HDR-FOX T2 to HDHomeRun, my journey

OP
L

lc200

New Member
@dearleuk Sorry but I'm not able to compile a 32 bit version as the SQL Server Database is 64 bit only these days, and I would need to go back to a version from 6 years ago to find the last 32 bit version.

A new version of DvrOnTime is now in the same location. Please uninstall the existing version first, then install the new version, this should be an easy process as it doesn't affect any of the pre-requisites like SqlLocalDatabase. See the PDF for instructions on how to back up and restore the existing database to save having to retune and schedule everything again.
  • Fixed an issue where hidden channels in the guide were not being hidden
  • Accurate recording now uses only one tuner on back to back programs on the same channel
  • Now possible to record programs from channels that have no CRIDs, example Russia Today

Any problems let me know.
 
OP
L

lc200

New Member
I found this thread while catching up with HDR Fox T2 developments on the forum, and wondering about whether the new Humax Aura might contain the functionality I look for in a DVR. So I installed the program on a spare PC a few days ago and so far it has proved stable and completely reliable!

Congratulations and big thanks to lc200, as I had given up on my HDHomeRun Quattro which was languishing in a cupboard. I would be prepared to pay money for this program!

I encountered the exact same error as embubya77 when running setup.exe but the .msi install has worked perfectly. Also, on my machine the service does not restart after a reboot (thanks, Microsoft update!) even though it's set to automatic. Start it manually and it's fine until the next time.

Just two small requests:
1. Could the guide page respect the "include" check boxes when it first populates? Currently it shows everything including hidden channels until a check box is changed.
2. Could the "programme aired" date be added to the information popup in the guide? If present, this can help to decide if the showing is actually a repeat or not.

Many thanks!

@jfshw With regards to the service starting, have you trying starting on a delayed start, just in case it is starting quicker than the database starts up and the crashing out?

Regarding 1) should now work okay
Regarding 2) There is no program aired date data in the over-the-air EPG Guide as far as I know.
 

jfshw

New Member
@jfshw With regards to the service starting, have you trying starting on a delayed start, just in case it is starting quicker than the database starts up and the crashing out?

Regarding 1) should now work okay
Regarding 2) There is no program aired date data in the over-the-air EPG Guide as far as I know.
a. Delayed start is the answer, now starts up ok.
b. It now works. Thanks very much!
c. Oh, ok. Where does the (e.g.) <aired>2020-10-15</aired> in the episode .nfo file the program generates come from then?
 
OP
L

lc200

New Member
a. Delayed start is the answer, now starts up ok.
b. It now works. Thanks very much!
c. Oh, ok. Where does the (e.g.) <aired>2020-10-15</aired> in the episode .nfo file the program generates come from then?
It just defaults to the date the program recorded, so date when recorded but not when first aired.
 

bottletop

Member
...
My software runs as a windows service and contains it's own web browser, so to set a recording or browse the guide you can just go to a webpage using the IP address of the machine it is installed on, so reachable from anything with a web browser on your network, or even away from home if you set up port fowarding. See attached thumbnails for an idea of what you would see.
....
Folder on Google Drive
Looks like a great solution.
I wondered if there may be a chance of incorporating all this into the Kodi hdhomerun addon or maybe making an offshoot/fork of it?
https://forum.kodi.tv/forumdisplay.php?fid=250
https://github.com/kodi-pvr/pvr.hdhomerun
 
Last edited:

dearleuk

Member
New pc arrived yesterday, got the DvrOnTime software set up in about 10 minutes. An hour of faffing about in Win 10 and the epg webpage is visable on my network.

Very professional, a joy to use. I can see missing some features of the custom software, one I use all the time is moving films to their own directory, but apart from that really pleased with it.

I'd gladly buy you several beers. Thanks very much.
 
OP
L

lc200

New Member
New pc arrived yesterday, got the DvrOnTime software set up in about 10 minutes. An hour of faffing about in Win 10 and the epg webpage is visable on my network.

Very professional, a joy to use. I can see missing some features of the custom software, one I use all the time is moving films to their own directory, but apart from that really pleased with it.

I'd gladly buy you several beers. Thanks very much.

Glad you are finding it useful. Now that a few people are using it and I've got the basics working well I'll start looking to add some extra features, and putting movies into their own folder should be easy enough :)
 

jfshw

New Member
Something I would find useful for the guide is a time-ordered listing of one channel, accessed by clicking on the channel name. I often use the one in the Humax custom firmware when I'm looking through the listings to see if there is anything of interest coming up - a screen clip is attached.


1605800491909.png
 

bottletop

Member
I'm slowly trying to figure this device out.
So a recent HDHomeRun (for the UK) is a network dvb-t2 tuner. (I suppose it's a little like a hi-fi tuner in that it's designed to work in unison with other equipment.) It receives instructions to eg serve TV channels to the wired network.
Does the HDHomeRun need to be kept powered on all the time? Can it be woken up via the network (WOL)? It's low power so running cost should be minimal.
So to make most use of this device you need
DVR software if you wish to record streams and storage device that DVR software talks to save stream. How is the channel or program locking achieved if the DVR is recording programs to stop other clients switching channel? Is this done by the DVR software or the HDHomeRun hardware?
Does the device running the DVR software need to be kept powered on?
One thing I'm puzzled with is the occasional firmware updates to the HDHomeRun box. Why is this necessary? What's does it update?
It is an intriguing solution.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I would think of it as being like a NAS, but instead of serving files it serves DVB-T/T2 streams. Any particular network client must claim a stream, which is then unavailable to other clients until released (unless it uses some kind of broadcast network protocol). An appliance can then act like a TV by plumbing into one of the streams over the network instead of having its own tuner and aerial connection - it makes more sense to wire a whole house for network than wire a whole house for TV distribution.

It makes no sense to turn the HomeRun off, unless it has WoL and clients can send a magic packet.

It makes no sense to turn a DVR client off, unless the DVR client is able to power itself up ahead of scheduled event.
 
OP
L

lc200

New Member
I'm slowly trying to figure this device out.
So a recent HDHomeRun (for the UK) is a network dvb-t2 tuner. (I suppose it's a little like a hi-fi tuner in that it's designed to work in unison with other equipment.) It receives instructions to eg serve TV channels to the wired network.
Does the HDHomeRun need to be kept powered on all the time? Can it be woken up via the network (WOL)? It's low power so running cost should be minimal.
So to make most use of this device you need
DVR software if you wish to record streams and storage device that DVR software talks to save stream. How is the channel or program locking achieved if the DVR is recording programs to stop other clients switching channel? Is this done by the DVR software or the HDHomeRun hardware?
Does the device running the DVR software need to be kept powered on?
One thing I'm puzzled with is the occasional firmware updates to the HDHomeRun box. Why is this necessary? What's does it update?
It is an intriguing solution.

The HDHomeRun tuner model doesn't record anything itself, it is merely an on demand tuner, it can only pass the raw Freeview data onto something else.

The tuner has a CPU which runs its own web browser and processing but of course lacks any ability to show or even decode video. As far as the box is concerned it is just dealing with data it picks up from the aerial. To start streaming from the tuner it can be as simple as using a URL, e.g. http://192.168.1.100:5004/auto/v2 (v = virtual channel 2 aka BBC2) this auto picks a free tuner, locks it in use, the tuner also uses it's own internal database of found channels (obtained when it was told to "tune") which tells it which frequency to tune to and what parts of the mux (a mux contains many channels all mingled together as lots of individual packets) should be picked out and sent back, it then continually streams the data until the client or web browser is closed, then the tuner is unlocked and free to be used by something else. A web browser doesn't play the video but will default to saving it as a .ts file which can be played by most media players, or you could use something like VLC player which can use the URL directly and play the video stream live. Of course the supplied software from HDHomeRun does the same thing wrapped up in a nicer interface.

In the case of DvrOnTime, it works more lower level and specifies itself what parts of the mux is required using its own database of channels and frequencies, this is so it can also request the EIT information as well as the video and audio data, and that EIT data is decoded in the DvrOnTime software in real time which is used to trigger the start of a recording at the correct time. The recording is made by saving the required video and audio packets being received, along with some modifications to some packets required for the player to know how to play the video, but as far as the software is concerned, it is again just data.

The HDHomeRun remains powered on to respond to any requests for data, but the tuners are powered down if not in use so power consumption is not much.

It would be possible to have a computer sleep and only wake up when a recording is due if programmed to do that.

The firmware updates for the HDHomeRun will be updating the software that runs on the CPU providing the web access (bug fixes, some extra functions occasionally), and sometimes it will also update the tuner firmware for better compatibility for some regions.

Hope that helps provide a bit more background.
 

bottletop

Member
The HDHomeRun tuner model doesn't record anything itself, it is merely an on demand tuner, it can only pass the raw Freeview data onto something else.

The tuner has a CPU which runs its own web browser and processing but of course lacks any ability to show or even decode video. As far as the box is concerned it is just dealing with data it picks up from the aerial. To start streaming from the tuner it can be as simple as using a URL, e.g. http://192.168.1.100:5004/auto/v2 (v = virtual channel 2 aka BBC2) this auto picks a free tuner, locks it in use, the tuner also uses it's own internal database of found channels (obtained when it was told to "tune") which tells it which frequency to tune to and what parts of the mux (a mux contains many channels all mingled together as lots of individual packets) should be picked out and sent back, it then continually streams the data until the client or web browser is closed, then the tuner is unlocked and free to be used by something else. A web browser doesn't play the video but will default to saving it as a .ts file which can be played by most media players, or you could use something like VLC player which can use the URL directly and play the video stream live. Of course the supplied software from HDHomeRun does the same thing wrapped up in a nicer interface.

In the case of DvrOnTime, it works more lower level and specifies itself what parts of the mux is required using its own database of channels and frequencies, this is so it can also request the EIT information as well as the video and audio data, and that EIT data is decoded in the DvrOnTime software in real time which is used to trigger the start of a recording at the correct time. The recording is made by saving the required video and audio packets being received, along with some modifications to some packets required for the player to know how to play the video, but as far as the software is concerned, it is again just data.

The HDHomeRun remains powered on to respond to any requests for data, but the tuners are powered down if not in use so power consumption is not much.

It would be possible to have a computer sleep and only wake up when a recording is due if programmed to do that.

The firmware updates for the HDHomeRun will be updating the software that runs on the CPU providing the web access (bug fixes, some extra functions occasionally), and sometimes it will also update the tuner firmware for better compatibility for some regions.

Hope that helps provide a bit more background.
Thank you for this detailed and helpful reply.
I was trying to decide whether to get a HDHomeRun and use your excellent looking software (in place of the Silicon Dust subscription offering) but have recently decided against it. The series record in DvrOnTime and that it is free was swaying me in this direction. Eventually I decided against this option as I didn't wish to have a Windows PC on for most of the time dedicated to the TV tuner duties.
This is just me planning for my eventual HDR FOX T2 replacement.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I didn't wish to have a Windows PC on for most of the time dedicated to the TV tuner duties.
It wouldn't be dedicated to tuner duties, it would be dedicated to capturing and serving recordings and only needs to be on at the time those services are required. I'm sure a PC can be put into sleep and arranged to wake itself up on timer or WoL. It's the HomeRun that stays on (same as a HDR-FOX stays on, but in a low-power state).

When it comes to the crunch, I am hopeful the DVR software will be ported to a Raspberry Pi or the like, which could then be a head end bolted on the back of the TV and already has an HDMI output, and then could be operated with an IR remote or WiFi control panel. If not an RPi then there are small cards of Intel architecture able to run Windows, and I think there is a port of Windows for RPi.

What bothers me more is the mention that the HomeRun itself might not be available much longer. There is no point getting into something which is already obsolescent. I think ultimately we will be looking at something like an RPi with USB tuner dongles and our own software.
 

bottletop

Member
....
What bothers me more is the mention that the HomeRun itself might not be available much longer. There is no point getting into something which is already obsolescent. I think ultimately we will be looking at something like an RPi with USB tuner dongles and our own software.
That was my final conclusion due to costs, hardware availability but sacrifices the convenience and polish of the HDR with custom firmware. There are other issues with the raspberry pi option eg an all in one enclosure, power supply, software stability etc that needs consideration.
Regarding the Silicon Dust offerings, the HDHomeRun Scribe series are really what I prefer. They are like the Connect tuners with hard drive in one unit - very handy. Unfortunately they're US only so not suitable for our TV freeview reception.
 
OP
L

lc200

New Member
PVRs don't really have much of a market anymore, peoples viewing habits have changed and we have catch up TV and on demand services, this is why Humax's latest offering is less PVR but more streaming services. Freeview/DVB also can't keep up with innovation so there are fewer HD channels than other sources, no 4K and no HDR and many popular shows and dramas are on streaming services now never to be on terrestrial TV. Anything hardware wise related to DVB has an ever dwindling market, and so things like network tuners etc will just disappear from sale.

Much longer term terrestrial TV transmitters will be turned off, they are very expensive to run and can't keep up with the ever increasing data rates required by ever improving resolutions, even now, mobile 4G/5G has taken priority over terrestrial air space and rather than increase available space for terrestrial TV transmissions, they've been restricted and reduced to free up space for mobile.
 
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