My battle with the InfiniTV 6 Eth

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atlupo

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My battle with the InfiniTV 6 Eth

#1

Post by atlupo » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:12 pm

For the benefit of all I thought I would summarize my recent battle with InfiniTV 6 Eth tuners. In the end I think I’ve actually won, but only with a very specific configuration.

I currently have 2 InfiniTV 6 Eth tuners and 3 HTPCs (identical Intel NUC6i7KYK running Windows 8.1 with latest updates) and was attempting to setup Live TV and DVR recording on all 3 HTPCs. This is an upgrade from my previous setup of an old custom built HTPC (> 10 years old!) with an internal PCIe InfiniTV 4 and another laptop (> 5 years old) that used an InfiniTV 6 Eth installed on my network. The internal InfiniTV 4 was rock solid for many years but the network InfiniTV 6 Eth was unreliable – tuner reboots and then, of course, laptop reboots to reconnect the tuners with WMC.

For the upgrade I wanted to share the 12 tuners total among the 3 HTPCs. The tuners both have the latest firmware (15.1.13.152) and the HTPCs have the latest Ceton drivers (13.6.3.1088). All signal strengths to the tuners are within desired ranges.

Problems began when I started setting up LiveTV. Multiple attempts with tuners at different locations in my network (attached to the main gigabit switch in my network, attached to the router, attached to a switch at each TV, etc.) all resulted in both tuners rebooting themselves randomly every 10 – 15 minutes. It didn’t matter if I shared all tuners or specifically allocated tuners to the different HTPCs. And even when I was able to complete the Media Center setup, the connection would not last because of the constant tuner rebooting. And the logs never really showed me much of anything that I could use to figure out what was going on. If I shutdown the Media Centers on all the NUCs and just left the tuners connected to the network (overnight) they did not reboot themselves (> 8 hrs) but as soon as I started up Media Center on the NUCs, the tuner reboots started up again. Even if I had just either one of the tuners connected to the network with the NUC Media Centers running the tuner would reboot itself regularly.

Last ditch attempt was to connect the InfiniTV 6 Eth directly to the NUC via an ethernet cable. The NUCs have both wireless and wired network adapters. Wireless was used for local network and internet access and the wired jack was used for the tuner connected with a standard Cat6 patch cable (crossover cable not needed as NUC adapter is auto MDI-X capable). The wireless NUC adapter receives IP assigned from the router (manual DHCP) and the wired NUC adapter is set to a static address (same 192.168.1.x subnet). Likewise, the InfiniTV 6 Eth is set to another static address on the same subnet. With this setup the NUC can see the attached tuner but the rest of the network cannot. So, this effectively isolates the tuner from the rest of the network – kind of defeats the purpose of having a network tuner but…

In any case, the two tuners attached to two different NUCs in this manner results in rock stable setups. The tuners don’t reboot themselves at all and recordings are consistent and reliable. And no excessive delays in channel changing with LiveTV (< 3 secs).

Of course, with this setup there is a 3rd HTPC in my network without access to either of these tuners. So, I decided to push the issue and bridge the wired and wireless adapters on the two NUCs with the attached tuners. The tuners then are available over the network to the 3rd HTPC. I thought this would be equivalent to having the 2 InifinTVs attached directly to the whole network (i.e. plugged into the main network switch); fully expecting tuner rebooting and all the other problems I’ve seen before.

Surprise! The WMC LiveTV setup with 6 tuners (from one of the InfiniTV 6 Eth) on the 3rd HTPC went without problems. And everything is stable! No tuner reboots, no recording dropouts, etc. By the way, I have taken the extra step of cooling the tuners with an external fan (AC Infinity MULTIFAN S3); run on the hi setting keeps the tuners at less than 40 degrees C.

So the real question is what is the issue with these InfiniTV 6 Eth tuners – is it hardware, firmware, drivers, specific network configuration, network location, etc.. I know they are notoriously twitchy and have seen all the complaints about them here and at other places on the web (and experienced them myself). Connected directly to my main network switch is a no-go but connected to different PCs with bridged network connections works fine!? I would think there would be no difference yet it is like night and day. By accident, is the bridging on the HTPCs blocking some network traffic that otherwise screws up the InfiniTVs and causes the reboots?

If anyone has any comments about what I’ve seen I would be very interested to hear your thoughts. I know I could go down the SiliconDust HDHR3-CC path but only having 3 tuners per CableCard is a downside for me. Like everyone else I’m still holding out some slim hope the SD 6 tuner device might eventually hit the market.

unclebun

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#2

Post by unclebun » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:06 pm

I only have one ethernet InfiniTV 6 but have never had any problems with it on the network, being used by any of our 5 computers. Maybe the problem lies with having two of them on the same network?

EZEd

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#3

Post by EZEd » Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:45 pm

I would try what unclebun above implies. Because your router maybe getting confused over which ceton device has what IP address, try setting up only one tuner completely first. Go all the way through WMC setup and make sure you can view channels on all three PCs from one tuner. Then add the second tuner to the network and reaccomplish setup on all three PCs. When I was using Ceton ETH I only had one so I didn't run into this conflict but that's what it sounds like a router/IP conflict. Other thing you can try is set permanent IP addresses to these two devices so that they don't get dynamic IP addresses through DHCP/DNS. If the router is confused as to which tuner has what address this may eliminate that.

I've moved on from the cable card world. Hopefully one day I can resurrect my ETH for some other duty. Everyone else complained about them but I had nothing but good service out of mine and loved it. Good luck with your dilemma.

atlupo

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#4

Post by atlupo » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:49 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

In the interest of keeping my OP at a reasonable length I did not describe in detail everything I tried. The idea of setting up first one and then the other Ceton ETH was, in fact, tried and did not work. I too thought there was some conflict between the two Ceton ETHs on the network.

I have always used static IPs for all HTPCs and Ceton ETHs. And the rest of the devices on my network are all manually assigned IPs by the router; I have no dynamically assigned IPs on my network.

Even with static IPs (HTPCs and Ceton ETHs), when the Ceton ETHs are connected to my main gigabit switch (16 port TP-link TL-SG1016PE) I get unreliable performance and repeated rebootings. When they are behind bridged ethernet connections on two of the HTPCs everything is good.

I’m beginning to wonder if there is something not right with the main switch; even though built-in monitoring on the switch does not show anything concerning (just a few bad packets now and again). The switch is managed and I have also tried increasing priority to the ports the Ceton ETHs are attached to – no luck with that either.

In the end, I now have a stable setup but still wondering why an alternate, reasonable setup (Ceton ETHs attached to main network switch) simply does not work.

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