Help with whole house DVR and OTA tuner - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-18-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

This is probably covered, but I've been searching for awhile and am only getting small snippets of useful information. My needs are not unlike those of others, I'm sure. My purpose is to get rid of Dish Network subscription and provide an easy to use solution for my home, which has both wired and wireless networking capability in all three viewing locations.
  • OTA tuner, preferably with two tuners for simultaneous record and watch
  • DVR capability
  • Network extension to all three displays
  • wife-friendly, controllable by remote control (Logitech)
  • Schedule so that recordings can be scheduled in advance
  • No recurring monthly charges

Within reason, cost is not an issue, and I am happy to build my own HTPC, but I am confused about what is needed in each room to receive the stream to each display, and how to make scheduling and viewing friendly with remote control (these may be related, if the end device is something like Roku or blu-ray player that supports network files).

Is this even the right forum? I'm only interested in OTA, we already subscribe to multiple online services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Vudu, etc.)

Thanks much in advance. I'm technically adept, but have a few mind blocks I'll attribute either to old age or partying too much.

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post #2 of 9 Old 03-18-2013, 12:42 PM
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A HTPC is probably your only option; none of the subscription-free DVRs have enough networking functions to let you stream recordings directly to other TV sets. Your only option would be to purchase separate DVRs for each TV, the benefit of which being that you'd have six tuners, although the programs you wanted to watch would still be tied to the DVR/TV pair used to record them.

The TViX 6620 could theoretically let you stream video from one TViX to another if you had a unit attached to each TV, but I highly doubt the performance you'd receive would be "wife-friendly". Even a HTPC with Xbox extenders (which I gather is the most elegant solution from reading posts here) might not meet that criterion.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-18-2013, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

HD Homerun Dual for your tuner. Xbox or Echo for extenders in each room. ... All that being said, WMC is not as full featured as your average satellite DVR (no PIP, no multiple live buffers, no OnDemand or PPV), but an excellent DVR nonetheless and very easy to control with a remote.

Since you won't have cable you have a lot more options than just WMC and extenders as mentioned above. You could even use XBMC and Raspberry Pi clients if you were so inclined. But I think WMC is the easiest to use and implement. ...

This is pretty much spot on on what you'll need to accomplish what you asking. I agree with use WMC, but for OTA signal, it's not the only game in town. XBMC is probably a good alternative, but may be rough around the edges at this point.

If you're using WMC, it going to come with Windows 7, except W7 Basic. I assuming you have a copy of W7 Home or better. Microsoft included the license fees and EPG subscriptions with the OS license fee. It's just a one time cost. The longer you use it, the lower the cost gets. You can also go Windows 8, but the WMC is a $10 fee. I don't know if that is one machine license or multiple. But it's a one time fee, and includes the EPG.

You'll have a bit more choices in extenders since you're planning on just OTA programming, so you won't have to worry about copy-once tag. Overall, the 360 may be your easiest option to setup. It's just not that great of option if you ever plan to stream your media to it.

The number of tuners can be important. You need a tuner for every DVR or Live stream you may do at a particular moment. To watch one program while recording another, you need at least two. If you're watching one program and recording three, you'll need four. Just recording two, you need two. Thus, depending on how you plan to watch is going to have an effect. Obviously, if you only watch live TV with the build tuner in the TV, then it's just about how many shows you might record at the same time. Luckily, tuners without cablecard inputs are significant cheaper. I think you can pick up HDHomeruns for $50 to $100, which depending on the model, will have either two or three tuners. If you go HDHomerun, I would suggest the HDHR3. It has three tuners, and much more forgiving and signal strength.
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-18-2013, 07:18 PM
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I noticed would like the extenders to be able stream network files. Unfortunately, there are compromises that will need to be made. Althought, XBMC may be your best all around option. They have added DVR/Live TV to it fairly recently. They have a few set top boxes options, such as the Rasphberry Pi. And will be able to handle Netflix, Hulu, and so forth.

Otherwise, WMC uses a quirky WTV file format that isn't very popular in a lot of media devices. You'll have to take into account the file formats that the STB can accept. The 360, which works well as a media extender for WMC, has a narrow file format it accepts. The PS3 is better, but doesn't work well with WMC.

Personally, I used Roku boxes. It works well for online streaming serivces such as Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, and so forth. It's relatively cheap. I use Plex, which is similar to XBMC. Plex can play WTV files; non that are copyonce flags. The problem, fast forward and rewind is hit and miss. Skip forward and rewind work better, but it sometimes crashes; doesn't work well on mobile devices. The Plex Media Server will run on your PC, but it will transcode the file to something Roku can accept, which is what happens for the WTV files. A nice bonus to Plex, it's relative easy to setup, and can stream to mobile devices will relative ease. Nice for content consumption away from home. Heck, I streamed a program that I DVRed, that is only available in my home market, while at friend's house, that is five hundred miles away. Although, I've never really been impressed with Plex's Netflix and Hulu integration.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-18-2013, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks much for this. I am familiar with XBMC and Plex, I've played with both streaming ripped disks and home movies from phone and cameras. While primary use case is OTA/DVR I will want to expand functionality to take care of all video.

I've got several copies of Win 7, that's not a problem. It's looking like Echo is the best game in town for extender, I'll be looking at the next generation xbox, so not really interested unless I find great price used.

I've got some studying to do!

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post #6 of 9 Old 03-18-2013, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Oops, forgot to mention, I have Roku, WD HD Live and Google TV, & both of my blu ray players and two Panasonic plasma displays can also stream just about everything. I'd like to whittle it down to just PC and Roku to cover everything.

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post #7 of 9 Old 03-21-2013, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
A HTPC is probably your only option; none of the subscription-free DVRs have enough networking functions to let you stream recordings directly to other TV sets.
Try the PC forum since those are not "DVR's" in spite of the ability to record a TV broadcast;
http://www.avsforum.com/f/26/home-theater-computers
http://www.avsforum.com/f/39/networking-media-servers-content-streaming

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-21-2013, 06:13 AM
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WMC addresses all of your bullet points and might be the best DVR for your needs. If you follow my signature link you can see how it all shakes out... at least has for me. However later on you mention using only a PC and Roku... you would need a WMC extender (or another PC - not as elegant) for additional displays.

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post #9 of 9 Old 03-21-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all. I've since lived in the HTPC forum the past couple of days and am putting together a list of options and issues.

Charles, I mention Roku and other devices only because my solution does not require doing everything at once, but are options for the future. I have most streaming boxes that exist, just focused on the PVR with OTA at this point. Sorry if this added some confusion.
Thank you for pointing out your resource, as it turns out I found it, read through it and bookmarked just yesterday.

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