Trying out Channels DVR (QAM)


#1

I am evaluating Channels DVR.

Before buying a new NAS, I installed Channels DVR on a Windows laptop to see how it worked with my three HDHomerun Prime cablecard tuners. I had previously checked that all my Comcast channels were clearQAM or QAM following instructions on Channels FAQ. Fortunately none of my channels were DRM (no HBO,Starz which I assume are DRM).

I am now in the process of recording from a large variety of Comcast HD channels which are all QAM. So far no problems and I've been able to playback on a number of different devices (iPhone, iPad, Windows laptop in web UI, Chromebook).

Assuming I don't run into any problems, channels DVR looks great and I plan to order a DS218+.

Does the subscription allow multiple installations of Channels DVR per household? In our household my wife and I have separate DVRs so our recordings are separated. I noticed channels does not support Netflix type profiles and I'm not looking forward to having our scheduled recordings and recordings lumped together.

I'm a little disappointed in the web UI. It's fine for watching, but using the guide is a plain compared to the apps. You can't see the time along the top, scrolling sideways doesn't seem to work for more than a day. I guess most users set up recordings in the apps. I haven't tried the fire TV app yet, which is how I plan to drive our TVs.

It seems like many channel users are OTA or cord cutters, so I thought folks evaluating channels DVR might be interested to know it works well with cable cards and QAM channels, even if DRM channels are not supported. I'm happy that Comcast is not DRMing all their channels. That would have been a deal breaker for me.

Online support seems great, but having just two devs is a bit scary from a user perspective. Keep up the great work!


An update on DRM support
#2

Sure, but you would need to install them on different devices.


#3

Yes, I would install channel DVR on two devices using one subscription.

In the apps, how does the app know which DVR to attach to?

Will remote access work for both DVRs?

On a windows PC, does it work well when users use the power mode where the PC wakes up to make a recording then goes back to sleep?


#4

Early on when I first switched to Channels DVR (years ago) my wife and I had been using separate DVR's but we were able to make the adjustment to 1. So out of curiosity, would the DS218+ VM Support allow you to create multiple Linux or Windows virtual machines and run multiple Channels DVR's that way?


#5

Click Connect to DVR > At Home and enter the IP of the device/VM.

No, you would have to pick one to enable remote access on.

Actually you could setup a secondary forwarded port for the second DVR and then use the port change trick to connect to it, but it's not as straightforward as the automatic remote connect for the primary DVR.

It does not currently work very well. We are working through some bugs that can cause the PC to go back to sleep before it's supposed to.

Most users also find it annoying if the PC is sleeping when they try to watch a recording. There is no WOL built in.

Yes this would work. Be aware that VMs are usually slower and cannot access hardware transcoding.


#6

If you are savvy with the command line, or Synology offers LXC containers, or possibly with modifying your Docker config, it is possible to allow a containerized instance to access your hardware for transcoding. Usually this includes allowing the container to have read/write access to /dev/dri, and bind-mounting said location within your container.

Of course, this is assuming you're using a Linux container on your Synology (which cuts the overhead dramatically by reusing your existing resources and kernel rather than reducing them for a VM) instead of a VM-based solution, like running a Windows VM on your NAS.


#7

Containers would work well and allow access to hardware transcoder, but the networking side of containers can be quite complex and I'm not sure if there's an easy way to assign unique IPs to containers in Synology Container Station.


#8

With Freenas it is pretty easy to have multiple instances, icoage jails can use vnet to assign different a different IP to each jail. It would be great if Channels allowed an easier way of port forwarding with multiple instances the way plex does though, where the setting UI has place to manually assign the external port and the connection on the remote end respects that.