Raspberry Pi performance

I am a few weeks in to testing channels, I am running it in parallel to my xfinity cable box network. I have an HP laptop with an A8 Processor and 8GB of Ram running the Channels DVR.
Using TVE to bring in Xfinity channels.
Last night while watching a live broadcast, I experienced several episodes of buffering. I read some old posts that this could be for various reasons including Hard Drive performance.
So I am wondering,since I have no experience with Raspberry pi, if replaceing the DVR with the above settings with a Raspberry pi a new SSD drive would help the buffering situation. I know a definitve yes or no will not be forthcoming, so I am looking for opinions of power users here with experience in this area,
In addition is a Raspberry Pi 4 required to address the issues I have mentioned? The reason I ask is that my brother has a Raspberry Pi 3 that he is willing to give me. I am also ok purchasing a new Raspberry Pi 4 if needed.
With all that said I am very impressed with the performance of the Channels DVR given what I am running it on.

Only the Pi 4 is viable for Channels. Otherwise, the USB is too crippled to take the IO load.

Aside from slower comskip (due to lack of CPU horsepower), if you don't watch outside the home, it's a damned fine setup. I only migrated to a Mac Mini as my use case changed.

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Thanks @hancox
What version of Mac Mini did you get? I just gave an old one to my brother, I think it was an i3 processor. I replaced it with a minisforum mini computer with a Ryzen 7 processor. That one is very fast and would make a great DVR but it is my main desktop now so I don't want to use that, plus it's nowhere near the router and runs on WiFi. I will strongly consider a Raspberry Pi. Thanks again

@pmaior, I've upgraded my Pi setup to an SSD over the summer. That did resolve my HDD performance issues(IIRC that there were some Channels Software changes to mitigate this).

As what @hancox stated, besides the slower Commercial skip(the pre-release of the new smart skip does seem to address this on some TVE channels though) and not watching outside of home/transcoding, this has replaced my multi-cable box home.

I am worried about SSD wear, so I bought the Argon M.2 case as it's known to support SSD TRIM. Can't say it's worth the cost, but it's nice to have a case with the M.2 drive in the case instead of external drive. Hopefully someone can recommend a cheaper case/solution.

info on TRIM, but the Official Channels Pi Image already has this enabled now.
https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2020/enabling-trim-on-external-ssd-on-raspberry-pi

I don't run my server 24/7 anymore and been happy with Pi's, as well as the power savings.

As for buffering diagnosing, I highly recommend wired only connections. I got a new 4k streaming stick a month ago and was using it on WiFi. Only recently, I was having a long delay when FF/RW a recording. All my other streamers were wired with no issues. So I moved a USB wired NIC from another streamer and the problem went away. While the other older streamer, now on WiFi, that is farther away from the access point FF/RW fine. Just can't trust WiFi to be consistent.

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M1 Mac Mini. It's awesome, and a real power miser. I would caution anyone looking at an older intel mac mini to compare the power usage - it will open your eyes!

@conman10000 - what did you use for a Fire stick NIC? Been thinking about picking one up.

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My opinion is if you have the budget, don't even bother trying to configure a Raspberry Pi 4. Go with something else like an nVidia Shield Pro that can serve both as the DVR host and as a streaming box all-in-one. Yeah, the Shield will cost you about $200, but consider the alternative of the cost of the Pi, the Pi case, the power supply, the external drive, and possibly the power supply for the external drive and then you may still need a streaming box. I used a Pi for about a month when I first started using Channels and it does work for very simple use cases, but something like a Shield will work better for longer for most folks. (Or repurpose an old PC or Mac as others have suggested.)

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@noviceTV Will an external hard drive be needed or is there an internal Hard Drive in the Nvidia Shield pro?

Oh, I forgot about that, one of the older Pro models included a 500GB internal drive, but the newer model does not include the internal drive and so yes, assuming you buy the newest model you will need an external drive ( my external drive is formatted exFat with a Windows PC before using it on the Shield )

Shield_TV_Pro

Btw, I am not a Channels and Shield "expert", but others in this community may be able to help if you decide to go this route and have questions.

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@hancox, got a 4k Max since they were discounted over the holiday. Traded in a very old one and got $6bucks plus a 20%off discount on the Max. It's back at full price now though. I was not using the old one as it was too slow.

I got a new TV based on Android10 and some Apps have streaming issues with either Dolby Vision or outputting Dolby Audio correctly. Figure get the 4k Max to work around that. While Audio and Dolby Vision resolved, the FireTV Devices has it's own quirk. Most Apps don't support the Variable Bit rate and stuck at 60FPS. :frowning:

@noviceTV, does the Shield Apps output VBR properly? While I could only use it for one TV, considering the cost of the base Pi Kit with a big power supply, Argon case, and a Streaming stick, the Shield would not be much more. Something I could consider if I was starting fresh.

Sorry, you missed the "NIC" in my question :slight_smile:

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Sorry. :wink: Got the " Cable Matters Micro USB to Ethernet Adapter Up to 480Mbps for Streaming Sticks Including Chromecast, Google Home Mini and More - Not Compatible with Roku Device" I think Amazon number is: B07N2ZHFY9 It was 14.99 when I bought it, now showing 15.99. :frowning: Not sure I would buy again as the FireTV Cube with 100mb NIC works fine; I'd probably just find a cheaper 100mb 3rd party now.

8.99 open box. Works for me :slight_smile:

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I have been running a pi4 2gb with an old crusty hard drive for years now. Since it was in beta. I have a two tuner HDHomeRun. I think it works great. Haven’t had performance issues that I can tell. Also using TVE.

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I run Channels on a Pi 4 hooked to a 2-½” USB hard drive and hard-wired to my network. I don’t have any performance issues at all. (I’m also running Homebridge on the same Pi, FWIW)