SiliconDust HDHomeRun DVR review: Buy the hardware, but you should skip the software

    SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun networked tuners have been a boon to wire cutters for greater than a decade. Hook one as much as an over-the-air antenna, plug it into your router, and you may stream reside native-quality broadcast TV to different gadgets all through the home.

    HDHomeRun now affords a technique to file these broadcasts instantly via its present apps. All you want is a media server—be it a PC, NAS box, or Nvidia Protect TV—and a $35-per-year subscription to the HDHomeRun DVR service. In principle, it’s the plug-and-play recording resolution that SiliconDust has lengthy been lacking.

    Sadly, HDHomeRun DVR remains to be too tough to suggest, with an eyesore of an interface, sparse recording choices, restricted platform help, and a few confounding design selections. Whereas HDHomeRun’s remains to be a good way to start out constructing an over-the-air DVR, you’re significantly better off pairing it with third-party software program options similar to Plex, Emby, or Channels DVR.

    Ups and downs with setup

    HDHomeRun DVR works with all of SiliconDust’s present tuners. For over-the-air channels, you’ll want both the HDHomeRun Connect or Lengthen. The Join is available in dual-tuner ($100) or quad-tuner ($150) configurations, equivalent to the variety of channels you’ll be able to watch or file directly. The Lengthen is just out there with two tuners for $179, nevertheless it has a built-in transcoder that reduces the quantity of bandwidth and recording house you’ll want. For cable subscribers, the HDHomeRun Prime works with CableCARD to observe and file as much as three channels that aren’t copy-protected.

    Putting in the tuner element is straightforward: Simply plug every part in, then scan for channels utilizing the corporate’s PC software program or setup website. You may watch reside TV via HDHomeRun’s free apps for Home windows, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fireplace TV, Xbox One, and iOS.

    hdhomerunduo SiliconDust

    Plug an HDHomeRun tuner (just like the Join, pictured right here) into your router through ethernet, hook up an antenna, and also you’re prepared to observe reside TV.

    Getting the DVR half up and operating might be extra sophisticated. On a PC, the DVR tab enables you to join a subscription account and specify a recording folder. That’s easy sufficient, nevertheless it gained’t remind you to disable the pc’s sleep mode if you wish to keep away from lacking scheduled recordings. And whereas the DVR service works with network-attached storage (NAS) boxes, it doesn’t help recording to arduous drives plugged right into a router’s USB port, even once they’re mapped as networked drives on the PC.

    For Nvidia Protect TV customers, organising HDHomeRun DVR is much more convoluted, requiring 13 faucets of the sport controller’s play/pause button to go to a hidden menu the place an “allow recording” possibility resides. (If you happen to don’t have a sport controller, it’s essential to as an alternative faucet the Protect distant’s quantity slider 26 occasions, a incontrovertible fact that isn’t documented on HDHomeRun’s instruction page.) HDHomeRun additionally requires 500GB of storage, ruling out USB thumb drives and SD playing cards.

    There’s additionally one different main downside with utilizing the Nvidia Protect TV because the DVR engine: When the streaming field is asleep, different gadgets can’t entry recordings or schedule new ones. The one resolution—as famous in HDHomeRun’s forums—is to disable sleep mode within the Protect’s developer settings, which isn’t supreme from an influence consumption standpoint.

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