Friday, May 09, 2008

Placeshift Across the Web to your TV with SageTV HD Extender

SageTV PlaceshifterSageTV has been busy behind the scenes updating their flagship software with new features and bug fixes, updating the SageTV Studio program that allows add-ons and customizations to SageTV and also updating their excellent SageTV HD Extender (read SageTV HD100 review here) with new firmware that includes several new features and fixes.


While most of us were focused on the news that the HD extender handles the Hauppauge HD-PVR files with flying colors, one of the features they slipped into the SageTV HD100 extender firmware release is "placeshifter mode." 

Lets say you have a HD-100 extender you use at your home, but you're heading off to your parents, on vacation or somewhere else and you can't live without the Home Theater PC powerhouse that you've grown accustomed to.  Well now you can take your SageTV STX-HD-100 extender with you, plug it in to an internet connection (faster is better of course) and it will run as a hardware device over the internet much like it does at home.  Same menus and mostly the same functionality appear on your remote TV as it did on your home TV.


Note that you have the same limitation with running the HD extender in placeshifter mode as you would with SageTV placeshifter software.  Here's a few things to remember:

  • Placeshifter Mode is included with all SageTV HD100 extenders at no extra cost.
  • Your content is being transcoded based on your connections speed - upload speed from your home is important as is the download connection speed at your remote location.  Faster connection will mean better playback quality.
  • Because the transcoding is happening on your SageTV server PC, the more transcoding that is required the faster the processor demand is on that SageTV server PC.  Dual or Quad core processors aren't required, but will handle this action better then single-core processors on your server PC.
  • Just as with SageTV Placeshifter, you cannot view DVDs (ripped DVDs on hard drive or otherwise) using placeshifter mode.  You can however view movies that are in the many video file formats such as Mpeg, DIVX, etc.
  • Music, photos and other plugins that work with SageTV placeshifter should work fine in placeshifter mode.
  • Take your remote along with you as it will work with the HD100 extender in placeshifter mode and make your viewing experience much as it is at home.

With this addition, the HD extender and SageTV Placeshifter seem to be nearing some sort of competition with ORB, the free placeshifting software for PCs and even Slingbox now that SageTV has a hardware component to their placeshifting arsenal.  Should be interesting to see how popular this becomes for SageTV as they continue to get their feet wet in the placeshifting arena.


The bad news is that the SageTV extender isn't available for sale at the moment.  SageTV sold out of them in the first day or two when it was first released and then when they came back in stock they sold out in a couple of days then as well. 

The good news is that we're hearing rumors that the SageTV STX HD100 extender should be available again sometime next week so keep checking at or at this blog for announcements when they come back in stock.

Read more about the HD100's new Placeshifter Mode at the SageTV Forums