Is this worth it?

I was looking to cancel my Virgin Media TV subscription and looking to go the Freeview router.

I live in the UK and to get VM broadband + Phone (108Mbps) will cost £25 for a new subscription.
If I opt for the "Big Bundle" Broadband (213Mbps), TV (100+ channels "Freeview") and Phone this will cost £33.

I saw the option to set up Freeview DVR on my PC and then use my Apple TV as the Client.
This did excite me as I would just use my Apple TV for all my viewing needs (Live/Recorded TV, Netflix, Disney+ etc...)

The only thing that stopped me from jumping on this, is the $8 monthly fee.

That is the same price as the difference between the 2 VM packages, with the added bonus of working out of the box.

Is anyone aware of a truly free way to get Freeview to work on the Apple TV?

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To use Channels with Freeview, you would need an aerial antenna and a HDHomeRun tuner box. The box connects to the aerial and your home router, and provides the signal to your Apple TV and other devices.

If you're not interested in DVR, then you can purchase the $25 app "Channels for HDHomeRun" once, and you would be able to watch all the Freeview channels you receive for free.

Thanks for your feedback.
I would be interested in the DVR feature so I don't think this is something suited to me.

I may just opt into the Big Bundle from VM as then I would also get double the download speed at 213Mbps along with the Freeview channels using Virgin TV 360 Box.

Unfortunately, I don't see the cost-benefit as I would need to purchase the extra equipment and set it up myself.

This is something that I would have enjoyed setting up though as I am a techie and love projects like this.

I just can't justify the cost as I can get the same outcome for the same price elsewhere.

£2-3 a month then I may have decided to take on this project.

Makes sense. Good luck!

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Here are a few things that makes Channels-DVR worth the money to me.

  1. Auto-skip commercials when watching recorded shows
  2. Ability to add my existing library of TV series I've ripped from my DVD / Blu-Ray discs
  3. Channels-DVR saves recordings to my library without DRM so other applications like Plex have access to them
  4. One application that brings live-tv and my media library together
  5. The client interface is simple to use
  6. Virtual channels for our favorite shows (I use this on another TV for my 3 yr old grandson when he is over)

Channels-DVR is more than just a DVR, it takes the libraries to a new level. However, for my movie library, Plex is better.

I do the annual plan for $80 per year which brings down the cost a bit.


I do see the benefits you are listing.

Could you provide a list of hardware you use to run the Channels system.

Please can you explain the virtual channels?
I’m not sure what you mean by this.

Is this a channel you create using your own content (TV shows/Movies already downloaded) or media from a streaming service like Netflix?

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It uses the content from your library. So recordings and local content.

For the server side, I have the Channels-DVR server running in a Docker container that is running on an unraid NAS running on an 11th gen i5 CPU with 64 GB Ram. However, the server could be hosted on a very small machine like a Raspberry Pi with USB drives or a Synology NAS.

For the client side, I am using nVidia Shield and Fire TV.

I've setup a Young Sheldon and Paw Patrol virtual channels which continuous "plays" episodes from my TV library. I watch virtual channels when I'm cleaning house as background entertainment. When the last episode is done, it starts over with season 1 episode 1.

Yes, these are channels I setup using my own content.

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What are you using to receive and decode the TV signal?

I have HD Home Runs that allows me to record OTA TV. I also have Philo and Sling TV subscriptions for recording shows on Cable like networks like Discovery, NatGeo Wild, HGTV, etc.

Have been really pleased since dropping Sky for a HomeRun and Channels DVR… everything just works beautifully, We got rid of premium channels when we realised all the wife was watching was on BBC and ITV. Another good thing is if you have a spare fire stick in a bedroom you don’t have to rewire the house to watch live tv… I just wish I bought the 4 Tuner model than the 2… it’s been a great experience. Hope this helps

You can add another HomeRun to get more tuners.

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