Linux Server with Channels Down - Watch TV While I Restore?

A while back I moved Channels from a MacMini to a new Linux server. I use Channels during stressful times (which has been for a few months or more, recently) so I can fall asleep to "harmless" old shows by just batch playing the episodes from a TV show through Apple TV. (I've been using the beta, through TestFlight for Channels.) I really do need background sound like inane TV shows to be able to think during stressful times, so I use it for more than falling asleep.

Today I woke up hours early to silence. (Yes, when the background sound stops, I wake up.) It turns out my Linux server is down. I'm still diagnosing it and it looks like the NEW external drive that had the DVR folder on it has crashed. I use two HDHomeRun tuners and an OTA antenna for service. So now I'm without TV.

I looked on Apple TV for an app for HDHomeRun and apparently there isn't one. When I run Channels, it looks for the Channels server, which won't be up for a good while (and longer if I have to work in silence or music-only).

So what I need help with:

  1. What is the fastest and easiest way to be able to watch TV from the HDHomeRun tuners on Apple TV? No HDHomeRun app on Apple TV and the Channels app needs the Channels server. (I think there's another Channels app for $25 - I don't know if that works like I want, but I'm hoping to not have to pay that much for an app I'll be using a day or two.)

  2. I figure I can set up a new Channels server on an old MacMini, the one I transferred Channels away from, previously. It's an old server and now has limited drive space. If I set that up for temporary use, but can restore the one on the Linux server, is it just a matter of shutting off or uninstalling that instance of Channels (on the MacMini) and letting the Apple TV apps find the normal instance, on Linux, once it's back up?

I'd like to just add an app to Apple TV quickly to watch my HDHomeRun devices live. Once that's done, I can take time to examine the Linux system and see what it needs and either restore it today or put a Channels server on my MacMini to get it up and running while I fix the Linux server.

The HDHR tuners natively support DLNA, which is an industry standard way for sharing A/V resources throughout your LAN.

Look for a light-weight DLNA player app for the AppleTV to access the live streams from your HDHR tuners.

Thank you. I didn't know the HDHR tuners had that much software in them. I guess I've been thinking of them as quite minimal. I already have several DLNA players I can use.

Out of curiosity, is that how Channels communicates with the HDHRs?

Not sure. I think channels uses the HDHR tcp/udp API which is probably independent from the DLNA stuff.

Personally, I'm a fan of "easy." I'd just pop for the $25 one-time charge for the Live TV version of the app and be done with it. But to each their own.

Here's another thought... Fire up the ChannelsDVR server on the old Mac Mini but remove all of the recording passes there if you don't have enough storage for them (this will not affect any other Channels DVR). Then you can continue to use the Channels ecosystem to live-stream TV.

Yeah, lots of times I go that way, but I may be about to pop for a few new HDs and, considering our internet situation here (no cable available), I'm thinking I can't keep waiting for SpaceX to get StarLink running so I can go back to backing up 100% on the cloud. (Satellite and internet-over-cell data have bandwidth limits and caps.) So there's a good chance I may just have to pony up enough for a good RAID for backup.

Firing up the old one would be a good idea.

But when I set up the Linux server, I moved a lot of data around to offload it from old drives and I also had to clean up a lot of stuff on that Mac and deleted the Channels install, along with a lot of other stuff I wasn't using on there anymore.

A fresh install of Channels DVR is pretty low-effort. Especially if it's just going to be a stand-alone install and you don't need to import recordings/passes from a previous install.

Also, if you're thinking about RAID, then it might make sense to buy a NAS that is capable of running the Channels DVR and kill several birds with 1 stone.

I can tell you that you can stream directly from your HDHR using VLC for AppleTV, which is free. I only did it one time just to see if it worked, so I can’t vouch for how reliable it is.

Well, good news, or it sounds like it. I got everything up and running with no data loss! So, while doing the work, one of my media players was running on Apple TV to keep any anxiety down.

I say, "or sounds like it," because I have a data drive that acted up and I don't know why it did that. When that happens, unless I can pinpoint exactly what went wrong with that drive, I consider it suspect. A replacement is on the way. When it gets here, in a few days (assuming the drive doesn't crash again), I'll clone this drive to the new one and swap them.

Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions. It was a big help!


FYI - If you purchased the suspect harddrive separately (as opposed to it being pre-installed in the computer) then you might want to open a support ticket with the manufacturer. HDDs have a surprisingly long warranty period, and, in my experience, manufacturers are pretty good about replacing units that have gone bad under warranty (although you might have to pay shipping).

It's a Western Digital and still under warranty. I've had only two times before when a WD drive failed in less than 5 years and they've always cross-shipped the drive to me ASAP. Due to C19, they don't do that now. So I'm ordering a spare drive so I can clone the current one to the new one. When that's done, I'll send in the questionable one and, when the replacement gets here, I'll have a spare for a standby. I'll probably connect it to that server via USB and use it as a backup so, in the future, if the drive goes bad, I'll have a backup that's never more than a few hours old that I can swap in immediately.

I used to run my own business based on my own software for data mining. I would have at least one RAID set up all the time, but usually more. I'd have 4-6 computers on a rack, running all the time. I had several drives from another company fail within 48 hours of each other, taking down one of my RAIDs (that was before I kept spare drives around), I changed to WD for all my drivers. Having only two failures with drives less than 5 years in service was pretty good, especially considering some of the drives were running 24/7.

I am still working on things like landscaping (as in moving lots of dirt), finishing up renovating our guest house (an old pig bar), as well as still refining the computer and network in the new house, which is why I don't yet have all my preferred redundancies in place.