Using Android or Android TV, you're not exactly short on options to watch live TV, nor for recording it. There's one little box, though, that we often keep coming to that sits at the heart of many of these solutions. And it's got its own DVR in progress.
Thanks to the good people at SiliconDust, we're now taking a proper look at it. It's simply known as the HDHomeRun DVR, and it's probably the easiest DVR to use if you already have an HDHomeRun (opens in new tab) tuner.
Setup ... or lack thereof
When you sign up to the DVR service, you're emailed a link and an activation code. Essentially you just link your DVR account to your hardware and then everything works. There's a dedicated install app that takes the place of the regular HDHomeRun setup, but it's basically the exact same thing with added DVR settings.
If your HDHomeRun is already configured, all you need to do is point the program to a location to save recordings and hit finish. You can record to a PC or Mac or to a network-attached storage (NAS) drive. The rest can be done within the apps that you use to view live content.
The DVR functionality is enabled within the same HDHomeRun app you've already been using. There are some new bits for you to explore and a shiny red record button that presents itself in the live TV window.
One of the benefits you get with the DVR subscription over just using the free HDHomeRun app is a 14-day guide that allows you to browse further into the future and set up your recordings and season pass recordings ahead of time.
The Discover tab also gives you a highly visual interface to browse what's on right now and what's up next, and then breaks it down further into TV, movies, and sports.
To set a recording, you select the show or movie you want, and then you're given the times it's available to record from. Not only do you have control over what you're recording, but also exactly when, which is a neat tool to have to maximize the use of the two tuners.
If you're watching something live that you like the look of, you have one-touch access to record it by hitting the big red button on the bottom bar.
It's important to note that while the DVR works with the HDHomeRun Prime (opens in new tab), DRM-protected channels that can be viewed may still be excluded at this time from recordings.
When you've recorded shows, you'll be able to watch them back in any of the HDHomeRun client apps on your supported devices. They're handily displayed under the recordings tab and since you're streaming over the same local network as you use to watch live TV, performance is good.
Recordings are only as good as the channels you receive, but if you're getting a good signal, you'll get great recordings. I recorded some samples from HD channels and was very pleased with the results.
What's also excellent in the HDHomeRun DVR is how well fast-forward works. On some other services, fast-forward can leave buffering, but not so here. For all intents and purposes, it's just like watching content on an actual DVR box under your TV.
For $35 a year (at least for now), the HDHomeRun DVR represents excellent value. The price will go up eventually, but it's still in development and you're getting a great deal on jumping into the early access. It's already a polished product that's insanely simple to use.
There's next to no setup if you're already using an HDHomeRun tuner (opens in new tab) on your network, and it's as close to plug-and-play as you'll get.
If you're already using something else, such as Plex DVR, you're probably not going to benefit much from switching. Especially if you're already using a service you pay for. But if all you want is a low-cost, easy-to-use DVR system for your home network, give this one a look.
Download HDHomeRun beta from Google Play (opens in new tab)
I use the Plex DVR with my HD Homerun right now. What I really miss is the ability to start watching a show while it's still recording. Like start a show 20 minutes in catching up to the recording as I skip commercials. Haven't seen any way to do that...
If you aren't set on Plex, give Emby a try. I switched a while back, and I know you can watch a recording while it's taking place. It also has a much better guide. That being said... the guide data isn't included. I subscribe to Schedules Direct, but you can also use XML sources.
They don't have to be mutually exclusive. I have a media server with Plex, Emby, and PlayOn all running. Sure they have a lot of feature overlap but each one does something the other can't.
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Recently got a hdhomerun prime for use with cable to get rid of 3 cable boxes. It's such a great device. The only issue I've run into is that the prime doesn't let you select what resolution you want and defaults to 1080i on alot of channels. On my PC it looks fine, but my Amazon fire TV... It's pretty bad quality. 720p channels look amazing, but that 1080i makes me hope there's a firmware update to help with this issue down the road. Using it on Kodi as apposed to the standard hdhomerun app has cleared it up some.
I'm pretty sure the resolution is decided by the channel and not the recording device.
Correct. That's how it works with television being broadcast. If they broadcast in 1080i, that's what they broadcast in. No software is going to change that.
HD Homerun seems to tailor a lot more of their development at the Nvidia Shield. Maybe give it a look?
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