Best hardware for channels DVR

Yes the DS218+ is one of the most popular NAS for Channels DVR.

1 Like

I'm using a DS218+ for our Channels DVR and it's been working flawlessly. Both here in the home and remotely, with either my iPad, on a Wifi network, or with my iPhone 6S, either with WiFi or on the cellular network.

Several days ago, maybe a couple weeks, I gave it a stress test. My wife was watching a recording in progress, I fired up two more recordings, started a client watching one of those, then had another client watching live TV on a 4th channel, with tuner sharing. So that was, uh... four streams going onto the DVR and three coming off? Didn't miss a beat.

One of these days I'll push it harder. Maybe the same test and fire up a web client on the wired network. And maybe my phone on the cellular network. Beat up the CPU a bit doing software transcoding :slight_smile:

1 Like

Great! Thanks for the input.

What drives do you have installed in the 218+?
And what computer are you using?
I currently have a 218+ W/2 WD Red 6TB drives connected to a MAC Mini, which was purchased to be our NAS when we cut the cord but life interfered, it’s now being used to store tv shows/movies and music...I’d be willing to either get another one or transfer those files to another less powerful unit.
I’m still trying to figure this all out before I cut the cord...
Thanks for any input

I'm using a pair of WD Red (5400 RPM) drives in our DS218+. The Channels DVR service is running on the NAS.

Dumb question, but is there any advantage to using the DS218+ over a desktop computer that is always running? Other than the fact that you have to keep the computer running, of course.

And do you recommend upgrading the memory on the DS218+ if using it to run Channels?

Reading this and SD's forums, it's been my impression that the DS218+ provides a more trouble-free experience than using either MS-Windows or a Mac desktop.

My DS218+ is running stock. RAM usage right now is 18%.

I've got a small NUC style computer running Linux that I use when I want a little more power than my ARM NAS can handle. It's running Channels, Plex, Unifi SDN Controller and UNMS for my network, and don't really notice any problems. (I've got 8GB of RAM, and rarely notice more than 1.5GB being used at any given time.)

The 218+ is essentially a small computer running Linux. The advantage to using that over a desktop that's always on is essentially for ease-of-use, and lower power consumption.

I have a re-purposed an old desktop form 2012 with UnRaid. It runs Channels, Emby and several other dockers without any problems. It is a Intel Core i3 (2nd Gen) 2130 / 3.4 GHz with 6GB of ram. I think that it was running Windows 8 when I bought it in 2012. It has been a dedicated UnRaid server for at least 3 years and runs flawlessly. It sits in the furnace room in my basement. It's simple to maintain through a web interface.
It does use a little more power than a Qnap or Synology Nas, it averages around 35 watts with 2 6TB and 1 4TB WD Red drives installed.

1 Like

What's your thought on the new AMD Ryzen APU platform?

Specifically the AMD Ryzen 5 2400g

I have this as a Linux server platform with multiple VMs (Virtualbox). I'd like to put Channels DVR in a VM here but I'm wondering if lack of QuickSync will bury the Ryzen while transcoding?? or will the 8 threads of the Ryzen make it so I wouldn't care?

The cpu is so fast you won't notice or care

My setup: A desktop running Windows 10; 64-bit, i7-2600 CPU
Two TVs - one with Fire, one with Firestick
One 500 gb drive attached via USB which is more than adequate because we delete shows after we watch them.
Performance has been close to flawless.

If, like me, you are not looking to build a library, Channels DVR better than Plex or Emby - it seemed like I was always fiddling with something to make their DVRs work right. On performance and features, Channels DVR rivals Tivo. Silicon Dust makes great tuners, but their DVR is a pitiful mess. I have tried all these I have mentioned and have settled on Channels.


So I'm testing my Ryzen 5 2400g Linux server as a Channels DVR.

I have Channels running in an Oracle Virtualbox.

I've tested running it with:

  • 2 CPU/1GB RAM
  • 3 CPU/1GB RAM

With one stream @ 720p/4Mbps load average is 2.1
With two streams @ 720p/4Mbps&6Mbps load average is 5.6

Streams were run for more than 10 minutes

From the log:
(encoder=libx264, resolution=720, deinterlacer=blend, bitrate=4000)
(encoder=libx264, resolution=720, deinterlacer=blend, bitrate=6000)

With 2 streams running, they will stutter/pause every few seconds for a second.

I'm thinking it may have to do with ffmpeg - I was reading that v4 includes some AMD hardware support, not sure if that would help here or not.???

I currently run Channels DVR on a 2012 iMac with an i7 CPU, and I leave it running 24/7. This is not the most power efficient setup, obviously.

I would like to get the Synology DS218+, but I have questions....

With an HDHOMERUN CONNECT Quatro, if all 4 tuners are being utilized (let it be for recording or whatever), should this Synology NAS be fine? On my iMac I am noticing that under FULL USE, my CPU gets pegged about 10% (MAYBE that much).

Do you all think a Synology DS218+ should be good to go for me?

Following up on my last post.....I would REALLY like to get a 2-Bay NAS that's rack-mountable. I am seeing that Synology's rack mount Plus series is not quite as powerful as the DS218+?! Am I misreading something?

The DVR does not do any CPU intensive work (transcoding) while recording or watching TV on AppleTVs - so there won't be any CPU utilization there - even with all 4 tuners going.

However if you are watching via computer or on a remote device then the DVR must transcode the streams on-the-fly and thus the DVR cpu utilization will go up.

I used to run my DVR on a 1.5GHz CPU (dual threaded) and I have a Quatro tuner and up-to-2 remote streaming devices plus my 2 AppleTVs in the house, and it ran fine. It was an Intel CPU so it had Intel's QuickSync support so that helped alot.


I'm actually thinking more along the lines of just getting an Intel NUC, loading an OS onto an M.2 SSD, and then have my DVR recordings go onto the builtin 2.5" HDD.

DVR recording does not necessarily call for a NAS, as drive redundancy or performance is not vital to live TV. SATA is a more reliable connection than USB anyway, so.....I would say that's plenty good.

With a setup like this, if the HDD goes bad, I could just hot-swap it out and move on with my life, as the OS would boot off the SSD. If a missed recording is THAT important to me, I could just spend $3-$5 on iTunes or Amazon to just download it, on one of my AppleTV's.

With all of the above being said, can anybody point me to a good Linux build for something like this? I'm thinking that a fullblown Win10 setup might not be necessary.

My Gigabyte BRIX model is a BXBT-2807, it has 4GB RAM and a 1GB SSD. I bought it used a little over a year or so ago for less than $200.

It runs Ubuntu server 18.04 LTS. The SSD is the boot drive - I set aside 15GB for Ubuntu server installation, which is more than plenty and the rest for the DVR.

Runs totally quiet and is tucked away where nobody can see it.

It's been running Channels DVR since beta plus it's my gateway for my weather station and also hosts Cacti for monitoring my network/servers/ISP as well.

It has served me well.

I thought that media hosting off of SSD’s is bad, as it involves a very high amount of write cycles, you gain zero benefits as the bitrate needed to stream HD video conent is met with mechanical drives, and is more expensive storage than mechanical.

I was thinking maybe a small M.2 (under 128GB) to host the OS, and then a mechanical drive for the DVR content.

This is just my way of I wrong?

Also, would a bare-minimum 2018 Mac Mini (Core i3-8100B CPU with 8GB of RAM and an external USB drive for DVR content) be sufficient for a quad tuner and transcoding for 4 sessions?

You are correct, there isn't any speed or performance benefits for putting everything on an SSD.

As far as the i3-8100B, it supports Intel QuickSync, and that CPU has 4 virtual CPUs/threads, running at > 3GHz speeds, that should be fine for up-to 4 simultaneous transcoding sessions.

Also remember, if you are recording a program or you set your clients up to view at "original quality", then you aren't transcoding and thus not using any CPU processing power at the DVR.

All my ATVs and iPads are set to view at "original quality" while at home....and I can have 4 streams going with less than 10% CPU utilization.

When I am remote, I stream at 720p/4Mbps and I can and do regularly have 2 of those streams going, plus 2 other streams running at home. This will bring CPU utilization to 200% on the Gigabyte BRIX (2 CPU/thread) but I never seen any video session stutter or skip.

1 Like