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Anyone have experience with these?
Just got cable service, X1 Xfinity, and now I'm debating whether I can just replace the X1 set top with an HDHomeRun, which will pay for itself in a year (true?) and give me the benefit of internet/wifi viewing to the rest of the house without requiring more set top boxes.
I've had two of the Prime boxes with cable cards for over two years and they're great. The biggest problem was getting the right cable card and setup from the cable company. Once you get it initialized properly it's just works. However, it took a while to get it going because literally no one at the cable company knows how these work except a few folks at the call center. For Cox, you also need a tuner adapter from them which the local folks didn't know about which caused delays until they sent me a couple of them.
Initially, I used Nexus Android boxes with the HDHomeRun app for each TV and Windows Media Center for the DVR function and Kodi or Plex to watch recorded TV. That requires a Windows 7 PC to use as a server. I use my PC and it works just fine.
Then, about a year ago, Google updated the Nexus boxes to a new version of Android and broke the HDHomeRun app. Basically, Google wasn't following the rules with copy protected content. I could still record programs and watch most of them on the Android boxes, but live TV became limited to a few local channels that you could get over the air.
So the solution was to buy some old XBox 360s to use for the TVs which connect to the Media Center server. I got them from Game Stop for about $80 and found the Media Center remotes on eBay for $12 which control the TV and Xbox and let you fast forward, rewind and pause Live TV or recorded TV. These work on all channels because Microsoft WMC has a license for DRM (copy protected) programming. WMC also maintains about a 45 minute buffer, so you could start watching a program and rewind it or let it run 20 minutes and then come back rewind to the beginning and FF through the commercials until you catch up with the buffer.
For recorded programs, you would want MCEBuddy which post processes the WMC recorded programs, strips out commercials and converts the file to mp4 which can be used by Kodi or Plex. The Xboxes won't support those apps, so I either use a Sony Smart TV with Android to run Plex or have found that the Roku players are the best for Plex and other streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon.
One other caveat, these are two levels of DRM. Some channels just flag content as DRM and MCEBuddy can convert the files and move them to the Plex server on a NAS or whatever. Others like History Channel, A&E, CW, etc. are also encrypted and can only be played on the WMC server. These are copy once content. For those, I have to watch the programs on the Xboxes which connect to the WMC server and I can fast forward, pause, whatever, but have to manually skip through the commercials.
Since I haven't used the HDHomeRun app in a long time, I haven't kept up with it or their DVR app. At least last year, there was a lot of issues with DRM programming and Silicon Dust was supposed to be working on a solution. However, it requires paying for a license which I believe was affordable for them which is why MicroSoft is the only one that had a license and I used Xboxes. Of course, the other problem is that MicroSoft stopped including WMC in Windows 10 and the new XBox One which is why I mentioned that you need a Windows 7 PC and the old Xbox 360.
Check their forum which is quite good. You want to be sure that DRM programming works with the new app. Otherwise, the WMC solution is the way to go.
Here's a screen shot of Plex on our NAS.
I still have to reread it and, also, at this point, I still have more questions than I almost care to ask!
Got the X1 box from Xfinity. Ready to return the M-card that they are charging me for.
Internet connection goes to the TV or the set top box, I don't know?
I don't think I have DVR capabilities with the X1 Box as I don't think I paid for it??
How do you turn off the blasted box! I think it is a power waste when not being used.
What I wanted, or WANT now:
Multi-tuner capability and broadcast over my home network. I presume this is what HDHomeRun was all about to begin with and that it is really NOT a set top box at all, correct??
Here's my rack for cable/tv/internet:
You can see the HDHomeRun boxes on the right sitting on the Cisco STA1520s which are the tuner adapters. The Prime boxes are connected via ethernet to the router which is under the phone.
From there, you can use the HDHomeRun app with an Android player or Roku to view live TV, but you won't get any DRM channels which are everything except the major networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and maybe a few others. The HDHomeRun app connects directly to the HDHomeRun Prime via ethernet or WiFi.
With Windows WMC, you set up the server to use those cable cards in the Prime box. WMC can use up to four tuners which is why I have two boxes and a total of 6 tuners. Because we have 7 TVs, I set them up to use different boxes/tuners so that my WMC server has all 4 tuners for recording most of the time. You can see below that WMC is using one tuner from one box and the 3 tuners from the other one. So, the Xbox 360 connects to the WMC server which uses one tuner to send programming to the paired Xbox. The WMC server can support 4 Xboxes at once watching live TV or one can be viewing TV while the server records 3 programs. In essense, WMC is a middle man between the HDHomeRun Prime boxes and serves programming to the Xboxes.
Here's a screen grab of the WMC recordings which are copy once and can only be viewed on an XBox 360 that is paired with a specific WMC server. Other recordings get processed by MCEBuddy with commercials removed and get copied to the Plex server.
Keep the X1 box or with Cox, they have a mini box that is only $2 a month, but doesn't do on demand and stuff like that. Once you get everything sorted out, you can get rid of their box and just pay $2/month for the M-card.
If the X1 is like the Cox Contour box, then it has DVR capabilities built in, but it only works if you pay the $10/month DVR charge.
I don't know what blasted box you want to turn off. Our Cox box has a setting to either leave it on all the time or it times out after a couple hours if you don't do anything.
Anyway, yes, the HDHomeRun is just a network/internet box that transmitts up to 3 different programs to anywhere in your network. To view the programs, you need to have a set top box of some kind or a Smart TV that can run the HDHomeRun app. If you want to record and view DRM programming, then the only way I've been able to do it is to use WMC on a Windows 7 PC with an Xbox 360 used as a set top box. But, if you run Plex, you still need another box or Smart TV that can run Plex along with a PC, which can be the same one as the WMC server, or a NAS that can run the Plex server. If you use Kodi for viewing recordings, then you just need a shared disk that it can access where the recordings live as Kodi doesn't require a server to work. I actually prefer SMPC which is a Kodi variant. Both run on Android. Plex is more widely available for different platforms and most NAS products have Plex server apps.
I know it sounds complicated, but once you get it working, it's not really that tough.
"If the X1 is like the Cox Contour box, then it has DVR capabilities built in, but it only works if you pay the $10/month DVR charge."
I don't know -which- X1 box jedrider has either but our X1 box can record up to six shows simultaneously while we are watching another show. It also needs to be powered ON in order to stream its content to our X1 non-DVR cable boxes in our bedrooms.
"I don't know what blasted box you want to turn off. Our Cox box has a setting to either leave it on all the time or it times out after a couple hours if you don't do anything."
The Xfinity/Comcast X1 box takes quite a while to bootup and connect to their servers. There's a sleep mode but I wouldn't recommend shutting it down completely. We just leave ours ON 24/7 and switch the TV ON/OFF.
Xfinity/Comcast also applies updates to the box which requires a reboot. They reboot every night but the user can set the reboot time. Ours is set for 4:00 a.m.
Powering up. This may take a few weeks..
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