BeOrbTv (BeyondTV + Orb = AWESOME!)

Posted by Garth on Monday, June 18, 2007

It seems since that forum post I listed below the Orb folks have been making some upgrades. After some rewiring in my humble abode I launched the Orb configuration and started configuring TV. Initially it gave me a bit of a pain, as it didn't give me any tv listings for my postal code. However a quick search on the forums gave led me to this KB article which quickly and concisely fixed my issue.

Then it was on to TV. Since I don't label things I wasn't 100% sure which tv tuner was supposed to be connected to my cable box, which was direct connected to cable and which is currently dormant. The cable box one was pretty easy cuz it's the one I've been using all along, but I wasn't sure about the other two, and even when I was pretty sure I had it I wasn't sure which of the coax connectors was for cable and which was for FM (yaya, I know they're labelled, but it's dark behind my PC and it's tough to stick my head back there to read what's written on it even if I had a flashlight). This resulted in a bit of trial-and-error on the Orb MyCast, but it was quickly figured out. What's really great about Orb now is that it displays all of my tuner cards and lets me easily select which ones are enabled in Orb. So after figuring out which one was connected to direct cable I re-enabled BeyondTV and am currently watching tv on my projector via BeyondTV and a different show on my laptop via Orb.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Next step is to move my other cable box into the living room, plug an IR extender into my USB-UIRT, position the two boxes and IR streams so that they don't interfere with each other, and connect my 3rd tuner to the 2nd cable box. Need to figure out if this is more important to me than getting a quality front-end... and the answer is probably not. 2 live tv streams is enough for one person, at least for the time being.

UPDATE: Apparently I spoke too soon. It seems that Orb does indeed bind itself to the "first" tuner card, no matter what you select through the management UI. I did a bunch of testing and found that since I had BeyondTV bound to "Hauppauge WinTV PVR PCI II Capture - 1" (according to the BeyondTV config), Orb would not display anything but snow unless I was actively watching/recording something using BeyondTV. In that case, since the "first" card was in use it would use the "second", which is the one that I had the cable plugged into. I did some further testing and set Orb to use "Hauppauge WinTV Capture" (the non-PVR/MPEG2 card) and it STILL defaulted to the "... Capture - 1". If that was in use it would try to use "... Capture - 2". So, rather than fight it, I plugged the cable into "... Capture - 1" and the STB into "... Capture - 2". I'm kind of annoyed that I can't use the analog card for Orb, but I'll make due for now. The positive side of this is that the card that I'm now using with BeyondTV has a radio in it, so BeyondTV added a Radio option to my menu. I'm sure I'll never use it, but more is better :)

What confuses me about all this is what determines "1" vs. "2". My guess at this point would be install order, as the 250 ("1") was installed long before the 150 ("2"). However the 150 is ahead of the 250 in the PCI slot order. Also, I hate to say this, but it seems a new problem has been introduced. The stream from the 250 is REALLY pixelated. I'm gonna keep poking around into the options to see if I can fix it, but Orb doesn't really give you a lot of tweaking options. Hopefully it just has something to do with bandwidth detection or something. Otherwise I'm gonna have to rebuild, putting the 150 in as the "first" card and the 250 as the "second". PITA.

UPDATE #2: Seems the three-finger salute did the trick. No more pixelation! Woot!


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