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Newbie: build an home server

Added by Antony B almost 3 years ago

Hi,
i'm newbie in tvheadend, hope you can help me.
I read a lot in these days, and it seems tvheadend is what i'm looking for.
My idea is build a server running 24h with 4 dvb-t2 and at least 2 dvb-s2 tuners (4+4 would be ideal), and stream channels to my Tv's using kodi as frontend.
I have some questions.

1. Most important question: the video quality will be the same as using built-in TV tuner? If i use pass through without any trasnconding, i will get same video quality? Could kodi frontend or tvhedend server change someway the video quality?

2. Which hardaware i need to build the server? these the goal i want to reach:
- 4 dvb-t2 and 4 dvb-s2x tuners to streams channels to my 4 Tv's and sometime only one stream outside lan (using transcoding of course).
- (optionally) install plex to stream trasconded recordings outside lan, because, if i understod correctly, tvheadend is not able to do it.
- sata HDD to serve as NAS, to store recordings, pc's backup and multimedia files.
- at least two usb 3.0, to connect my usb 3.0 hdd to make backups of the sata HDD.
- donwloader client (torrrent, http, e2dk etc.)
- possibly fanless or less noisy as possible.

3. You advice me to use OpenMediaVault or simply Debian/Ubuntu?


Replies (22)

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by stultus Strebor almost 3 years ago

AB As I've posted before I have found a low cost Intel J1900 motherboard to be up to the job, actually the cpu usage rarely strays outside single figures. I use Turnkey Linux as the Debian 9 distro is compact and comes with Webmin and Shellinabox installed, ideal for a headless server, the 4T sata drive has xfs as a file system.

DVB streams are unaffected and thus quality is maintained, assuming they are received without error and are not transcoded.

The server also uses Logitech Media sever to feed a range of PiCorePlayer players for audio.

bonne chance..S

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Paraic McDonagh almost 3 years ago

From a hardware perspective, you should have no problems with reasonably up to date hardware.
You might imagine that 8 tuners would require massive processing power, but in reality it is not the case.
If you are building a box from scratch, you could possibly aim to build a fairly low noise box.
A current Intel Core I3 would be up to the task but a Core i5 would be better. Get the best processor that your budget allows though. Your second priority should be compatible memory (some particular memory clock speeds will match better with the chosen CPU) and the appropriate mobo with a compatible sockets for your CPU and memory. A mobo with a HDMI output might be a requirement if you are using the box to directly display media to your TV. You should not be adding a graphics card because it will not be needed, unless you are using the box for gaming. It will only make the system noisier. Likewise an AMD Ryzen APU is probably not worth considering if you are not gaming because your investment will not be directed to where it's needed. You could consider a board that accepts m.2 SSDs for the OS as it will seed up boot time and improve system speed overall. A 240GB m.2 drive is more than enough for Linux and won't break the bank. Then a standard 3TB sata (or more) drive can be used for your recordings.

So in summary:

An Intel i3 to i5
Compatible memory (8 to 16GB)
A motherboard with the correct socket for your CPU, onboard graphics / HDMI out, m.2 socket and enough compatible PCI slots for your tuner cards.
A 240GB m.2 drive
A sata drive >= 3TB
A PSU (Bronze rating or greater). Modular types, mean only the cables you need are plugged in.
A compact case, one with good noise dampening could be a consideration.

With respect to streaming, it is possible to use a TVHeadend client such as Kodi on external networks by port forwarding your TVH server through the firewall of your router. Google "port forwarding TVheadend" for more info.
Transcoding video to stream is a different kettle-of-fish, I personally wouldn't recommend this unless you are on a limited data plan and have no choice. In that case, you will probably need to increase the CPU specs to i5 and i7 processors as transcoding is very processor intensive. To be honest, with full load on your tuners, you might struggle.

I personally use Ubuntu, it's got a good support base.

Sounds like a great project. My own box is due an upgrade soon. I might compare notes. Good luck with it.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Antony B almost 3 years ago

Hi guys, thanks for the answer.
No, i would use the server headless, without a monitor. This would only be a 24h server nas/tvheadend.

@Paraic McDonagh
Your config looks like a recent desktop pc i bought. I hoped an headless server would be less expansive and required less power. I was wrong?
Isn't 240GB SSD seems to much for linux os?
Could i use a fanless psu and cpu and use only a case fan?
8GB ram is not overkill? Anyway ram is not expansive so i can get 8GB anyway.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

Do you really need 8 tuners? Remember that a tuner can tune/record all programmes on the same multiplex; so on dvb-t2 you may get lots of related channels all recordable at the same time.

I think Paraic's advice is based on you wanting to transcode and is good advice for a solid server that will last years. "Buy cheap, buy twice".

You can use far lower spec for recording: many people use things as low spec as a Pi, or one of those $20 Android boxes. Saen posted yesterday about Jaguar boards.
[[https://tvheadend.org/boards/5/topics/5102?r=34455#message-34455]]

You probably don't really need usb3. I recorded 20+ simultaneously on an old usb2. You can get by with smaller root systems (16gb or less).

I'd always recommend Intel/AMD and Ubuntu unless you have specialist requirements; the reason being that these are always well supported and can be upgraded for years. Other systems tend to have difficult upgrade paths that you only find out after a couple of years.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by stultus Strebor almost 3 years ago

AB, no you are not wrong, I've used a single core Atom before now with no problems, admittedly with only two tuners but would often record 4 or 5 streams at once.

Of course this is ignoring transcoding, which i should have explicitly stated in my post. As the second and comprehensive reply states an i7 or Xeon looks to be required. I think there has been progress is using VAAPI and a GPU but what I have read makes my head hurt and wallet goes into spasm.

I have a 60G ssd drive in use for the system 10% full. The data drive is a 4T media drive, the manufacturer reckons it will cope with 12 HD steams, never got beyond 6 in use.

RAM well again the atom build only had 2G and the Celeron J1900 has 8 but in use 700M a bit more with four streams recording.

Cooling the J1900 is passively cooled only a case fan for the data drives sake, the PSU fan ramps up in summer as the IT cupboard is under the roof and gets into the high 30s, not good.

S

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Paraic McDonagh almost 3 years ago

You could definitely get away with cutting some corners. 4GB ram should be OK. At least you can upgrade later.
Even if you are getting 8GB, try to get it in a single stick rather than a kit of 2 because then you will have a free slot for later upgrading.
Ubuntu could absolutely run on a smaller 128GB SSD. I was coming from a perspective of hitting the sweet spot for best value balanced with future-proofing. If you're buying an SSD anyway, then doubling the drive capacity is not double the price between 128GB and 240GB, (about $35 v $55). But going from 240GB to 500GB ($55 v $150) is roughly triple though.

I'm personally running TVH on a 6 year old Asus E2KM1I-DELUXE Motherboard which had an integrated APU. It's not a powerful system at all but the processor was included with the mobo and cooling system, so it was good value at the time. Also it had HDMI and optical spdif outputs. I have 4 tuners(2 x DVB-T2 USB external and 2 x DVB-S2 on 1 card internal), often recording 4x HD programs while sometimes serving a recording playback simultaneously and it never has had a problem. I have a 250GB Sandisk sata SSD, and a Seagate 3Tb HD. At the time I built it, I wasn't going for raw processing power, I was going for an almost silent PC, so I didn't want multiple large cooling fans.

If you are on a budget, you could even consider equipping a preowned box. Most reasonably up to date hardware will do fine.
I took it from your tuner spec that you were going to spend a bit though, because multi-tuner cards are expensive, it would be a shame to then skimp on the rest IMHO.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

For dvb-s2, several people have recommended the "Digibit R1"; it gives 4 tuners via network for around the same cost as 2 internal tuners (at least the last time I looked).

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Antony B almost 3 years ago

Thanks guys for the answers.
Yes, I would like an x86 machine.
Speaking of usb3, I need them to backup the internal hard disk to external storage.
I would use a ssd (no more than 128 / 256GB, depends on the price) and a sata internal hdd 2/4TB.
About the dvb-t2 device, I'm oriented to huppage win HD quad. I know a dvb-t2 tuner can record multiple channels on the same mux, but I prefer to be quiet enough for simultaneous use (wife and children). But i have a doubt here, will this tuner support 4k?
About dvb-s2x tuner i don't have any idea on what to go. Myabe dual s2x tuner would be enough anyway.
Yes @Paraic McDonagh, you're right, spend a lot on tuners and have a limited system would be a shame.

Speaking of transconding, as I said, it would be really rare, i never had the needed until today, just i would not exclud it. But i could easily avoid occasional transcoding if that would mean spend double respect without it.

EDIT:
i'm looking for j5005 pentium fanless solution, it should have hw transconding that for 1 one stream transcoding would be enough. What do you think? A user here https://tvheadend.org/boards/5/topics/31443?r=31462#message-31462 is able to do 4 transcoding HD using j4205 igpu.
The problem anyway would be the pci-e limited to only one.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by stultus Strebor almost 3 years ago

For reference my now old hat J1900 server runs at 18W total, as measured by the APC UPS and another 9 for the SATIP tuner. 10 Watts costing 9E a year for me here in France.

When I did upgrade from the Atom 2550 it was to get IPMI and be able to remotely power cycle the server as the Ethernet interface was buggy, this seems to have gone away with Debian 9.

Bonne chance S

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Paraic McDonagh almost 3 years ago

I wouldn't want to make a statement about the Hauppage DVB-S2 Quad Tuner supporting 4K, only for you to purchase one and then find out it has an issue. Generally DVB-S2 cards do support 4K streams though. I just can't find it specifically stated on the Hauppage website. TBS cards do state this information on their site though. My understanding is that the stream is routed to whatever device you are watching content on and that device then renders the video. It is therefore important that if you are also using the box to view 4K content, that the motherboard's integrated graphics hardware is able to render and output 4K through its HDMI port.
Likewise, if you are using android boxes as clients connected to a 4K TV, they should have 4K capability also.
With respect to 4 x tuners, you could consider a twin tuner card first and add one another later on if you really felt the need. My suspicion is that 2 will do, especially if you are also adding a twin (or quad) DVB-T2 tuner.
My own family's viewing habits are based on watching series linked recordings mostly. In the case that 2 tuners are in use already when wanting to watch another channel, often the channel will be on the same carrier as an active channel and it will play anyway. Also, many channels broadcast +1 hr versions also.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

My only note about J5005, etc., is that when I looked a few months ago on Amazon I frequently read reviews of some boxes that had problems with booting Linux. Others booted it fine. Maybe it was just a problem with earlier boxes, but ensure you read the reviews carefully before purchasing and make sure they mention a modern Ubuntu not just an old v14 or whatever.

Also for tuners, many people use usb tuners, in particular the xbox dvb-t2 tuner is very cheap if you have a modern kernel (4.18+ I think), but of course the aerial cabling looks far worse than one neat internal card.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by saen acro almost 3 years ago

Em Smith wrote:

My only note about J5005, etc., is that when I looked a few months ago on Amazon I frequently read reviews of some boxes that had problems with booting Linux. Others booted it fine. Maybe it was just a problem with earlier boxes, but ensure you read the reviews carefully before purchasing and make sure they mention a modern Ubuntu not just an old v14 or whatever.

It is with UEFI support ONLY maby as new Intel NUC

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

Yes, IIRC some were 32-bit UEFI and they didn't support booting 64-bit OS, and then even with workarounds the hw wasn't fully supported. It was enough for me to wait another year for it to all just work :-)

Though, I liked that Jaguar board you mentioned (with Cherry Trail/HEVC), so I'll wait to see someone use that for a while.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Antony B almost 3 years ago

Here https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/05/16/intel-nuc-kit-nuc7pjyh-review/ a review of intel nuc with j5005, with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS 64bit. It seems it is fully supported.
What do you think?

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

Looks nice, and I like that the review tells you power usage. Though I would've liked to know why some videos didn't play (I know you're going headless so not an issue).

But does it support the PCI that you wanted? I couldn't see it mentioned in the specs (unless they hide it on some link).
[[https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/boards-kits/nuc/kits/nuc7pjyh.html]]

Although probably not worthwhile for Tvh, if you can find a device with usb 3.1 then I believe that's slightly better supported in Linux for external drives than 3.0 (otherwise you may get issues where it disconnects under heavy load, I know I did until I blacklisted the UASP). Again: not a major issue since you are very unlikely to get heavy load on the disks just running it as a tv server.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Antony B almost 3 years ago

I think the only solution is to build an own machine using J5005-itx motherboard from asrock, so i can get pci-e 2.0 x1, M.2 and 4 SATA 3.
In the pci-e i could connect the huappage win hd quad, but i would have no more pci-e for dvb-s2/s2x.
At this point i'm lokking for digibit R1, even if it isn't s2x compatible. About it, which feedbkack do you have? I'm curious to know which delay would be using a sat-ip tuner instead of using pci-e tuner.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

If you've not used tvheadend before, but have an old laptop, I'd probably buy an xbox dvb-t2 tuner (~10), and a 16gb usb key for Ubuntu install and give it a try before spending large amounts of money. If you install "ubuntu bionic" then you'd need to upgrade the kernel using "ukuu" to 4.18 to get the tuner supported.

I thought "Octopus dvb" allows you to mix+match dvb-t2 and s2 on one card, but I can't tell for sure.

My sat tuners are actually usb (no longer manufactured), but reviews I've read are on this forum and Kodi forum. In a home setting, I don't think you will really notice any difference between satip, usb or pci. It's not really any different than when you hit "play" to watch on your recorded programmes on the tv.

In "Kodi" there is an option to "pretune", so if you change channels frequently it will actually use two tuners and pre-tune the next channel for you.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by stultus Strebor almost 3 years ago

AB, my build is a Asrock-rack board same as the desktop but with IPMI. The DIY route will allow you to have a airy case and a large diameter slow turning case fan. The HP mini servers used to be really good value, I don't know if they still are.

SATIP tuners have another advantage in that some newer TV can connect directly.

I should like to explore turning TvHeadend into an appliance.

S

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Antony B almost 3 years ago

Guys, thanks for the answer.

I have to decide which tuners i should keep, because if i choose j5005 route, i have only a PCI-E 2.0 x1.

Could you advice me to buy sat-ip tuner for dvb-s2?
Or better use dvb-t2 via usb and dvb-s2 trough pci-e? The problem via sub is that i need X cables for X tuners, and an hub to handle all the tuners. I don't know if usb hub could cause problems too.

I saw octopus dvb too, the idea is very good, a minipci-e with possibility to handle which and how many tuners connect. But from a fast check, it seems these cards are not supported in linux...

If i remember correctly, it seems i saw somewhere a pci card with dual dvb-t2 and dual dvb-s2 on the same card... it maybe would be enough.
EDIT: i found it is a TBS card, TBS6522.

What do you think?

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by A T almost 3 years ago

Hey,

im using usb cards and an active USB cable.
I can run 2 dvb-s HD stream without problems over usb 2.0.

Im running my server in the living room and my usb receivers in the next room where i
use a cheap coax window pass through.

My hardware:

--J4205

--10m USB 2.0 cable ! must be an active one!
(https://www.delock.de/produkt/82446/merkmale.html)

--passive 4x usb 2.0 hub

--DvbSky s960
--Technotrend S2-3600

My s2-3600 works out of the box with newer kernel, the s960 needs firmware.
I would check the hardware thread in the main forum for more actual devices.

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by stultus Strebor almost 3 years ago

I have been very happy with for DVBs2 an Inverto IDL400s and perexg's satip-axe firmware.

https://github.com/perexg/satip-axe/tree/master/dist

RE: Newbie: build an home server - Added by Em Smith almost 3 years ago

For the spec, the TBS6522 looks expensive to me for a dual card.

For usb dvb-t2 you are unlikely to hit a hub problem (assuming a powered hub). TV broadcasts are generally low birate (less the 10mbps, some uk channels get lower than 1mbps). USB2 is 480mbps. So, even if you assume the broadcast is extremely/unrealistically high quality (20mbps) then you could theoretically get around 24 recordings. Of course, there's usb overhead, but since you're aiming for four tuners, say two recordings per tuner, you should be fine.

As for DVB-T2 tuners, two popular ones are the xbox tuner (chipset MN88472), and Astrometa (chipset MN88473). I find the astrometa to be slightly better with my weak aerial, and has been supported for far longer than xbox; but xbox was half the price last time I checked.

If you're in UK, I think there are two DVB-T2 muxes, the rest are DVB-T. So, the other two tuners could be DVB-T if you find them cheaper. There used to be lots of dual usb tuners, but they don't seem so popular nowadays.

https://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/Hardware_device_information
https://www.linuxtv.org/wiki/index.php/DVB-T2_USB_Devices

I've read that usb tuners don't last as long as internal ones, but I've not had any problems. I think it's because in America they frequently only have "now+next" tv guide so have to constantly scan, causing cheap usb tuners to overheat.

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