Cutting the cord, going all Apple TV (HdHomeRun + Channels DVR)

Discussion in 'Apple TV Apps' started by rollsroyce442, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. rollsroyce442 macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    Fremont, CA
    So I am cord cutting for the second time. The first time I was younger and poorer and couldn't afford cable so it was out of necessity. This time, I have Xfinity X1 and have come to enjoy it and access to the Apple TV network apps. The outrageous monthly cost has really gotten to me and I have decided to go without. I mostly just watch network tv (no cable channels) and sports (regional sports network [RSN], NBCSports Bay Area). Since I live in the SF Bay Area with a clear line of sight to the towers, I get all the networks clearly for free, and my monthly Comcast bill just gets me on-demand access to network TV and my RSN. I've decided to go with an HDHomeRun device with the Channels app + DVR to get the networks. The second component is MLB dot TV (I watch NBA too but I am willing to give that up). Last time I used Unblock-US with MLB to watch my local team and I hope to do that again. The third component is Netflix. These 3 components are necessary for me. I have essentially 2 questions and I am open to other thoughts.

    1. I plan to purchase a NAS to handle the DVR. I plan to buy the HDHomeRun Quattro. I'd like to keep the NAS below $200, preferably around $150. I've never used a NAS before. This is essentially all I plan to use it for but I may also use it for other things in the future (storage and backup). Which one should I buy? I have no idea where to start.

    2. I previously ran into an issue with Unblock-US and Netflix. Everything worked fine until Netflix started blocking DNS services like unblock-us. Outside of the US, people use unblock-us to access the US version of Netflix. I am trying to figure out if it is possible to, at the router level, direct only MLB.TV traffic to the Unblock-us DNS servers while all other traffic goes to the normal DNS servers. My router is a Netgear R6250. It has to be router or network level so it can work on the Apple TV. Having it on my computer will not work.

    I would greatly appreciate any knowledge that any of you could share.
  2. Caromsoft macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2012
    I would suggest you go to the Channels forums to check on which NAS to use for their DVR.

    It has to have a certain amount of processing power to handle the DVR.
  3. eyeseeyou macrumors 68030

    Feb 4, 2011
    What speed/tier are you paying for your internet service?

    I was considering cutting the cord but after adding the indivual channels and sports services it got pretty close to my $120ish a month cable/internet service with dvr.
  4. rollsroyce442 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    Fremont, CA
    It all depends on what you need/want. For me, after the setup costs, I have Netflix (which I already have so I don't count that), $8 per month for channels dvr, unblockus for 5 per month for 5 months (baseball season), one team for $85, plus $40 per month for internet. This makes my new monthly cost an average of $57 per month plus Netflix. Compared to my $125 per month cable w/ internet plus Netflix it works out well for me. Now if you need more (HBO, ESPN, HULU, Sling TV, FUBO) it can add up fast.

    I am going with performance plus Comcast (I think 60 mbps) for $40 per month.
  5. oneMadRssn, Jan 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018

    oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I have the old-gen HDHomeRun Extend and the Channels App. It's an amazing combo. I haven't felt the need for the DVR service.

    I also have Netflix, HBO, and Prime. During Baseball season, I subscribe to (and $3/month for a smartDNS to remove the silly blackout restriction).

    Some cable apps, such as Comedy Central, let you watch some episodes without a login, which is cool. But I think the above cover 99% of what I watch.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 22, 2018 ---
    If you're into saving a few bucks, check out YonderTV which is $3/month. I have used them for the past 3 seasons or so, and haven't run into any major issues. Their primary server has gone down once or twice, but just changing my DNS to their second or third server has always fixed it.
  6. CharlesShaw, Feb 3, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

    CharlesShaw macrumors 6502a


    May 8, 2015
    This thread inspired me to drag out my old HDHomeRun today. I used to use it with EyeTV on a 2007 MacMini, but eventually retired both after I got an ATV. OTA has been limited to morning news and special events and always felt like a hassle to use.

    I'd heard about the Channels app from a podcast, but never imagined it would be so attractive and so useful. I'm VERY happy that I took a chance on it, because after just one afternoon I think it's the best $25 I've spent in a very long time.
  7. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2014
    Tuner is fine. MyCloud Mirror will work spiffy with it. Keep it simple. PQ is better than Directv. Use it a lot during sports. The only thing keeping me from dropping directv is my wife not liking the directv now interface.
  8. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Hopefully that gets an update later this spring, along w/ the DVR feature coming out of beta!
  9. ml2014, Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018

    ml2014 macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2014
    This is exactly what I want to do except for me it's NHL.TV and my local RSN blackout policy.
    Wanting to drop Comcast cable, go all internet (I can get ATT Gigabit Fiber here for 80 bucks a month) and use the Channels app for OTA and recording. I already have it set up to record from HDHomerun primes with cablecard (2) sp obviously would drop to using my HDHR Connect which I already have.
    It's really a great solution and much cheaper than a Tivo, which I cancelled a couple months ago.

    I only care about sports, hockey, and baseball to a lesser extent, so dropping cable is no big deal for me or the wife, except for the aforementioned NHL issue. We have Netflix as well.
    With the Apple TV, I tried the unblock sites and nothing worked for me, was still blacked out locally for my Blackhawks, and this is the only thing keeping me from dropping Comcast.

    I could get Directvnow (I have it on a trial basis now, mostly to get that free Apple tv they were giving out) but it's so unreliable that it might drive me crazy if that's what I depended on for NHL.

    I should mention I have the NHL TV app, and for the most part picture quality is phenomenal. Comcast compresses the signal so much that it can be very bad some times.

    For the Channels DVR storage, I'm using a small form factor Windows pc, and it works pretty well, it's basically just a little bigger than the Apple tv itself. I attached a 4TB USB 3.0 drive and rarely use more that 500 gb. I'd rather use a NAS but like you I'm not sure what to get, though I've seen some suggestions on the Channels community forum, and they're not really cheap. The PC I bought from Amazon was only 199, and the hard drive I already had laying around.

    I just ordered a VPN router that I'm planning on running the Apple tv through it, and see if that will unblock me for my local teams blackouts.
    Perhaps tonight I can try the sites suggested previously and see if that works for the ATV, saving me the cost of the VPN router I just bought.

    EDIT: Just tried Ad-free time and it actually works on an Apple TV, but not Ipad or Iphone.
    Looks promising to "cut the cord" maybe!
  10. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    This is because the iPad and iPhone use the "location services" api to figure out location. In other words, they use the build-in GPS chip. Even through a VPN you won't be able to mask your location. Afaik, the only way to do this on iPhone and iPad is to jailbreak and install something called location spoofer, not something I'm willing to do.

    But for the Apple TV, ad-free time works perfectly for me.
  11. ml2014 macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2014
    I see. Wonder how long though for them to do the same on an Apple tv?
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    The Apple TV doesn't have a physical GPS chip. Even the location services api on tvOS still relies on ip-based location identification.

    I don't think Apple would, on their own, decide to add GPS to the Apple TV because that is silly. There is no use for GPS on a stationary home-theater device. However, the content providers might be able to leverage some deals and force them to add GPS at some point for the very purpose of having fool-proof location information. (e.g., HBO threatens to pull their app from all devices that don't have a proper GPS chip). However, Even that is unlikely in my opinion. At the end of the day, they get paid either way.

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11 January 21, 2018