Total cost?

Yep, I'm running the server on my daily driver, along with Plex and a host of other stuff. The most important thing is to be hardwired and not WiFi--and not for speed, but to minimize jitter and latency.

As others have said, you can try it all free for a month, and WHEN you love it, you can pay $80 for the year, making it $6.67/month.


The reason to get Channels is because of TVE. There are better options if you don't need or want TVE.

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What better options ??? there are none. The other options do not have any type of advanced passes. That is just one of the things others cannot match.



To me, that's a killer feature for a DVR.
When I found out about advanced passes in Channels DVR, I was sold!

If you know about TiVo's Wishlist feature, Channels DVR's advanced passes are more flexible and powerful!

I don’t think linear TV is going away completely, certainly not anytime in the immediate future, but I do think it is transitioning away from traditional cable to online offerings such as YouTube TV and Philo. I actually think services like Sling and Philo will eventually win out over YouTube TV and Hulu Live because you can pay less, especially for people like me who don’t really care about sports at all. Especially because sports channels are what drive the price of cable up and there often isn’t an option with a traditional cable provider to get a completely sports network free package.

I think that as long as there is some form of linear TV there will probably continue to be some form of TV everywhere. Though it could certainly end up behind DRM, blocking Channels ability to record it (as happened earlier this year with PBS). If that ever happens I’ll likely drop Channels since I use it exclusively with TV everywhere currently. But since it’s an annual subscription, I can just drop it if that ever happens. All that to say that I agree with jake.joycelyn that you should consider what you want now, and not what might happen a few years down the line.


This is an interesting discussion about Emby vs Plex vs Jellyfin vs Channels DVR vs TIVO vs ...... I am sure we all have our favorites for different reasons and for different missions. I personally use Channels DVR as much as I can, but since I am a Roku user, I don't have Channels apps on my home televisions. So, I route Channels through Jellyfin to get access at home.

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Everyone has their own "killer feature" that makes them jump onboard and stay. For me, it was Stream Links. I was literally trying to develop my own content aggregation engine after being so disappointed in TiVO, Google, and everyone else. Channels was the first and remains far-and-away best method to get all my content in one place.

Yet, I've talked with people on this very board that HATE Stream Links and see no reason for it. So whatever is your reason or someone else's, we can just live and let live.


I am patiently waiting for DVR better options.... and why?

I agree. Basically, enjoy while you can! :slight_smile:

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Well, I'm a Channels subscriber but still use Emby as a front-end to Channels just for the TVE functionality. I can't see using Channels as my main until they improve upon their UI with respect to a live TV guide -- the quick guide doesn't cut it. A full guide with PIP or simply as a transparency over the live TV has been a feature of almost every cable box/Sat provider/Tivo/etc but not Channels. Maybe this is a feature of the Apple product but it's not there with AndroidTV -- I use Nvidia shields as clients.

The library feature is also not nearly as good as Emby or Plex. The passes are probably nice but my recording needs are pretty simple -- normally just weekly recordings of "new" shows. I'll admit having a search function is sorely needed in Emby for finding shows rather than having to manually search the guide. So bravo to Channels for having that feature.

Channels's guide mapping to TV sources is also better than Emby but isn't a killer feature.
Channel's would quickly become my sole TV app if they'd just look a bit more on how Plex or Emby do video collections and implement a full guide feature without having to exit live TV or whatever you might be viewing to access it.

If you only care about OTA TV, a Tivo or SageTV would probably work better than Channels. The killer feature that Channels has is still TVE.

I use all of them and the BEST DVR is still Channels .... The others except SageTV are media players pretending to be a DVR. I like a DVR to work for me to record what I want Genres, Actors decades etc... the only one that does this is Channels DVR. Right now, I have Channels DVR recording New Prime Time shows as I do not have time to research Show names or release dates. Which all the pretend dvr Require I do the work.

Channel CONTAINS 2.1 
Channel CONTAINS 6.1 
Channel CONTAINS 8.1 
Channel CONTAINS 32.1 
Channel CONTAINS 6000 
Channel CONTAINS 6001 
Channel CONTAINS 6003 
Channel CONTAINS 112 
Channel CONTAINS 12.1 
Tags CONTAINS Premiere 
Tags CONTAINS Season Premiere 
Tags CONTAINS Series Premiere 
Time CONTAINS 8pm 
Time CONTAINS 9pm 
Time CONTAINS 10pm 
Genres EXCLUDES News 
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I'll be honest. I had to look up what Stream Links were. I never heard of collecting links to media that you personally didn't have. Glad Channels found somebody that uses that feature. I just wish they would do a better job of showing media collections that people do have locally like Emby/Plex do.

This recent article is a quick overview:

Also, just check the product pages for Chromecast with Google TV, TiVO Stream 4K+, Plex, and Apple TV. Content aggregation is the #1 issue they talk about.

And it's not that I "don't have" the media. I pay for these services; it's just that I have outsourced the storage, maintenance, and collection to Netflix and Disney.

Having had an OTA TiVO, I will respectfully disagree, especially from a support perspective. Xperi/Rovi/TiVO could not even get the stations right for my market and I had a couple with zero guide data and wrong channel numbers. It was infuriating, and they did nothing.

I think you need to check out Channels integration with Custom m3u's, notably Pluto. No one else has anything close to this, and @HankLloydRight's work has made it stupid easy.

Many people have zero need for TVE at all with the hundreds upon hundreds of stations available between Pluto, Stirr, Samsung TV+, Plex, and others. Not saying the TVE integration isn't great, and I use it too, so I'm making no qualms about it. I'm just saying if it died tomorrow, I'd only be about 5% sad.

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Emby has had this via the fHDHR for about as long as Channels has. The real exclusive that Channels has is TVE.

I agree. I still use Plex for my library. It is far better looking than either Channels, Jellyfin, or the crappy DS that Synology provides. I use Jellyfin for live channels since I use Roku and there is no Channels app sadly for Roku. But, when I want to look for stuff to watch and record, it is the Channels web app that I go to.

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I think this topic has gotten delightfully offtopic. Instead of talking about cheapest options for channels. Its now "my favorite feature is better then your favorite feature"

I had never heard of *.strmlinkd or *.strm files ever. I see a lot of underutilized potential. They have ability to content aggregate external sources into CDVR. But without a constantly update public repository of links, that auto-sync with channels I think its wasted.

I am glad some users like @babsonnexus find it useful. I am glad that devs keep implementing kool ideas.

I agree. I want to use TV Guide while watching a show. Going to guide causes me to loose my buffer.

The unified TV guide is what got me truly on board.

I do to. I use Plex for my downloaded, pirated, ripped, long term storage media. I find the UI of plex very pleasant (usually)

Ty for sharing that advance pass. I haven't thought to creating a pass to record all new primetime shows.

Its kind of like Dish had PrimeTime anytime and it recorded all prime time shows.

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My one biggest issue with Channels! If I wanna see the guide, it means giving up my live TV buffer. Which usually means .. not happening! So I stay on my Channel and look for a guide on my phone instead. It sucks

I have never lost my TV buffer when using picture in picture and going to the guide. Just make sure not to change channels while in the guide. That is on Apple TV and Fire Stick. I would prefer the PiP did not block a portion of the guide, and there are much more elegant solutions out there (Plex is really pretty), but the Channels PiP is pretty good at keeping you current program and buffer going while browsing the guide and what not.

Edit: It works really well on the Apple TV. But seems a little clunky on the fire stick.


Hmmm. Good point! Thanks for pointing this out.
Idk why but I had this feature turned off in the settings, and never really used it, other than testing it once.
But good point! That should totally take care of not losing the buffer and going back out to the guide.
I'm gonna turn it on and test it more.
Thanks again for pointing it out

Yeah I always have PIP turned on for LiveTV many times I had hit the home or back button by accident and lost the buffer ... but with PIP no worries.... It works great on FireTV long press of the home button will give you the option to maximize or close it.