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Review: SageTV 2.2 Interactive
July 13, 2005
Author: Geno Manufacturer: Frey Technology
Department: HTPC-SFF Model: SageTV 2.2
Article Type: Review Time Spent: 2 months
 
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Introduction




I have had SageTV installed on my HTPC for more than a year now—in fact I purchased it in May of 2004 after reading this article by Brad Gilomen over at HTPCnews.com. That was version 2.0 of SageTV which was the break-out PVR software “front end” that finally made using an HTPC almost as simple as watching a regular TV. Fast Forward 14 months and we arrive at the subject of today's review, SageTV 2.2 and SageTV Client 2.2.

This article is aimed at users new to HTPC's in general, and SageTV in particular. More advanced users who are familiar with SageTV may want to use the “Jump To” drop downs located at the top and bottom of each page to get right to areas of interest.

One way to think of SageTV's software is as a miniature OS; a very powerful, all inclusive “tool” for all your HTPC needs. Despite all the built in options and functionality, it remains at its heart a simple to use—intuitive—PVR suite. Because most users display their shows, etc. on a TV, the menus are comprised entirely of large, high contrast, easy to read text based buttons. This makes the software extremely easy to use, but difficult to review.

To avoid row after row of menu screen captures, yet still show you most of the excellent features, we will be presenting the menus and “click paths” in an interactive Flash format. There will be a heading and written content covering the feature, as well as a small version of the menus that you can click on to advance to the next branch. If you miss a step, simply click through to the end of the slide show, and it will bring you back to the start.


System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 98SE, 2000 SP3 or higher, ME or XP.

  • CPU: Intel Pentium III 600 MHz or AMD Athalon 600 MHz.

  • RAM: 128MB minimum, 256MB recommended.

  • Additional Items: TV Tuner Card, Video Card, Software.

    SageTV requires the Java runtime 1.4 environment, or higher. You can get it free here. You will also need an MPEG-2 software encoder. A very nice one ships with Hauppauge PVR cards, or if you prefer, you can Google NVDVD, Elcard, or Sonic software encoders for purchase.

    Because SageTV opted for the stability of hardware encoding, system requirements are quite low as your PVR card will do the vast majority of the heavy lifting. You can find more in-depth system requirements, and a complete list of supported PVR cards here.


Features

  • Never miss your favorite TV shows and record multiple shows at the same time.

  • Free yourself from the confinement of television schedules and complexity of your VCR.

  • Skip through commercials in the blink of an eye.

  • Record in High Quality MPEG-2, MPEG-4* or DivX*.

  • Use your PC without realizing it's recording TV while gaming, playing music, surfing the Internet or more.

  • Record news shows automatically and intelligently.

  • Watch shows on your TV, PC or both.

  • Have access to all the recorded television and music on your PC anywhere, in any environment.

  • Stream High Quality MPEG-2 live and recorded TV across your network with SageTV on any PC.

  • Access your music collection quickly by Album, Artist or Playlists.

  • Officially licensed DivX® video software product.

    This is a really abbreviated features list. For a more detailed look at features, you can click here.


 
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