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Central DVR records HDTV connects to multiple smart TVs

Posted on 2016-09-05
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Last Modified: 2016-12-01
I want to fire my internet/cable provider.  Have my eyes on an internet only plan I like.  I have 3 smart TVs and access to netflix and amazon prime, and HBO Go (which is 90% of what I watch).  Was thinking about getting an HDTV antenna to get a few local channels also.  

But how can I stream one antenna and also connect a central DVR to all 3 TVs?  The smart TVs have wifi, but also each one has a coaxial cable in wall behind it, was hoping to link these to a central DVR unit somewhere in the house.  

Ideas?
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Question by:icecom4
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13 Comments
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 41785623
You want a pc with a tv card and a dlna server.
With digital tuners, you can stream or record multiple channels per tuner with the right software.
For windows, Media portal server, for linux, Mythbuntu.
I use the latter with a TBS PCIexpress twin tuner for HDTV.
A low power pc can stream or record up to 6 channels with no trouble.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 41785626
TiVo can record off the air with antenna,  and then stream to the other TV's. I only have 1 TV, so I don't stream, but the TiVo experience is awesome. Only downside with OTA recording is when the one station you really want to watch is having bad signal. :( My TV can't get good quality either, so it's not TiVo fault. TiVo video quality on the older Roamio is nearly indistinguishable from live uncompressed HD.
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 41785631
Tivo is excellent, but not available in some countries, including the UK where I live.
Some other DVRs, notably Humax, can stream as well.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41785932
Have you verified what, if anything is using the coax cable?  Unscrew it from the back of one TV and see what still works.
If only the local stations stop working, you may be able to use one HD antenna for all three and just screw it in where the cable was connected outside.
Unless you are talking about an existing DVR, I'll bet you can find a new one that can also connect to the TV's using WiFi.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:ArneLovius
ID: 41786657
As others have mentioned, there are Windows and Linux software DVR solutions that use a tuner card, the only issue would be that although your TVs are "smart", they would need a suitable "client".

I use mediaportal as a headless DVR, and run Kodi on a Raspberry Pi with the mediaportal plugin for watching live and recorded TV, and playing video and music from my file server.

Some modern TVs can have the Plex client installed, and Plex now supports HDHomeRun devices via a Plex media server.

better link for supported TVS https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/204080173-Which-Smart-TV-television-models-are-supported
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LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:wyliecoyoteuk
ID: 41787281
I also use a Rpi with a "dumb" TV, and MythTV backend. It works well, but many 'smart" TVs also have a DLNA client built-in.
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Author Comment

by:icecom4
ID: 41789536
Thanks all.

And I see this ugly little guy here: SiliconDust HDHR4-2US HDHomeRun CONNECT (2-Tuner) which I am reading can stream the HDTV to 2 TVs.  That would be good enough for me.  Problem is that the DVR service seems to be a "service" so not sure if there is a fee.  I assume I need to set up a server, I am unclear on this part.  

I am trying to figure it out though.  I see one coaxial and 1 ethernet port on it, so it streams via wifi or hardwire.  Still not sure my smart TVs have an app that can play it, I have 2 Samsung smart TVs that are about 2 years old.  

Also, I am wondering if there is a way to double-dip here and connect the TV coaxial cables to a splitter along with this SiliconDust, so even if I am not streaming, I have direct HDTV signals??
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LVL 43

Accepted Solution

by:
Davis McCarn earned 1000 total points
ID: 41791224
That box is not a DVR; but, rather one you can connect the digital antenna to and then stream its feeds (channels) to other media players or DLNA devices on your local network.
You need to study DLNA, a little:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance
Whether or not you'd be able to feed what the digital antenna receives to multiple devices is going to depend on exactly where you are, the quality of what the antenna picks up, how much its gets amplified, the TV sets, every inch of wire involved, and all of the connectors/splitters.  I'd suggest you buy a relatively cheap antenna and try it on one TV set before you start buying into a big project.
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Author Comment

by:icecom4
ID: 41792970
thanks!
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:wyliecoyoteuk
wyliecoyoteuk earned 1000 total points
ID: 41793177
The monthly fee is for the tv guide.
Without that you can't schedule recordings.
You can run their software on a pc to record.
The device can stream to 2 tvs over 2wifi or ethernet.

A fairly low spec PC with a tuner card can stream and record several channels to multiple devices.
I use my home server, which has a quadcore 1.2 GHz AMD Kabini processor, a 2 tuner HDTV card and 4 GB of ram, not high spec, but it can record or stream up to 6 live channels  simultaneously, as well as streaming recordings to phones, tablets or tvs.
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Author Comment

by:icecom4
ID: 41806673
Thanks all.  I am going to get the HDTV antenna first, get that working, and if all is well get the HomeRun kit.
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Author Comment

by:icecom4
ID: 41806708
Where is the freakin close button for these posts?  Sometimes I see a html link "Close the question and award the expert points" at the bottom, but other times I don't. A nice round shinny button that says "close" would be nice.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41828197
So where did you wind up?
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