ChannelsDVR "Sources"

Thanks! Yes, that is my hope as I have a friend nearby who is able to pull the Baltimore channels some 30 miles away off the Hearst candelabra array. I have a similar view. He has the advantage of being higher, terrain-wise, and also outdoors. That said, my balcony is open-air. I will test this, hopefully on Sunday when I have some time. I am booked solid thru until Sunday with other tasks.

I gather you cannot pick up 7 (ABC) and 9 (CBS) locally in DC, either? I can pick up all the UHF stuff using a really basic UHF Yagi which is maybe 15" long and 9" wide. It works great. But, getting VHF 7 & 9 using a VHF element - forget it. I even get WHUT (Howard University) on 32.

You are on TVE? What "provider" are you using? I also get content from TVE using DirecTV off my 2nd home's account in Maine. That works. But, I don't get CBS nor ABC off DirecTV's TVE.

Thanks for your comment!

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Hi, Aman,

I tried both of those links with my current Chrome browser. Both said - "not available at current location" or "not with this browser." That's referring to live TV.

You said this was fixed in a pre-release. I will check that as I am on that Beta Test program thing.

Thanks,

Chuck

If it doesn't work on those sites, it is not possible for it to work in the DVR. All our DVR does it go to that site and redirect the video stream shown.

The fixes refer to issues where it does work on the site but wasn't coming through on Channels for whatever reason.

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Yes, in both cases, CBS and ABC, the browser comes back and says "not in my area" with my current provider. Interestingly, CBS's screen referred me to Paramount+ (to which I subscribe). There, I can click on LIVE TV and see the current WUSA9 (DC) live stream.

I suspect this is of little help as I don't see a method to shoe-horn in that connection to CDVR as a "Source."

Can we get support for https://www.localbtv.com/? i’ve been using that since locast went offline.

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Other threads already discussing that:


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@TroyFarm have you tried calling DirecTV and changing your service address to your current local address?

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It's an idea but we get the locals in Maine which is useful for Maine when we are there. I am surprised that those Maine locals do not appear on the TVE stream here, or the CBS / ABC locals where I am, either. I get NBC, Fox, and PBS - local to DC via DirecTV TVE. I do not understand how DirecTV decides what to stream, or not, on TVE.

We live full-time in our RV and used to have DirecTV. DirecTV via satellite will only provide local channels if you are located in the area allowed for those local channels, so we would call DirecTV and change our service address to our new location whenever we moved.
I suspect they would do the same thing with TVE and only allow the locals if you are in the service area.

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Yes, this is true. But, with your RV, you are accessing DirecTV via your satellite dish. I am doing the same at my home in Maine, but here in Maryland, I access DirecTV via TV Everywhere. What gets streamed to TV Everywhere from DirecTV is up to DirecTV, as I understand it.

I get all the local networks on my antenna here in Northeast DC . The difference is, I’m ESE of the ABC/CBS transmitter tower, so there’s nothing big blocking it from my antenna. Nothing I want is south of me, and my antenna is on the northeast corner of my house.

Tonight I’m even picking up 11 and 13 in Baltimore, but it’s a clear night. On cloudy days, i generally don’t pick those up. I always get 2, though.

My TVE access is from Spectrum from my brother’s house in CA, but I still get all the DC area network channels on it, plus MPT (PBS from Annapolis). I understand TVE uses the location of your Channels server to determine which networks to serve up. Not sure if your issue is specific to DirecTV or not.

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Thanks for the input! Yesterday was experimentation day. I have a balcony that should have a shot at 11 & 13. I got nothing with the rabbit ears (didn't think I would). I then used an antenna that a friend likes but doesn't have a great review elsewhere. With that, I was able to pick up ABC2 out of Baltimore, but that is a UHF channel. I got nothing from Baltimore for 11 or 13. Nothing from 7 locally. I did get a pixelated 9 that was unusable. So, that antenna is boxed-up and heading back to Amazon. All I netted was ABC2 which is something considering I do not get 7 local. That still leaves me without CBS.

There is a high-gain VHF available. That's my next shot. Apparently, I can pick up all the UHF locals here on a modified soda can. The next shot is to set up the high-gain VHF and aim it locally, or at Baltimore and see what I can get. If that works, then a small UHF Yagi or loop will do, add in a combiner, and feed that to my HDHomeRun unit.

What you said about TVE is interesting. It might be using the DirecTV location data (Maine) rather than where the actual ChannelsDVR server is located(?) which is here in Gaithersburg, MD.

I would like to call DirecTV but finding an actual technician might be a chore.

Thanks, again, for your comments!

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Hi, everyone!

Thanks for all the input. Here is my update.

I now have tried two high-end directional antennas (well-known brands) that include the high-VHF band and claim to be purposed for just that band. The results are lackluster, at best. Both antennas have been used with and without an amplifier and pointed (using a compass) to the Baltimore Hearst candelabara and to the south to the channels 7 & 9 towers. The best I got was 9 for a couple of minutes before it died and just could hold the signal.

The Baltimore test got me good reception on real-channel 27 (WMAR 2.1 ABC) but that is UHF. Channels 11 and 12 (Baltimore 13.1 and 11.1, respectively) failed completely.

Bottom line: Anything that is UHF in this market I can pick up with no issue. All of the antenna input is being fed into CDVR via an HDHomeRun box. Testing has been done with direct feeds from the antenna to the TV antenna input, set to Antenna, and scanned each time.

Other alternatives:

Right now, I can stream the ABC and CBS content via their apps but this does nothing for being able to record content on CDVR.

I spoke with my engineering friend who has an inexpensive antenna. He has a clear shot of DC and Baltimore and is able to receive channels from both markets, including the channels I cannot. I was at his place over the weekend and we went through all this. He had actually met on Friday with a group of retired broadcast engineers who worked this market for decades. All of them concluded I had done what I can do and I am SOL unless I can get an elevated antenna, clear of the obstructions. I have to concur based upon my tests and observation of other installations.

I have a question. Can anyone answer this?

HDHomeRun looks easy enough to setup from a LAN perspective. My engineer friend offered to allow me to erect an antenna on his property and feed it to an HDHomeRun box that would be placed on his LAN. I could then access that with some protocols that should not be too difficult to setup. Has anyone done this with any success? We both have very good internet connections. It appears CDVR permits the connection to an HDHomeRun unit via an IP address, so that is promising. That said, would it work?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this approach? Yes, it sounds like I am creating my own mini-Locast system.

Thanks!

Chuck

Ok so this is possible but there are a bunch of hurdles. I work for a software company and needed to make a piece of physical gear accessible from my home in Va Beach to a VM in NOVA. As is with channels, the software would not connect to my public address on port 80. I could not just use standard port forwarding as our software was designed to reject anything not in the private address space. So I had to do an outbound NAT on the VM side with pfsense firewall. Basically when the client tried to talk to the price of gear it went to 192.168.0.2 which the firewall translated to 68.xxx.xxx.xxx. That traffic hit my firewall and was translated to the internal ip of the gear. It worked perfect.

I can help you with this but there are several questions to be answered.

  1. What router/firewall does your friend have? It needs to be able to port forward and translate the port as well. Reason being is most isps will not allow you to host any server on port 80TCP. So you would pick another port and then translate that to the internal ip of the hdhomerun.

  2. What upload bandwidth does your friend have? This is the big show stopper. If they have 10 Meg I wouldn't even consider this. It may be technically enough but when there is other upload traffic on the Lan it could be bothersome for both of you.

  3. Does he have data caps? If so it could be a concern for him.

  4. Does your public ip change with your isp? You would want to have the firewall nat rule restricted to just your ip address on your friends firewall. So if it changed then the process would break and the firewall rule would have to be updated

  5. What firewall do you have? It would probably require that you switched it out to use pfsense. This isn't a bad thing pfsense blows all consumer firewalls out of the water. We need this for the outgoing NAT part. This will fool channels into thinking that the HDHR is on a local private address space when in reality the firewall is translating that to a public address.
    You can install pfsense on an old computer easily. You might have to add a couple of more network interfaces but that's easy.

If you are willing to give this a try and put in all the work, I'm happy to assist you and could even port forward one of my Hdhr's for you to test with. That way you can be 100 percent this will work before you bother your friend by installing an antenna, reconfiguring his router etc. The only variable difference would be that I am in the Norfolk VA market and have 300 meg fiber upload.

Seth

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Just wanted to throw this out there for consideration.
Won'tl there be a problem with TTL/#hops and latency between the HDHR and the Channels server.

Hi, Seth!

All good questions. Thanks for the input. Yes, some of those facets have been considered. My friend is running Verizon FiOS so the up/down speeds are well over 100M. There are no data caps on either end of this. Yes, we will need to look into how to set this up. I will pull in my networking people if we decide to go this route. These are good points and I will screen-shot these and pass them along to my networking friends.

I am annoyed that we have to do all this just because the broadcasters are greedy. If you look at Locast's gross income (millions) vs. rebroadcasting fees (many billons), just how greedy can you get?

The fact remains that Locast served a purpose. There are no affordable alternatives to Locast short of expensive cable/fiber or streaming packages. I think Sling is the cheapest at $35? Either way, the goal of Locast was to provide LOCAL channels. And, I would guess, their market is for people who cannot otherwise receive any/all of the local channels. From a marketing standpoint, one would think the broadcasters would be on the Locast bandwagon as their signal would reach more homes. But, the broadcasters make their bread-and-butter on rebroadcasting fees. I cannot imagine the loss of fees from Locast would have amounted to a drop in the bucket.

It is not like there are any alternatives. I have been messing with this since Locast shutdown. And, as a techie-geek, it is interesting but the charm is wearing thin. But, I am on a mission and I will find a solution to this.

Thanks, again!

Chuck

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