Planning a new build of Channels DVR Server... Advice please


I am a new to Channels. I was a long time Microsoft Media Center user and am finally migrating away as I have moved to a house that should have great over the air options. I am planning on using the PC I ran MCE on as the server. It has a 4k video card so I assume the best way to feed Channels content to my main TV is via HDMI. Is that the case? I plan on running Channels via the App on several other TVs that will have ethernet wired connections. Is a dedicated HDMI path to the main TV recommended? Thanks so much for the advice! I am excited to migrate to Channels and looking forward to learning.... Thanks Again!

Video card of the server does not matter. the server device, like a PC, does not feed the Cleint (a tv or streaming box). You will use the app on the smart tv or device, which is often not great as most tvs are lacking in the cpu power to run their smart OS well, imo. Best to get a Apple TV or Nvidia Shield as a client device.

You can use anything from a PC or a Raspberry Pi as a server, depending on your needs.

1 Like

The DVR server does not support any kind of HDMI output. It is a headless server only.

To interact you use the Channels app client, which connects to the server on your PC. The app is available for Apple TV, iPhone/iPad, Android, Android TV and FireTV

1 Like

Oh wow. Ok then you cant watch Channels on a laptop or other PC as a client only a tablet/phone/etc. Good to know.... How should I plan to ensure I get the best quality of video? Thanks!

A high end device like Apple TV 4K or Nvidia SHIELD would ensure good quality. But honestly even the cheaper devices like FireTV Stick 4K and TiVo Stream 4K do a great job.

You can watch on your laptop or PC, via the DVR web UI. But it is a barebones web based administrative interface, not meant for content consumption like our flagship app.

1 Like

Looks like there is one more option if you have a Mac with the Apple M1 chip, then you can run iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac.
If you look at the Channels app in the iPhone/iPad App Store and expand the Compatibility section it states:
Requires macOS 11.0 or later and a Mac with Apple M1 chip.

Here is a guide to how to do it on the Mac:

I don't have a Mac with the M1 chip, so I am curios if anyone has done this and if it works well?


It works, but I find the experience poor.

If I'm watching while working at the computer, I prefer to use VLC to view. I have exported the lineup and saved it as a M3U playlist, so when I open it in VLC I also have a listing of all my channels, and I can selectively choose which to watch.

1 Like

The app running on M1 macs is literally just the iPad app. No work has been done to make it work as a desktop, as, it’s not a desktop app. It’s just the iPad app running on macOS, as apple intended.

It’s not even remotely suggested to use this outputted to a TV.

Channels is designed to be a server/client app using thin clients. We finally have cheap devices that we can use on our TVs that are dedicated to TV watching. Attaching a full computer to a TV isn’t just something that’s not required anymore, it’s not recommended.

This is a great trick!


I appreciate how well this works currently.

Any plans to tweak the UI and release an official Mac OS version :pray::pray::pray:
Y’all are the best!

1 Like

Would you be willing to share what steps need to be taken to do this? I assume there will be a URL to get the .m3u which I can then save.. but is it as simple as opening that file in VLC? I’ve used direct channel URLs to open channels in VLC so I know how to do that but this sounds much better.

curl http://X.X.X.X:8089/devices/ANY/channels.m3u?format=ts -o tv.m3u

Replace the Xs with your server's IP address.

Yes. It will start playing the first channel in the list immediately, but then you can open the playlist view and selectively choose which channel you want.


This is fantastic! Got it working today. I’ll probably make a second feature request thread expanding on this, as I don’t want to derail the thread.

1 Like

What more could you want that isn't currently available?

Making it easier to use for the “average Joe.” I’m wondering if there couldn’t be an option in the experimental section to enable The DVR server to generate and perhaps refresh it on an interval. It could provide the file for download, or maybe even serve it via HTTP, if VLC can take it in that way? It seems like a great solution for those clamoring for a Windows or Linux client. Seeing all the channels and even being able to search them is nice, and it doesn’t require transcoding like the web player does. Seems like it might be an easy win. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

1 Like

Something like this?

1 Like

More or less. :grin:

Start that new topic and one of use can move this conversation to it..
I assume you also want a download recording link for some reason.

Channels DVR server runs Great on an old PC or even a Rasberry Pi 4

an inexpensive Arm Based NAS would be even better , more flexible

of the great things about it is that its very efficient on the both the server side and the client side

a 2nd Gen Fire Stick runs the channels app flawlessly for me

It really depends on what your expectations are. If you have multiple family members connecting remotely, an old PC may not be the answer. Oh, and make sure it's running Win 10 or later, no Win 7 here.