First a big thank you to SageTV for providing SageTV 4.0 for this Review.
I first found about SageTV when I was looking on the Hauppage site for the PVR 350 I would later Review. At the time I figured I would see if I could get SageTV for Review and see how well it worked with the Hauppage PVR 350 card. As this Review shows they go hand and hand.
So for the last month or so I have been testing out several beta versions of the software and I must say I am quite pleased with the software and it hasn’t really given me any issues at all. The only issue I really did have was when I first wanted to Review SageTV it did not have any Canadian listings in it and so for that reason I didn’t Review any version of the software till now do to the fact version 4.0 of SageTV now supports the Canadian TV listings program guide.
With the Canadian listings now in SageTV I can fully utilize the software and all the functions the software gives. The only problem I noticed with the SageTV program guide is that sometimes shows were given a first run status marked with the number 1 yet the programs were NOT first run at all they were re-runs. I can’t contribute this to the SageTV software since they use a plug in basically that gets the program listings from the zap2it site. The program guide works for Canada and the U.S as well as Europe.
The cool thing about the software is the fact it will support the use of two PVR cards such as the Hauppage PVR 350. What this allows you to do is to watch one channel and record another. I’m not sure how well SageTV works with two PVR cards since I never had two cards to test it out. If the software works as well with two PVR cards as it does with one, then users of SageTV will have it made.
In terms of options the software is loaded. There are a few setup menus and you can adjust nearly anything you may want to.
SageTV can also play other media files as well. So if you want to load up a music file or a video file you can import that into SageTV and it works well. Along with music and videos you can also load up pictures and view them in SageTV.
The one thing about SageTV is it really is designed for a Home Theater PC. Everything from the big blue menus and lettering all the way down to to the way you input data is all meant to be done via a remote control and a TV. This is by no means a bad thing but it can be a bit wired looking if you never use the software on a TV but instead your TV is a computer monitor.
Speaking of the way the interface is, you do have control over the font size and in the program guide you can control how much information fits onto the screen there as well.
The remote control from the Hauppage PVR 350 is also supported. I didn’t have any issues at all with the remote and it worked as it should with SageTV.
SageTV can also stream media over a local network if you have one setup up in your house. I never did get to test this out but I have heard that it works well.
The new version of SageTV 4.0 also supports HD so if you have a tuner that can receive HD content this software will view it. It can also do 16:9 wide screen format.
On top of all the above features SageTV also has Parental Control so you can keep your kids from viewing content that you don’t want them to view.
SageTV has lots of recording modes as well. You can do a VCD quality recording or go up to DVD quality, there are a lot of modes in between that users can check out and use depending how big you want your recorded files to be. A general rule to keep in mind is the smaller the file in terms of file size the worse the quality.
One thing I feel SageTV is missing is some way to burn your shows to DVD. Not only would it be nice if the software could do this but it would also be nice if you could remove commercials from the shows and then have that burned to DVD as well.
Something to keep in mind about this software or any PVR software such as SageTV is that its always recording to hard drive. SageTV has to do this if you want to be able to rewind and pause live TV. One side effect to all this recording is that it will over time fragment your hard drive so for this reason if you use SageTV have it recording to a empty hard drive and not your main Windows drive unless your going to defragment it all the time. The reason I say this is that over time the more fragmented your drive gets the slower it becomes, so its something to keep in mind with SageTV or any PVR software.
In conclusion I think SageTV v4.0 is a good program and if you want a program that does what it does and don’t mind the price then SageTV 4.0 is for you. At the time of this article you could buy SageTV from the SageTV web site for $79.95 U.S.
Below are some screen shots of SageTV 4.0 Enjoy!
Here is a picture of the loading splash screen.
Here is a picture of SageTV 4.0 in action.
Here is a picture of the main menu.
Here is a picture of the program guide.
Here is a picture of the setup menu.
Here is a picture of the detailed setup menu.