[success] Multiple Hauppauge Colossus running with MediaPortal 1.6 (1 Viewer)

stephenv

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I have now got a Windows 7 Pro (Intel I7 4770k, 8GB RAM, Asus H87M-E motherboard) system working with MediaPortal 1.6 using two Hauppauge Colossus cards doing HD capture over component video (stereo audio) from two Motorola DCX3200-M cable set top boxes controlled by a USB-UIRT blaster box.

There were a lot of twists and turns on the way to getting this working, so in this thread I will attempt to document the issues I encountered and record the various solutions I found, along with screen captures of the relevant settings pages so that others might travel a smoother path in the future.

But first: was it worth it?

Yes, I think so, and I'm planning to add a third Colossus card to the TV Server box in the near future. I'm a refugee from the "killed-by-Google-SageTV" system. I really like my SageTV setup, I've got three tuners in it, but only standard def. If Google hadn't killed it I would probably have tried to do this with Sage instead. The Sage achieved a very high WAF (Wife Approval Factor), I think MP will too with a bit more work.

I'm going to split the saga into multiple postings to this thread, so read on for more.

Regards,
Stephen[DOUBLEPOST=1389569544][/DOUBLEPOST]Some might ask why I decided to use an Intel i7 4770k chip, as that seems like a lot of CPU for this sort of application.

Well it came down to two things really:

1. cost, the i7 chip is about the same price as one Colossus card and cable box pair, so it's not really a significant cost increment (as a part of the total system) over something like a high end Athlon chip.
2. performance, while my initial tests convinced me that a much smaller CPU would do just fine for the HD recording task, I wanted to have more CPU available to future proof the system (I don't want to change this for at least 5 years) and I wanted to be able to run COMSKIP for commercial detection and VIDEOREDO for editing and transcoding at the same time that recordings were taking place. This i7 chip is capable of transcoding a 2 hour (10GB .ts file) movie down to a 1GB h264 MKV file in about an hour (while my older desktop Athlon x6 1090T takes twice as long).
 
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stephenv

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I started the process by installing my first Colossus card into my desktop PC and installing the Hauppauge software that came with it. I confirmed that component video worked well and that the Hauppauge blaster could be configured to control the channel changing of the set top box. I then installed MediaPortal 1.5, both client and server. I ran into a couple of issues with the 1.5 version so when I started looking for help the next day I saw that MP 1.6 had just been released, so I uninstalled 1.5 and installed 1.6 (client and server).

I also installed MP Client only on another machine to test the client to server connection and functions.

It this point I encountered the same issue on both the main machine and the client machine: while MP would record .TS files that contained audio it would only play back the video portion (no sound) and there was no audio on live TV either.

This was tracked down to the MP Client configuration "Codecs and Renderers" configuration. I had these all set to the default values and by checking the "Use Video Codecs when playing .ts files (TV Codecs will be used if unchecked)" the problems with audio playback were solved.

It was suggested that just saving the configuration when the TV Codecs tab was visible might have fixed the problem.
 

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stephenv

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The first trouble I had with installing the second Colossus card was getting Windows 7 to recognize it as a device. When I installed the first card I just used the CDROM that came with the card, but the drivers on this appear to be old and when I installed the second card the Windows Device Manager only showed one card as working properly and only one card showed up in the MediaPortal Server Configuration tool.

So I downloaded the latest drivers from the Hauppauge support site, uninstalled the old drivers rebooted, installed the new drivers, rebooted and then both cards showed up in Device Manager, but both were marked as "not started", so then I uninstalled, rebooted, re-installed and rebooted and finally Device Manager showed everything installed and working and the MediaPortal configuration tool also showed the second card. The system has been through numerous reboots since then without further issue.

Snapshots of the TV Servers section of the Configuration tool are included here.

The only place where I had to do something was in the "scanning" tab, where I had to click on the "Add S-Video channels" button before any video would show in MediaPortal from the Colossus card. Again, this might be another case (like in the client configuration when there was no audio) where you need to do something in the configuration tool to get it to update the configuration on disk even though everything is correctly set up with the defaults.
 

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stephenv

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The configuration of the TV Channels was the most labor intensive part of the server setup. While it might be argued that "you only do this one" the problem with this is that you're going to repeat some of these steps a hundred or more times because you've got to set up every channel that you want to use with a Colossus card individually.

I have subscribed to the SchedulesDirect service (configured later in this thread) for the EPG data, so this set of screen captures reflects that part of the setup already having been done.

"TV channels 1.png" shows the set of configured channels, this is the tab that you do all the work from, picking a channel and then hitting the edit button to bring up the dialog shown in "tv channels 3 - edit channel.png". Here I initially edited the Channel number field that was set 10000 to be the correct number, but later I discovered that was not necessary. You have to check the "visible in tv guide" for all the channels you was to see in the guide listing (which is a useful feature), but it should probably default to this state. The edit button here takes you to the dialog shown in "tv channel 4 - add edit analog tuning detail.png". I think that once I had configured one channel for each card to the appropriate video and audio source then all the rest were fine.

Because you can't "scan for channels" with a Colossus card you need to do a manual channel scan to determine which channels in the EPG you actually have and disable the ones you don't.

I didn't have to do anything in the TV Channels/TV Combinations configuration (tv channels 5 - tv combinations).

In the TV Channels/TV Mapping configuration I had to map the available channels that I wanted to each of the cards. This is the same list for both cards, so duplicate effort as shown in the two screen snapshots.
 

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mm1352000

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    The configuration of the TV Channels was the most labor intensive part of the server setup. While it might be argued that "you only do this one" the problem with this is that you're going to repeat some of these steps a hundred or more times because you've got to set up every channel that you want to use with a Colossus card individually.
    There are tricks to shortening this time drastically:
    1. If you're based in the US or Canada, use the SchedulesDirect plugin to do everything for you. It is worth signing up for the trial just for this.
    2. Use the import/export section of TV Server configuration to allow you to do all the channel information entry in a text editor. If you know a scripting language, you may be able to automate this.
    "TV channels 1.png" shows the set of configured channels, this is the tab that you do all the work from, picking a channel and then hitting the edit button to bring up the dialog shown in "tv channels 3 - edit channel.png". Here I initially edited the Channel number field that was set 10000 to be the correct number, but later I discovered that was not necessary. You have to check the "visible in tv guide" for all the channels you was to see in the guide listing (which is a useful feature), but it should probably default to this state.
    The SchedulesDirect plugin will set the channel number correctly.
    The visible in guide checkbox is the same checkbox as on the left of the main TV Channels list.
    In other words, unless you're manually creating all your channels from scratch in TV Server configuration (only required as last resort), you should not have to edit a single channel.
     

    stephenv

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    December 31, 2013
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    The configuration of the TV Channels was the most labor intensive part of the server setup. While it might be argued that "you only do this one" the problem with this is that you're going to repeat some of these steps a hundred or more times because you've got to set up every channel that you want to use with a Colossus card individually.
    There are tricks to shortening this time drastically:
    1. If you're based in the US or Canada, use the SchedulesDirect plugin to do everything for you. It is worth signing up for the trial just for this.
    2. Use the import/export section of TV Server configuration to allow you to do all the channel information entry in a text editor. If you know a scripting language, you may be able to automate this.
    "TV channels 1.png" shows the set of configured channels, this is the tab that you do all the work from, picking a channel and then hitting the edit button to bring up the dialog shown in "tv channels 3 - edit channel.png". Here I initially edited the Channel number field that was set 10000 to be the correct number, but later I discovered that was not necessary. You have to check the "visible in tv guide" for all the channels you was to see in the guide listing (which is a useful feature), but it should probably default to this state.
    The SchedulesDirect plugin will set the channel number correctly.
    The visible in guide checkbox is the same checkbox as on the left of the main TV Channels list.
    In other words, unless you're manually creating all your channels from scratch in TV Server configuration (only required as last resort), you should not have to edit a single channel.

    The odd thing is that I had configured the SchedulesDirect plugin (I am in Canada and I subscribed to SchedulesDirect) and I still needed to do this manual setup, I must have missed something "obvious" along the way.

    I wasn't sure the import function was going to help (especially when you often need to have something exported to modify and then import...) so I didn't look into that further.

    Stephen
     

    mm1352000

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  • September 1, 2008
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    The odd thing is that I had configured the SchedulesDirect plugin (I am in Canada and I subscribed to SchedulesDirect) and I still needed to do this manual setup, I must have missed something "obvious" along the way.
    If you had asked I would have told you:
    1. Configure your lineup on the SD website.
    2. Install the TV Server plugin, either using the MP Extension Installer or by downloading and extracting the mpei file from the website into the "Plugins" subdirectory of your TV Server install directory (typically c:\Program Files (x86)\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal TV Server\Plugins). mpei files are just zip files, so change the extension and you're good to go.
    3. Open TV Server configuration.
    4. Go to the plugins section and enable the SchedulesDirect plugin.
    5. Expand the plugins section and select the SchedulesDirect plugin.
    6. Enter your username and password on the first tab.
    7. On the advanced tab:
      • Configure your channel name format if you have a preference.
      • Tick "automatically add new digital cable/satellite channels".
      • Select the appropriate video and audio sources - refer to the info in -->this post<-- if you have a Colossus or HD-PVR; otherwise it is typically YRYBY #1 for component, SVHS #1 for s-video, CVBS #1 for composite, SPDIF In #1 for S/PDIF, Line In #1 for RCA red/white.
      • Tick "force guide update on next TvService startup".
    8. Go to the "Manual Control" section of TV Server configuration.
    9. Click "stop service"... then "start service".
    10. Wait about 30 seconds for the SD plugin to download your lineup and guide data.
    11. Go to the "TV Channels" section.
    At this point all your channels should be loaded with correct details. Can't be much easier. Next step is to map the channels to the capture card and setup the blasting.
    Note: SchedulesDirect can't handle RF/coax setups... but they're not recommended anyway. RF/coax gives the lowest possible video and audio quality. Yuck!

    I wasn't sure the import function was going to help (especially when you often need to have something exported to modify and then import...) so I didn't look into that further.
    Yep, understood. Like I said - its a possible shortcut. With experience, you learn to manipulate functions to make them do things they weren't originally intended to do. ;)

    mm
     

    stephenv

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    Thanks for the detailed steps, on review that's almost what I did. The difference was that I missed the "force guide update" checkbox and then spent some time elsewhere trying to figure out why no guide was being loaded. I think during this phase I started entering some channels manually. Eventually I found the force guide load and checked it, and then the guide showed up. But I still needed to manually map things.

    Stephen
     

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