SageTV HD Media Extender Review

Brent Evans —  December 10, 2007 — 16 Comments

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Many Home Theater PC users have been clamoring for a silent, easy-to-setup media extender that can handle High Definition video – a plug & play box that lets users remotely access their HTPC content from any TV in their home. Today, SageTV is answering their customers desires by delivering a new HD Media Extender ($199) now available for sale today that works with SageTV, their flagship PC DVR software. I had the opportunity to get a review unit to run through the paces prior to release. Over the past week I’ve been giving the SageTV STX-HD100 a workout by using it to extend my Home Theater setup.

I was very impressed with my overall experience with the SageTV STX-HD100 extender. It matched my SageTV interface almost exactly and handled just as well as the SageTV server does with a much easier setup than a full-fledged HTPC box. The only issue I had with the extender was one that was easily fixed with a firmware update. The positives far outweigh the negatives. This extender gives you the ability to place your digital content (TV, Movies, Music and more) wherever you want it – all in a small, silent box that’s affordable.

As Chris Lanier pointed out, SageTV has beat Microsoft to the market with an excellent HD extender that can handle about any file format you throw at it with great picture and sound quality. I highly recommend the SageTV STX-HD100 to anyone who owns or is considering the SageTV HTPC software for their Home Theater PC needs. This new HD extender by SageTV is an excellent solution for getting your media from your HTPC to your bedroom, living room or anywhere you have a television.

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Check out the entire SageTV HD Extender review and many more pics over at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.

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16 responses to SageTV HD Media Extender Review

  1. I do not use SageTV but had been waiting for this extender. The problem now is that I just recently purchased TivoHDs so not sure if I can be swayed to return them and replace them with SageTV.

  2. Why does everybody put the USB ports on the front? I want to use a USB HD and don’t want the wires hanging out front.
    I know that ONE port in front is desirable for flash drives, but 2 ports on the front?

  3. I was considering using SageTV for my HTPC and I think the release of this device may have just sealed the deal.

  4. I’d like to see it tested with a Mac running SageTV… might entice some of my clients to switch from EyeTV.

  5. Is it possible to use the SageTV HD extender without running SageTV on your PC? I just want something that will play HD videos off a samba share on my PC. If only my XBMC had the power to play HD video :-(

  6. Mike, what file formats are you dealing with? This week I’ve been using the 360 to pull Xvid via a uPnP service. It also works with Microsoft’s new home storage server solution. Not sure you want to re-engineer your entire network though. (PS XBMC should do at least 480p 16:9. At least I think I recall mine doing that and it looking pretty good!)

  7. Mike,
    As far as I know this extender requires SageTV to be installed on a PC in your network in order to work. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone eventually finds a way to install a different “hacked” firmware on the extender device to allow it to work with others, but for now I would say you need SageTV.

  8. David,
    I’m pretty sure the beta testers have this extender working fine with the Mac versions of SageTV. You could be sure if you posed the question on the SageTV forums: http://forums.sagetv.com/forums

  9. Most of the HD files I’ve been downloading are 720p or 1080i MKV format x.264 with AAC or DTS audio. I’ve found a program that will convert the container and audio format while leaving the video intact. This works on my Xbox 360 but its still a pain. And it doesn’t work with DTS audio. Also, my xbox 360 seemed unable to handle 1080i (it chunked on the file I tried.) I just want something like XBMC that will play any format you throw at it… and in high def. I’d rather not build a dedicated HTPC at this point.

  10. I totally agree with Mike. If this product could pull video off a simple SMB share and handled 720p MKV files (standard format for downloaded TV shows) I’d buy it in an instant. So would about 20 other people in my office currently stuck on XBMC because there’s just no better alternative that offers HD.

  11. Hmm, it would be wonderful if it can play DVR-MS over SMB/Windows Shared folder. I want to keep my MCE2005 for PVR, and use this extender in other rooms.

  12. Does that remote happen to be a programmable remote, so we can use it for the TV and the box?

  13. I’ve been using SageTV for about 2 years now. This will simplify my life (trouble-shooting HD on 2 clients) and I can’t wait to get one.

  14. Thanks for the review, very informative. Can’t wait to get one of these guys.

    As for EK, the remote is not programmable, so you’ll have to rely on another universal remote, such as a Harmony to integrate everything into one remote.

  15. Matthew Friedman March 9, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    I have this extender working with my Mac Mini running Leopard 10.5.2. I’ve had it for a week and it’s worked pretty much flawlessly. To me, the biggest downside is that support is not good at all, especially for mac users. You only get support by email, and in my experience the techs never read past the first line of the email, so you have to be specific and concise. Multiple questions need a seperate email for each one or they simply won’t get answered.

    The product website says you need SageTV 6.X, but this isn’t true. You need at least 6.3. And it wasn’t until multiple emails with tech support that they told me this is a beta version for the mac and has to get downloaded from a special link.

    But now that is all sorted out, it seems to work great. The picture and sound quality are perfect. Haven’t thrown a lot of HD at it… mainly using it to play back a HD library of SD DVDs. Regardless, it’s ten times better than the other Sage hardware, which I eventually gave up on getting to work with my mac.

    Hope this helps!

  16. SageTV customer seervice is by email only. Its slow.

    If you get a defective 100, it will take some time to get anyone’s attention at Sage.

    There is no telephone number on their site.

    This gives SageTV a poor mark compared to sites like Newegg and Tigerdirect who offer instant customer service and someone who will answer a phone.

    Its tough to get a non-working unit and have to wait for a email to get anything done. Just call me spoiled…

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