Frequently Asked Questions


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Channels DVR

How much does it cost?

Channels DVR requires a subscription plan: either $8/month or $80/year

Channels DVR subscribers get access to all the Channels apps for free as long as they maintain an active subscription.

How do I cancel my subscription?

You can manage or cancel your Channels DVR subscription at any time with a simple click on getchannels.com/account

Once you cancel your subscription, you will no longer be billled however your DVR will continue working until the end of your current billing period.

How do I fix missing guide data?

On the DVR web UI, click the circle icon under your HDHomeRun to reload guide data. This will fetch any missing channel mappings based on the data in the official SiliconDust HDHR app.

If the official HDHR app is also missing data for some channels, you can contact [email protected] with your HDHR device ID and the list of channel numbers missing data.

Alternatively, you can click the pencil icon under your HDHomeRun on the dvr web UI and add/change guide mappings per channel.

How do I update to the beta version of the DVR server?

Open the Channels DVR web UI on the PC/NAS where your DVR server is running. Hold the SHIFT key on your keyboard and click the Check for Updates button. The latest beta will download and the server will upgrade automatically as soon as any recordings or playback sessions are complete.

When a new stable release is published, the DVR server will upgrade to it automatically. If a new beta is published, you will need to repeat the steps above if you want to upgrade to it.

What is Transcoding and why would I need it?

Video is transmitted in different codecs, which define how the video frames are compressed. Common codecs include MPEG2, H264 and HEVC. Each codec also has an associated resolution (like 480p, 720p, 1080p, etc), and a bitrate (2mbps, 4mbps, 8mbps). The resolution defines how many pixels are in the picture, and the bitrate is how much bandwidth or disk storage is used per second of video.

To watch a video, you have to decode using the codec to uncompress the data and turn it into a picture.

Transcoding is when you decode and then re-encode. For example, you may take a MPEG2 1080p 16mbps video stream and transcode it to a H264 720p 4mbps stream.

The Channels app and DVR do not require transcoding, and by default when you are at home no transcoding is enabled. However, when you're away from home transcoding can be helpful because your data plan is usually limited and you don't want to send large mpeg2 files over the internet and use up all your data. In these cases, you can control the bitrate and resolution in the app and the DVR will transcode the videos in real-time to a smaller size and resolution to limit the bandwidth usage.

One exception is the web player. Since browsers do not support MPEG2, any time you use the web player the DVR has to transcode the video into H264 so the browser can play it.

What is the difference between Software and Hardware transcoding?

Software transcoding uses the CPU to decode and re-encode video. This is an expensive task, and will typically max out your CPU usage, and limit the number of frames that can be encoded per second.

With video decoding and encoding becoming so popular with consumers, many manufacturers have started including dedicated video chips on their CPUs and GPUs that can perform transcoding much more quickly. This is known as Hardware transcoding. Support for hardware transcoding depends on your cpu and graphics card model, but typically Channels DVR will support modern Intel CPUs, Nvidia GPUs, AMD GPUs (on Windows), and some specialized systems like the Nvidia SHIELD for hardware transcoding.

Why is my DVR not showing a Hardware transcoding option?

You can run a HWE test on your DVR which will attempt to use all the different hardware transcoders to find one that works.

On Mac/Linux, open a terminal and paste: curl -XPOST http://127.0.0.1:8089/hls/hwaccel

On Windows, open powershell and paste: curl.exe -XPOST http://127.0.0.1:8089/hls/hwaccel

Then open the DVR web UI to the Log tab, and copy all the messages that start with [HWE]. Send these to [email protected] and we can take a look at why hardware transcoding is not getting enabled.

My DVR is running on Windows and recordings are sometimes slow to seek or start.

Some users have found that disabling Windows' auto-tune can fix a lot of issues watching recordings.


Channels App

How do I restart the app?

On the Apple TV Siri remote, click that TV/Home button twice and then swipe up on the Channels app.

On iPhone/iPad, click the Home button twice and then swipe up.

On FireTV, go to Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications > Channels > Force Stop

How do I fix missing sound or static noises on FireTV?

In the app, go to Settings > Player and set Surround Sound to Off.

How do I install the app on multiple FireTVs?

Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/your-account/myapps and use Actions > Deliver to... to send the Channels app to each of your FireTV devices.

How can I test the network speed at my TV?

On Android TV or FireTV, go to the DVR settings tab and use the "Test Speed to DVR Server" button

On Apple TV, first go to Settings.app and note down the IP address of your Apple TV. Then launch the Channels app and make sure it is visible on the screen. Finally, use a browser on another device like a computer or tablet to open http://x.x.x.x:57000/speedtest using the IP of your Apple TV.


HDHomeRun

Which HDHomeRun model is recommended with an antenna?

We recommend the HDHomeRun Connect Duo or Quatro, depending on how many channels you plan to record/watch at the same time.

We do not recommend the Extend, as the hardware transcoder is quite limited and the newer chipset in the Connect Duo/Quatro is a better value for your money.

What is the ideal network setup for my HDHomeRun?

For best results, ensure that your HDHomeRun has a static DHCP reservation on your router.

Plug the HDHomeRun, Channels device and Channels DVR PC/NAS into the same physical switch/router using high-quality Cat6 cables.

Instead of plugging devices directly into your router, we recommend buying an inexpensive gigabit switch and plugging everything into that, then plugging the switch into your router. The switches built into most routers are usually not of very great quality.

How do I capture a video sample to troubleshoot player issues?

First, look up the IP address of your HDHomeRun tuner by visiting my.hdhomerun.com and right-click copy url on your HDHomeRun.

Next find the channel number of the channel that is having playback issues.

Finally, use the IP and CHANNEL to enter the following URL into Chrome to download a sample:

http://IP:5004/auto/vCHANNEL?duration=30

So for example if your HDHomeRun IP is 192.168.1.9 and the channel is 102 then the URL will be:

http://192.168.1.9:5004/auto/v102?duration=30


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