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How to record and playback OTA

Posted on 2014-08-09
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Need help building system to record and playback of over-the-air TV.   Not interested in viewing on a computer but would like to stream recordings back to Samsung Series 650 TV with typical HDMI/RCA/F-connector inputs available.

I do have the HD Homerun HDHR3-US
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Question by:Lance McGrew
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garycase earned 2000 total points
ID: 40251887
The  HDHomeRun works with a variety of DVR software.   The simplest is probably to just use Windows Media Center on a Windows 7 PC.    Setup is very simple, and you can then record, pause, FF, Rewind, etc. by remote control with any Media Center compatible remote.    The PC's video output can be connected to your TV with whatever connection it supports (most modern video adapters have HDMI outputs).

Our primary "DVR" is a Windows 7 PC I built specifically for that purpose with 8 tuners, 8TB of storage, and a few other "goodies".    Works like a charm ... we can record 8 things at once (never do that, but CAN);  have more recording space then we're likely to every need (and if it gets low it's trivial to add more);  and any non-protected content can also be watched from any other PC in the house (I have 3 others connected to other TVs).
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by:Gary
ID: 40251932
Personally I have been using MediaPortal for many years and has lots of other goodies to boot
Never cared much for the WMC interface.
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by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40251947
Location of the components are also presenting a challenge for me.  I would like to keep the recording computer in our basement where all other home network "stuff" is rackmounted.    Couple of things, can you recommend an HDMI over ethernet solution to facilitate data transfer between basement and living room TV location?  Also, method of controlling from living room the media center PC ideally located in basement?

Maybe use a cell phone app to remote control the media PC over our home wireless network?
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by:garycase
ID: 40251957
I've had good results with the Sewell extenders:  http://sewelldirect.com/HDLink-HDMI-over-Single-Cat5-Extender.asp

As for remote control ... depends on the distances involved.   The Harmony RF remotes work up to about 100 ft, and some of the newer models also support SmartPhone apps so you can use your phone instead of the Harmony.    I have NOT used these versions (we have a couple of Harmony remotes, but just use the actual remote controls), but I suspect they work just fine.

If the distance is too much for an RF remote [possibly not because of the actual distance, but the interfering infrastructure (walls, floors, etc.) ], then I'd look into various IR extenders.   Sewell (mentioned above) also has a couple nice solutions for this.    If a 75' cable is long enough, this works very well:  http://sewelldirect.com/IR-Kit-3.asp   (You'll need to buy the 75' extender cable ... or a short one if that's all you need)

They also make a neat "IR Injector" that allows your IR signal to be sent over an HDMI cable [http://sewelldirect.com/Sewell-Dual-Band-InjectIR-IR-over-HDMI-for-Remote-Controls.asp ] ... but I'm virtually certain this will NOT work with the HDMI over Cat5 extender I suggested above (You might ask Sewell about that).
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by:garycase
ID: 40251959
... one other alternative, if you'd like to simplify things a bit, is to install an X-Box at the TV.    This will work as a Media Center Extender ... i.e. you'll be able to do anything you could do from the PC directly from the X-Box using a standard remote.   It would also eliminate the need to extend your HDMI from the PC, as you'll just need a network connection to the X-Box.
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by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40252103
Wondering if the Magnavox MDR533H wouldn't be a simple productive option from WalMart @ $239
http://www.magnavox.com/product/download.php?model=MDR533H   One downfall -- no channel guide for tv listings like the Windows Media Center provides.

Another option Channel Master with channel guide but they still seem to be plagued with poor reviews even with their new CM7500BDL2.

Hate thoughts of buying expensive Harmony remote however we already have too many remote controls to contend with so that might be best.   Sure don't want to lock into using a keyboard and mouse to navigate channels.
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by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40252120
Yet another simple solution:    (still remembering the good o'days when TiVo was king)

TiVo Brand DVR - Series2 TiVo with Lifetime Subscription (Single Tuner)
Fully refurbished TiVo DVR, with prepaid lifetime subscription.
40 Hours of recording capacity at Basic Quality. Includes cables and remote.
May be a TCD140, TCD240, or TCD540 Series2 model, depending on availability.
$299.99   http://www.weaknees.com/tivo-lifetime-service.php
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by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40252160
TabloTV probably wins my accepted as solution:

http://www.tablotv.com/meet-tablo/
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by:garycase
ID: 40252228
The TabloTV does indeed look like a very nice alternative ... especially the 4-tuner version.    The storage is a bit on the low side (2TB will fill up pretty fast with 4 tuners recording HD content) ... and the storage interface is a bit slow for what they claim to be able to do (record 4 channels at once while up to 6 users are watching recorded content) -- but I suspect for typical use it's fast enough.    Hopefully they'll evolve to allow using a Gb NAS or USB 3 drives as the storage device, which will help with both the amount of storage and the speed of the interface.

It does not, of course do either of the things you asked for in your question :-)

(1)  It doesn't have any of the outputs you wanted:  "... Not interested in viewing on a computer but would like to stream recordings back to Samsung Series 650 TV with typical HDMI/RCA/F-connector inputs available."

(2)  Nor does it allow you to use your current tuners "...  I do have the HD Homerun HDHR3-US."

It is, however, less expensive than other alternatives, and for the specific things you want to do would be a good choice.    Add a 2TB external drive and a Roku and you'll be able to record your over-the-air channels very nicely with only a $50/year subscription fee for the guide.

For the trivial cost ($299) for 4 tuners, it's practically a steal !!
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by:Lance McGrew
ID: 40252276
Appears to be a solution using components I already own:

1. Attach HD HomeRun to home network with Ethernet cable.
2. Install HD HomeRun software on Windows 7 computer in basement.
3. Launch Windows Media Center and configure TV settings detecting HD HomeRun box.
4. Attach external USB HD on Windows 7 computer to record TV content.
5. Install PlayOn free application on Windows 7 computer. https://www.playon.tv/mymedia
6. Add Roku channel MyMedia.   (Roku already connected to living room TV).
7. Use living room laptop to remote to Windows 7 computer in basement for Windows Media Center management.
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by:garycase
ID: 40252376
Indeed -- since you already have a Roku, it's trivial.    And using a laptop as your "remote" works nicely -- in fact, it will let you do a lot of things you couldn't easily do with a laptop.

It's always bugged me that Microsoft doesn't allow another Windows PC to be a Media Center Extender ... you have to use an Xbox or one of the 3rd party extenders for that -- and with Windows 8 (not a problem in your case) those 3rd party extenders no longer work.
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by:garycase
ID: 40252382
One "glitch", however ==>  If you're recording HD channels, whether or not you can play them remotely is a function of the copy protection setting in the content.    I'm not sure you can play copy protected material remotely on the Roku (but suspect you can NOT).    Whether this is an issue in your specific case you won't know until it's all set up.

Worst case:   You'll have to buy an X-Box or a Ceton Echo.   The Echo is very nice, but be aware that if you ever move to Windows 8 it will no longer work as an extender.
Details here:  http://cetoncorp.com/products/echo/
(But buy elsewhere, it's routinely available for much less)
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