HDTV (HDHomeRun) update

The last post on this was quite a while ago, so I suppose it’s not really fair to leave it at that. To recap, previously I had purchased an HDHR (HDHomeRun) box to serve as my HDTV tuner into my Media Center (MCE2005). The initial results were not good. I followed all the steps posted in the setup guide at the HDHR forum, and it all seemed to work ok at first… I was able to tune ATSC channels from the attached antenna, watch live TV, etc. However, each time I scheduled a recording, it was a roll of the dice. In most cases, I would get 2-3 minutes of recording out of a 30 minute scheduled show.

Doubly strange, because MCE (I had thought) is supposed to detect a “lost signal” during a show recording and restart the recording when signal returns (?). In any event, this was not happening and we had a few, tragic, missed recordings (I was particularly unhappy to have missed one of the season final episodes of The Office… ACK!)

In any event, there’s a happy ending in here somewhere. I posted to the forum and got no direct response (I’d link the post, but it seems to have been pruned). However, there was an indirect response to someone else with a similar problem, indicating an errant ICMP packet signaling a loss of connectivity to the HDHR. This, evidently, leads to exactly the “partial recording” problem I was having.

I proved the point by scheduling a recording and then yanking out the network connection from HDHR to the switch while it was recording. Sure enough, the end-result recorded file looked just like the symptoms I had been seeing — a full-length recording, where only the first portion was recorded (ie – partial light-colored timeline bar with the rest of the 30 mins greyed out as though it was only 5 minutes into the actual recording process).

Ok, so it was a loss of network connectivity. Hmm. Well, could be cables, could be network card, COULD BE THE SWITCH. Ah ha! This 5-port 10/100 switch I had thrown back into service for the HDHR<->MCE connection is a couple of years old and I had a vague recollection that one or more of the ports on it had had really low throughput in its previous use. The switch was the obvious culprit… maybe a loose connection inside or it’s just finally giving up the ghost.

Sure enough, “switched out” (yes, pun) this older switch for a known-good replacement… and… SUCCESS! Zero missed recordings in the few weeks since I made the swap.

YAY! And now, with a few weeks of success behind us, I can say that the HDHR is the coolest thing since forever. I feel so retro using rabbit ears antenna to get my TV, but the quality is heads and shoulders above what I get from my analog cable; and there’s NO way to get HD on my MCE from the cable company without hacking something together (Firewire from a STB) or paying TONS of $$ for cablecard. Blegh. 90% of my fairly limited TV watching comes from NBC in any case, so now I’m even more inclined to dump my cable. If only Comedy Central would sell a monthly IP/download subscription for TDS and Colbert, I’d be all set.

1 Comment

  1. Leo Cussons said,

    June 19, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Great blog and blog post. Would you be interested syndicating some of this material to our website for our readers. Thanks. Leo