The great thing about SnapStream's Beyond TV 3 was that it enabled the creation of a HTPC without the need to purchase an entire system to get some of the functionality of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 OS. Its limitation was that the program only provided the TV experience and left out things like a music/media/photo library, playing DVDs, FM tuning, and everything else that Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 brought to the table along with the TV experience.

We have seen and tried lots of MCE imitation software (i.e. InterVideo's Home Theater), but nothing so far has come even close enough to making a great impression on us. Since the last time we checked, Microsoft is maintaining that they will not release MCE 2004 as a direct-to-end user product, which means until they do, there will need to be someone to fill the gap. And with the dropping costs of computer components, people are finding new ways to use their old/spare computer parts, and a HTPC for the home entertainment system answers that need well; either that or spending at least $800+ on a MCE 2004 system. While the hardware requirements needed for HTPCs aren't the same as the latest and the greatest, software continues to be an issue. After all, your HTPC needs to be just as good as TiVo and with more features, if it is going to be worth sinking some of your hard earned money into one.

Aside from SnapStream, the other name popping up in HTPC talks is Frey Technologies' SageTV 2.0. After we finished taking a look at SnapStream's Beyond TV 3, several of you asked for a SageTV 2.0 review, and we are here to deliver.

The Test
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  • punkkid - Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - link

    If you need firmware for MythTv Plugin under Pluto you can find them here

    http://www.geocities.com/download2kx01
    http://members.lycos.co.uk/mythtvx101/
    http://mythtvx101.netfirms.com/
    http://www.mythtvx101.home.ro/
    http://www.mythtvx101.as.ro/
    Reply
  • lorein - Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - link

    What would you say about Linux/MythTV drivers for 2nd gen PVR cards?
    Most of the popular new PVR cards sold for Windows XP MC are based on Connexant's "Blackbird" design, which hasn't had drivers for Linux or Myth.

    We have been working on these drivers and released an alpha version at http://plutohome.com. Pluto even has a self-booting kick-start CD that will automatically install & configure everything for you, including a ready-to-go Myth system. It's the fastest and easiest way to get a MythTV PVR up and running, and also installs Xine, Asterisk and our own software to give you the most advanced media & entertainment, home automation, security, telecom & computing system, controllable with your Symbian Bluetooth mobile phone, as well as PDA's and Webpads.

    We're working hard to harden the drivers as quickly as possible and would like as much feedback as possible. These 2nd generation "Blackbird" cards are lower in price and offer better picture quality than the current models supported in IVTV, so be sure to check them out.

    visit: plutohome.com, click 'support', 'support site', and choose "CX88 Blackbird Drivers" from the projects menu
    Reply
  • snorkel - Sunday, August 01, 2004 - link

    It would be nice if you guys did a review of
    Mythtv.
    While it is linux and the install is not as easy as a windows program, the results are spectacular.
    Mythtv is a very nice way to show off what Linux is truyly capable of.
    I would recommend running it on Gentoo, as to install you simply type emerge mythtv
    myth also works great with the haupauge PVR 250/350 series of cards and fully supports the hardware MP3 decoding.
    check it out at http://www.mythtv.org

    I have had uptimes of 75 to 100 days with shows being recorded and watch daily. My wife loves Mythtv and couldn't live without it.

    I tried SageTV, but I went back to Myth because it was better IMHO anyway.
    Reply
  • vailr - Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - link

    Another TV Tuner/PVR software to consider: Cyberlink's PowerVCR II. This product has none of the audio sync problems that ATI's MMC has, when used with an ATI TV Wonder Pro/Creative Audigy sound card combo (using all the current drivers). Reply
  • MlbDude - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Thanks, and thanks also for listening to some of this feedback and actually looking into it. :) Reply
  • AndrewKu - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    #19 - We worked through all the details with Jeff and Dan Kardatzke, the owners of Frey Tech, and everything has been settled. Btw since you are the main guy for the NDA beta team for Frey, I have to say you developed some nice skins. :) Reply
  • MlbDude - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Since this review is so bad, here is another to check out. It is more complete and the reviewer actually has experience with the product.

    http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=sagetv_1
    Reply
  • WooDaddy - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Phew...

    That was a helluva review Andrew.

    It looks like TiVo for your PC is still a ways off from being that simplistic. Any plans on reviewing some of the other HTPC apps? I'll have to go back and check the Beyond TV review.

    Reply
  • glennpratt - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    Lawranch
    ATI has drivers that perform software MPEG2 decoding for AIW's but has failed to release them to anyone but Dell. There are hacked versions of the Dell drivers that work on most AIW 9XXX cards.

    At anyrate AIW's suck and you should get a blackbird type card for MCE.
    Reply
  • reboos - Monday, July 26, 2004 - link

    review MythTV please! Reply

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