HDR-FOX T2 to HDHomeRun, my journey

jfshw

New Member
I have found this discussion most helpful. Like many others I am planning my HDR Fox-T2 replacement. I have had two for many years, which has completely solved the "running out of tuners" problem. We only watch HD, so one does the BBC channels and the other one does Ch 3, 4, 5. Sadly, one is now showing signs of age, crashing and glitching quite frequently. I'm afraid one day soon it won't wake up.

As we have had the Fox-T2s for so long, my other half particularly is most reluctant to try to learn a new interface. So I investigated keeping my better Fox-T2 as a playback client in conjunction with DVROnTime as a backend. I found that the recordings made by DVROnTime do play nicely on the Humax, but subtitles and skip didn't work, which sadly is a red flag for us. I suspected the absence of sidecar files as the reason for this, but attempts to generate the sidecar files using sidecar.exe failed with an error about the .ts file packet length (188 instead of 192 bytes).

I am really hoping that as the new Aura is based on Android someone with the necessary skills will come forward to replicate the functions of CFW on that platform. But I agree with lc200 that the long-term outlook for terrestrial broadcasting is bleak- I just would like it to survive for the remainder of my retirement!
 
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lc200

Member
The 192 byte size is because sidecar is wanting to work with M2TS streams, the streams saved from DVB are, unless converted somewhere, transport streams at 188 bytes per packet. M2TS streams came about later for recording on camcorders and similar.

Look for software that can convert transport streams to M2TS streams to resolved that. It also might be possible for me to convert the streams as they are recorded by taking the 188 byte packets and adding the necessary 4 extra bytes which is a timecode.

Subtitles are recorded by DvrOnTime and work on VLC player, Kodi and Plex, so it really is something with the Humax which is unable to playback true transport stream files without adding it's extra meta data I suspect. This may be resolved if the transport stream is converted to M2TS which I will look into and make it a setting option.
 

xyz321

Well-Known Member
If you want to do the conversion on the HDR, look for the hrwconv package. This was used to import .ts files from the older Humax 9200T but should do what you want. The old machine produces .ts files using a 188 byte packet size so hrwconv uses ffmpeg to resize the packets. It will also use sidecar to generate the sidecar files. You will not have the 9200T sidecar files so the EPG data will be missing/incomplete.

Code:
pvr# hrwconv 
  Usage: /mod/bin/hrwconv <list of .ts files to convert>
  
  This script should be run from the directory containing just the ts files 
  and associated sidecar files) to convert.
  It will create output files under the directory ./new/
  
  Typical usage: '/mod/bin/hrwconv *.ts' to convert all .ts and associated 
  sidecar files.
  
  For best results the associated 9200T/9150T/9300T sidecar files .hre & .epg
  should be present.
 
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lc200

Member
That would be amazing! Thank you for your help,
@jfshw I've created a new DLL responsible for the writing of the transport stream data, this now adds the extra 4 byte header with timestamp as required to become an m2ts file. To install simply stop the service, take a copy of the DLL TransportStream.dll so you have it to restore back if you need to, then copy over the alternative version linked to below and restart the service. See if that helps at all.

 
I've just come across this thread, and am intrigued by references to DVROnTime, as I've toyed with the idea of moving to a DIY PVR for years. I've Googled it, and searched the forums here, but can't find any information about it outside of this thread (although I saw the download link). I've been using NextPVR on a Windows 10 PC for a few years to handle overflow recordings that the Humax can't - is DVROnTime similar to this? If so, does it have any key advantages over NextPVR?
 
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lc200

Member
Hi @Ian Manning

I'm the author of the software, it isn't commercial and only something I've done for my own use and then made it available for anyone else hence you will find few if any references to it outside of here. It only works with HDHomeRun network tuners, but out of all the tuners I've used these are absolutely rock solid.

DvrOnTime (...OnTime is a nod to the fact it uses accurate recording) is something I wrote as I wanted something reliable, that used the over-the-air EPG and implemented CRIDS for series linking and accurate recording.

I had been using Plex with the HDHomeRun tuners with the idea to decommission the Humax PVR but found Plex was unreliable, recordings often didn't work, the EPG data didn't make use of CRIDS for series linking so often missed programs because the episode had been entered incorrectly. Not to mention constant updates to Plex that more often than not fixed one bug and introduce a new one!

I tried other PVR software but the lack of accurate recording and proper series linking seemed like a backward step after a decade or more having it on the Humax. Padding everything by 5 or 10 minutes just became annoying as everything we watched then needed skipping forward to get to the start, often you skipped too much then have to skip back, and of course anything that was on considerably late (which has happened a lot more this year with all the emergency press conferences) meant it wasn't recorded in its entirety.

I'm a programmer by trade, so decided I'd have a go at doing my own PVR software and implement accurate recording. It was a learning curve as the DVB data streams required doing things at a much lower level than I'm used to, down to extracting individual bits, but it made it a fun project.

Anyway our Humax has long since retired and the software has proved just as reliable, if it hadn't I would have been moaned at!

You can of course try it, there is no charge, no nag screens, nothing is restricted. It will work along side NextPVR absolutely fine, you could double up on the recordings provided tuners are free as a test.
 

bottletop

Member
I've just come across this thread, and am intrigued by references to DVROnTime, as I've toyed with the idea of moving to a DIY PVR for years. I've Googled it, and searched the forums here, but can't find any information about it outside of this thread (although I saw the download link). I've been using NextPVR on a Windows 10 PC for a few years to handle overflow recordings that the Humax can't - is DVROnTime similar to this? If so, does it have any key advantages over NextPVR?
I think the author mentions why he wrote the new program on the first post. He also mentioned NextPVR! Why not try it on a Windows pc, you should be able to judge for yourself. I don't have the hardware to try it out myself.
 
Thanks - it sounds like you've created something really useful. I haven't shelled out for a HDHomeRun (yet) - I still run a PC with a DVB-T2 tuner - but I did consider it along with the VBox a few months ago.
Presumably your solution negates the need for any monthly HDHomeRun monthly subscription fees?
 
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lc200

Member
No monthly fees to Silicondust or anyone else, one of the reasons I did my own software as many seem to be going towards monthly fees for EPG data that is already provided free (well as part of the TV licence fee). So it uses the same over-the-air EPG data as the Humax or any other Freeview device by firing up a tuner periodically and downloading from the aerial.

I'd highly recommend the HDHomeRun tuners, rock solid although they need a wired Ethernet connection. We've been using the HDHomeRun tuners for almost a year now and never once have they needed any attention and having their Quatro one with four tuners we never worry about clashes. Also you have the added benefit of being able to use them with Android TV or mobile devices to watch live TV without any extra hardware as they will work over Wi-Fi and connect to the tuners.
 
No monthly fees to Silicondust or anyone else, one of the reasons I did my own software as many seem to be going towards monthly fees for EPG data that is already provided free (well as part of the TV licence fee). So it uses the same over-the-air EPG data as the Humax or any other Freeview device by firing up a tuner periodically and downloading from the aerial.

I'd highly recommend the HDHomeRun tuners, rock solid although they need a wired Ethernet connection. We've been using the HDHomeRun tuners for almost a year now and never once have they needed any attention and having their Quatro one with four tuners we never worry about clashes. Also you have the added benefit of being able to use them with Android TV or mobile devices to watch live TV without any extra hardware as they will work over Wi-Fi and connect to the tuners.
Thanks again. I'm increasingly thinking that a LAN-streamed DVB-T2 signal is the way to go for my post-FOXT2 solution, and your solution makes the HDHomeRun a good candidate. It looks like the Quattro is available on Amazon for £150. Tempted to dip my toe in the water this time....
 

sine24

Member
No monthly fees to Silicondust or anyone else, one of the reasons I did my own software as many seem to be going towards monthly fees for EPG data that is already provided free (well as part of the TV licence fee). So it uses the same over-the-air EPG data as the Humax or any other Freeview device by firing up a tuner periodically and downloading from the aerial.

I'd highly recommend the HDHomeRun tuners, rock solid although they need a wired Ethernet connection. We've been using the HDHomeRun tuners for almost a year now and never once have they needed any attention and having their Quatro one with four tuners we never worry about clashes. Also you have the added benefit of being able to use them with Android TV or mobile devices to watch live TV without any extra hardware as they will work over Wi-Fi and connect to the tuners.
Presumably your software is as stable as can be and there's hardly any need for updating. So, whilst I wish you good health, it can function very well without your input.
 
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lc200

Member
Presumably your software is as stable as can be and there's hardly any need for updating. So, whilst I wish you good health, it can function very well without your input.
It is there for you try if you want to, obviously it is offered free and that means it comes with no guarantees. It isn't a cloud based service so isn't reliant on anything outside of a persons own network or me funding some service somewhere. There may be bugs in it that only show up after a certain time, not unlike most software these days and if I'm not around to fix it then it might stop working, so be it, it was free :)
 

dxbytv

New Member
@lc200
Great DVR software you have created here but I was just wondering - Is there any way to use the EPG data that DVROnTime creates and export it as XMLTV so that it could be used within plex?
 
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lc200

Member
I hope everyone had a great Christmas (well given the circumstances) and those using DvrOnTime I hope it didn't let you down over the busy TV schedule of the holidays.

I'm just testing an update which I will make available in the next few days, this brings in a new page as requested to list programs by channel, and these can be clicked on to set a recording in the usual way. I've also added a setting to turn on/off M2TS file format for those that might need it.

To @dxbytv, the EPG data can be exported although it's hard to make it work well with Plex as the meta data for series recording is different to what Plex needs. Plex has moved back to their previous EPG supplier now so hopefully things are better with their EPG than it has been. Alternatively EPGCollector can be set up to download the EPG as XML or you can obtain it from http://www.xmltv.co.uk/ hope that helps.
 

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dearleuk

Member
I hope everyone had a great Christmas (well given the circumstances) and those using DvrOnTime I hope it didn't let you down over the busy TV schedule of the holidays.
Still working fine for me. Thank you for continuing to update the software
 
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lc200

Member
I've put up a new version. No need to update unless you want to, i.e. this version isn't a bug fix for anything.

Changes
  • New view programs by channel. From the guide click the channel name in the left hand column to jump to channel view, or click the Channel menu item and select a channel.
  • Filtering the guide using the Include checks is now remembered, so if only interested in HD channels for example, this will be remembered on each visit to the guide until changed again
  • Under Settings is now an option to save the files as Transport Stream or in M2TS format (defaults to Transport Stream, recommended unless you need M2TS)

Upgrade instructions, to avoid having to retune channels and set recordings again then:
  1. Stop the DvrOnTime service manually
  2. Copy the database files for C:\Program Files\DvrOnTime called DvrOnTime.mdf and DvrOnTime_log.ldf to another location
  3. Uninstall the current version of DvrOnTime
  4. Install the new version
  5. Stop the DvrOnTime service again manually
  6. Copy over the database files with the those from step 2
  7. Restart the service

Install files at:

 
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