SageTV vs. BeyondTV, Take 2

April 27, 2008 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

Back months ago I posted about SageTV and BeyondTV.  My final take on it then was that they were both great applications.  In my case, I chose to primarily use BeyondTV because I could easily set it so that each tuner could be configured for specific channels.  (I have two different antennas hooked to my HD HomeRun.  They are each good at certain stations, but not quite as good with others.  I’ve since figured out how to handle this in SageTV as well.  Since my initial review, I have one major gripe about BeyondTV, which I will get to shortly.

About a month ago, BeyondTV came out with version 4.8, but I only recently installed it.  Very soon after I installed this version, I started having some strange issues.  The first problem I noticed was that sometimes during shows, the video would blank out for about 10 seconds.  The audio was completely fine during this time and the video would return without issues.  The first time or two I saw this, I didn’t think too much of it, but over a few days I noticed that it happened with multiple shows on different channels.  I began to think that it might be a problem with the new version.  Another issue, my recordings stopped working properly about 1/4 the time.  Instead of an hour long show, I would end up with about two minutes, which I think is the amount of padding I had on the front of the show.  Mind you that I don’t use this machine for anything but a PVR, so nothing new gets installed on it very frequently at all.  About the only change made recently was newer drivers for my HD HomeRun tuner.

These two issues along with a long-time pet peeve got me to look at SageTV again.  Oh – I haven’t mentioned my pet peeve yet.  Screensaver.  BeyondTV’s idea of a screensaver is to dim the screen to about half strength.  I’m not sure who thinks this is a good idea, but I have screen burn on my LCD screen where my wife (and I, on occasion) have left the BeyondTV GUI up on a screen for a number of hours.  I’m trying tools like JScreenFix to help with this… No word if it actually helps yet.  Anyhow, SageTV has a much better screensaver.

Anyhow, I’m evaluating SageTV again, version 6.3.10 this time.  I don’t see why I complained about the smoothness of SageTV vs. BeyondTV before, as now they seem to look equally as good.  (Perhaps this is something that they have worked on.)  I am about 4-5 days into my eval and I’ve not seen the same problems with the 10 second blanking that I saw on BeyondTV.  In fact, today is the only time I ran into any issues with it so far at all.  While watching live TV on a channel with a less than perfect signal, I saw some tearing, then later the signal got so bad that it seemed to hang on playing it back.  (SageTV didn’t hang itself, just the playback of the show).  I have figured out how to set up multiple line-ups in SageTV to handle my antenna differences so that only the tuner connected to the antenna that best receives a channel will be used to tune it, if I choose.   This was a big problem for me before, because one of my tuners kept being used for a channel that it didn’t pick up well, resulting in an unhappy wife as shows were missed.

There are still some questions in my mind about how well SageTV will work out (since I have another system also using Sage, it was nice to be able to watch what was recorded on both systems).

I’ll try to post my results later.

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Entry filed under: General.

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