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Home Server and cutting Cable


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I have been a user of Home Server since the day of it's release. I have a home built system and am about to start playing around with media center with the objective of cutting my cable subscription. I want to be clear on what I need to start this project so some help and advice from those that have done this project before would be appreciated. Here is what I believe I need to get the system setup

1) Antenna
2) Preamp
3) HD Homerun Duel Tuner
4) My Windows Home Server
5) A Media Center PC

My objective is to have the Media Center PC in the living room. If I have understood the concept correctly, the signal from the Homerun receiver are sent to the Media Center PC which enables me to watch one show and record another. I am also assuming BOTH signals are sent wirelessly to the Media Center PC.

As well as the Homerun receiver, I will be sending the Antenna signal to 4 other TV's dotted around the house (I have a large splitter in the attic that distributes the cable). When I have more money I will fit a inexpensive Media Center PC to them as well so as to share the DVR features, etc (Might even use a 360).

I will be using my Home Server as the central store for all my DVR recordings, is there anything special I have to setup in Media Center to do this?

ANY advice from people who have done similar would be appreciated

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I don't have the HDHomerun. the 2 tuners are sent by a network connection, not wirelessly so you will have to run Cat 5 to the HTPC's. Any PC on the network can use both or either tuners. This is great because you can use a tiny nettop PC as Chris does to connect to the tuner as your HTPC.

When you say you will send the signal to 4 other TV's, do these TV's have ATSC tuners built in ?

John (homeservershow).

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ahhh, so I connect the Homerun to my router and that can distribute to the PC's in the house? I'm therefore slightly confused as to the advantage of the homerun? I already have cable TV coax routed to every room in the house so could carry the antenna signal through those and into the desktop PC's and the HTPC I am building (just have to buy a cheap TV tuner card)? If there a solution available whereby Windows Home Server can act as a DVR master for the HTPC and the Desktops?

The other TV's are all modern TV's with integrated ATSC tuners so I should be cool there. All I have to work out now is how to route the network cable down the current cable (coax) runs in the house !?!


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Dave & Chris mention on the Podcast that builtin tuners do not catch as many channels as external tuners, so the HDHomerun will catch more channels. Also you would need a HTPC big enough to accept the tuner card. If you go with a silent Atom/Ion HTCP there is no room in the case for a tuner, again HDHomerun becomes a better choice. HDHomerun give you 2 tuners so now 1 PC can watch or record to channels. That would require a dual tuner it the HTPC. HDHomerun will allow any PC on the network to use one or both tuners if they are not being used by another PC. So that's more flexability. But yes, now you have to run Cat 5 to every location where you have coax.

What's nice is if you have a HP or Acer or any small WHS you can't put a tuner in it, but with the HDHomerun you can install SageTV for WHS to record your shows.

John (homeservershow).

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I have a dual tuner HDHomerun and it is awesome. One advantage that Diehard didn't mention yet is you can locate the HDHR very close to your antenna (attic) so you minimize the losses in the long coax cable runs. I am amazed at how much better the tuner is in the HDHR verses any of the televisions in my house.

I use my HDHR with WMC on a Vista laptop plus I have SageTV installed on my HP MSS EX485.
If you don't want to run ethernet cable (or can't), you can also use existing coax (MOCA).

The HDHR saves you the cost of buying and installing tuner cards in every PC plus it seems to outperform most built in tuner cards in the marketplace.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I am almost installed, I tried to have the antenna on the attic but the signal was very poor. I have an installer coming round tomorrow to install on the roof. While in the attic I did fire up the home tuner and did get signals (mainly spanish stations).

To help with traffic I have installed a coupleof gigabit switches to maximize traffic use around teh network.

Very much looking forward to calling Verizon next week :)

Will update and post some pics next week

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a comment on Newegg about using 802.11 N

I have 802.11 n wireless and when I use that, it gives good results though sometimes it fluctuates.

it might work...

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Well I finally got everything running lastnight and it works GREAT :). To recap, I have a Antenna hooked up to 2 HD Homerun's which feed my office and the living room. The living room has a Media Center which is intern connected to a gigabit network upon which is my WHS.

After some issues getting the Antenna on the roof, everything got fixed yesterday. I fired up the Homerun and Media Center worked like a charm. I live in the US but come from the UK, so I also have a couple of addin's feeding me UK TV through a UK based VPN :)

I do want to put Media Center into my Bedroom, the budget however is now fairly thin. Any ideas on an inexpensive way to either extend the media center using an extender or a cheap mini PC that I can install media center onto?

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Here is my experience....

First off, I should say the main goal was to get rid of the cable at around $80/month. It got disconnected on Jan 11th ;-)

My set up:

1) Antenna in the attic: DB4 Antenna, PA-18 Amplifier, 100 ft Coax Cable,J-MOunt Bracket

2) HDHomerun - 2 Tuners

3) Gigabit Router/Switch

4) Dell Zino PC as the home entertainment center

5) HP EX480 - Windows Home Server

My Expereince;
First off the antenna in attic is GREAT. I get ALL the possible channels, and all the major (PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX) channels come in as HD. I use a simple "Y" splitter to feed both inputs of the HDHomerun, so I can watch AND record at the same time. Recordings look great and easily transferred to the Home Server.

However, use of the computer as TV has not worked so well. There is just too many steps to take to watch a simple program. So, I ended up feeding the TV (LCD which is also connected to the Zino) a direct cable from the antenna.

Overall, I'm VERY satisfied with the Antenna/HDHomerun setup.

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