Record OTA?

An evolving, supported alternative to Rovi
Forum rules
★ Download the latest EPG123 here: http://epg123.garyan2.net <> Setup guide here: http://epg123.garyan2.net/downloads/epg123_Guide.pdf
SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

Record OTA?

#1

Post by SugarFree » Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:45 am

Hi, all. Been a long time since I posted here, mostly because EPG continues to work perfectly - thank you, Gary!

I recently bought a smart TV and Firestick, and hardly watch cable anymore, so I think it may be time to cut the cord. A new OTA antenna will arrive today, and I was wondering if WMC and EPG will let me record live programs. I understand it definitely won't do streaming, which is too bad, since I'll be paying WatchNews.pro to stream all the cable news shows. I'll give up cable, but not Rachel Maddow. /s

If i can record OTA - what do I need to do in WMC?

HTPC, Ceton internal 4 tuner card, Win 7 Pro, Vizio smart TV

Thanks!

Lisa

User avatar
Scallica

Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:09 pm
Location: USA!

HTPC Specs: Show details

#2

Post by Scallica » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:27 pm

Well, for starters, you can't use the Ceton tuner. The Ceton tuner is QAM only. OTA antenna is ATSC, so you need an ATSC compatible tuner. Silicondust network tuners are very popular.

https://www.silicondust.com/product/hdhomerun-duo/
https://www.silicondust.com/product/hdh ... ct-quatro/
HTPC Enthusiast / Forum Moderator - TGB.tv Code of Conduct

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#3

Post by SugarFree » Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:38 pm

My TV has an ATSC tuner built in. That's why I wondered of WMC and EPG would let me record OTA. Hope someone can help me with this...

Lisa

User avatar
Scallica

Posts: 2745
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:09 pm
Location: USA!

HTPC Specs: Show details

#4

Post by Scallica » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:26 pm

SugarFree wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:38 pm
My TV has an ATSC tuner built in. That's why I wondered of WMC and EPG would let me record OTA. Hope someone can help me with this...
Yes, every TV made in the last 10 years has an ATSC tuner, but WMC cannot use your TV's tuner. You need to purchase an ATSC tuner that is compatible with WMC. You can use an internal PC tuner card, a USB tuner, or network tuner.
HTPC Enthusiast / Forum Moderator - TGB.tv Code of Conduct

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#5

Post by SugarFree » Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:21 pm

Got it, thank you! The Hauppauge DuelHD is at the top of my list so far. Will EPG 123 let me switch my guide from cable to OTA?

stuartm

Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:05 pm
Location: Longmont, CO

HTPC Specs: Show details

#6

Post by stuartm » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:11 pm

You will need to run WMC tuner setup for whatever OTA tuner device you decide on. Then you will need to rerun EPG123 Setup to select the OTA lineup for your area.

stuartm

Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:05 pm
Location: Longmont, CO

HTPC Specs: Show details

#7

Post by stuartm » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:31 pm

Scallica wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:26 pm
Yes, every TV made in the last 10 years has an ATSC tuner, but WMC cannot use your TV's tuner. You need to purchase an ATSC tuner that is compatible with WMC. You can use an internal PC tuner card, a USB tuner, or network tuner.
I'm being a little pedantic here I know :) But I think Vizio has a line of TV's that do not have a tuner.

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#8

Post by SugarFree » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:40 pm

> Vizio has a line of TV's that do not have a tuner.

Their older models, yes. The newer ones - 2018+ - have ATSC & QAM.

adam1991

Posts: 2871
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:31 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#9

Post by adam1991 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 6:44 pm

If the screen has no tuner, it's not a TV. That's by law.

If the product is called a TV, by definition and by law it has a tuner.

That all being said:

antenna --> tuner --> WMC box.

The tuner can be plugged directly into the WMC computer. Or it can be a separate unit that connects to your network, like the SiliconDust tuners do (highly recommended). Either way will be the OTA signal into your computer.

Once in your computer, WMC does the same thing it always did with cable TV. And many of us used it exactly that way from years ago. The difference is, now WMC doesn't provide a guide service. So Gary stepped in and made EPG123, which replaces the old WMC guide service. The end result is exactly what you used to get from cable, only you're getting OTA programming instead.

(btw, Gary, I accidentally typed EPT123 above and immediately thought, would you connect that particular product to the Facebook cloud to announce the results?)

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#10

Post by SugarFree » Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:28 pm

Thanks, Adam. If you don't mind - why is a network ATSC Tuner better than a USB? And are they a lot more expensive? I'm on a tight budget. The Hauppauge DuelHD is $70.

stuartm

Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:05 pm
Location: Longmont, CO

HTPC Specs: Show details

#11

Post by stuartm » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:05 am

Everyone has their own opinion on tuners. I happen to prefer the Hauppauge quad PCI bus tuner. The reason for that is that I want to save power when not recording and my machines sleep when not in use (usually that's pretty much most of the day). The networked tuners are on 24/7 so they keep using power. The advantage of the networked tuner is that it can be used by more than one PC and there is a little more flexibility in placement of the tuner as it does not need to be near the PC that is doing the recording just near the antenna connector.

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#12

Post by SugarFree » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:54 am

Good explanation, thanks. I have only 1 PC, no room in it for another PCI - and my HTPC is usually off all day as I've switched to mostly streaming. Hence my willingness to cut the cable cord.

The only OTA I'll want to record/watch are PBS shows once or twice a week. So it sounds like the Hauppauge USB tuner should work for me.

adam1991

Posts: 2871
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:31 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#13

Post by adam1991 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:19 am

SugarFree wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:28 pm
Thanks, Adam. If you don't mind - why is a network ATSC Tuner better than a USB? And are they a lot more expensive? I'm on a tight budget. The Hauppauge DuelHD is $70.
Gotcha. Well, the network tuner is available to more than just your PC. It's available to anything on your network that can use it. For example, I use my Silicon Dust HDHR Quatro to feed WMC, my test Plex DVR, and my plain old Fire TV units that have the Silicon Dust app installed. In other words, i can turn on my TV, hit the app, and watch live TV.

I like the flexibility that such a network tuner affords.

As for power consumption...I don't have the power supply in front of me, but quite honestly, I can't imagine that's a real issue with anyone.

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#14

Post by SugarFree » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:46 pm

Adam, got it. I don't have any other units or tvs or firesticks, so I guess it's the USB for me.

One new question, if you don't mind. My new antenna arrived, and it supports 2 TVs. Comes with a second coax cable. Could i plug one into the back of the tv to watch OTA live on my LIVE tv input - - - and plug the second coax cable into the Hauppauge to work with WMC? I guess that would be... splitting the signal? The antenna is amplified if that means anything.

Thanks, Lisa

adam1991

Posts: 2871
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:31 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#15

Post by adam1991 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:51 pm

yes, you can do that. Shouldn't be a problem. That's why they do that, I think.

Now, a lot of that depends on the signal in your area. By definition, splitting the signal means less signal going to each tuner. If your TV and/or WMC is having trouble tuning channels, you'd want to troubleshoot that with an antenna that doesn't split the signal.

Also, keep in mind that not all tuners are created equal. Your antenna may feed the TV just fine, for example, while WMC has issues--or vice-versa.

User avatar
StinkyImp

Posts: 322
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 7:53 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#16

Post by StinkyImp » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:09 pm

SugarFree wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:28 pm
why is a network ATSC Tuner better than a USB? And are they a lot more expensive? I'm on a tight budget. The Hauppauge DuelHD is $70.
Hi SugarFree!

Everyone has their own favorite setup and recommendations. The configurability of any given WMC HTPC is immeasurable.

With that said... I've been running a Win7 Pro WMC machine for years recording OTA using two Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD USB tuners (4 tuners total). https://hauppauge.com/pages/products/data_dualhd.html

I have had ZERO problems with them all these years, the recordings are pristine, and if I needed another one, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. My computer specs are under my username to the left.

If you're leaning toward these affordable tuners, I believe you'll be quite pleased. :D

EDIT: I have my roof antenna coming into the house behind my TV and it splits to the TV and both my tuners. Instead of using a regular splitter I found one of these on eBay for $20 and it brought every channel's strength up to 100%. I was actually amazed at the results. They far exceeded my expectations!

https://www.pctinternational.com/product/pct-ma2-4p/

adam1991

Posts: 2871
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:31 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#17

Post by adam1991 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:54 pm

always be aware, you need decent signal to start with before you amplify. An amplifier won't generate good signal.

If you don't have good signal to start with, all you're amplifying is noise.

Or, on the other hand, if you have plenty of good signal to start with and you put an amplifier in the middle, you overload the tuner and you get nothing watchable out of it.

It's not as simple as it seems. And an amplifier is NOT a substitute for the proper antenna for your circumstances.

User avatar
StinkyImp

Posts: 322
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 7:53 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#18

Post by StinkyImp » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:57 pm

adam1991 wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:54 pm
always be aware, you need decent signal to start with before you amplify. An amplifier won't generate good signal.

If you don't have good signal to start with, all you're amplifying is noise.

Or, on the other hand, if you have plenty of good signal to start with and you put an amplifier in the middle, you overload the tuner and you get nothing watchable out of it.

It's not as simple as it seems. And an amplifier is NOT a substitute for the proper antenna for your circumstances.
I know my experience is anecdotal and may only work in my specific environment. Nevertheless my use of amplifiers resulted in the following outcomes:

Main WMC HTPC - (roof mounted RCA ANT751 - two Hauppauge USB tuners) - Prior to installing the PCT amp I was able to pull in around 60 channels with only a handful at 100%. After installing the amp I was able to pull in over 90 channels with the majority at 100%. Some of the new channels were from a city over 100 miles away. Granted they weren't 100% but they were viewable.

Rarely used guest room - (Old tube type TV - external digital tuner - Mohu Leaf antenna) - Since this room is rarely used (and when it is, it's mainly just for noise) I haven't put much effort into it. Before installing a two port PCT amp I was able to pull in about a dozen channels. After installing the amp I was able to pull in around 75 channels. The vast majority come in rock solid. I'm not sure of the signal strength but they're all viewable with no pixelation.

One interesting note that seems to support your post... After installing the amp in the guest room, one of the local channels that was previously viewable was no longer available in multiple scans. But because I had gained so many more channels I simply disregarded that one as an acceptable loss. I had no similar losses (only gains) on my main WMC HTPC.

Standard disclaimers... This is my anecdotal outcome - In my specific environment - Your mileage may vary - Take it with a grain of salt - It worked for me but it may not work for you!

SugarFree

Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:28 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#19

Post by SugarFree » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:34 pm

The replies here have been really helpful - my thanks to all of you! I'm not sure the window antenna I got on Amazon will do the trick. It's brought in about 20 channels, most in 1080 and 5.1 - but I was only able to get my 2 close PBS stations (the channels I really wanted) for 5 minutes. No matter where I moved the antenna I haven't found them again. Since I may have to get Sling to have Rachel Maddow - the only show that's kept me sane these last 4 years - OTA may need an outdoor antenna.

I'll keep experimenting and keep m6 cable until after the election at least.

User avatar
StinkyImp

Posts: 322
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 7:53 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#20

Post by StinkyImp » Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:35 pm

SugarFree wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:34 pm
I'm not sure the window antenna I got on Amazon will do the trick. It's brought in about 20 channels, most in 1080 and 5.1 - but I was only able to get my 2 close PBS stations (the channels I really wanted) for 5 minutes.
You may want to go to Rabbit Ears and see which direction, how far, and the expected strength of your local stations are to your address.

Post Reply