Additional Storage Locations for Channels DVR Recordings


#1

Are you anticipating adding multiple storage locations in Channels, as I foresee a severe future deficiency in Channels for initiating and playback of recordings.

Having the ability to playback recordings on Channels DVR from either ATV or iOS is fantastic, and both are functioning superbly.

My current dilemma…which will probably start affecting other users in the near future…is that I’ve already filled up an 8TB location for the DVR recordings.

As Channels doesn’t offer secondary/tertiary storage locations (as does SD and Plex) I have had to devise workarounds to view all Channels recordings (on 2 file locations) and subsequently initiate playback from same.

Truthfully, these workarounds can be setup to view/playback content in a somewhat acceptable environment, however I have encountered problems and the result is not entirely satisfactory, for various reasons.

Also, having to employ any workaround is not ideal. In testing of SDDVR and Plex DVR as alternatives, I was able to apply workarounds for the backend and recording setups, but abandoned both due to the dev teams non-visionary implementation which required necessity of onerous workarounds.

Currently, I’m having to employ workarounds for the front end viewing from Channels. This has additionally negated all the implemented benefits of Channels playback; namely comskip (arguably one of the standout features of Channels DVR).

Hopefully, a solution can be devised.


#2

I too would also welcome a way for additional storage for Channels recordings.

In my case my main channels DVR is now a Mac Mini (2014); but in anticipation of running into this issue (and Id rather be prepared than have to go with drastic measures later) I have been looking for solutions/workarounds; even though I really like the performance of the MacMini as a DVR server/etc…

For now the one that seems really promising (I have not fully tested yet; still researching/preparing/etc) seems to be using Linux using MHDDFS (a fuse filesystem that allows non destructive “combining” of multiple [physical] volumes and seen as a single filesystem) [https://romanrm.net/mhddfs] ]
[https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/mhddfs-linux-combines-a-several-mount-points-into-single-one/

mhddfs seems to be available on macports as well; but I cant risk it yet on my main DVR… It has also been ported to FreeBSD with the FreeBSD-ports project.


#3

I don’t ever anticipate using this much storage, but have you tried creating sim links for all the files in the filled volume and put them in the new volume?

Another work around is to use a storage array that allows expansion and hot swapping. Then, as long as you are willing to keep buying more and bigger drives, you could watch your TV shows over and over and over again… forever!

Lastly, a final option, if you get tired of watching the same shows again and again, is that Channels has options to retain a certain number of shows and remove the old ones. You can even set this up to only remove shows that have already been watched.


#4

Already done a lot of that (including archiving/etc)…

Currently using an 8tb for Channels with over~5tb used… [that is currently; just cleared/archived almost 3.1tb]

Problem is that we like to do “mini” binge watch sessions. We may go several months without watching a show; just let it record, but then when its time to sit down… we go through most of the season (with as little commercial interruptions as possible thanks to comskip)… [and unfortunately not everything is available on Netflix in a timely fashion]…


#5

yeah, I put things off for awhile too sometimes. Maybe there is a way to trick channels at the operating system level.


#6

One thought for Channels users who have already filled or are quickly filling 8TB drives is to reduce the size of the recordings. If your recordings are MPEG2, which is still used for most OTA and a significant amount of cable in the US, you can significantly reduce the size of the recordings by transcoding to MPEG4(H264). You can generally reduce file size from MPEG2 to MPEG4 by about 50% without a noticeable decrease in quality. So an hour recording goes from 6-8Meg to 3-4Meg. Recording sizes can be reduced further if you are willing to decrease quality (ex 720p instead of 1080p). When we move to h265 or HEVC you can reduce files by another 30% or so without decreasing quality.

There are a multiple ways to do this. The easiest is to use the built in hardware transcoding of the HdHomeRun Extend. If you are OTA the Extend will transcode on the fly and it is fully supported by the Channels DVR and clients so they support the transcoding and the change is transparent.

If you can’t use an Extend, because you need Prime for Cable support or can’t handle the expense, then you could setup something to transcode the shows after they are recorded. There has been some talk about building this into the DVR but we’re not there yet and the ability and performance of transcoding will depend on the CPU capabilities of your DVR server.


#7

I have added this feature for the next build (not yet released).

You’ll be able to configure a secondary path using the following command:

curl -XPATCH --data-binary ‘{“ExtraPaths”:"/Volumes/Drive2/Recordings"}’ http://127.0.0.1:8089/dvr

You can also specify more than one extra directory, by joining them with :

Note that all preview images and database backups will still happen on the main DVR drive. But you should be able to create a “TV” or “Movies” folder on your secondary drive and move any shows/movies over to it. Any time the DVR tries to access a recording and it isn’t found on the main drive, it will check the secondary drives that you have configured.

Also note that this assumes you start with a single DVR and move some of your recordings onto another drive. If you have been running multiple DVRs, there is no way to combine databases and recordings together.


Changing External Drive and Want to Retain Current Recordings
Recording - Disk Space
Changed Record Directory
#8

WooHoo :tada: Awesome :clap: Fantastic


#9

Test build with this new feature:

curl -XPUT http://127.0.0.1:8089/updater/check/2017.06.30.2346


#10

What do I need to change:

IMac-4:~ Debbie$ curl -XPATCH --data-binary ‘{“ExtraPaths”:"/Volumes/WDChannels/Recordings"}’ http://10.0.0.228:8089/dvr
true

DVR results:

{“activity”:{},“busy”:false,“clients”:1,“disk”:{“free”:1908197003264,“total”:3888539680768,“used”:1979789029376},“enabled”:true,“keep”:{“num”:“0”,“only”:""},“padding”:{“end”:"",“start”:""},“path”:"/share/Channels",“stats”:{“groups”:12,“files”:191,“jobs”:1,“rules”:0},“status”:“running”}


#11

Should work now if you create TV or Movies under /Volumes/WDChannels/Recordings and move recording there


#12

Did TV…no dice


#13

ls -alh /Volumes/WDChannels/Recordings/TV


#14

Shouldn’t the DVR file show the Extra Path


#16

No it is not configured to show the extra path setting. You can view it on /settings however.


#17

OK, I see it

WDChannels is a single disk MyCloud


#18

Call me an idiot…going to add the full path


#19

Thought I had sent results of above, but now I can’t find it.

Reran and:

IMac-4:~ Debbie$ ls -alh /Volumes/WDChannels/Recordings/TV
ls: /Volumes/WDChannels/Recordings/TV: No such file or directory


#20

“No such file or directory”

Path is incorrect


#21

Worked fine for me.

recorder.path":"/usr/local/channels-dvr/recordings",“recorder.path.extra”:"/media/dvr1/media/channels"

It would be nice to add a path in the GUI and then switch the newest one to the default recorder path, but I’m happy to have this!