Will Channels work for me?

I signed up for Channels needing to watch live TV on my phone over the cell data. Will tbis work for me? If so what do I need to do. I will be watching in my camper trailer by hooking my phone to my television.

Are you asking about Channels or Channels DVR? They are different animals within the same family, but we can help give you the best response if we know which one you are working with and whether the other would be a better option.

I really don't need the DVR I just want to watch live shows on my phone and hook to my TV at my hunting camp. I am with Cox cable.

You need the Dvr to send the content remotely

For broadcast networks, why not install an antenna on top of the camper and hook it to the TV?

Also, most cable providers offer a streaming app. Why not just use that?

I have and we are aou of reach on all stations except PBS and Cox won't let you stream all channels on their App.

will it work with Cox?

I agree with VTTom. Do you have an HDHomerun box hooked to an antenna or with your cable?

At home, that is.

If you don’t, Channels (without DVR), won’t do you much good, in your scenario. But, if you have the DVR service, you can set it up with TV Everywhere and get all the channels your Cox subscription is allowed to have. It will be most. If you also need you home local channels, you are going to need either an HDHomerun box for antenna or HDHomerun box for cable (with a cablecard). You combine what you get with the HDHomerun box and what you get via TVE and you get a nice selection. Plus, if you choose, you can DVR things. You are going to need a decent upload rate, from your home, to stream. There are more details, but that is the gist of it. If all you want are your home locals, you can do that with an HDHomerun for antenna and Channels (without DVR).

In most cases, with a few exceptions, you cannot get your locals with TVE. You can check TVE and Locast to see if it is offered in your area. If so, and it works, you do not need an HDHomerun box, but you would still need Channels with DVR, because Channels (without DVR) doesn’t support TVE. It can be confusing, but you have plenty of people willing to help you get things the way you would like, as best you can.

what is the cost of the DVR box? I have a great upload speed at my home.

You just need to set it up on a computer. There are a variety of ways you can set it up on a Windows PC, Linux, Mac, etc... If you don't use the DVR functionality, you don't need a lot. If you decide to, it is just a matter of drive space you provide.

And, it is pretty simple.

I guess I don't understand. I'm getting kind of old and this is apparently over my head.

Channels is just software. The DVR subscription (Channels Plus) provides a full content guide, remote viewing, and more. As others have mentioned, you could install the DVR software at your home and use your Cox credentials to get many (but not all) of the channels you subscribe to.

You have to provide compatible hardware and storage for the DVR software to run on. I will warn you, it’s not as easy as turning on a DVR from a cable company. I’d say moderate technical skills are very helpful in getting things set up and running smoothly.

I'd think if you were in a location with poor broadcast TV coverage, then you'd also be in an area with poor cellphone coverage. Then again, probably more-and-more camp sites are offering WiFi.

Let me try to explain.
You want to watch live TV.

  1. The most basic way to do this is you need a TV antenna that can grab the live TV signal. IF you have the TV signal available where you are, then of course easiest is to connect the TV antenna straight to your TV like the old pre-internet days.

  2. Since you don't a TV signal where you are, next level alternative is to

  • have the TV antenna at home
  • TV antenna sends the signal to an "internet" box
  • "internet box" sends the signal (now in a standard computer form) to your phone

The details of this, however, can get a little complicated.
The first type of box you will need is something like a SiliconDust HD HomeRun. This has two connectors, one for the TV antenna, the second for ethernet. So it takes in a TV signal and dumps out, on the ethernet, a "standardized, computerized" version of that signal.
Next you will need some software that controls the HD HomeRun (to tell it what channel to tune into, to configure how it dumps the video stream on the ethernet, etc).
That software needs to run in a way that is connected to the HD Home Run, so it needs to run on a server type box living in your house, connected to the same network as the HD Home Run (think a small Windows PC or a Mac mini).

So what should that software be?
HD HomeRun comes with free software that runs on your PC/Mac. That will give you TV on your PC/Mac, in your house. Marginally useful I guess, but ...
Alternatively you can use some sort of more-or-less paid for software. Plex is one option, Channels is another. There are probably others.
What Channels DVR will do for you is

  • configure your tuner as necessary
  • record shows (to the storage of your mac/PC)
  • allow you to watch those shows in your house via various devices (on your iPhone, iPad, apple TV; and various non-Apple equivalents but I don't know those details)
  • allow you to watch those shows OUTSIDE your house

Now I wrote the above in terms of DVR functionality. That's the way most people use Channels, but it isn't the only option. Once you have set everything up, meaning

  • you have your HD HomeRun plugged in and connected
  • you are running the Channels server on an always on Mac/PC
  • you have set up your account with Channels, paid the monthly fee, set up permissions on your phone, blah blah
  • when you are out of the house you can bring up the Channels app on your phone, hit the button to connect to your home server, and instead of choosing recorded stuff, choose the "On Now" button at the bottom of the Channels app, and the TV signal will
  • go from the antenna
  • into HD HomeRun, converted to internet MPEG2
  • onto ethernet into your PC/Mac, converted to internet h264
  • onto the general internet to the cell phone network to your phone!

There is one time set up hassle, and a monthly or annual fee to Channels, but after that it does work. (Of course you will be using a lot of cell phone data... That's between your and your cell carrier.)

There are cheaper solutions than Channels, but IMHO they are too much hassle and visually ugly. Channels is easy, looks nice, mostly just works. (About once a year Apple changes something or other in their security setup and I have to go through all the password/permissions nonsense again.)
There used to be various alternative boxes to HD HomeRun for converting a TV signal to ethernet. But honestly it's not worth the hassle trying to find a cheaper one. HD HomeRun has pretty much become the standard that every app works with, anything else you may find yourself engaged in some hassle trying to force compatibility.
The HD HomeRun boxes come at various price levels depending on how many tuners you want (ie how many channels you want to record or different people watch simultaneously). The newest (and obviously most expensive) box will support the ATSC3 standard which is just starting in the US (4K TV) but is still mostly experimental; you can probably get away with buying the older box and not have to upgrade for five years or more.

One final point. You will see two apps Channels, and Channels DVR. I have NO CLUE why there are these two apps, and why they persist. They both seem to do the exact same thing everywhere I use them. I only use Channels DVR and at some point I'll clean up my iPhone and iPad and delete the app called Channels. Maybe someone from Channels Corporate can explain why they still have these two apps years after having two separate apps appears to make no sense.

The free apps only work if you have an active Channels Plus subscription.

The paid app can be used without a Channels Plus subscription. Many people don't want or care about DVR features. They have the option to purchase the app to be used with their HDHomeRun for a live TV experience.

It's not something I care about much, but this feels like functionality that's better handled by having a single app that presents or hides functionality depending on the nature of your account? Two apps feels like the sort of mess we had at the start of the app store, with different "free" and "pro" versions of apps, or different iPad and iPhone versions.

Anyway, to deal with the original question, I honestly don't know how much of the live-only functionality you get for free because I've always had a subscription.
You might want to amend my answer to clarify that issue for the poster since he seems to care more about the live TV side of things.

The only way to accomplish what you are suggesting in a unified app would be to make the app free and then have a required “in app purchase” if the user doesn’t have the DVR service and just wants to view live TV via their hdhomerun. I think many users would find that misleading and frustrating.

Without going into it. No, there's no other way. The limitations of app stores have created this. We don't want all these apps out there. We hate complexity.

@Macnbaish is right, but worse, In App Purchases aren't shared across family plans. We don't want everyone to have to pay for the app multiple times. So here we are.

We even gave away the iOS app for free, because we wanted to re-bundle the tvOS app and the iOS app as a single purchase. But Apple provides no way to do this, so we just gave it away.