Home Video Asylum

TVs, VCRs, DVD players, Home Theater systems and more.

RE: HDHomeRun Prime?

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.


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  Kimber Kable  

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