How do I set up remote watching for Channels outside the home?

I am a subscriber to Channels DVR and I have my whole home set up for watching live TV and recordings. I use HDHome Run tuners (for live other the air broadcast content) and Philo. I watch Channels using my Firesticks. My Channels DVR is set up with a Synology NAS in my home.

Okay, now that I've described my setup, can someone guide me in the right direction in terms of watching live TV outside of my home? For example, let's say I am on vacation and I bring one of my FIresticks along that already has Channels configured on the device. What would I need to do (at the remote location) to get my Firestick (hooked into any TV) to see my home network and stream live TV from my HDHR tuners and (secondary) to see my Philo channels?

I am thinking I can configure this (somehow). But when I learned how to set up my home server, I didn't go to the next step in terms of learning how to watch live TV and/or recordings outside my home. I am most interested in the live broadcast TV feature outside the home, but also curious how I could possibly watch Channels DVR recorded content as well....all while using my channels app that I subscribe to through one of my 4k Firesticks.

It seems it would be too easy to simply take one of my configured Firesticks on the road with me and simply plug it into a TV monitor with internet access. Can someone put me in the right direction on how to configure my home network for remote watching outside of the home, particularly important for watching my live over the air broadcast content through one of my 4K Firesticks and the Channels app? I am interested in doing this, all while keeping my home network secure. Thanks for any replies.

I am gathering that I need to go into my router settings and set port forwarding to 8089....assuming what I want to do can be done. I see that in router settings. However, I really need further step by step instructions.

My Synology NAS has a fixed location of 192.168.1.2. Also, I went into my router at 192.168.1.1; and I see the port forwarding option in my router settings. But I am not going to turn it on or proceed further until I get a better understanding of what I am trying to do here.

Meanwhile, if anyone has a link to any step by step instructions, please send. Thanks.

On your FireTV you can go into settings and click Connect to DVR > Away from Home and follow the steps on screen. Once that's done, you can take it with you and plug it into another tv and it should connect back to your home.

From what I could see you already have remote access enabled and port forwarding is working so may have been set up automatically.

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After I previously posted, I went into my router settings. And just for a few minutes, I toggled the port forwarding option "on". However, because I didn't really understand what I was doing, I cut it back off.

From your feedback, it sounds like it's actually pretty straight forward. You are saying from my FireTV, I can simply go into settings, click connect to DVR - Away from Home and following the steps on the screen. That sounds easy enough.

But wouldn't I also need to go back into my router and toggle that "port forwarding" switch back "on"? Also, can you give me any insight (so to speak) into how this actually works? In other words, once I configure the FireStick and "presumably" toggle port forwarding back to "on" in my router....how does this actually work, from a general/technical perspective? In other words, how is the FireStick able to remotely connect to my home network from a remote location to capture my live TV from broadcast channels from my HDHR tuners configured over Channels? Just want to gain some "insight" (so to speak) as well. And just to be entirely sure here, does port forwarding keep my home network completely safe behind the firewall without me taking any other measures? I feel like I am kind of a dummy with this piece of Channels because I never (previously) learned anything about using Channels outside of my home.

Thanks for your reply here.

There is a functionality built into most routers called upnp that slows applications to request the port forwarding they need. This is what is used when Channels is set to automatic. That is probably why Aman mentioned the port was open even though you haven’t done anything manually. If it works for you, nothing else is needed. However, for those that cannot or do not want to use upnp, you can configure the port forwarding yourself, and set Channels to manual so that it doesn’t try to do it for you. The end result is the same. From a security perspective, forwarding a single port to a specific IP on your network is generally considered low risk.

From a technical perspective, when your router sees a request come into your network for the port that Channels runs on, it finds the rule that says to forward that traffic to your channels server, which it does. As such as you are connectivity directly to your DVR server through your router, via your home internet. Due to this, a stable uplink with decent bandwidth is needed for best performance. 10Mbps would be the minimum you would want to have the best experience I would think.

That helps. I am going to trying using my FIrestick sometime soon - when I am out of the home to make sure this works for me. Thanks for your feedback and reply.

I haven't tried one of my Firesticks away from home yet because there's been no need to. However, I just tried using Channels through my iPhone while at the grocery store a little while ago (just as a test) and it worked perfectly. Setting it up was "easy peasy".

I just went through the settings on Channels DVR on my Firestick to allow for remote reviewing. I then had to accept a code on my PC and it activated Channels DVR remotely on the Firestick. So this obviously allowed Channels to work on my iPhone as well when I installed the app on my phone while away from home and using Channels remotely.

It worked great in the grocery store (as a test) on my iPhone. So this tells me that my Firestick "should" be plug and play ready for whenever the time comes that I want to watch live TV or one of my recordings on a guest TV, using Channels DVR, from a remote location, whenever I go on the road away from home in the future.

Thanks for the replies here.

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Update:
While I have no need to use remote Channels DVR at my step father's house, I decided to run a "test" today to see if I could simply plug my Firestick into his TV and see if I could gain remote access to my Channels DVR on my FIrestick. So I brought my 4K Firestick and some patch ethernet cord to his house (just in case wi-fi wouldn't work). He lives just down the street so I thought this would be a convenient test.

These were my observations with my test. My Firestick (configured with Channels DVR) and remote access would "not" stream any of my HDHR tuner channels using his wi-fi. This was the case even with his TV in the same room as his router. I then used an ethernet patch cord to plug the Firestick directly into his router. Only then was my FIrestick and Channels DVR able to see "one" of my two HDHR tuners from home along with all of my recorded content. Channels DVR could "not" see the other tuner at all for some weird reason and thus I was missing access some of the broadcast channels in the Guide lineup. I would get an error message on some networks saying the channel could not be found, or some message to that affect.

Just fyi - I use "two" HDHR tuners with Channels DVR because I have antenna farms in completely different directions from my home. So each HDHR tuner is optimized for each antenna farm with the "other" respective HDHR tuner being blocked. This works great in my home because it forces Channels DVR and the HDHR tuners to use the optimized HDHR tuner for the given channel(s) for best reception purposes.

Questions: does anyone have any idea why I had that experience during my test of remote access? In other words, why did I have to temporarily hard wire my Firestick to make remote access work at all? And, second, why is it that Channels DVR could only access "one" of the two HDHR tuners on my home network and "only" after I temporarily hard wired my 4K Firestick on this TV with ethernet patch cord directly connected to his router? His TV and router are in the same room so I would've thought my Firestick picking up on his wi-fi connection would have been sufficient, but of course it wasn't.

And an entirely different question. From a network security standpoint, I understand having port 8089 open for remote access is very minimal security risk. However, since Channels DVR is stored and hosted on my Synology NAS in my home, is it best (for security reasons), not to use the Synology NAS for any other purposes (i.e. backups of things off my separate PC, also in my home, that contains personal data)?

I am not new to Channels DVR; however, this whole remote access issue is a bit foreign to me because I've never had any experience with it. I am trying to gain an understanding of how it will work with my Firestick with the idea that I could simply take my Firestick on the road with me (in the future) and gain access to my Channels and DVR content while away from home. The remote access appears to be a great feature. But at the same time, I'd like to gain a better understanding the "plug and play" ability of my Firestick outside the home for remote access "and" also ensure that I am following all reasonable precautions to ensure my home network stays safe and secure even with port 8089 turned on in the settings for remote access.

I appreciate any additional feedback here to give me a better understanding of the remote access feature of Channels DVR.

Scott

Can't answer all your questions, but I will say that for security reasons I don't use remote access because Channels DVR runs with root access on a Synology. The devs could change that and have been asked to, but haven't.

Many will say, "Well I've been running with open ports or DMZ for years and never had an issue". I'll let them be the guinea pigs, Thank You.

It's not that I don't trust the devs, but I'm sure they're using code they haven't written or hasn't been audited/scrutinized for security flaws and I don't want to open up my private LAN to a hacker that exploits something in the code base being used.

That's just my opinion and my right. I'm sure others could care less. Many don't realize that once something gets into your NAS/PC/iOT device/whatever on your internal private LAN, the game's over as it could easily pivot internally.

If and when I decide to remotely access my Channels DVR servers, it will be over a VPN.

From my understanding remote access should be “all or nothing”, so if you were able to connect, everything should work just as it would from home. The only things I can think of is that perhaps his WiFi throughput was poor, which is why you had to connect via Ethernet. That doesn’t explain why it couldn’t “see” one of your tuners. When you were connected remotely the tuner wasn’t even listed in the settings “manage sources” section?

Yes, both tuners were showing on the Guide data when I displayed Channels DVR. However, the Firestick would only stream HDHR channels from "one" of my two tuners. The other HDHR tuner (while listed) would not play any of its respective channels.

Again, (just fyi) I have each HDHR tuner set to separate antenna farms in different geographic directions to optimize my reception at home and force the appropriate HDHR tuner to be utlized based on which channel I am tuning. In this way, it optimizes my reception by forcing the desired HDHR tuner to be utilized based on the desired channel that I select from the Guide.

Thanks.

Regarding the tuning errors, if you can click Settings > Support > Submit Diagnostics in the app after seeing the error, that will help diagnose and fix the issue

So in response to your post about security, are you saying that you feel "root access" (theoretically) allows a hacker to get into the entire LAN with port 8089 open? Or would the theoretical vulnerability be more limited to something on my Synology NAS that is used as the actual host of Channels DVR? I ask that question because I can easily wipe my NAS clean of everything besides Channels DVR and keep all my other data on my separate home PC and external hard drives that I occasionally use for backups.

Thanks for the reply about tuning errors. I am posting from home. But the next time I attempt to use my Firestick from a remote location, I will follow your direction and click Settings > Support > Submit Diagnostics in the app, assuming the same error happens again.

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No, what I'm saying is if something exploits your open port to the Internet (if you're not familiar with shodan, check it out) and gets into your Synology, the channels dvr service runs as 'root', which means it owns your NAS and can do what it wants, including accessing anything else on your LAN connected to it.

I look at it like investing in the stock market. You can get big gains (Ease of use, connect remotely with a firestick, etc.) or big losses (something gets in through your open port and takes over your NAS, steals data, pivots inside your LAN, etc.)

There is aways a tradeoff between convenience and security, just as there is reward vs. risk in the stock market.

It just depends on your tolerance level which you choose and how far you go with it.

What you said about exploits should certainly be taken seriously by everyone. At the same time, as you say, there is always a tradeoff between convenience and security.

As for me, I don't have any other information on my Synology NAS, except Channels DVR. And I do keep the Anti-Virus on Synology current along with installing the latest updates; and of course it is password protected with a strong password.

My PC is the only device in the home with any personal data; and I don't share any folders on the PC with any other devices on my home network. I have always used good common sense about never responding to any phishing inquires; and I never download any suspicious or unknown files. My PC is also kept up to date with the latest Anti-Virus.

I have heard of Shodan. And while I suppose there is always a risk for anyone using the internet, I am thinking there is most likely low risk for my personal circumstances in keeping the 8089 port open on the Synology NAS. If I learn about added risk, I will certainly turn it off as the remote feature of Channels DVR is not critical for me, though it would be a nice convenience to have available going forward.

Thanks for your reply.

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