and display, but WMC may limit the resolution
If you are planning to use more than 4 tuners on a single PC, the TunerSalad program must be used to enable support for more than 4 tuners in WMC.
when it is saying it needs Dual or more Processor are they talking about the computer that will go with each tv as my other HTPC's. A little confused on this.
I like having a smaller HTPC next to the other TV's , sounds more practical and fictional. Sorry for all the questions but I have to draw a plan out and understand it fully before I dive in. That saves me a lot of problems in the long run.
I have no problem rewiring my house. I do have existing cat5e installed now but I feel it would be a good idea to start with new cat6a wiring to future proof and to prevent any problems since some of the wiring in my house will have to go distances of 250 to 300 feet which I believe might be a limit for cat6a . Have to look that up. Thanks for your guidance and great suggestions. Always nice to talk to someone that has done it already.Edited by bigRod - 6/15/13 at 10:54am