SageTV and Home Theatre PC Software

Before Installing SageTV[]

Prior to installing SageTV, it is recommended that you first install the compatible TV tuner/MPEG-2 encoder card or USB devices which you plan to use with SageTV. Please follow the installation instructions that shipped with your devices prior to installing SageTV. We recommend installing all of the software applications that came with your devices for testing purposes. Once these devices have been installed, make sure they are functioning properly with the software that came with them. A list of compatible cards and devices is available at

Before Installing SageTV Client[]

The SageTV Client software will only function when it is able to connect to the SageTV software across a network connection; therefore, SageTV should already be installed and running on a separate PC before installing and configuring SageTV Client. Before you use the SageTV Client software, you will need to enable the client-server functionality of SageTV on the server. From the Main Menu of SageTV, select Setup, then select Detailed Setup, choose the Server tab, and “Enable” the SageTV Server option.

Once the server is enabled and you have made a note of the server name or IP address for the PC where SageTV is installed, you can now proceed with installing and running the SageTV Client software on a separate PC. You need to have a separate licensed copy of the SageTV Client for each PC you plan to use it on.

Upgrading to a Newer Version[]

If you are already using SageTV and wish to install a newer version, there are three basic steps to follow:

1.      Exit SageTV – Before installing a new version, you must first exit SageTV or SageTVClient completely; do not just put it to sleep. See Exiting SageTV for exiting the UI portion. Note: If you are using service mode, the installer will stop the service automatically; however, you will still need to close the UI before running the installer.

2.      Install the New Version – Once SageTV is no longer running, simply run the new installer. The installation process will automatically uninstall the previous version of SageTV, so there is no need to manually uninstall the old version first, unless you are using Windows Home Server, in which case you should uninstall the old version of SageTV before running the SageTV for WHS installer. Important: Make sure the installer uses the same destination folder that the previous version used. Usually, the installer will detect this folder automatically, but be sure to check that it is correct.

3.      Start SageTV – After the installation process is complete, you may restart SageTV and continue using it as before.



If using a Hauppauge MediaMVP as a SageTV Media Extender, be sure to unplug the MVP, then plug it in again after installing a SageTV upgrade. This will force a full reboot of the MVP so that any media extender changes will be used by the MVP.

If using SageTV in service mode and the service was configured to log in as a user with a password, be sure to reconfigure the username and password after the upgrade installation, since the installation process may clear those settings.

SageTV and SageTVClient Installation[]

Note that SageTV requires Java Runtime Environment v1.4 or later. If it is not installed, the installer will install Java automatically.

To install either SageTV or SageTV Client, run the executable (.EXE) file you downloaded after purchasing the software. Installation will proceed as follows:

4c) If you will be using the infrared remote control from the Hauppauge 350, 250, 150, USB2, or other Hauppauge tuners with a remote, select the option to configure the support for that remote control device. The Hauppauge remote software must be installed prior to installing SageTV in order for support for the remote to be configured by this installer.

Note: Installing an upgrade will modify the remote’s configuration file. If you have customized that configuration file, save a copy of it before installing an upgrade.

License Key Registration[]

SageTv version 9 (and newer) no longer need a license key or registration. SageTv is now open source software and completely free for unlimited use.

The section of text below about registration is left intact for those who wish to install version 7 or older.

SageTv version 7 and older

Once installation is complete, launch SageTV or SageTV Client in order to register the software. The first time SageTV is launched, you will be presented with a reminder to enter your license key:

If you are using the 21-day trial of SageTV, just click OK to bypass the license key screen. If you have already purchased the software and have received your license key, select Enter Key.

After selecting the Enter Key button, you will be asked to enter your license key, as it was received in an email from SageTV when you purchased the software.

To activate your registration of SageTV, enter your name and license key exactly as it was provided to you.

Tip: An easy way to enter this information without accidentally making a mistake is to select the key in the email you received, copy it to the Windows clipboard (Ctrl+C), then paste it into the entry field for the key in the above dialog (Ctrl+V).

Starting SageTV[]

SageTV (not SageTV Client) can be run in two different modes:

 Single Mode – SageTV’s default mode of operation is to use a single program:

o   SageTV.exe – When service mode is disabled, this single application will handle displaying the user interface along with performing all core recording, scheduling, etc., functionality. When used in this mode, all recording will stop if this application is exited.

 Service Mode – SageTV’s optional mode of operation is to run two separate programs.

o   SageTVService.exe – A Windows service application that runs out of sight, with no user interface visible. This service begins running automatically when Windows starts and is the program that handles all recording, scheduling, and other behind-the-scenes functions.

o   SageTV.exe – The application that displays the user interface for you to interact with. This program can be exited while still allowing the service to continue recording and performing all its other functions.

When viewing the list of running processes on a PC, two of each SageTV process will be listed, so you will see two SageTV.exe and/or two SageTVService.exe processes.

Note: SageTV will not run in Service Mode when using an operating system that does not use services. Service Mode is available on the newer Windows versions such as NT, 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The service will not be installed and will not be available when using Windows versions such as 95, 98, or Me.

Controlling SageTV’s Service Mode Options[]

As mentioned above, SageTV’s optional mode of operation is to run a service to control all recording and core functionality, and a separate application for the user interface. The service is set to begin running automatically when Windows starts. To control the service, run the SageTV Service Control application: go to Start > All Programs > SageTV, and click on SageTVServiceControl. Note: This program will run automatically after installation is complete, if the option to do so was checked in step 5b of the installation process.

This program will display a window with the following options:

 Use SageTV Service: Yes/No – Choose the Enable or Disable buttons beneath this option to turn service mode on or off. Note: If the service mode is disabled, the user interface application will control all functionality that the service would otherwise have performed, but the user interface application would have to be restarted in order for it to take over that functionality.

 SageTV Service State: Started/Stopped – Choose Start to start the service if it is not yet started. Choose Stop to stop the service if it is already running. Note: Stopping the service will prevent shows from being recorded.

 Run Service as User: LocalSystem/UserName – By default, a service runs only on the local system, so it does not have access to any network drives. If you wish to have SageTV access a drive on another computer on your network, you will have to select Change User in order to enter the name of a user account on your computer and the user’s password – the user account must have a password in order for the service to be able to use that account. See below for details regarding accessing network drives while using the service.

 Enable Service Recovery – Check this option to configure the service to automatically restart if it stops running due to some system error.

 Refresh – Refresh the information displayed in this window.

 About – Displays information about configuring the service.

Accessing Network Drives with the SageTV Service []

If you wish to have SageTV access any network drives, keep in mind that a service cannot access mapped drives, therefore network drives must be configured in SageTV as UNC Paths. See Detailed Setup: General Settings regarding configuring video and media center import directories.

UNC paths use a format of: \\ServerName\ShareName\DirectoryName, where ServerName is the network name of the PC to be accessed, ShareName is the name of the shared path on the networked PC, and DirectoryName is the name of the subdirectory below the shared location.

Note: As mentioned above in the description of the SageTV Service Control application, the service must be configured to use a user account in order to access UNC paths on the network. The user account must have a password or else the service will be unable to start. To create or change a user account in Windows, go to the Control Panel and run the application to control user accounts and passwords. Also, make sure that the shared network directories grant write permission, or else SageTV will not be able to store any recordings.

Should I Use SageTV in Service Mode? []

It is not required that SageTV run in Service Mode. The advantage of using the service is that the ability to record TV shows is not dependent on running the user interface portion of the program. This means that the user interface portion can be started or exited any time you wish. Also, if some error caused the user interface portion to stop running, your recordings that are in progress would not be affected. 

One disadvantage of using the service is that it cannot be used to access network mapped drives. If you are already using mapped drives, it is recommended that you either convert them to use UNC paths or not use the service. Remember: accessing UNC paths requires that the service be configured to use a user account with a password.

Changing Property File Settings in Service Mode []

When running SageTV in Service Mode, the SageTV Service uses for its properties, while the SageTV UI uses

When not using the Service Mode, the SageTV UI will get its settings from

See Appendix A: SageTV Properties Settings for more details.

Start the SageTV User Interface[]

Regardless of whether SageTV is configured to run as a service or not (above), starting the user interface portion is always the same: to start SageTV, do one of two things:

Double click on the SageTV icon on your Windows desktop.  or

Go to Start > All Programs > SageTV, and click on SageTV.

The program will then launch, displaying the SageTV splash screen telling you that the program is loading. Once initialization is complete, it will display its Main Menu.

Note: If SageTV is already running, but sleeping in the system tray, when you start it, it will wake itself from the system tray rather than start running another copy of the program.

Starting SageTV Client[]

SageTV Client does not have a service mode like SageTV (above) does, so it can only be run as a non-service Windows application. Remember: to use SageTV Client, SageTV must be installed on another computer on your network and configured to act as a server; see Before Installing SageTV Client.

To start SageTV Client (SageTVClient.exe), do one of two things:

Double click on the SageTVClient icon on your Windows desktop.  or

Go to Start > All Programs > SageTV, and click on SageTVClient.

The program will then launch, displaying the SageTV Client splash screen telling you that the program is loading. Once initialization is complete, it will display its Main Menu.

When viewing the list of running processes on a PC, two of each SageTV process will be listed, so you will see two SageTVClient.exe processes.

Notes: If SageTV Client is already running, but sleeping in the system tray, when you start it, it will wake itself from the system tray rather than start running another copy of the program.

Configure SageTV Client to Connect to the Server[]

Since SageTV Client must always connect to SageTV on the server computer, you will be asked to select a server from the list presented when the client is launched, or to input the name or IP address of the SageTV server. Note: If the server and/or client systems are using a firewall to protect your networked PCs, you will need to allow SageTV and SageTVClient permission to get through that firewall. Depending on the firewall, you may need to specify which ports should be opened. For the client – server connection, those ports are 7818 and 42024. Port 8270 is used when the client is automatically looking for the address of any available servers.

After choosing the server or inputting the name or IP address of the server, for example: HTPC if that is the name of the server system, or if that is the IP address, select OK to continue.

Normally, you will be asked to enter this information

every time SageTV Client is launched; however, you may wish to configure SageTV Client to automatically connect to the server on its own. To do that, from the Main Menu of SageTV Client, select Setup, then select Detailed Setup, choose the General tab, and select the button next to Automatically Connect to Server. That option will then change from displaying No to displaying the name or IP address of the server, which you previously entered when SageTV client was started.

Initial Configuration[]

Important: For the setup process to complete successfully, please be sure your computer is connected to the internet before continuing with the Configuration Wizard. In addition, if you are using a firewall, SageTV needs to be able to get through the firewall to download the EPG data via port 7760. That port may need to be opened in the firewall to allow SageTV through. See Firewall Settings for more port information.

The first time that SageTV is run, you will be asked to complete the entire Configuration Wizard, where you will set various program options, including your country, language, user interface style settings, and video capture device configuration. For a step-by-step description of this process, please see the Configuration Wizard.

You must finish the entire Configuration Wizard, or else the wizard process will continue to restart automatically. Also, if your configuration settings are ever cleared somehow, you will automatically be taken to the Configuration Wizard again. 

SageTV Quick Start Guide[]

From this point on, “SageTV” will be used to reference both SageTV and SageTV Client, since the user interface for both programs is the same, except where noted. To help start using SageTV, the following sections will cover the basics of putting SageTV to sleep, waking it again, or exiting it, along with simple walkthroughs for watching live TV, scheduling a manual recording, creating a Favorite, and watching a recorded show. For information about starting SageTV, see Starting SageTV or Starting SageTV Client.

Sleeping, Waking, and Exiting SageTV[]

SageTV has three states it may be in: 

 Running: The SageTV display is visible. While running, you can interact with SageTV, making use of the menus and its media playback capabilities.

 Sleeping (or Standby mode): The SageTV display is either not visible or is shown in its screen saver state. If the screen saver is not used, the SageTV window will be minimized to an icon in the system tray, next to the Windows taskbar.

 Closed: SageTV is not running at all.

How the State of SageTV affects Creating TV Recordings []

The state of SageTV Client does not affect the ability of SageTV to be able to record TV shows.

If using the SageTV Service (see Controlling SageTV’s Service Mode Options) and the service is running, TV recordings will continue regardless of the state of the SageTV user interface. If the service is stopped, no TV shows will record.

If not using the SageTV Service, SageTV will only record TV shows if it is Running or Sleeping.

Sleeping SageTV []

The Power command may be used to put SageTV to sleep or into standby mode. By default, that command is assigned the Ctrl+Z keystroke. Or, you may use the Standby option on the Main Menu.

If SageTV is running in full screen mode when you put it to sleep, it may switch to its screen saver or minimize itself to the system tray on the Windows taskbar, depending on the configuration options. (See Screen Saver Options in Detailed Setup: General Settings.) If it is running in a window, it will minimize itself to the system tray. Putting SageTV to sleep will stop any live TV that is not a scheduled recording. While sleeping, all shows scheduled to be recorded will still be recorded.

It is not necessary to put SageTV to sleep, but doing so causes it to hide its window from view, making it easier to focus on using your computer for something else, and also causes it to stop recording live TV, all while SageTV continues to record your scheduled shows. See How the State of SageTV affects Creating TV Recordings, above.

Waking SageTV []

While SageTV is sleeping in screen saver mode, click the mouse, press any key, or press any remote button to awaken SageTV. If it is sleeping in the system tray, you may right click on the  icon to see the following options:

Restore SageTV – Wake SageTV and display its window again.

Exit SageTV – Close SageTV completely. It will no longer be running and will be unable to record any upcoming shows.

 Cancel – Cancel and close the pop-up menu. This has no effect on SageTV.

Exiting SageTV []

See Detailed Setup: Customize Settings for an option regarding putting SageTV to sleep instead of exiting it when using ALT+F4 or clicking on the X.

To exit SageTV while its window is open, instead of putting it to sleep, you may use Alt+F4 on the keyboard, or click on the X on the upper right corner of the window if SageTV is in windowed mode. 

Note: Exiting SageTV instead of putting it to sleep may affect its ability to create TV recordings.

See How the State of SageTV affects Creating TV Recordings.

Using Windows Power Management with SageTV[]

SageTV interacts with Windows power management settings while running, automatically handling the following situations:

The Windows screen saver will be disabled while the SageTV interface is active (such as when playing a video or when there is user activity on the menus), and the monitor will not power-off. 

If Windows is configured to go into standby mode after a period of inactivity, SageTV will set a timer for the system to resume operations in time to record a Favorite or Manual Recording. If needed, all capture devices and video hardware will be reinitialized so that SageTV will continue to be able to use them. Note: SageTV will not wake the system for Intelligent Recordings.

Watching Live TV[]

The first thing to remember about watching live TV is that SageTV is always recording, since it first saves shows as recordings on your hard drive. Then, SageTV plays the recording from that file. So, Live TV goes from the encoder card to your hard drive, then gets read by SageTV, decoded, and shown on the SageTV Video Playback display. Due to this process, live TV viewed through SageTV may be a few seconds behind when compared to connecting your cable TV or satellite line directly to your TV. The benefits, however, are that you get full use of SageTV’s PVR functionality, including: pausing TV playback, rewinding, fast forwarding, saving the recording for later viewing, and so on.

If you wish to watch live TV, the simplest ways to do so are to start SageTV and then use the Watch Live TV option on the Main Menu, or use the TV or Live TV commands. Either one of those will take you immediately from the Main Menu to live TV. When starting live TV in this way, however, playback begins on the last used channel. It is easy to change channels at that point by entering a channel number, then using the Select command (Enter key). You can also use the Channel Up or Channel Down commands (Page Up/Page Down keys). See Video Playback for more playback details.

To begin watching a show you select as live TV, rather than simply starting on the last used channel, select Program Guide from the Main Menu to see a grid layout of the TV program listings. (Note: If you have just recently set up SageTV, it may take a few minutes for the guide data to be downloaded, so parts of the guide may say “No Data”.) Scroll through the grid to find a currently airing show that you wish to watch and Select it with the Enter key, then select Watch Now (or use the Play command while the show is highlighted). Playback of that show will begin. For more details about using the program listings, see: Program Guide. Again, see Video Playback for playback details.

Once live TV is started, it will continue recording until you do one of the following three actions:

Put SageTV to sleep. Unscheduled recordings of live TV will stop, but all scheduled recordings will continue while SageTV is sleeping.

Watch a prerecorded show.

Use the Stop command to stop the playback of the currently playing video. When you use Stop while watching an unscheduled recording (live TV), the recording will cease. Using Stop while watching a scheduled recording will only stop playback of that recording; the actual recording process will continue.

Live TV will record at the default Recording Quality, as set in Detailed Setup: Multimedia Settings. If you happen to be watching a scheduled recording as it is being recorded, the recording will continue at the quality it was already set to use. Note: the recording quality setting applies to analog tuners, which digitize the analog TV signal; digital tuners simply save the digital TV stream as it is received and are thus not affected by any recording quality setting.

Watching Live TV When a Scheduled Recording Starts []

While watching Live TV, if a scheduled Manual Recording or Favorite (described later in this section) is coming up on a different channel and the tuner being used for Live TV is needed to record that show, then a pop-up dialog will be shown about 5 minutes before the needed channel change, asking whether it is OK for SageTV to change the channel for the upcoming recording. You can choose whether to allow the channel change, but if you do not respond, then SageTV will change the channel when needed. Note: If an Intelligent Recording (also described later in this section) is coming up, that IR show will be ignored and live TV will automatically continue.

Scheduling a Manual Recording[]

A Manual Recording is a recording resulting from using the Record command to instruct SageTV to record a specific airing of a show. These recordings have the highest priority of all recording types and will never be automatically deleted by SageTV; for example: they will not be deleted to make room for new recordings. If you wish to delete such a recording, use the Delete option on the Airing and Video Options Dialog for the recording.

As an example of creating your first Manual Recording, from the Main Menu, use the Right arrow or Select command (Enter key) to choose the TV > Program Guide menu item. Scroll through the TV program listings to find a show you would like to record. While that show is highlighted, use the Record command (Ctrl+Y) and then select Record this show to immediately mark it as a show to record, or use the Select command, choose Record Options, then select Record this show.

To see that the show has been scheduled for recording, return to the Main Menu, choose TV > Recording Schedule. Scroll through the list of scheduled recordings to see the one you just added. Manual Recordings have bold titles and have a Manual Recording icon on them.

Creating a Favorite[]

Favorites are shows that you want SageTV to record every time they are aired. You can specify that SageTV record the airings based on whether they are a first run, rerun, either first run or rerun, or on a specific channel, along with other options. SageTV will only record one airing of each episode, rather than recording every single airing, as long as the guide data for the show contains enough information for it to be able to tell one episode from another. Also, once an episode has been watched, it will remember that the episode was watched, even if the recording is later deleted, and will not record the same episode again. Taking all this into account, SageTV will attempt to create a recording schedule so that it can record as many unique airings of the show as it can. If it is unable to record one or more of the airings due to conflicts with other scheduled recordings, you will be notified of such conflicts and can decide what action to take on the Recording Conflicts menu.

Scheduled Manual Recordings take precedence over Favorites, while Favorites have a higher priority over Intelligent Recordings. You can manage your Favorites from the Favorites Manager and can choose a Favorite from that menu to go to the Favorite Details menu where you will be able to set the options for that Favorite.

To create your first Favorite, you could go through a similar process as with Scheduling a Manual Recording, above. However, to try something new, use the Right arrow to choose Search > TV Airings > Search Titles from the Main Menu. On the Search menu, begin typing the name of a series that you regularly watch. When you see its title in the list on the right hand side of the screen, select it to see its future airings. Choose one of the airings. In the resulting pop-up menu, choose Record Options, then select Add this show as a Favorite. The show will be added as a new Favorite and you will then be taken to the Favorite Details menu, where you can view the default settings for that Favorite and change them. When done, choose Back from the Favorite Details menu. You have now created a Favorite.

To see that the show has been scheduled for recording, return to the Main Menu, choose TV > Recording Schedule to view the Recording Schedule. Scroll through the list of scheduled recordings to see the entries for the Favorite you just created. Favorites have bold titles and have a Favorite icon on them.

Intelligent Recordings[]

SageTV offers unique functionality like no other PVR application on the market. With SageTV, you can have programs automatically recorded for you based on your past viewing habits. Intelligent Recording decisions are based on which shows you have watched and which shows you have marked as Don’t Like. This data is then used to find other shows in the program guide that may be similar to the shows you have watched. SageTV will then add them to the list of scheduled recordings. Once recorded, you can watch the show, mark it as Don’t Like, delete it, or just leave it there and let SageTV delete it when it needs room for new recordings.

This is an extremely powerful feature that many of our users take advantage of, but which we set to “Disabled” by default, since your first few weeks of using the application may produce very inconsistent results because there is not a lot of watched history for the profiler to make its decisions. We recommend you give this feature a try after you’ve been using SageTV for a few weeks to see what it records for you. This feature will manage any remaining disk space that’s left against your Favorites and Manual Recordings and will not delete any of those recordings to make room for Intelligent Recordings. In addition, Intelligent Recordings are scheduled with the lowest priority, so these recordings will not be added to the schedule at the expense of missing a Favorite or a Manual Recording.

When you are ready to give Intelligent Recording a try, enable the Intelligent Recording option at Detailed Setup: General Settings.

Watching a Recording[]

Now that you have scheduled at least one Manual Recording and created a Favorite, the next step would be to watch a recording. That’s one of the best parts of SageTV: you don’t need to watch the show while it is airing. Simply leave SageTV running, or put it to sleep (see: Sleeping SageTV), and SageTV will record your shows for you while you do something else. Remember: SageTV cannot record any shows if it is not running and if your computer is not turned on.

After giving SageTV some time to record one of your shows, choose TV > Recordings from the Main Menu. That will take you to the SageTV Recordings menu, the list of all TV shows that SageTV has already recorded or is in the process of recording. To begin watching a recording, simply use the Select command (Enter key) while a show is highlighted, then choose Watch Now from the pop-up menu.

For information regarding control of SageTV while playing a video, see Video Playback’s Playback Commands.