In my previous post “How To Partially Cut The Cord Part 1″ I explained the ease of reducing your cable bill by purchasing an HD Home Run from Silicon Dust. I have been a huge fan of their tuners for the last 10 years and in this post I’m going to give you an idea of how my setup works.
I am a Verizon Fios customer and subscribe to one of their silver packages. I have two HD Home Runs. The first is a dual tuner HDHR Connect $93.00 at Amazon and the second is an HDHR Prime $119 at Amazon.
TUNE IN – My tuners:
The HDHR Connect will allow you to tune 2 channels of unencrypted QAM or over the air digital TV. I am lucky since FIOS has all OTA channels in clear QAM on their line. The HDHR Prime has a Verizon supplied cable card (mcard) installed for $5.00/per month and can tune 3 channels of encrypted signals. This gives me a total of 5 tuners to play with.
WATCHING TV – Live:
Once the HDHR tuners are setup on your home network, you can easily stream HD content to a ton of devices. I have tested mine with a Windows 7 & Windows 10 pc, Android tablet, XBOX One, Amazon Fire Stick, and a Raspberry Pi 3 running Kodi. All are able to keep up with HD content over my wireless N network.
RECORDING TV – My DVR:
There are quite a few DVR back ends that will work with the HDHR. Windows Media Center, Myth TV, Beyond TV, and many others. However I have decided to go with the DVR software supplied by Silicon Dust. The software is $60 for the first year to start, and I believe a $30 each year after. The fee unlocks the DVR functions of the HDHR software and gets you a 14 day programming guide for scheduling recordings. I have my record engine running on a virtual Windows 10 workstation, I dedicated 1TB of disk space and allow all five tuners to write to a folder. HDHR can also record to consumer based NAS drives or Linux based NAS setups as well.
I HATE COMMERCIALS – Edit them out then:
In addition to the record engine on my Windows 10 workstation, I found a cool piece of software called MCEBuddy. This software was originally made for Media Center, but also works with the HDHR’s. It simply watches the record folder for new files and then processes the files to your liking. In my case I do some compression so I can stream the files over the internet, and the software edits out the commercials. I believe the cost is about $30 for a license.
WATCHING & CONTROLLING – You’re in control now:
On my main TV I have a Raspberry Pi with Open Elec Kodi running. I have the HDHR Plugin installed. I also have a r emote control with a keyboard on the back, eliminating the need for a full sized keyboard connected to the Pi. Within the HDHR plugin I have the ability to watch live tv, watch and delete recordings from my DVR, search the guide for new things to view, and to review my tasks (scheduled recordings). You could achieve the same result with an Xbox or PC connected to your TV as well. I chose the Pi 3 because its small footprint, low power consumption and versatility to run other plug-ins in Kodi.
WATCHING OUTSIDE THE HOME – Serving up the stream:
Once the MCEBuddy finishes processing the large HD files into smaller more bandwidth friendly files, you could easily sync them to cloud storage like Google Drive and play them back on your computer in the office, or while you ride the bus to work.
Please keep in mind this is all 100% LEGAL!
This is a great setup – 5 tuners, 1 DVR Server, Unlimited client devices all for $5.00 / month to the cable company and $30/ year to Silicon Dust for their HDHR guide service. In all I’m saving over $400 /year if I was renting 4 boxes and had DVR service with Verizon.
My Parts List –
- HD Home Run – Prime $119.99 at Amazon
- HD Home Run – Connect $93.00 at Amazon
- Raspberry Pi 3 Kit $49.99 at Amazon
- USB Remote Control $14.95 at Amazon
- Silicon Dust DVR Service
- DVR NAS Drive Western Digital $155.00 at Amazon
Please leave any questions in the comments, I would be more than happy to answer. Also, don’t forget to join our newsletter!
Thanks for reading,