[EXPERIMENTAL] DVR server on SHIELD Tube, etc

We have been looking into ways to make it easier for new users to set up a DVR, without having to buy a full fledged NAS.

Currently the main alternative to a NAS is the SHIELD Pro. With the latest DVR pre-release build, we've expanded support for all types of Android TV devices. This includes the (non-Pro) SHIELD Tube, the new TiVo Stream 4K, and other Android TV devices like sound bars and televisions.

Since hardware specs vary so much across the Android ecosystem, this is very much experimental. We are hoping to learn from the community about which devices works well and which do not.

NVIDIA has always made great CPUs and GPUs in-house, so my guess is that the Tube will make a good DVR. The Amlogic S905Y2 (quad-core 1.8ghz) used in the ADT-3 and the TiVo Stream 4K is also quite snappy and works surprisingly well. Of course older televisions and devices (which are already sluggish) will not provide a good experience as a DVR server. But newer devices with latest CPUs are becoming quite competitive.

I will share my experience on the TiVo streamer:

  • installed DVR server directly from Play store, then upgraded to pre-release
  • plugged in a USB-C hub and attached a flash drive
  • selected flash drive storage during setup (shows up as XXXX-XXXX; files will automatically be stored in an Android/data/com.getchannels.dvr directory on the drive due to android restrictions)
  • was able to add my TVE provider (YTTV not supported- same as SHIELD)
  • hardware transcoding at ~50fps; works well for 30fps content
  • commercial detection on a 2h mpeg2 recording took 44 minutes
  • commercial detection on a 30min h264 recording took 20 minutes
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Very interesting development. I may have to play with this a bit. (I bought 3 TS4Ks to replace some Fire TV Stick 4Ks—damn that intrusive Amazon advertising—and explore some Android TV development.)

Awesome work Aman and team!

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I have installed the server and then set up on my computer. Took me a second to figure out how to upgrade to pre-release but then remembered to shift click check for update. Looks like the pre-release upgrade is needed to set up dvr directory location. My 1.5TB external drive is set up as internal storage so only one device drive to chose from. I wasn't sure where to install it so I put it in the following directory that I named.

/storage/emulated/0/Android/data/channelsdvr

Does anyone know of a USB-C hub that would allow ethernet and external drive hookup at the same time. Would love to have ethernet for the Channels DVR server and not wifi.

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Thanks. That looks like the perfect solution.

On internal/adopted storage you can simply make a "DVR" folder. I wouldn't recommend using internal storage though since it's already tight with the base apps installed. (EDIT: I see you're using adopted 1TB.)

On external/removable storage the proper directory will be selected automatically based on android requirements. I've tried to make it as easy as possible, but let me know if anything is confusing.

Should I not have the external drive formated as internal. Should I choose the removable formatting option instead?

I would recommend removable storage. If the TiVo dies you will lose access to your recordings because adopted storage is encrypted. It also makes it hard to transfer your dvr to another machine.

Thanks. I wasn't sure which to chose yesterday when I added the drive.

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I am currently using that adaptor and it works perfectly.

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I was able to add YTTV without any issue and it work fine, did I read the above wrong?

I was able to set this up and it works perfectly. Thank you very much for the info an guide.

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Can't watch tv

I've been running the Channels DVR Server on my Tivo Stream 4K for about 24 hours now. I've put it through some heavy recording and watching use and it has been rock solid even over wifi. I did order an ethernet/power adapter to micro usb to hardwire the connection to the network. Overall I'm very impressed.

I tried to connect the 3TB WD external drive, that I used with my MacMini Channels DVR Server setup, to the Stream 4K but it didn't recognize it so I'm still using the 1.5TB. Someday I plan to buy a new larger capacity drive. Hopefully, one of the latest new external drives will work.

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@axm300c Thanks for sharing! And wow: 5 simultaneous recordings, 1 comskip, and using the client app to watch a show at the same time. Quite impressive for a little dongle.

According to https://sites.google.com/view/droid-tv/oem/sei-robotics, the AirTV Mini is also made by SEI Robotics and has the same S905Y2 chip. Although I don't think there's a USB-C or even a regular USB micro port on that one to attach storage.

I ran some tests on the FireTV Cube (1st-gen) as a DVR today and though it works, the S905Z feels very sluggish (even when just loading up the web UI). I imagine the 2nd-gen Cube with the S922 is much snappier, and probably would work quite well as a DVR. You would need a micro-usb hub or adapter to attach external storage.

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For anyone who wants to try running the DVR on FireTV Cube, soundbar or TV edition, you can now download Channels DVR Server from the Amazon Store.

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This might make my Stream usable until Tivo fixes the HDR and CEC issues (if they ever do). I refuse to connect it to my TV, but I might try replacing the computer I'm using to run the DVR now. The computer is worth a couple hundred dollars and has no other use, so the Stream might pay for itself even if I never hook it up to my TV. I already have the Chromecast ethernet adapter sitting in a drawer, so all I need is a USB C adapter to connect my external hard drive.

Two questions here:

  1. At home, I've got a Fire TV 2nd gen box with ethernet and plenty of extra available storage space. I've also got an original Android TV MiBox with external USB storage as well. Any idea how either of those might fare, and which might be better to try? Or are they even compatible?

  2. I've already got my paid Channels DVR setup installed on my Windows 10 PC, and I don't want to mess with that for now. How/ can I try the experimental DVR server install on either my Fire TV or MiBox without causing a problem for my existing setup? Can I have more than one install on the same Channels DVR account?

Thanks!

When I follow your link above to the Amazon website apps store and it shows me the Channels DVR Server app, it also shows the app as being "incompatible" with all my Fire TV devices -- Fire Stick 4Ks, Fire TV box 2nd gen, and misc others.

PS - When I check in the Google Play Store, the Channels DVR Server app also shows as being incompatible with the MiBox Android TV device.

Channels-FireTV

I have used this ethernet hub with TiVo Stream 4k and Amazon 4K Stick with different OTG adaptors. (Ethernet is part of device, hub supports storage)


This adaptor with USB-C (for TiVo)

This adaptor with USB Micro (for Amazon)

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