HD Homerun DVR

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ILowry82, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. ILowry82 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2014
    #1
    Is this available with an Apple TV? Is there some sort of work around? I would like to get an HD Homerun and put a cable card in it. My set up includes an iPhone, Apple TV and an iPad Pro. I don't have a regular computer. Is there another product that has DVR capabilities and is compatible with a cable card?
     
  2. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #2
    I have Channels App for Live TV and DVR fully integrated. They have their own DVR. Does not support the Silicon Dust DVR. I have two HDHoneRun Primes with CABLE CARDS for 6 channels. Not a problem for me with FIOS and no channrls flagged with DRM. But some providers like TWC/now Spectrum flags all but local channels. Really depends on you area.
     
  3. Hoosier317 macrumors member

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    Sep 21, 2016
    #3
    I use an HD Homerun and my two Apple TV's via the Channels app. Works great!
     
  4. ILowry82 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 26, 2014
    #4
    I don't need a separate computer for the DVR? All the info I found on that is a little confusing
     
  5. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

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    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #5
    The DVR Server software runs on a MAC or a NAS (like Synology with some power) or a Linux box. Not natively in windows but some have run Linux under Windows in a VM. I use a MAC Mini and works very well.

    You can access the Channels Live TV from tvOS and iOS or in the Web UI.
    You can access the DVR from tvOS or Web UI but not iOS at this time.

    Here is there web site.
    https://getchannels.com

    Features
    • Series Passes that record all/new episodes for any show.
    • Team Passes that record every game of your favorite teams.
    • Precise retention rules to auto remove recordings.
    • Adjust the padding of recordings to make sure you don’t miss the end of that game.
    • 14 days of guide data.
    • Robust search to find things to record or to create Passes.
    • Fully manageable directly from Channels for Apple TV.
    • Use as many HDHomeRun devices as you want.
    • Prioritize HDHomeRun devices for recording or ignore some completely.
    • Commercial indexing to allow you to quickly skip through commercial breaks.
    • Remote access to your DVR and HDHomeRun devices.
    • Watch live TV or recordings via browser through the Channels DVR web admin.
    • Auto updating. Channels DVR will always be up to date without having to do anything.
    • Tons more!
     
  6. ILowry82 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 26, 2014
    #6
    I'd need to purchase something to run that server. What is the cheapest one that will run it?
    --- Post Merged, Jan 13, 2017 ---
    How do I lose the software on a NAS? That seems to be the cheapest option
     
  7. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #7
    You have to pick a NAS with enough power and then use their installer to install the DVR Software.
    I recommend you go to this page to see some of their recommendations. Then check them out on amazon.com for price options.
    https://community.getchannels.com/dvr/

    Regarding costs. The tvOS App is $25 one time. The iOS App is $15 one time (I think). The DVR with 2 weeks of guide data is $8 per month. You may also want to login to their forum where there a lot of users talking about hardware. The Channels App for Live TV and DVR is very popular on the forums.

    You said you wanted to use a HDHomeRum Prime with Cable Card. To me this is tee best option if that is your direction.
     
  8. ILowry82 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 26, 2014
    #8
    Appears that I'm looking at $400 minimum to have the equipment I need to do this. Doesn't appear to be worth it
     
  9. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

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    Torrance, CA
    #9
    Of course depends on what you are comparing too. I returned $70 per month rental of 2x DVR and 2x STB from FIOS. SO I had quite a bit of funds to compare to. I have 8 Apple TVs and multiple iPads and iPhones. So easy to cost justify for me.
     
  10. ILowry82 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    It might help if I could get some suggestions for NAS drives. The channels forums aren't helping
     
  11. jdag, Jan 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017

    jdag macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2012
    #11
    There are many options, including a NAS or even a computer that does little else than act as a server. I see you balked at $400, so while there may be some options, you likely will be limited. But, all is not lost as the Channels DVR does not require a huge amount of processing power.

    Do you have any old computers (even laptops) that are just sitting in a closet?
    Do you have any internal hard drives or external USB hard drives already?
    Would you use storage for things other than the DVR, such as photos or other general storage?
    Do you have interest in setting up a Plex server or anything that could make use of the additional capabilities?

    The reason I ask these questions is that you can certainly get a NAS for the HDHR + Channels DVR setup. But, with a little advanced thought, a similar spend could get you many additional capabilities. In general, if you are going for a low-end pre-built NAS, with the big names being Synology, QNap, and Western Digital, you will have a great storage device, but not great processing power. Unless you are stepping up to $500-$1,000 units, you likely will be better off with a small computer and adding hard drives.

    And remember, the HDHR + Channels software is going to set you back somewhere around $150 to begin with. That being said, if you are able to save $30-$50/mo on your cable expense, it will be very much worth it very quickly.
     
  12. d21mike, Jan 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017

    d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #12
    I noticed your question on the Channels forum and you are getting good advice including the advice just above from @jdag. I know you said you want to use HDHomeRun Prime with Cable Card which is what I use. But do you already have it? Are you getting all the channels you expect? This is extremely important because some providers do not give you all the channels without the DRM Flag which is required to watch the channel. You may want to verify this first before investing money in DVR Hardware. The Channels App for Live TV is excellent and you can easily verity you are getting all your channels after setting up the HDHomeRun Prime. Even setting up the Prime and Pairing the Cable Card can be a problem. But once setup and working it seems to be solid.

    Back to the NAS. Your questions on Channels Forum seem to indicate you really want to go with a low cost NAS. I really recommend against going to low. I was one of the Alpha testers and installed it on WD Single Drive (way way too slow - unusalble). Then installed it on my older Synology and it worked ok but for me it was too slow. Then I installed it on my MAC Mini and it worked great. One of the features that is important to me is the Commercial Skip Feature. But what happens is after the show finishes it will scan the recording searching for commercials. On my MAC Mini the process my take 10 minutes and on the Synology it may take 60 minutes. Well when you record a lot of shows this can be a real problem. Now if that is not important to you, you can disable it. Also, on a nightly basis the DVR will download the next two weeks of Guide Data which can take a long time on a slow computer. Also, there is a transcoding feature that if you are remote and want to access your shows it will transcode from MPEG2 to MPEG4 and that takes a lot of CPU POWER.

    @tmm1 suggested QNAP TS-251+ for $239. I actually could not find one on Amazon at that price so maybe he got it somewhere else. Also, that price does not include the DRIVES which would add too it based on the size (2tb, 3tb, 4tb each) you choose. He is one of the developers and he told you that he has this box and it works well for him. If you are going with a NAS like this you should take his advice and do not go with anything less powerful then that. Channels developers strongly recommend INTEL CPU's and that one is a QUAD 2ghz so should be fine. You can also increase the main memory if you plan to run other Applications on it (like PLEX) but the base 2gb will be fine for the DVR.

    This is all DIY type setup and investing and some people are just not into that kind of thing. But if you are, do not go cheap on the DVR hardware. You will not be happy with the results. I already had a extra MAC Mini so that is what I use which is more powerful then any of these so that is my choice. Also, my main computer is a MAC so my initial testing was with that before moving the DVR to a standalone device. But the Channels Software is the best so I strongly recommend it.

    I personally love this kind of stuff and it is a personal hobby. But I also use CBS All Access (with no commercials) and Hulu (with no commercials) and the Channels DVR. There are a lot of options now for TV.
     
  13. jdag macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I could not agree more. If you don't have the horsepower, you will be extremely frustrated with the experience and, honestly, put blamer where it is not due. The Channels (or Plex) DVR services work wonderfully if you have the proper infrastructure. That includes the computing power, storage, router(s), wifi stability, etc. There are simply a lot of moving parts, so don't skimp on the computing power at the outset.

    If you don't have the budget to do this right, then don't do it. You will only waste time and money.
     
  14. ILowry82 thread starter macrumors regular

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  15. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

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    Torrance, CA
    #15
    I am not that familiar with it. But I think it uses a ARM CPU instead of the recommended INTEL CPU (for hardware assist).

    You can find comments about them on the Channels Forums. I found a couple.

    Example:
    1. I must say I'm really impressed, I've had the software for quite some time and retired my old Media centre. Yesterday I installed the public Alpha with my WDmycloud EX2 Ultra. The install went flawless with the NAS, and also a prompt email for the TVOS app. I played around and set some recording schedules, it all works so effortlessly. Congratulations to the developers, again for producing such a beautiful unified app for us Media Centre Crazys.

    2. WD MyCloud EX2 Ultra - Everything works just fine. Comskip definitely takes time (75 minutes for a 60 minute HD Show). Otherwise everything was fine. Recordings made from my HDHR Extends played back on the Alpha ATV clients w/o issue. I haven't stressed it with a bunch of concurrent recordings yet. "My note about HDHR Extends - The are used for OTA and not cable cards like Prime. Also, you have the Extend to the Transcoding from MPEG2 to MPEG4 so you have smaller size and maybe other things will run faster. But I do not have one since I use PRIME's which is only MPEG2".

    So it appears your NAS should work for normal recoding and playback. But not that great for the COMSKIP and the Transcoding Feature.

    I read someone else (but could not find it) that the Web UI would not work for streaming because it requires Transcoding and the CPU does not have enough power. This would be the same for remote access. The INTEL CPU Helps with the Transcoding is my understanding.

    COMSKIP should take about 5 minutes per 1 hour video. This was the point we were making. For light use it should work but some of the advanced features will not work that well or at all. Some of the features require more CPU power and an INTEL CPU for transcoding.
     
  16. jdag macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I agree...it is likely to "work", but how well is another story. If you already picked it up from CL, then worst case is you try it out and resell it if it is not to your standards.
     
  17. Richard8655 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I have a Mediasonic Homeworx HW-150PVR. It records OTA programming, has a nice scheduling system, good menu interface, and plays back live and recorded HD programs very well. It's only $35 and requires no additional software (only an external drive).

    After reading all the features of the HDHomeRun Connect, for the additional hardware and software required, I'm not clear what advantages it provides that justifies the additional complicated setup and cost. I know it can stream live OTA channels throughout your wifi network. But for a simple 1 or 2 TV household, I don't think that feature is really needed.
     
  18. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

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    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #18
    Your solution does not support CABLE CARD - "DVR capabilities and is compatible with a cable card?"

    There are many solutions for TV. Which include your OTA Solution and streaming solution like Sling, DTVNow, Vue etc. But the OP is asking for a CABLE CARD DVR solution that has a Apple TV App.
     
  19. Richard8655 macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Ok, thanks for the observation. But I don't have cable TV or need it, so cable card not needed either. Sorry, I know the topic addresses cable card, but just wanted to post an overall comment on this setup. I should start a new thread on this, I guess.
     
  20. jdag macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Correct, for 1 TV and OTA viewing, just throwing a tuner box might be more than adequate. But for multiple TVs throughout the house the HDHR and AppleTV is not only a cost effective solution but it is very user friendly. And, you can choose many "flavors" of service (free OTA using antenna, cable card, with or without DVR, etc.).
     
  21. Richard8655, Jan 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017

    Richard8655 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Good point. It's really a tuner/PVR box, and even with 2 TVs, one for each TV is straightforward and cost effective. So it really depends on household/family needs and situation. But basically providing the same functionality.

    But I can see how networking OTA throughout the house with HDHomeRun for many family members would be a better solution, especially not having to cable to each end point.
     
  22. ILowry82 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 26, 2014
    #22
    Can I run the Plex DVR with a simpler and cheaper NAS?
     

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