Just switched to a Pi 4. Tips and Tricks?

I just switched to a Pi 4 (8GB) with a 1TB WD external drive. So far, so good. But I wanted to know to know of any tips and tricks that can help make the most out of it. Here are some questions I have:

  1. Should I use a bus powered USB drive or one with its own external power supply? What makes one better over the other?
  2. What are the transcoding issues with using a Pi?
  3. Should I use hardware or software transcoding?

Thanks so much!

  1. A drive with its own power supply would be better since the RPi4 has some power supply limitations.
  2. I didn't run into any, but...
  3. Hardware transcoding. Software transcoding, depending on what you're transcoding and to what target profile, might not work.

Another tip: backup. A few people have had some issues and needed to reinstall (me included), so I'd recommend backing up your stuff.

I havn't had any issues. But what ever you do not reboot your pi from the Channels Settings screen. Every time I have, required a power recycle. Other than that I have had no issues. I am using a
I wish that I know more about Channels DVR on the PI. I think its is better than running it on my NAS plus its about 400 bucks cheaper.

Definitely use an externally powered drive. The USB bus can only supply so much power, and extended read/write operations can draw too much power, and cause issues with the Pi.

None, really. The only caveat is that the Pi can only handle a single hardware accelerated transcode. This means that only a single remote stream is supported.

Hardware is generally better, as it uses less resources/power. However, it does have the limitation of only supporting a single stream.

Of course, if you're only using the DVR locally within your home network, the transcoding issue is moot. Set your client apps to use "Original" quality for home connections, and the Pi will never need to transcode.

This is usually related to the hard drive you are using. In my experience this happens with cheap drives that don't fully support all of the features that can be exposed over the bus.

(I noticed this when using an external WD MyBook drive. It was wholly unsuitable to be used as a primary boot drive due to power issues. Swapping that drive out for a better external drive solved the issue with requiring a full power cycle on the Pi.)

For my purpose of the DVR I don't need another devices power adapter wasting energy if not necessary. I purchase what the developers recommended and am happy with the results. I do have the PI on a UPS so that will help protect the PI and HD. Plus its mobile so I can take it else where with internet. I don't use Channels DVR for anything but to watch and delete after viewing content. I don't care about retaining libraries with Channels DVR. I have Emby for that on my NAS.

I have 2 Pi DVRs in use personally. Neither have external powered drives.
However, they both are SSD.
One Pi uses a Samsung T7 500GB.
The other, a Samsung 850Evo 500GB 2.5in in some random clear enclousure i got from Amazon.
they both work fine and have for few months now.

I always thought that the shutdown option in the Channels DVR for the Pi always required also the manual pwer cut to the Pi, as for me, on both pis, the sdd attached shuts off, and one of the pi's leds goes off, but i still have to kill the pis power via the power cord switch to fully shut it and the fan in the case off. Fine by me.

These are all very helpful. Thanks everyone.

I guess I could put a smart switch on it and be able to power recycle the PI remotely in case there is issue with the reboot. But that may be over kill.