Trying to setup a ChannelsDVR Box for my parents


#1

Alright guys, I'm looking into setting up a ChannelsDVR box, that is "hands off" as much as possible. My goal is basically for them to ask themselves "is it running? Yes? Cool! I can watch TV!".

While I understand that no setup is ever TRULY like that, I am lead to believe that Linux would be a better setup than Windows10 for this. Am I incorrect on this? What are your thoughts?

Also hardware-wise...I am running an HP Prodesk 400 G1 Small Form Factor tower, with an i5-4590 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 120GB SSD, and I plan to have my recordings stored on a 500GB drive that's also in the box.


#2

If you truly want a set-and-forget type of setup, then don't use an old PC (which usually needs manual intervention for updates). Get a NAS (I'm personally partial Synology, but YMMV), preferably one that supports transcoding (DS218+ which supports transcoding for Channels).

Then, you can set your NAS to auto-update. And Channels itself auto-updates. Also, set the NAS to auto-restart after power failures. Now you've got what is essentially a no maintenance DVR.


#3

I must say....I have never seen a product pushed so hard on any community forum! Is this Synology DS218+ really all that with a bag of chips?!

Would that be powerful enough to run 4 sessions simultaneously? I plan on using this with an HDHOMERUN Quatro


#4

FWIW the Synology is the most popular NAS among Channels users. It works great, and is much simpler for most people to setup and manage compared to a computer.

With power users the Intel NUC running Linux is very popular.


#5

I'm using one and I'm an "IT pro," if that tells you anything :wink:

Being a retired "IT guy," the last thing I want to do is babysit stuff. If I'd wanted to do that I'd not have retired. I literally got the thing, set it up, installed Channels DVR and that was it. That was nearly six months ago. I haven't had to intervene once. It just runs.

I will tell you something else: Being a retired IT guy, about the last thing I'd do is run anything like that on MS-Windows. There are reasons I don't use MS-Windows for anything, and the amount of intervention required to keep them from falling over every time you turn around is one of them.

If you want to save a buck or two, see tmm1's suggestion. I would have run Channels on our home network's Linux server--in fact I did for eval purposes, but that server is running a bit short on both disk and RAM, and I didn't feel like upgrading it right atm.

(The Synology Disk Station turned out to have another advantage: It comes with not-half-bad video surveillance system software, and I'd been meaning to install a system.)


#6

So how well would the DS718+ handle 4 streams at once? It has a quad-core Intel Celeron which also has Quick Sync, whereas the DS218+ has a dual core. What do you all think?


#7

Recording a stream uses very little CPU, so a dual-core would work just fine IMO. But if you want to spring for the quad-core, extra CPU power is always good.


#8

The additional cost is pretty minor compared to total cost with disk added. Check out cost on amazon.

Also, this might help as well:

https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/compare/DS218+/DS718+


#9

Actually, my comment about the DS218+ was simply because it's the least expensive Intel-based NAS from Synology that supports hardware accelerated transcoding. I have a different model NAS, but that is completely separate from my Channels DVR.

My recommendation was based solely on your desire for a set-it-and-forget-it type of appliance solution for your DVR.


#10

Set it and forget it, but also reliably run 4 transcoding sessions if needed. Logically, I'm thinking I'd rather have a Quad core than a Dual core for that.

Plus, the DS718+ is only $100 more than the DS218+


#11

Ah I thought you simply meant 4 recordings earlier. Quad-core is the way to go :+1:


#12

Yeah, thought so.

So here's another question about Synology NAS units....RAM upgrading.....

Intel's website specs the CPU not recognizing anymore than 8GB of RAM, but there are forums everywhere of people putting in 16GB without any issues. Your take?


#13

I've been using a DS216+II with 4 tuners. I have no problem at all. Probably wont need anything more than the DS218+.

I do suggest you use AppleTV as the head, rather than a fire TV. The channels experience is much better. IMHO.


#14

I’m currently running my DVR on a dedicated Windows 10 machine and I feel it’s a bit overkill. So, after reading this I would consider this solution.

I have a couple quesions. Would something like the DS218+ handle remote connectins just fine? Is it easy/possible to migrate the database? Is there instructions for this?


#15

Yes.

Yes. Moving channels to a new server