Satellite television

Channels DVR now records cable and satellite TV streaming

The Channels app and DVR software has become my go-to solution for watching OTA live TV and recording local channels. When you pair channels with an HDHomeRun tuner, you have instant access to stream local stations to all supported apps on iOS, FireTV or Android devices. If you choose to pay for Channels Plus, then you have the option of recording these shows on a number of platforms of your choice. My specific setup involves a Quatro HDHomeRun tuner, a Synology DS218+ NAS, and an iPad/Apple TV for viewing. This setup turned out to be the smoothest and fastest viewing and recording I’ve ever used. The DS218+ is even powerful to enable automatic commercial skipping and hardware transcoding during playback.

with today TV Channels Everywhere version, Channels now allows you to add Pay TV as a watch and record source! The functionality comes in the form of a public beta for Channels Plus members wishing to help extend testing. To get started, you need to make sure you have the latest version of the Channels server software. From there, you just need to add a new TV Everywhere source from the admin screen. Connect with your existing provider (Direct TV in my example), and Channels will fetch all available channels from that source. Once your guide data has been updated, you will be able to access these new channels immediately and, best of all, they are available for recording! Chains, now with or without home tuner hardware.

Some points listed below:

  • H264 streams are high quality but don’t use a lot of disk space.
  • Can watch and record cable streams that may not be available through HDHomeRunPrime.
  • No CableCARD rental fees.
  • Stereo audio.
  • No access to local network stations.
  • Not all cable channels are available.
  • Streaming bandwidth counts towards monthly data caps.

I’ve been testing this new feature for the past few days, it just works. I can stream any of my provider’s subscribed channels and also have the ability to record these shows for later viewing. The best part is that once recorded, I can transfer those recordings to any platform I want.

So if you’d like to help test out this latest feature, head over to the Channels Community Forum for more details.