Looking to duplicate "Whole House DVR" while cutting the cord with cable - need suggestions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-19-2013, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm ready to "cut the cord" with the cable company.
What I'd like to do is be able to relatively easily watch on the 5 TV's in our house (not watch on PC's or devices).
We have about a dozen OTA stations in our area.
I also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and am considering Hulu Plus.
What I'd like to be able to do is this:
1. From any TV, go to the program guide and schedule the recording of any TV show I have access to and then later, be able to watch that show on any of the TV's in my house.
2. Be able to pause live TV on any TV in the house.
3. Be able to watch a show on live TV while recording another show.
4. Be able to watch shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc on any TV in the house.
5. Be able to do 1-4 with a remote control for the TV I'm sitting in front of at the time.

So, this leads to a number of questions.
A. Has anyone done this type of thing before?
B. What equipment would I need (less expensive the better)?
C. Can I get a free or cheap(ie: $30/yr) programming guide service to facilitate easy recording of TV shows?
D. How can I get live streaming of channels like MSNBC, HLN, CNBC, etc.?

Any suggestions would be appreciated in helping me to cobble together this type of system.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-19-2013, 11:40 AM
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You are in the wrong forum for this. You need to be in the HDTV Recorder Forum.

And the answer to what you want to do is TiVo Roamio(s) plus TiVo mini's on the satellite TV's. You buy lifetime service on all the components so there is no monthly fee. The upfront cost will be a bit stiff, but if you have the typical $120-150/month cable bill you are getting rid of it will pay for itself in a year.

Go to the TiVo Roamio thread, read the last couple pages of posts and ask your questions.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-22-2013, 05:17 PM
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I do something similar using Mythtv and then have Android TV sticks and/or Roku's at my TV's. Works well and does pretty much what you're looking for...although some of the software is still a work in progress.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-23-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

You are in the wrong forum for this. You need to be in the HDTV Recorder Forum.

And the answer to what you want to do is TiVo Roamio(s) plus TiVo mini's on the satellite TV's. You buy lifetime service on all the components so there is no monthly fee. The upfront cost will be a bit stiff, but if you have the typical $120-150/month cable bill you are getting rid of it will pay for itself in a year.

Go to the TiVo Roamio thread, read the last couple pages of posts and ask your questions.

Thanks Kelson, I'll post this in the HDTV Recorders. I'm aware of TiVo's lifetime subscription. I even have a Tivo HD box. But I've had numerous problems with it and the downside is that the service is connected to the box, not MY lifetime. In addition to what I paid initially, I've paid at least $400 more in repairs and that doesn't include a replacement that was done on Tivo's dime while under warranty. All calculated, I would have paid about the same or less just renting the cable company's DVR. So, I'm not a big fan of Tivo.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-24-2013, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bac522 View Post

I do something similar using Mythtv and then have Android TV sticks and/or Roku's at my TV's. Works well and does pretty much what you're looking for...although some of the software is still a work in progress.

Could you offer up some more detail about your setup? I've been looking into MythTV as a DVR server and couldn't really find clients that work with it. Which apps are available on the Roku that can stream MythTV recorded shows?
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-24-2013, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nirvana_av View Post

Could you offer up some more detail about your setup? I've been looking into MythTV as a DVR server and couldn't really find clients that work with it. Which apps are available on the Roku that can stream MythTV recorded shows?

I have a userjob that automatically runs after Mythtv finishes a recording will transcode the recording into mp4 directly to my NAS. My NAS is basically a Raspberry Pi running "My Media", that lets me use my Roku to view the transcode files on the NAS. The setup works pretty good. Also you can use twonkey beam and beam the video to your Roku from tablet and/or smartphone. Although my main use for the Roku isn't for Mythtv, but more for the DRM apps like Netflix or Hulu+, I was getting tired of the XBMC plugin battle with those services.

The Android TV's sticks play a bit nicer with Mythtv since I'm running XBMC, although XBMC on android is still a work in progress, but it's making great strides. I use a Minix G4 to do that right now and they have a version of XBMC that seems to work well.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-28-2013, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cashonly View Post

I'm ready to "cut the cord" with the cable company.
What I'd like to do is be able to relatively easily watch on the 5 TV's in our house (not watch on PC's or devices).
We have about a dozen OTA stations in our area.
I also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and am considering Hulu Plus.
What I'd like to be able to do is this:
1. From any TV, go to the program guide and schedule the recording of any TV show I have access to and then later, be able to watch that show on any of the TV's in my house.
2. Be able to pause live TV on any TV in the house.
3. Be able to watch a show on live TV while recording another show.
4. Be able to watch shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc on any TV in the house.
5. Be able to do 1-4 with a remote control for the TV I'm sitting in front of at the time.

So, this leads to a number of questions.
A. Has anyone done this type of thing before?
B. What equipment would I need (less expensive the better)?
C. Can I get a free or cheap(ie: $30/yr) programming guide service to facilitate easy recording of TV shows?
D. How can I get live streaming of channels like MSNBC, HLN, CNBC, etc.?

Any suggestions would be appreciated in helping me to cobble together this type of system.

I'm confused by "not watch on PC's or devices". Somehow you expect your TVs to have this capability? I guess if they are all DLNA capable then maybe. I don't see DLNA allowing you to control some sort of DVR though. So I would think you need some sort of device at each TV. And "D" above won't happen anytime soon - the closest thing is you keep your cable subscription and stream it locally. But I'd guess you don't want to do that. smile.gif

There is a new DVR coming out called Simple.TV that might interest you.

I'm currently working on a pet project to do close to what you want. Each TV will have an Apple TV streaming Netflix, etc. I have a server machine with my DVR software to record my over-the-air signals using several HDHomerun devices. I'm writing an iOS application to access this server and be able to play video (recordings, home video and bluray rips) via AirPlay to the Apple TV. So to consume all this media, each TV has an Apple TV box and it's remote. And we use the tablet/phone to consume local media. We could eliminate the physical remote and use the Apple Remote app on the tablet/phone too. We will use both I'm guessing.

The key to my new system is a new hardware device from Silicondust.com called the HDHomerun TC. It has hardware transcoding to h264. Mobile devices and cheap set top boxes for the most part are h264 only. Not mpeg2 (what you get over-the-air). This is important because transcoding in software takes too much CPU especially if you are recording like 4 streams at once. Plus the server is doing other stuff like commercial flagging. This way the server hardware doesn't need to be anything new and I continue to use my 5 year old Linux box. Anyway, this new hardware is supposed to ship in a couple of weeks and I have pre-ordered one for testing.

If all goes well I'll be doing this by the end of January.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-28-2013, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by djb61230 View Post

I'm confused by "not watch on PC's or devices". Somehow you expect your TVs to have this capability? I guess if they are all DLNA capable then maybe. I don't see DLNA allowing you to control some sort of DVR though. So I would think you need some sort of device at each TV.

I'm 99% sure in the context of this forum that "device" refers to "something one might watch video on that is not a TV or a computer", e.g., a phone or tablet.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-28-2013, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by antisuck View Post

I'm 99% sure in the context of this forum that "device" refers to "something one might watch video on that is not a TV or a computer", e.g., a phone or tablet.

Ahh I see. Thanks antisuck.
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-30-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djb61230 View Post

I'm confused by "not watch on PC's or devices". Somehow you expect your TVs to have this capability? I guess if they are all DLNA capable then maybe. I don't see DLNA allowing you to control some sort of DVR though. So I would think you need some sort of device at each TV. And "D" above won't happen anytime soon - the closest thing is you keep your cable subscription and stream it locally. But I'd guess you don't want to do that. smile.gif

There is a new DVR coming out called Simple.TV that might interest you.

I'm currently working on a pet project to do close to what you want. Each TV will have an Apple TV streaming Netflix, etc. I have a server machine with my DVR software to record my over-the-air signals using several HDHomerun devices. I'm writing an iOS application to access this server and be able to play video (recordings, home video and bluray rips) via AirPlay to the Apple TV. So to consume all this media, each TV has an Apple TV box and it's remote. And we use the tablet/phone to consume local media. We could eliminate the physical remote and use the Apple Remote app on the tablet/phone too. We will use both I'm guessing.

The key to my new system is a new hardware device from Silicondust.com called the HDHomerun TC. It has hardware transcoding to h264. Mobile devices and cheap set top boxes for the most part are h264 only. Not mpeg2 (what you get over-the-air). This is important because transcoding in software takes too much CPU especially if you are recording like 4 streams at once. Plus the server is doing other stuff like commercial flagging. This way the server hardware doesn't need to be anything new and I continue to use my 5 year old Linux box. Anyway, this new hardware is supposed to ship in a couple of weeks and I have pre-ordered one for testing.

If all goes well I'll be doing this by the end of January.

djb61230,

By not devices or PC's, what I'm trying to do is make it so that my family can watch things on regular TV's, hopefully with a single remote at each TV for the most part. I think your solution is more technical than I want to get. Whatever I do, when my wife sits down to watch TV, it has to be "fairly" easy for her to find what she wants to watch. My kids are more adaptable wink.gif

My current thinking is using an extra PC I have as a server, and running Windows Media Center on it. In it, I will put a 4 tuner Ceton card (about $200). At each TV, I'll have a Ceton Windows Media Extender ($100 each). Then, if I'm right, each remote at each TV will be able to control one of the tuners in the Media Center. For things like MSNBC, I'm not sure about that. I know some websites that stream it and may just have to have that running on a laptop or tablet when we want to watch those.

I thought about going the Raspberry Pi route and saving a few bucks, but I think the cost savings would be outweighed by the time suck to make it as easy to use as the Windows Media Center solution that I'm considering. Ease of Use is KEY here.
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-30-2013, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cashonly View Post

djb61230,

By not devices or PC's, what I'm trying to do is make it so that my family can watch things on regular TV's, hopefully with a single remote at each TV for the most part. I think your solution is more technical than I want to get. Whatever I do, when my wife sits down to watch TV, it has to be "fairly" easy for her to find what she wants to watch. My kids are more adaptable wink.gif

My current thinking is using an extra PC I have as a server, and running Windows Media Center on it. In it, I will put a 4 tuner Ceton card (about $200). At each TV, I'll have a Ceton Windows Media Extender ($100 each). Then, if I'm right, each remote at each TV will be able to control one of the tuners in the Media Center. For things like MSNBC, I'm not sure about that. I know some websites that stream it and may just have to have that running on a laptop or tablet when we want to watch those.

I thought about going the Raspberry Pi route and saving a few bucks, but I think the cost savings would be outweighed by the time suck to make it as easy to use as the Windows Media Center solution that I'm considering. Ease of Use is KEY here.

I hear ya cashonly. Same thing here - I mean even having the rest of the family changing inputs makes it more complicated than what would be ideal. And to get things the closest to ideal is hard to find in an off the shelf solution. I mean even being a developer and writing my own software, you still are dependent on third party software because one person cannot physically write that much code - or be expert enough in so many different technologies to write something that is good. Or at least I'm not!

I'm getting tired a bit maintaining a PC at each TV - Linux is great but it's a lot of work to maintain. Because of security concerns these machines need to be updated and if I have to do a nuke and pave update it takes several hours to get things working again. And often updated software will fix bugs and create new ones - such is the software biz.

So for many reasons I think you are on the right track in your thinking. I hope you get things working good enough in your house!!
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-30-2013, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djb61230 View Post

I hear ya cashonly. Same thing here - I mean even having the rest of the family changing inputs makes it more complicated than what would be ideal. And to get things the closest to ideal is hard to find in an off the shelf solution. I mean even being a developer and writing my own software, you still are dependent on third party software because one person cannot physically write that much code - or be expert enough in so many different technologies to write something that is good. Or at least I'm not!

I'm getting tired a bit maintaining a PC at each TV - Linux is great but it's a lot of work to maintain. Because of security concerns these machines need to be updated and if I have to do a nuke and pave update it takes several hours to get things working again. And often updated software will fix bugs and create new ones - such is the software biz.

So for many reasons I think you are on the right track in your thinking. I hope you get things working good enough in your house!!

I think there could be a good Kickstarter project for someone with the knowhow. Write the software, put it on Raspberry Pi's, put them in cases and sell a server unit for the network and client units for each TV wink.gif
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