Servio

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
clarkss12
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Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

Are the Servio's and scribes discontinued??

Edit: Perhaps I should clarify what my real needs are, and perhaps a solution.
My nephew (old like me) wanted to cut the cord for financial reasons. I had an old HDHomerun tuner, and a ONN Android TV box, in addition to a set of really old "rabbit ears".

He has no PC, NAS, etc., but he has an iPhone and combination modem/router from AT&T.

So, with these components, I was able to get him a lot of OTA channels, albeit one VHF channel (FOX), but that is another story. He is more that happy with that setup.

It would be nice if he had an inexpensive simple way to get a DVR, but not necessary. Perhaps there is a solution that is simple and inexpensive.

JDazell
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Re: Servio

Post by JDazell »

Ebay my man!

You can pick up used Servio and Scribe units there. Simply search for "silicondust scribe duo" or "silicondust hdhomerun servio".

Currently there are one of each on Ebay. One for sale and one for bid.

Good Luck

nickk
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Re: Servio

Post by nickk »

This has been a topic of discussion internally on and off for a while now. I really like the SERVIO product and would like to see it back.

Brain dump of factors...

It costs us more for a video-rated 2.5" hard drive (minimum order of 1000 units) than what you can buy a general-purpose hard drive of the same size for on Amazon. It is hard to sell a product with an expensive hard disk when customers can see the price of lower cost hard drives on Amazon.

The cost of video-rated 2.5" hard drives has gone up and the cost of the cheapest SSDs has gone down making SSDs cheaper than hard drives. We have run extensive testing on a range of low cost SSDs and even the brand name low cost SSDs are not usable for DVR use (in our opinion). Longevity isn't an issue - the problem is performance (what SSDs are meant to be good at). Modern drives are TLC or QLC with SLC cache. They are fast for basic use and average about 100MB/s over the entire drive (about the same as a spindle hard disk drive). We want a drive that can write 20MB every second so on paper these drives look good. The problem is that these low cost drives pause for periods of time and even though they average 100MB/s they can't reliably write 20MB every second. We spoke with a few vendors are they do make drives that meet our requirements but they are a lot more expensive. It is hard to sell a product with an expensive SDD when customers can see the price of lower cost SSDs on Amazon.

I see two changes we could do that would help...
1) Switch to a 3.5" hard disk drive. We can then use a larger capacity drive and can use the same video-rated drives customers can buy on Amazon (for example WDC Purple drives).
2) Upgrade to GigE Ethernet.

Drive capacity is another question. We could maybe sell two versions - a version with a ~8TB hard drive included and a version where you provide your own hard drive.

Interested to hear what people think...

clarkss12
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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

JDazell wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:38 am Ebay my man!

You can pick up used Servio and Scribe units there. Simply search for "silicondust scribe duo" or "silicondust hdhomerun servio".

Currently there are one of each on Ebay. One for sale and one for bid.

Good Luck
I see the Servio, but 6 days left and I have no idea what it will sell for. It is for my nephew, and he doesn't NEED a DVR, but would be nice. I will keep an eye on it.
thanks

P.S. I have one, but you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands...... :)

clarkss12
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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

nickk wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 11:38 am This has been a topic of discussion internally on and off for a while now. I really like the SERVIO product and would like to see it back.

Brain dump of factors...

It costs us more for a video-rated 2.5" hard drive (minimum order of 1000 units) than what you can buy a general-purpose hard drive of the same size for on Amazon. It is hard to sell a product with an expensive hard disk when customers can see the price of lower cost hard drives on Amazon.

The cost of video-rated 2.5" hard drives has gone up and the cost of the cheapest SSDs has gone down making SSDs cheaper than hard drives. We have run extensive testing on a range of low cost SSDs and even the brand name low cost SSDs are not usable for DVR use (in our opinion). Longevity isn't an issue - the problem is performance (what SSDs are meant to be good at). Modern drives are TLC or QLC with SLC cache. They are fast for basic use and average about 100MB/s over the entire drive (about the same as a spindle hard disk drive). We want a drive that can write 20MB every second so on paper these drives look good. The problem is that these low cost drives pause for periods of time and even though they average 100MB/s they can't reliably write 20MB every second. We spoke with a few vendors are they do make drives that meet our requirements but they are a lot more expensive. It is hard to sell a product with an expensive SDD when customers can see the price of lower cost SSDs on Amazon.

I see two changes we could do that would help...
1) Switch to a 3.5" hard disk drive. We can then use a larger capacity drive and can use the same video-rated drives customers can buy on Amazon (for example WDC Purple drives).
2) Upgrade to GigE Ethernet.

Drive capacity is another question. We could maybe sell two versions - a version with a ~8TB hard drive included and a version where you provide your own hard drive.

Interested to hear what people think...
I understand. That is a tough decision from a business stand point.

From what I see there is no longer an HDHomeRun device that runs the DVR engine with and attached hard drive??

So as it stands now, for a very simple DVR setup, either a low cost, low powered mini PC with attached hard drive, or an inexpensive (if there is such a thing) NAS that can run the HDR engine are the only options??

My nephew, has no PC or NAS, or any tech other that an iPhone. I am sure he will struggle with a mini PC or NAS. The Servio JUST works. I ain't givin him mine!!

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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

JDazell wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:38 am Ebay my man!

You can pick up used Servio and Scribe units there. Simply search for "silicondust scribe duo" or "silicondust hdhomerun servio".

Currently there are one of each on Ebay. One for sale and one for bid.

Good Luck
Update, I just ordered the Scribe, I think it will work perfectly for my nephew.... NOW he OWES me!!!

Thank you.

signcarver
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Re: Servio

Post by signcarver »

clarkss12 wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 12:18 pm From what I see there is no longer an HDHomeRun device that runs the DVR engine with and attached hard drive??
It is now expected to just attach a hard drive to the flex (whether it be the flex 4K, flex quatro or flex duo). The word attached there threw me as such as drive is attached but there isn't one with internal drive.

As for nickks questions:

I do think GigE Ethernet is a "must" for a DVR that one may wish to move/archive lots of files at once I don't see such required for "tuners" for how they are used and usually don't mind for just 1 or two files. I would welcome easier support for larger drives. At one time I had one servio set up with an adapter cable to an external 3.5 that I mounted the servio inside a pc with the data cable going to the drive and the pc powering the drive just to get an larger drive on it and prove it could be done. I may also wish to see such allow uploading of recordings to the device via ethernet. And I would love such to have a "config_gui" page that is easily accessible via browser (both to determine what it discovers as well as to see signal levels of the various tuners (this could also be brought to the tuners).

I have had 4TB SSDs in my servios for awhile and never seemed to have issue but I also tend to think using an SSD for "buffer" isn't usually the best idea (but there have been tremendous improvements on such over the years, that I hardly ever think that now, but know a drive might need to be replaced sooner than expected).

The past year or so I have also been wanting to ask if an m2 based version might also be in the works with how cheap those prices have been (particularly around Christmas) but if one buys a cheap m2 to add, one assumes the risks of encountering those limitations (they may wish to buy a more expensive model ssd, that is their choice) and depending on SoC might be limited to sata rather than nvme.

I'd also love to see an all in one STB with tuners, drive, and hdmi but worry that may put a nail in the coffin for DRM support on other devices as that makes supporting such and getting any rule changes more moot. On top of that I would love to see RUI and DTCP2 be an option as I think we may start seeing some DTCP2 capable tvs in a few years if certain mandates I have read about for other parts of the world go into effect for 4k/8k but I don't see the tv manufactures coming together to all support a standard RUI to allow such "apps" use such protection of their internal player as the purpose of such would be more to securely connect to other manufacturers devices rather than just supporting DTCP2 in within their own ecosystem.

clarkss12
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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

@signcarver, are you saying that the flex 4K, flex quatro or flex duo support the DVR engine by attaching a hard drive?? So, all I have to do is attach a hard drive to one of these three devices then they become the DVR??? I did not know that.....

signcarver
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Re: Servio

Post by signcarver »

That is what makes it a Flex is the usb port to attach a drive... you originally stated old tuner so I felt it was before the flex (i.e. connect, extend, ...)

clarkss12
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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

signcarver wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 1:12 pm That is what makes it a Flex is the usb port to attach a drive... you originally stated old tuner so I felt it was before the flex (i.e. connect, extend, ...)
I guess I have been a sleep just like Mr. Rip Van Winkle.
I never knew what the "Flex" was. That information must have been a very top secret, that IF you connect a hard drive to it, it becomes a self contained DVR. NO PC or NAS required..

On the main screen, it says this >> "SETUP RECORDED STORAGE
Connect a USB hard drive to your HDHomeRun FLEX
or use existing network storage for recorded content
like your PC , Mac, or NAS."

https://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/

I admit that I am NOT the brightest bulb in the pack, but that doesn't explicitly tell me that the FLEX IS the DVR engine....

clarkss12
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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

So, thanks to JDazell, I picked up a Scribe Duo, which according to the seller, never had a recording done on it, for $76 USD.
That is exactly what will work for my nephew and at a great price. Just connect the rabbit ears, power, and Ethernet cable, and bingo, he cut the cord and saves over a hundred dollars a month...

He was paying for a lot of cable shows and movies, but he only watched the Grit and ME TV channels anyway. That is a no brainer.

I gave him a spare ONN Android TV box, and he is in total AWE!! The ONN remote turns on and off the TV, and controls the volume. He just clicks the HDHomeRun app on the home screen and he is off and running. Don't get no simpler than that......

He now thinks I am a genius and OWEs me big time........ :)

gtb
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Re: Servio

Post by gtb »

nickk wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 11:38 am Interested to hear what people think...
Be careful asking for thoughts, for you may get them.

First off, for a DVR, I think gigabit is a must for any new design (multi-gig would be a plus).

Now, on to disk(s). Ignoring for the moment that in the US only time shifting (and not archiving) is an authorized exception, the issue for a large time shifted collection is the blast radius for disk (or file system) failure.

A single 8TB disk will hold about 4000 hours of recordings. When (not if) it fails you lose all those recordings. I doubt customers will like that.

A large capacity "scribe" needs to be able to be configured with some redundancy (at least give the customer the option to trade off capacity for redundancy). At a minimum, a mirror/raid-1, but probably more like a raid-6 (or better) configuration (btrfs might be a good choice for a mirror, but not raid-anything; zfs is probably a better file system if you want to choose only one). That turns you into something a bit more like a full blown NAS chassis, and while you might be able to build a dedicated DVR cheaper than some of the big name NAS vendors (as you don't have to support apps or a gui, or anything more than multiple drive ports), it is not a market that may make a lot of sense to design and ship.

btw, I'll point out that a number of the NAS vendors are now only allowing qualified models of drives, some to try to capture additional revenue (because the drives are branded by them), but also because some of the cheap stuff people were putting in failed quickly because they were not appropriately qualified (while in some cases consumer drives perform as well as qualified drives, sometimes they do not, by huge margins).

In some ways, a larger number of smaller capacity scribes may make more sense to reduce the inevitable blast radius for the customer.

Perhaps a mitigation would be if the scribe had a "click to move recordings" button to pull content from another scribe if it starts to report disk failures (it might be too late to get all the time shifted content, but sometimes the smart reports do provide the needed hints in advance, if, of course, there is a way to be notified). Yes, there are issues where the source size exceeds the destination size (so partial copy), and therefore the need to split the copy among multiple destinations, and it all starts to get far to complicated for what SD is trying to do, which is to make it simple for the non-technical user.

And possibly being able to record the same content (at the same time) to two different scribes (without requiring additional tuners) would likely be another path (and because the two disks, and the two file systems, are unlikely to fail at the same time, you get at least some redundancy).

Or have the scribe(s) automatically duplicate to one or more of its assigned backup scribes in the background.

Of course, the current favorite solution for some seems to be a cloud based backup storage, where the disk would get backed up to "the cloud" in the background to be restored (perhaps on-demand) when the original disk fails. If the FCC changes the minimum definition of broadband to 100Mbps up such backup becomes somewhat more reasonable even for people who record a lot for time shifting (again, individuals can choose not to use mirrors, raid-6, or backups, but they should have the option).







FD: My recording drive is a hardware adapter raid-6 array using the XFS file system with two enterprise SSDs with full power failure protection in a mirrored configuration for storage of data in flight before it can be written to the enterprise NAS targeted spinning rust drives (along with battery backup for data in the RAM on the adapter that could not even make it to the SSDs). My next build may move to ZFS with RAIDZ2 or (more likely) Z3 and an IT-mode adapter for simplification (as ZFS addresses a number of issues that I care about). I have had a spinning rust drive fail (actually, over the array's lifetime a number), and I hot swapped the drive, and let the controller rebuild in the background, as expected.. I have never lost data, but I recognize that that is always a possibility, so I actually occasionally do a backup to a completely separate server.

gtb
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Re: Servio

Post by gtb »

signcarver wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 12:49 pm On top of that I would love to see RUI and DTCP2 be an option as I think we may start seeing some DTCP2 capable tvs in a few years if certain mandates I have read about for other parts of the world go into effect for 4k/8k but I don't see the tv manufactures coming together to all support a standard RUI to allow such "apps" use such protection of their internal player as the purpose of such would be more to securely connect to other manufacturers devices rather than just supporting DTCP2 in within their own ecosystem.
While I would like to see the tuners support DTCP2 as an option, DTCP2 cannot (in general) be implemented on general purpose platforms (and I do not believe building custom DTCP2-HDMI solutions is going to be a good business). I wonder if the RDK platform would be a good base here (let someone else build the platform and acquire certification). An HDHomerun app on the RDK platform (Xumo is the consumer purchasable platform today) might be the best choice.

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Re: Servio

Post by clarkss12 »

Right now, I am using a 4 TB external hard drive connected to a mini PC as my primary DVR engine.
As my backup, I have a two terabyte Servio.

Of course, I also have a DVR server running on Plex, Emby and Tvheadend.

I don't know of anyone, that would like to have a system like I have.
However, the Scribe, or Servio would be exactly what my friends and relatives would want.
Pair one of those devices with an ONN Android TV box and, an antenna, they would have a perfect system to get rid of the expense of cable TV.

They just want something simple, and that just works. No long-term storage, just pause, fast forward and rewind. Occasional recording of a news channel or TV show that they would be missing.

Those are my thoughts.

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Re: Servio

Post by Ken.F »

nickk wrote: Mon Jan 29, 2024 11:38 am Interested to hear what people think...
How about a Flex-like device with no tuners, Gigabit Ethernet, and multiple USB ports for customer supplied storage.

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