Recommendations for PVR for OTA usage - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-18, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Recommendations for PVR for OTA usage

Hello,
I am looking for a PVR to use in my OTA setup. I know that they are common with PayTV but I honestly don't know of any good PVR's for OTA viewing and recording.
Would you guys perhaps know of any good and affordable PVR's?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-18, 06:50 PM
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Check out recent posts in the following threads:

https://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/81-...-dvrs-ota.html

https://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/81-...r-than-cm.html

https://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/81-...ml#post3096181

There may be other threads found by searching for "OTA PVR" or similar terms.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-19, 09:03 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't think there is a simple OTA DVR that is both "good" and "affordable"
Here are some of the options I have looked into (I haven't tried any of these myself, just read about them)

Tivo (Bolt, Roamio or Edge, OTA versions) possibly the best and easiest to use DVRs, but expensive ($300+ for the box, plus subscription fees) with limited streaming ability, and some complaints in Canada that setup is difficult for Canadian stations.

ChannelMaster DVR+, out of production but many say it was/is very good. It connects directly to a TV like an old-school VCR, records and plays back, has 2 tuners, and some limited streaming. Might need a paid subscription for on-screen program guide.

ChannelMaster Stream+, new replacement for DVR+, but many say it is not as good. Not much control over recording times, streaming still limited.

Tablo, mostly good reviews as an OTA recorder, but you need another box (Android, Chromecast, or other) to play back. Some complaints that the tuner is not the greatest, and maybe a few programming bugs in the system. Still a good option.

Nvidia Shield can record using an external hard drive and a paid Plex subscription. Has lots of streaming options. I have seen mostly good reviews but a few complaints that it can struggle to handle a heavy load of streaming, recording and playback.

Homeworx, a cheap box ($60 or less) with 1 tuner and channel/day/time programming. It works, until it doesn't (some complaints of poor reliability)

I will likely end up getting a used or refurbished laptop or small PC to use with a HDHomerun tuner and free DVR software (Next PVR or Media Portal)

That's all I know.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-28, 04:41 PM
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Are you adept at configuring MythTV on a linux box?

McMillan77 says:
> Unfortunately, I don't think there is a simple OTA DVR that is both "good" and "affordable"

Indeed... "simple", "good", "affordable", pick 2.

MythTV is firmly in the "good" and "affordable" camp. Bit of a pain to set up though.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-29, 10:22 AM
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NextPVR is an easy to set up and affordable PVR option for the PC. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac and Docker. Don't recall if it can use station supplied guide data but that can be be obtained separately. I used Schedules Direct which is relatively easy to setup and reliable but costs US$25/yr.

If you have HDHomerun hardware, they have their own PVR software which includes guide data. Last time I looked it was about $5/mo for the subscription.

I believe Emby has a subscription PVR service as well.

A relatively low power PC can be used. Linux is the lowest cost option that will run on some very lightweight PCs and small devices such as a Raspberry Pi. Since Windows 7 support is being discontinued in January, there should be a few Win7 PCs kicking around that won't run Windows 10 well but would run Linux and NextPVR well.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-29, 10:43 AM
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I like mythtv and tvheadend for dvr backends on linux.
One issue I can envision trying to use nextPvr is that it seems to be closed
source. So, if there is something not quite working for you, your on your own,
as you'll have to report a bug and wait for someone else to hopefully fix it for you.


With tvheadend and mythtv, they are opensource so you can fix any issues yourself.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-29, 12:56 PM
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Can't disagree with any of that but, some people find MythTV a little too challenging to setup and maintain. NextPVR is the easiest free PVR software to setup and maintain. HDHomeRun PVR is probably easier but requires a subscription.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-30, 10:16 AM
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I will likely use Windows 10 and NextPVR.
Learning to use Linux and MythTV would be more of a project.
Maybe some other time.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-30, 01:40 PM
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I have two a Homeworx 180 and a Iview 3200. Both work with a portable USB drive and they are a little finicky but can schedule and record hours of programs a week for me and lets me watch when I want and skip commercials. They were both less then $60 CDN they are stand alone and connect to the TV with HDMI.

John
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-30, 01:54 PM
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One gotcha with NextPVR is that it requires a third party codec pack for OTA TV. I used K-Lite Codec Pack Basic which is free. It's a minimal package that works well for MPEG2. Getting a guide can be a nuisance. Schedules Direct is the simplest way costs US$25/year or about CAD$3/mo.

You might want to weigh the guide cost against Emby, HDHomeRun and TiVo PVR subscriptions which cost more but provide other benefits. A lot of the services offered with those products only work in the US though.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-30, 02:00 PM
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for guide data I use zap2xml. doesn't cost a dime.
the simplest, cost effective solution is jlcin2's solution.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-11-30, 03:37 PM
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That's another solution that can take lots of time a maintenance. I tried it once and after seeing all the drawbacks I decided to subscribe to Schedules Direct. The same applied to MythTV. I never did get zap2xml or MythTV working well. It's too bad that MS dropped support for Windows Media Center since it was relatively easy to set up and included a free TV guide.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 2019-12-01, 08:58 AM
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I pretty much set it up once and forget about...

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