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In the past I've taken an "over my dead body" stance on HW extenders; but as I explore the HD200's (Sage's extender device) feature set I have to admit being tempted.

It's old news that it will play everything (mkv, m2ts, avi, etc), and Sage recently added BDMV (Blue ray's VIDEO_TS) support; which is very slick (too bad it's not HDMI 1.3).  But I didn't know that it can output content at its native resolution (480i -> 480i, 1080i -> 1080i) letting you leverage a better video processor in the AVR or TV.

If they ever add the ability to execute arbitrary code (it is Linux based afterall), I may have to find a recipe for crow :)

Published Mar 27 2009, 11:23 AM by babgvant
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bjdraw said:

If by arbitrary code, you mean your own code, better get eating. Mike told me in a recent email that "It’s (HD200) also very hackable.  Telnet is built in and it’s able to run lots of custom code."

March 27, 2009 1:17 PM

babgvant said:

At the very least, I'd need to be able to send a WOL packet and wait for a few seconds when it turns on.  So it would have to support code before it initiates the connection with the server.

Ideally, I'd want to be able to make out of band calls to my server to do some other things that I've been thinking about building.

March 27, 2009 1:59 PM

jelwood said:

There are a few ways to wake up the server today.  Personally, I have two NIC cards in my server.  One the cards only services the extenders.  I have this card set to wake the server with any TCP/IP traffic and the other NIC card (that's on the same LAN segment as my other PC's set to only wake on a magic packet.  This works pretty well for me.  The key is you don't want any traffic on the LAN segment with the NIC card that is set to wake the machine with any TCP/IP traffic.  It's a good thing the extenders don't send out traffic when they are in suspend mode.  That fact allows this to work nicely.

There is another way to accomplish this, check out the thread below.

March 27, 2009 5:50 PM

babgvant said:

It's not that a solution doesn't exist to these sorts of issues; the thing that keeps me away is the necessity for complex solutions to simple problems.

I really need to send Jeff an email and see what's possible on the device.

March 27, 2009 6:31 PM

brent said:


I'm VERY curious as to what types of things you might want to do with the HD200.  

The things I see missing from it (extender perspective) are:

1. Online Video/Audio (without needing PlayOn such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora etc

2. HDMI 1.3

3. Optical drive

4. IR port

I think thats it.  But I'd be interested to know what you'd like to see on it.

March 29, 2009 11:15 AM

babgvant said:

I've been thinking about building an application that remotes navigating the On Demand menu on my STB inside of Sage.  Doing this a PC client should be straight forward because you can hook and suppress key presses (although maybe it's possible to do this with a STVi w/o the platform dependency; I really need to get a better handle on what is possible here), passing them to the server where they would be sent to the STB should also be easy.  It's pretty targeted (i.e. requires FW channel changing), so I'm not sure if I'll ever get around to it.  

The biggest thing missing from the HW spec is HDMI 1.3; it's not a huge issue for me now but it will be in the future.  Of course if they handled the decode in the device, even that wouldn't be blocking.

I'm not sure I'd ever use an optical drive since the server will remote physical discs (I haven't needed to put a drive in my PC extender) and supports dvd and BR playback.  Personally, I think the form factor is compelling adding a drive would add cost and girth.

March 29, 2009 1:37 PM

shadeblue said:

Hi Andy,

I once had been thinking about creating a SageTV plugin to address that same issue.  It would be nice to be able to access Video On Demand and other features of the STB through the SageTV system and accessible at the clients.  I had looked over the APIs and STVi and I remember thinking that it could be accomplished but then I ran into the issue of the delayed video.  If you are trying to use the STB on-screen menu, there may be a considerable delay between when you initiate a button command and when you see the feedback on the screen.  I figured that this delay between control and feedback would be an anoyance and I never pursued the effort any further.  So if you are really looking to do this the existing API and STVi framework "may" have  what you need to pull it off without having to create some custom hack.

April 1, 2009 9:34 AM

babgvant said:

I talked to Jeff about it, and he said all the hooking stuff I thought was going to be hard is fully supported with STVi (old habits...).  The delay would be a problem, but as long as it's not more than a couple seconds, I can live with it...

If you have anything work done on it that you're willing to share, I'd appreciate it.

April 1, 2009 10:39 AM


I switched from client pc's in media center over a year ago when I was forced to by buing a cable card pc. I was really impress with extenders at the time and the ability to not have to worry about picture quality (of course the lack of codec support pissed me off)

When I went to sage it was a no brainer for me I have hd200 and love the picture quality and the blu ray playback was icing on the cake.

April 3, 2009 5:52 AM

shadeblue said:

RE:  "If you have anything work done on it that you're willing to share, I'd appreciate it."

Sadly no.  Sorry I never laid down any code or prototyping, it was all just theory in my head :-)

April 4, 2009 2:38 PM

andy vt's blog said:

I have a confession to make; when Sage was running it's March Madness promo I picked up a HD200.

April 18, 2009 11:57 AM
@2008 andy vt
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