Review: SageTV HD Theater 300

by Damian on October 6, 2010 · 36 comments

in Reviews

It has been nearly a month since the SageTV HD300 started shipping. Prior to the HD300 shipping I put together a brief writeup on the direction I hoped SageTV was heading towards, so I was anxious to give the HD300 a test run to see if it met my expectations. For this review I am going to spend most of the time focusing on the HD300 in standalone mode as in extender mode more of the focus would be on the SageTV 7 Media Center software and not the HD300. Enough talking, let’s get down and dirty.

Specifications:

Price: USD 149.95

Processor: Sigma SMP8654 SOC

File formats supported: AVI, ASF, MKV, MOV, MP4, Quicktime, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS, MPEG-2 TS, M2TS, BDMV Folder (BluRay), BluRay ISO, DVD ISO, DVD VIDEO_TS, VOB, M4A, MP3, FLAC, OGG, FLV, WAV, WMA

Video formats supported: MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, XVID, H.264 up to 1080p, WMV9/VC-1 up to 1080p, MJPEG, FlashVideo

Audio formats supported: MP2, MP3, AAC, AAC-HE, ALAC, WMA, WMAPro, PCM, Vorbis (stereo only), FLAC, DolbyDigital/DolbyDigital+/DolbyTrueHD* (stereo down-mix or pass-through), DTS/DTS-HD/DTS-MA (stereo down-mix or pass-through)

*DolbyTrueHD down-mix requires the DolbyDigital core track to be present

CC/Subtitle formats supported: EIA-608(NTSC/ATSC/QAM Closed Captioning), DVB, SRT, SSA/ASS, VobSub (sub/idx, mkv), Nero MP4 VOB Subtitles, MP4 Text, SAMI, .sub (Subviewer/MicroDVD), DVD, BDMV, M2TS, PGS, multiple languages supported in all formats

Playlist formats supported: M3U, WPL, ASX, WAX, WVX

Media sources supported: Online Video, external USB Mass Storage Devices (FAT, NTFS, EXT2/3, HFS format), NAS or Mac/PC over SMB/CIFS, UPnP, SageTV Media Center

Keyboard support: Wired or Wireless USB keyboards (US keyboard layout)

Wireless Network support: 802.11 b/g/n networks; USB wireless network adapters

Video Outputs: 1 HDMI, 1 Component, 1 Composite (Component & Composite via breakout cable)

Audio Outputs: Optical S/PDIF, HDMI, Left/Right analog audio output (analog audio output via breakout cable)

Multi-Channel Audio Output: Multi-channel PCM audio output is supported over HDMI with up to 7.1 channels for PCM and FLAC audio formats; and up to 5.1 channels for WMAPro and AAC audio formats. Pass-through (bitstream) is supported for DolbyDigital, DolbyDigital+, DolbyTrueHD, DTS and DTS-HD/MA formats.

Remote Control: Includes infrared remote control with universal remote functionality (3 buttons can be programmed using infrared, compatible with most remote controls).

External IR Receiver: Optional external IR receiver can be purchased for mounting the HD Theater 300 behind a TV or in another room.

Maximum Number of SageTV HD Theaters when used as a media extender: Limited only by your home network bandwidth, each HD video stream may use 20 Mbps or more of home network bandwidth.

WOL (Wake-on-LAN) support: The device is capable of sending WOL packets to wakeup a SageTV server in standby mode if that server supports WOL functionality.

Dimensions: 5 1/16″ W x 1 1/2″ H x 4″ D

TV Set Requirements:

  • HDMI, Component or Composite input (NTSC or PAL)
  • Left and right audio input jacks, optical or HDMI audio input

Network Requirements:

  • One 10/100 RJ-45 port on a Router, Hub or Switch network (supports DHCP and static IP addresses)
  • or

  • Direct connect from SageTV HD Media Extender to PC running DHCP server via cross over LAN cable (not supplied)

Hardware:

The HD300 comes packaged in a neat and compact white box. Nothing flashy, just some basic advertising.

Included with the HD300 -

  • SageTV HD Theater digital media receiver
  • Remote control with batteries
  • Breakout cable for composite video, component video and analog audio
  • HDMI cable
  • 1.5 meter Ethernet cable
  • Power adapter
  • User manual

The front of the HD300 is fairly basic. To the left are the typical decals. The right is the power LED, IR LED, and IR input for use with an IR extender.

The back of the HD300 includes 2 USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet 10/100 port, HDMI, Optical, and a combined Video Port (using the provided breakout cable will give you Composite or Component connections).

There is no power brick which is nice. However, I have to admit that I did not like the power plug. Based on the direction of the plugs the power adapter runs horizontally covering up nearby power outlets on my power conditioner (I ended up having to move plugs around to get this to fit).  I would have preferred to have the plug designed so that the adapter was vertical when plugged in.

One thing you may have noticed is that the HD300 looks pretty small. It is small enough for me to easily palm with my hands. To really get a sense of how truly small it is, I decided to compare the HD300 with a Raisin muffin lying around.

I also called on my body double (I only use him for stunts and standing in line at the pharmacy) to model the HD300. The HD300 could be the first HD media player that could be worn around in public!

One of the benefits of the size is that there are a lot of possibilities on where to store the HD300. I decided to purchase some Velcro tape at the local Home Depot and mount the HD300 behind an LCD TV. Two strips of Velcro tape along the bottom of the HD300 was all that was needed. Big thanks to PluckyHD for the Velcro tape suggestions and the interesting Home Depot commentary ;-)

The HD300 mounted without issue to the back of the LCD TV, keeping everything hidden.

Since mounting the TV means I would lose line of site to operate the HD300 I simply plugged in the optional IR extender and mounted it to the upper corner of the TV.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with the size of the HD300, and even with the small size I felt I was dealing with a sturdy piece of equipment. I do admit that there is a geeky part of me that likes to have an “A/V looking” device, but in reality my devices are usually hidden anyhow. The HD300 is fanless which is a big plus (i.e. silent). Because of this the aluminum body does appear to get used as a heatsink, and although not scorching hot it did get very warm to the touch when in use.

Setup:

Setup was fairly easy to walk through. When the HD300 is powered on you will be taken to the main menu. The few items I like to confirm when first setting up a player is the Video Output, Audio Output, firmware updates, and set up my Media Library. From the Main Menu click on the “Settings” icon.

You will  now be in the Setup Menu where you can access various settings.

Under Video Output you will have three options to choose from which are self explanatory.

Under Audio Output you will have four options to choose from. The Digital and Bitstream choices here may be a little confusing. The Digital PCM option is if you want the HD300 to decode all audio and send out as PCM (for example I use this setting when connecting the HD300 directly to a TV via HDMI since the TV cannot decode HD Audio). The Digital Bitstream option would send the audio through for the connected device to decode. However, this does not apply to HD Audio, so I am assuming with this option if you had a DTS(MA) audio track only the DTS core would be sent through. If you want the full HD Audio track sent through you would choose the HDMI 1.3 HD Audio Bitstream option.

Under System Update you can see what firmware version you are currently using as well as check for updates. You actually have two options for checking for firmware. You can either check for the most current stable firmware or if you want to live on the edge check for the most current beta firmware. To check for beta firmware while on the System Update screen with the remote type 2382 (i.e. BETA)

To add Media Libraries to the HD300 head back to the Main Menu and select the Folders icon.  This should list out all available network paths. Since all my media is stored on my Windows Home Server I selected Browse the local Network.

Once you navigate to the folder where your media is located (in the example below I went to my Music Folder) click on the Info button on the remote where you should see an option to import this folder path. You can then select what content is in the folder, which then will determine what content will show on the corresponding Music/Videos/Pictures icons on the Main Menu.

After paths have been added, the HD300 will go about importing the paths to its library. You will see a thinking glass icon in the upper right hand corner which indicates that the HD300 is in the process of importing a library or refreshing. If you have a large library be prepared to walk away from the HD300 for a while as it imports your library.

Overall setup was quick and fairly easy to walk through. The only main issue I had was with the library import/refresh. The first time I set up my library paths it took easily over an hour for the import to complete, and I had no idea of the status as all I saw was the library import icon. It would be nice to give the user the option to see some sort of progress bar. Also, as you add new media you will need to refresh your imported media for it to show on the HD300. You can set the HD300 to automatically refresh every x number of hours, but once again the refresh takes too long in my opinion. I added two new movies to my server, ran the refresh manually, and it took over 20 minutes for the refresh to complete. This is something I would love to see sped up in the future.

UI Appearance:

This is the area where I had hoped some more time was spent. The HD300 UI is not horrible, in particular when comparing to the stock UI of many other media players out there. However, it does have an outdated look and feel to it, and in its current form under Standalone mode there is no opportunity to enhance with 3rd party jukeboxes. The layout itself is straightforward and each category is clearly labeled on the main menu. In order to have your media appear under the Photos, Videos, or Music icons you need to have your media paths imported as mentioned in the Setup. If not you can still access your media via the Folders icon, but this means you will be drilling through a lot of folders and you will actually lose the ability to play back certain files (such as BluRay folders).

When navigating through your media on the HD300 you will see thumbnails if available (it appears that the HD300 will display folder.jpg, and then if not available a snapshot of one of the files). Using Videos as an example, you can see below the Folders view which shows all folders available, how many videos are in each folder, and displays a thumbnail

Drilling down to my “Movies Family HD” folder I can see each movie with the associated thumbnail. However, this view only works if your setup is like mine where each movie is in its own folder. If you have all your video files in one folder you will see all your videos but instead of the thumbnail you see below you instead will see a snapshot icon for each file (for example if you look at the Mobile folder above you see a snapshot of clouds which is from Bee Movie).

If you have metadata gathered in the SageTV format (I think it is .properties files) you can view details of each movie.

Music and Photos have the same type of interface/interaction as with Videos. Here are a couple more examples below

When all is said and done I have mixed feeling about the UI. It is on par if not better then the stock UI of some other players. However, in standalone mode you are locked in to the UI you see. For me this is a big drawback as with other media players in my house (i.e. PCH, Dune, etc…) I can use a 3rd party jukebox such as YAMJ or Zappiti for a much more rich experience. It is not just looks, 3rd party jukeboxes can provide a much more usable interface which is key for the all important WAF. A perfect example of this would be TV Show support, navigating through my archived TV shows on the HD300 just doesn’t cut it and is a big negative for my wife.

Responsiveness:

Overall the HD300 felt relatively quick when navigating around, I definitely found it snappier then the previous HD200. Since the HD300 displays thumbnails/snapshots, at time page loads could be a little slow waiting for the thumbnails to appear. On a few occasions I got what I called the “Revolving Circle of Death” where the thinking circle icon would continuously rotate on my screen nonstop, requiring a reboot. For the most part navigating around the HD300 wasn’t too difficult or cumbersome, but I did encounter a few hiccups.

Network Performance:

One of the more frequent questions I see asked when a media player is announced is if it support Gigabit network connectivity. This may be important if you are constantly storing and transferring files back and forth between the media player and a PC, but for streaming purposes 10/100 is more then adequate. The SageTV HD300 is 10/100 which I expected would be plenty for streaming my high bitrate media. Using smb (you can see how I set up here) to connect my HD300 to my Windows Home Server, not once did I have issues playing back all my high bitrate content. This is definitely a plus as not all media players out there play high bitrate content without stuttering or hiccups. From what I can tell, you can stream from either smb or via UPnP, the HD300 did not pick up on my NFS server or HTTP (myiHome).

Audio/Video Playback:

As expected this is probably the area that most people care about. If a player cannot play back your content, then any other bells and whistles become moot. I have a variety of files I like to use when testing media players, and I am happy to report that the HD300 passed with near flying colors (I tested with the latest beta firmware). Here is a description of what I tested and the results (all results apply to both Standalone and Extender mode):

  • mkv w/ chapters – chapters are supported BUT you have to bring up the options menu which is a little annoying (PASS)
  • mkv w/ 480p internal IDX/SUB subtitles  (PASS)
  • mkv w/ 1080p internal IDX/SUB subtitles (FAIL) Also, trying to play this file will lock up  the HD300 and force you to do a reboot
  • mkv w/ internal PGS subtitles (PASS)
  • HD Audio downmix to stereo (PASS and FAIL)*
  • mkv w/ forced subtitles – the HD300 does not respect the forced subtitle flag (FAIL)
  • mkv with DTS(MA) and/or TrueHD Audio Track – bitstreamed without issue (PASS)
  • (m2)ts with DTS(MA) and/or TrueHD Audio Track – bitstreamed without issue (PASS)
  • mkv w/ VC-1 encoded video – played without issue using latest beta firmware (PASS)
  • BluRay ISO (main movie only) – played with forced subs, chapter support, and bitstreamed HD Audio (PASS)
  • BluRay Folder (entire disc) – played main movie, the HD300 does not support BluRay menus (PASS)
  • DVD ISO and/or Folder Structure – played with full menus (PASS)
  • 1080p quicktime (.mov) trailer – played without issue (PASS)
  • avi/mpeg clips – played without issue (PASS)
  • mkv w/ FLACplayed w/ multi channel PCM (PASS)
  • mkv w/ header compression – played without issue (PASS)

As expected, the HD300 handled nearly everything I threw at it, with 1080p IDX/SUB subtitles the only file causing a serious issue (requiring the unit to reboot). Chapter navigation was a little bit of an annoyance. On the remote there is not chapter skip button, just FF/RW buttons, so to skip chapters you have to bring up the Info menu and select either Previous or Next chapter. As mentioned by PluckyHD the remote can handle chapter skips using the channel up/down button. This is very odd but nonetheless gives the functionality. Overall, the HD300 did an excellent job with file playback. The only potential roadblock could be for users of TrueHD mkvs which you can read more about below.

* The HD300 had no issues downmixing to stereo DTS(MA). However, for TrueHD there were mixed results. When a BluRay movie has a TrueHD track, this audio track also contains an embedded AC3 track.  The HD300 grabs this AC3 track to downmix to stereo, so playing back a BluRay (either as a folder rip or as a standalone (m2)ts ) the HD300 has no problems downmixing to stereo. However. mkvs do not allow for the TrueHD + AC3 to be contained in one track, so you would only get TrueHD. In this case the HD300 is unable to decode the TrueHD track (they do not have a license to decode) so you are left with no sound if attempting to downmix to stereo. For mkv users the only option is to include the AC3 track as a secondary track. You would then just have to manually switch to the Ac3 track during playback. This is not ideal but the folks at SageTV have mentioned they are looking into possibly automating this (in the case where an mkv has a TrueHD track and the HD300 is set to downmix the HD300 would automatically switch to the AC3 track). A big kudos to SageTV to for the quick response in looking for a solution.

Online Content:

There is a fairly decent amount of online content available. Of course the first question that is always asked is “Where is Netflix?”. Well, unfortunately there is no Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon, etc… I did test and confirmed that PlayOn did work with the HD300, however I think everyone is tired of going through a 3rd party hack and hopes for full integration. I am sure the folks at SageTV are aware of this, but unfortunately companies like Netflix seem to be very difficult in dealing with smaller companies.

Selecting the Online Services icon from the Main Menu will bring up a variety of services  you can choose from, most grouped by category.

Choosing a category such as HD Videos will bring up another screen which will list out available online HD content.

Selecting HD Nation (a favorite of mine) will bring up a list of all available videos for viewing. After some brief buffering when the video first loaded, I had no issues playing back a full episode.

To be honest I am not a big online content person, as I find a lot of the content somewhat random and picture quality to be hit or miss, so not having Netflix or Hulu is not an issue to me. However, these two services seem to be heavily requested, and if SageTV were able to integrate these services into the HD300 this would be huge. Only time will tell.

Standalone Vs. Extender Mode:

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the focus was going to be on using the HD300 in standalone mode. However, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the extender mode. One of the features that sets the HD300 apart from just about every other player in the market is the ability to use it as an extender. To use in extender mode you are required to run SageTV Media Center ($79.95 or when bundled with the HD300 $199.95) on a PC or server. By doing this the HD300 can connect to SageTV Media Center and instead of having to use the stock HD300 UI you instead have full access to the SageTV 7 UI, functionality, plugins, etc… This is the same concept as what Microsoft does with the Xbox360 and Windows Media Center. In order to run Windows Media Center on the Xbox360 it must connect to a PC running Windows Media Center. So what exactly are the benefits of running in extender mode? Here are some that came to mind:

  • An HTPC experience without the HTPC
  • Access to the SageTV Plugin repository (it is a bit of a mess IMO currently but I expect it to improve over time). An example of a plugin would be the excellent Sage MyMovies plugin which I documented here. You can also read up about many of the other plugins over at Geektonic.
  • If you have TV Tuners installed on the PC running SageTV Media Center you can control those tuners on the HD300, including watching live TV and scheduling recordings
  • If you have multiple HD300s you can start a movie on one HD300 and resume from where you left off on another HD300
  • If you have a DVD/BluRay Rom drive installed on the same PC where SageTV Media Center is running you can actually use that drive on the HD300. You can only play back unencrypted discs so you must have AnyDVD or DVDFab Passkey running in the background. I was able to successfully play a BluRay disc installed on my desktop PC on the HD300 with full HD Audio bitstreaming.
  • True Windows Home Server integration. This is an important feature for us Windows Home Server users.

Final Thoughts:

So if you couldn’t tell so far, overall I was very impressed with the HD300. It addresses many of the issues that I had with the HD200, played nearly everything I threw at it, and came in a ridiculously small size. The size combined with the IR Receiver means you can put the HD300 virtually anywhere, and with consuming only 7-8W of energy (as confirmed by Andy at Missing Remote) it will have little impact on your electric bill.

Of course the question that I will get asked, would I recommend the HD300? This is actually a tough one, so let me break it down into a few parts. First, if you are looking for full Windows Home Server integration then the HD300 is a no brainer. If you are looking to integrate a TV tuner farm setup with small/quiet clients, then the HD300 is a no brainer (as long as you understand that currently SageTV does not work with Cable Card tuners).

If you are looking for a player primarily just for video playback it becomes a little bit more of a gray area. As a standalone player the HD300 offers a great feature set, especially considering that it is priced at $150. For example, I can’t think of any other player on the market at that price point that can bitstream HD audio without issue (there are several realtek players that have added bitstreaming capabilities but are still buggy). However, the outdated UI, the inability to downmix TrueHD from mkvs, and the inability to add a 3rd party jukebox (which is extremely critical for me for my archived TV shows and really just for a better overall experience) may turn off some people. In extender mode this is where the HD300 really shines, but it also becomes a $200 player (at least for the first one as you have to purchase the SageTV Media Center software). To get a feel for how SageTV 7 works (which is what you would use in extender mode) you can download a free 21 day trial (latest RC here).





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 34 comments }

PLUCKYHD October 6, 2010 at 9:00 am

For reference chapters skip is the channel up and down button no idea why but it has always been that way :)

Damian October 6, 2010 at 9:02 am

Ahhh….thanks for the tip, I will update the post (the whole chapter skip thing has been bugging me!!!)

Brajesh October 6, 2010 at 10:08 am

Damian, you had me chuckling with the muffin and arm shots :D! By the way, the first screenshot in your ‘Setup’ section isn’t showing up for me; comes up as a broken image link.

Re: the SageTV HD300 itself, even after your review, the MPC review and others before it, I remain only partially interested in it. To me at least, except for the live TV viewing/recording feature in extender mode, other media players like the Dune and upcoming ones like the Boxee Box and NetGear NeoTV 550 will likely beat it in terms of UI, jukebox quality, audio/video playback features (like ability to downmix Dolby TrueHD from MKV w/o needing a secondary AC3 track), and native web content. I’d say the true cost of the HD300 is really $200 as it isn’t much of a player compared to the competition in standalone.

Good review as usual however. Thanks!

Damian October 6, 2010 at 11:04 am

Brajesh,

Thanks for pointing out the broken link, I fixed. Glad you liked my comparison shots, gotta have a little fun with it :-)

I agree with your comments on the HD300. That is the reason why in my final thoughts I broke it out into several parts. As a standalone the HD300 really comes out well but doesn’t really set itself apart from the rest of the pack. That is what makes it difficult for a recommendation as it many ways it is a great little box. For someone who doesn’t really care about the UI or TrueHD downmix and just wants a small/quiet/cheap player to play back local content the HD300 as standalone may be more then enough. I know for myself in standalone mode it doesn’t meet my needs, but of course everyone is different. Of course one of the biggest attractions of the HD300 is the PVR integration but if you have no intention of watching/recording/streaming liveTV this means nothing.

As SageTV 7 matures it will be interesting to see how things develop.

Madpoet October 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm

FYI the latest beta includes the auto downgrade of audio tracks on TrueHD mkvs. It’s a nice touch as long as you have that alternate track.

Damian October 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Are you sure it can auto switch to a secondary AC3 track, I had gotten this note sent to me regarding the latest fw:

Extender Updates
1. When playing back Matroska files with a DolbyTrueHD audio track on an HD300 that is not configured to perform HD audio output, select the non-HD audio track by default if there is one. Requires a new firmware for the HD300 that is not available yet; without that firmware it will just select the primary audio track like it currently does (or the preferred language track).

Madpoet October 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

Yes the new extender beta firmware supports it for me. Tried it yesterday.

MonkeyRoach October 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I have to say Sagetv always had good features just ugly design.They really need to hire some better graphic designers.

PLUCKYHD October 7, 2010 at 6:28 am

They got some good third party ones coming on the UI but yeah the default still leaves allot to be desired.

Damian October 7, 2010 at 6:46 am

SageTV 7 UI s definitely a step above SageTV 6, but is that really saying much lol. I think that until Ortus/Phoenix come out SageTV 7 is still behind all the other front ends from a UI perspective (the only ray of hope for me right now with SageTV 7 is SMM, otherwise I wouldn’t even consider using).

shrink4g October 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

Hi,
Thank you for the well detail review. I do have one question concerning the use of metadata. All my media is stored on the whs with the mymovies plugin for collecting coverart and metadate for the movies. HD300 does not seem to read mymovies.xml file, and I do see from your screen shot the metadata is displayed. You have mentioned that the metadata file should be in SageTV format with the [*.properties]. Can the mymovies.xml file be rename to “name.properties” for the SageTV to read the info within or will it only accept some other format? Please shine the light in this area for me. Thanks.

Damian October 7, 2010 at 8:56 am

Are you using in standalone mode or extender mode? If in extender mode you will want to use the SageMyMovies plugin (http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/07/30/sage-my-movies-for-sagetv-7-walkthrough/) so you can use all your MyMovies metadata/coverart

shrink4g October 7, 2010 at 9:07 am

Sorry I forgot to mention.

I am using the HD300 in standalone mode. My question was based on your review for the standalone mode. I would hope that there is a solution for the metadata.

shrink4g October 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

Oop! I should have use the “reply” instead. First time using this site and unfamiliarity gets the worst of me.

Damian October 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

So you see your coverart just not the metadata? To be honest I am not sure what the HD300 in standalone mode is reading. Back in the day when I was doing more heavy testing with SageTV I was using their metadata tool (BMT) to create the .properties files. However, I shut down BMT a while ago but I do have MyMovies collection management creating the .properties files. From what I can tell in standalone mode the HD300 is reading the .properties files created by BMT but not the .properties files created by MyMovies. If I have some time I may try setting up BMT again and see if t hat fixes the problem. Very strange indeed

shrink4g October 7, 2010 at 9:26 am

I do see coverart (folder.jpg) but not the metadata info. It is confirm that movie info does exist in the mymovies.xml but hd300 not displaying it. So from the metadata info display in your review, that is from the creation of BMT? I send the metadata question to Sage support but have not see the reply from them. Where can I download this BMT tool to try and is it a freeware? Thanks.

Damian October 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

The HD300 will definitely not display mymovies.xml data in standalone mode.

As far as BMI is concerned I am not sure you can use without having SageTV Media Center as I believe it integrates with the SageTV service.

GadgetInsane October 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

Hey Damian. As usual, great review. I may hop on the train and get the HD300. I already own SageTV licenses and the $149 U.S. price is a no-brainer.

Believe it or not, my hesitation is the UI. If SageTV had the interface of WMC or similar, I’d be all over this in a heartbeat.

I will always argue that while function vs. eye-candy is critically important, it’s that eye-candy that sells the product. Mind you, version 7 did make some significant strides, but SageTV still has some ground to make up.

Gadget Insane October 7, 2010 at 9:19 am

I should qualify that I have an HTPC hooked up to my TV with a SageTV client license installed so the HD300 is not a “need” for me.

Damian October 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

Hey Richard,

The way I look at it certain Eye Candy can actually add functionality, it is not all about looks. In many ways eye candy makes it much easier to navigate, to logically group things together, etc… For example, having an archived TV Show jukebox provides a great deal of functionality (easily being able to locate shows). Hopefully Ortus and Phoenix will be released soon so we can really see where SageTV 7 will stand against the other big boys. For me Media Browser is still tops for what I need.

Pluckyhd October 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Just have mymovies write the .properties file and you will be good may have to delete and reimport your folder paths. The standalone will read the .properties files.

Damian October 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Which is odd because I have MyMovies do that and it appears for those the HD300 in standalone does not show. I shouldn’t have to delete/reimport since the .properties files were there before I set up the HD300. I will confirm again that only certain movies show properly in standalone

Damian October 7, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Well, I tried again and .properties files are not being read in standalone mode for what I can tell are movies where MyMovies created the .properties files.

shrink4g October 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I just receive a replied from Sage support on the metadata issue. This is what he wrote:
“It “can’t” read them, but I believe the mymovies can export the data to a .properties that the HD300 can read. ”

I don’t know how to start this process. He did not gives any instruction. Anyhow, I send back a message request more info. I will repost soon on this.

Damian October 8, 2010 at 5:44 am

In Collection Manegement go into Options, there should be a metadata setting, just make sure SageTV (.properties) is selected. That is all you need to do

shrink4g October 8, 2010 at 7:02 am

Great, thanks Damian. I have hope that this will work since the Sage support guy is saying so. I will try it out after work tonight and post the result.

PLUCKYHD October 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I believe you need to remove the import folders and re add them to get sage to read the property files again ;)

shrink4g October 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Well suppose that this works, I think it is cumbersome to delete the network path on Sage each time you add a new title to the library. Sage should look to improve the media import for sure.

I have to try this out tonight for sure.

Damian October 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

@ shrink4g,

I don’t believe Plucky is saying you need to do it every time you add a movie.

However, I don’t believe Plucky is correct that an import will fix it, for a very simple reason, I had all my .properties files before I even set up my imports. Some of the .properties files are being read by the HD300 while others are not. I have a sneaky suspicion that the .properties files created by MyMovies are the issue. I have an idea on how to test out so if I get a few minutes tonight I will try

shrink4g October 8, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Ok, here is the run down of the metadata thing.
I am using the MM Data collection management and able to create the .properties file for all titles. Just “refresh” the entire import folders, select a title and hit an “I” key on the remote, there was the synopsis of the movie, wow! Then I randomly select another title and hit the i key, nothing. So the result was very spotty. Some title got the data and some was not. Furthermore after watching the movie, I was try to view the data from some title that had info in it. This time it showed nothing. What the… I was scratching my head and try to understand why but couldn’t.

The next thing I am going to try is to remove all network path and re-import the folders. I know that you have done that, but I will want to try anyway.

Damian October 9, 2010 at 5:10 am

Hmmm… so it actually sounds like your results are the same as mine, some show the .properties files and others don’t. Doesn’t make any sense…

PLUCKYHD October 13, 2010 at 8:30 am

Has to be a bad properties file from mymovies then…Maybe he is not creating them right I will give some of mine a look.

and damian was right you don’t have to do it every time you add a movie (remove the paths and re add them) just at the beggining.

John October 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Quick question.

If mount a virtual BluRay drive on my HTPC, can I use that to play a BluRay back via the HD 300 in extender mode? Also, would this be beneficial or would it be best to just use Sage’s ability to play BluRay iso?

Thank you for your help.

Damian October 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm

The BluRay drive would need to be shared and accessible across your network. If it is you would then need to add it to your SageTV Imported Library to access. Really the only benefit to doing this is if you had a physical disc that you wanted to play back and not wait for ripping. Otherwise, I don’t see a benefit to virtual mounting on your HTPC as the HD300 can already handle the BR ISOs natively.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: