Ota pvr

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#1
OK, I will be laboring into solutions to build a personal video recorder to capture scheduled OTA events using ATSC. I have an HP Stream Mini running Windows 8.1 with Bing on a 120GB drive. First thoughts were to buy an external, USB ATSC tuner and then decide on a solution for capture.

I am not tied to Windows 8.1 and even willing to consider Linux options. My first thought was separating the capture and playback functions. Playback would be from an external HDD maybe using something like Plex so as to LAN access to multiple locations.

Open to ideas, suggestions, etc. and I have four locations within the home for 720P/1080P playback.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#2
First things first, what are your other clients in the four locations? Do you currently have a Plex server? Does every TV have a Stream Mini?

In my opinion, no to USB tuners. Most of them suck, and for ATSC a HDHomerun is rock solid.

For software there are a ton of options. I use Kodi+TVHeadend, but that doesn't allow any recording/time shifting really. To get that I would look at getting software like WMC or NextPVR.

For Linux options I really really like MythTV.
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#3
Definitely HDHomerun... in my opinion, there are no better substitutes. You can use them from any device on your network, however you want to. If you replace your PVR, done, no card swapping, etc.

I use MythTV... it's great software, but it definitely requires some time and tweaking to get things right.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#4
Sorry for the lack of information--I deserve to be beaten as I know better. OK, for the HT there is an Xbox 360/One and an Apple TV3. In the family room there is an HP Stream Mini. The third location has a full-blown computer capable of launching a variety of environments. The forth location presently isn't setup, but that is where money comes in.

On the matter of the HDhomerun ... Connect, Extended or Prime? Is the Prime cable-only, or does it include ATSC? I'm seeing these at a good price compared to the Extended.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#5
If it's still available, it would be hard to beat the cost and simplicity of Windows Media Center. If they still sell the addon for Win8, it is/was $10 and it's bargain at that price since it gives you free guide data for at least the next several years (~$20/year if you need to buy it for MythTV, etc.).

Xbox360 can act as an extender for WMC, any Windows computer can play WMC OTA recordings through Kodi, and the new location can be done with Kodi for $50-$200 (Rpi2-Shield).

The HDhomerun "connect" will work fine for OTA. The Extend version adds streaming funtions via h264 encoding (I think). The Prime is for cable TV. You can even buy any of the other Hdhomeruns and they will also work fine with OTA.
 
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Nov 20, 2005
14,612
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#6
Sorry for the lack of information--I deserve to be beaten as I know better. OK, for the HT there is an Xbox 360/One and an Apple TV3. In the family room there is an HP Stream Mini. The third location has a full-blown computer capable of launching a variety of environments. The forth location presently isn't setup, but that is where money comes in.
Hmm...good info.

There are two ways of doing things: watch live OTA or record OTA to watch later and stream that saved copy.

I personally use the program Kodi for watching Live OTA. Your Mini and the full blown setup could handle that.

If you don't mind just watching recorded stuff you could use Plex for everything.

The Mini is a good starting point. I would get a HDHomerun and play with it and discover what YOU like.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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#7
look at NextPVR. I would recommend the HDHomerun Connect for the tuner. Alternatively you could look at the Tablo DVR's for a more self-contained solution.

(The HDHomerun Prime will NOT do OTA, only the Connect, Extend, and the discontinued Dual; the Dual does not have the full functionality of the newer models)

*Microsoft is allegedly no longer offering the WMC upgrade, so if you do not already have it you can only get WMC from Windows 7...
 
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BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#8
Before I do anything, I need to re-evaluate my ability to receive the local channels. While I still have an old Channel Master 4224 in the attic, which I used a decade ago with an amplifier (amp now MIA), I have to wonder if more modern designed antenna products are out there.

A friend swears by the CM indoor flat antenna so I ordered one (in the mail). Once I feel I can safely garner a strong signal I will move forward with an HDhomerun Connect/Extended product as tuner (tuner/recorder?), before the final stage of a backend reply method.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#9
I would stick with your old antenna. The tech behind these has not changed.
 

Ken g6

Programming Moderator, Elite Member
Moderator
Dec 11, 1999
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#10
The cheap and easy capture solution with external hard drive is a Mediasonic Homeworx converter box. I have the old version, and it generally works well - except the external drives never seem to work with it very long. Maybe it's just my bad luck - I'm not sure.

They play back MPEG2 video fine too, but you might want something that plays back H.264 (or 265?) video.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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#11
Channel Master 4224 in the attic, which I used a decade ago with an amplifier (amp now MIA)
Check your location on TVFool and Antennaweb. If your desired channels are all UHF and in one general direction you shouldn't need an new antenna (you may or may not need a replacement preamp depending on signal strength)

The windows antennae, although great in their target locations, are usually intended for the easier reception areas (small multidirectional/ small directional). Since you needed an attic antenna in the past, I would expect that requirement to remain now... I personally set up an amplified multidirectional (http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-Ampl...Star+Amplified+360HD+Omni-Directional+Antenna) for $60 since I needed both VHF and UHF reception where I am...
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,781
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#12
OK, it took forever to get the Channel Master antenna from CM ($10 delivered), but today I'll go buy the HDhomerun Extended and connect the two near a southerly window on the second story of my home, and to the wired network.

Once this is done what would be the next stage in this beta testing, which would focus on recording stuff?
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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#13
Before you go looking at the actual recording, you need to check that you are receiving the desired channels. In some cases a lot of time and energy are consumed getting reception figured out. After that, for the recorder setup/ config you need to decide if you are investing more time in setup/ configuration of your recorder (generally most of the free or low cost solutions such as NextPVR) or more money (Tablo or Tivo solutions)
 

Binky

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Oct 9, 1999
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#14
If you have a license for Win7...that would be the easiest way to go. Free guide data for as long as it lasts with M$, and easy setup.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#15
All, I actually had previously done the OTA thing way back in the 2002-2003. I still have a Channel Master 4224 in the attic, with its coax cabling that I used to pull in the ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC feeds. While I know 12-13 years later things can change (smog grows along with the trees) this isn't a 1st timer doing OTA.

BTW, last night I watched Jimmy Kimmel on both OTA and via DirecTV. OTA was cleaner, sharper and without the bad artifacts of compression that causes a loss in detail.

Re: Win7 lic ... I have two PC's with licensed Windows 7 Professional (64 bit).
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#16
While the tiny flat Channel Master antenna pulled in ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, I just reconnected the 4224 (installed c. 2002-3) and it got a lot more. To be fair the 4224 is in the attic so it is essentially 12' high in elevation. I also got TBS, two PBS stations and some others (CW, Uni, etc.) I do not care about.

I was a little concerned because the original cabling for the old 4224 must be 40 feet or longer, but its doing a great job. I tested this on a Samsung 24" T240HD HDTV that I've had a LONG time. Its ATSC tuner does a great job.

It'll probably be Sunday before I can get the HD HomeRun Extended connected and get that working. Got some X-Files to watch, then some Xbox play through the night, followed by Pappadeaux in for lunch tomorrow, then an RP1 to buy ...
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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#17
re: Win7
On the one hand, if it ain't broke...
On the other, MS is working the exit strategy hard on 7/8.1... It would not be a bad idea to keep an alternate solution that is not dependent on MS support in mind (I am transitioning my setup from Win7/WMC base to Android TV base)
 

Binky

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Oct 9, 1999
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#18
The demise of WMC has been greatly exaggerated - it still works great. But, I've transitioned all of my front-end's to Kodi, so the eventual switch to something else will be invisible to the boss/wife. My back-end OTA recording is still Win8 and it works without hassle, for free.
 

Raincity

Diamond Member
Feb 17, 2000
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#19
The demise of WMC has been greatly exaggerated - it still works great. But, I've transitioned all of my front-end's to Kodi, so the eventual switch to something else will be invisible to the boss/wife. My back-end OTA recording is still Win8 and it works without hassle, for free.
I wonder how long the guide data will stay being supported. A couple years back I had issues with play ready because a local station acquired another local station and moved the networks and subs around. WMC did not catch up to the change for another 3 months down the road and play ready did not know how to handle the new rf channels against the virtual channels until MS updated it.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
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#20
OK, but what do I do next (need) in order to test out scheduled recording and playback?
 

Binky

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Oct 9, 1999
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#21
Once you have a HDhomerun configured and pulling in stations properly, you need to decide what you will use to record the programs. With the tuner configured properly (use hdhomerun software for this), you should be able to watch TV anywhere on your network, but to record you need to setup a recording machine, or the "backend," which will record and maybe store the recordings. Win7? MythTV? NextPVR?

If you're using Win7, you just install and configure the hdhomerun software on that machine, then run the WMC program and go through the setup wizard. It should automatically find the tuners.
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,781
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#22
Going through the WMC setup right now.

OK, got it working and setup a handful of recordings scheduled via the guide. I'll let it go and see how it does.Curious, is there a way to do this as a background activity?
 
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Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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#23
Going through the WMC setup right now.

OK, got it working and setup a handful of recordings scheduled via the guide. I'll let it go and see how it does.Curious, is there a way to do this as a background activity?

Not sure which part you are referring to... in WMC you can set recordings by individuals or by series...

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/record-tv-media-center#1TC=windows-7

WMC will do it's thing without constantly "running" the program, it will work as a service auto-magically...
 

BarkingGhostar

Diamond Member
Nov 20, 2009
5,781
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#24
Sweet! I had no idea that it would run as a service instead of the WMC app running. BTW, came back to the PC and found the two shows I scheduled to record were in fact recorded. Damn, that was easy. So easy my wife will require very little instruction. :D
 
Sep 12, 2004
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#25
WMC is super simple. Plus the interface is still beyond just about anything you'll get from a cable box.

One hint: Go into settings and turn off navigation sounds. It will save you a headache, or two, down the road.
 

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