Xfinity New DVR Questions

Hi All:

I'm an existing TiVo cableCARD user who is considering switching to Channels DVR and I have some questions:

I have 2 reasons for switching:

  1. My primary home has Xfinity (1gb/40mbps) and TV is pretty much "free" the way they price bundles. My secondary home has fiber (1gb/1gb) but no TV. I'd like to be able to watch live and DVRed HDTV using my Xfinity subscription at both locations.
  2. I have Apple TVs on every TV and I'd like to just keep my TVs tuned to these. rather than switching to a second device for live/DVRed TV.

If these are good reasons to set up Channels DVR Server, then I'm onto my next questions:

  1. Do I need a cableCARD tuner to get the full benefits of my Xfinity subscription? Some of what I've read implies I can just sign in with my xfinity subscription. But an HDHomerun tuner is listed as required.
  2. When I go to, the only cableCARD tuner listed is "in development". What do people use with cableCARD? The minimum requirements for Channels DVR Server states a HDHomerun tuner is required, but I don't receive over-the-air broadcasts where I live so I either need a cableCARD or the answer to #1 above needs to be "no tuner required".
  3. I've read that many cable companies put the CCI bit (copy once) on just about everything, which breaks most/all of Channels DVR's use cases. What are people's experiences with Comcast and Channels DVR Server?

Assuming that I can overcome the hurdles above...
4. How many simultaneous recordings are supported? Does system spec determine the max number of simultaneous recordings?
5. I don't have an existing computer/device to try this out, so I'd be buying a new device. To start I'd love the best price/performance entry system. An rPi+SSD or other low-power device would be optimal. Any recommendations (AMZN links?) for a complete setup would be greatly appreciated.
6. For those that use a DVR server in one home and the Channels app remotely or in another home, do you find cable upstream bandwidth adequate to stream HD content? My Comcast upstream bandwidth is pretty consistently between 30-40mbps.

That's all I can think of to get up and running. Thanks in advance!

Let me try to address some of your questions. My answers may not be as detailed as possible, since my experience is with Charter/Spectrum, but some of it carries over.

That depends. If you look at the TV Everywhere Availability support article, it will show you which networks you may receive with your Xfinity credentials. If the networks you want are not listed, then you will need a CableCARD tuner.

Now for the part I'm not certain about: Channels is incompatible with DRM flagged channels. Some providers protect more channels than others. I know Verizon/Frontier FiOS flag almost no channels, and some providers like Cox flag almost everything. In my area it was a toss up, but slowly more and more channels were being flagged.

Their 6 tuner model has been shelved. Their older 3 tuner model (HDHR3-CC) is still available, as is a refurbished (HDHR3-CC-R) model. (If you go to their store via their website, you need to select HDHomeRun Hardware, then scroll to the bottom. You will see an entry for the Prime, but clicking it will make it disappear. However, if you click on the ADD TO CART button, it will put it in a cart for ordering. Yes, their site is broken.)

Hopefully someone will have better answers for you than I provided above. I have roughly heard that Xfinity is pretty decent, meaning they have fewer DRM flagged channels than most.

In general, there is no limit. For a hardware tuner, you are limited by the device. The Prime can record/view 3 concurrent channels. If you are using your credentials and using internet-based TV Everywhere streams, then the limit is your internet connection and drive I/O bandwidth. However, if you are using the TV Everywhere streams, keep in mind that they count towards your data cap, if you have one.

While a Raspberry Pi-based system can work well, and for many users it does, I personally feel that a proper desktop might be the best option. I have found an Intel NUC or Gigabyte Brix to be more than sufficient. You can usually get one a few generations old that will serve you for many years.

I specifically switched to Channels from my previous DVR software solely for the excellent remote implementation. My upstream bandwidth is 10Mbps, and I had no problems with 720p/4Mbps streams. I personally found that combination to give enough fidelity, as well as not tax a busy wifi network where I was. (Hospital wifi is only slightly better than free hotel wifi.)

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Since you're already using a TiVo with Cable card you should be able to see which channels are DRM (DVR Diagnostics check CCI Byte for each tuner, 0x02 is DRM).
With Xfinity, only the Premiums like Cinemax, Epix, Flix, HBO, ScreenPix, Showtime and Starz are DRM.
I still have a lifetime Bolt w/Xfinity cablecard and a HDHR Prime w/Xfinity cabclecard.
With the HDHR Prime it's easy to see what channels are DRM. Just bring up the web interface and view your channel lineup looking for the DRM tag.

Due to persistent issues with Xfinity TVE such as having to remove and readd the source to properly reauthenticate channels or getting a crazy email from Xfinity and having to change your PW or always having some channels broken or any combination of those, with a minimum of one or more issues at all times, I would HIGHLY recommend the cable card. Especially with the remote viewing. If something breaks, you'll need to have some way in in place to fix it.

So basically, their TVE authentication is shite, and you're better off with real authentication, and real devices.

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It been quite a while, few months at least, since i have had Xfnity issues. knock on wood

New units are still available. The company was able to obtain the parts to produce 3,000 more of these 3-tuner Primes, and apparently there is still stock at Amazon:

I bought two good-as-new units with their original packaging on eBay. I use one Prime with an Xfinity CableCARD that was previously in a TiVo, and am saving the other Prime for when my last TiVo dies. This is far more reliable and receives more channels than TVE.

It may be important to emphasize that as mentioned above the Prime and TVE will not enable Channels DVR to receive premium channels like HBO Max. I do not subscribe to any of those, so our transition from TiVo to Channels DVR is proceeding smoothly here.

I am a heavy cable card user with Xfinity (I have 7 Homerun Primes) and they do work well with Channels DVR. One thing I would caution is that in some regions Comcast has begun launching channels that are IP only which means they will not get picked up by the cable card. For me the channels that has affected is FS2 HD and PAC12 HD (The SD versions work fine and I mainly use my primes for sports) My fear is that Xfinity will slowly move everything to IP and cables cards will be rendered somewhat useless.

My suggestion would be to look on craigslist/facebook marketplace and see if you can find a cheap HD Homerun Prime (that's where I've found almost all of mine) before you spend $150 on a new one (unless the return policy is generous)

Previously cable companies were mandated to support CableCARDs. That is no longer the case.

More and more cable providers are going the IP-based delivery route, forcing customers to use their proprietary hardware.

Yeah I was bummed the FCC got so lax with the requirement. Luckily I don't think they will be able to go full IP without huge investment into new boxes for all customers. Luckily TV everywhere supports the channels I am missing from the cable card so I have another avenue to get the channels.

But TVE is not always that reliable/dependable. I have not been able to connect to TVE (via Xfinity) for over 5 days….submitted a support email to the channels team but have not heard back.

Every FiretV device out there including TV's replace desktop BOXES. I can record Shows using my FireTV 4K max on my Stream app.

This is on my FireTV 4K using XFINITY Stream APP.

That's true but the app is traditionally 30-120 seconds behind the the cable card streams I get from my HDHomerun Primes. In a world of instant communication being that far behind with sports can be a problem. Plus with my HDHomrun Primes I am able to put up to 9 games on a single TV like you see at a sports bar which isn't possible with the stream app. My hope is someday Xfinity would allow authenticated access to the direct IP streams which would allow me to do what I do with my current cable cards. I don't think it will ever be possible but one can dream.

This gets me to wondering what advanced networking sorcery would be possible for the login sharers. The stream app is only going to work like that at the home location, so reverse proxy, vpn, both, idk? I'm not advanced enough to devise the solution. I'm still a login sharerer (not a real word, but should be), but have enough income to pay for a real package, but it wont be through Xfinity, I can't justify giving them more money even if the cost is the same or sightly more paying a TVE bill (comes from a hatred for the company from working there...also why I don't mind login sharing). I'm still feeling out the tve future with the companies. Most seem to be going to 2fa, and that's still a no-go (permanently?). I still don't know who to choose. I was originally decided on YouTubeTV but that's out now because of 2fa? I need science channel, so I think that limits me to Hulu live or DirecTV stream? I'm so lost...

I find Philo ($25) more reliable than XFINITYT TVE and it has the Science Channel ... We use it in our household along with XFINITY TVE. I am moving after the holidays so I am not sure what kind OF OTA reception I will be getting. I do have 2 Primes so I probably stick with XFINITY.

TVE has better quality then compressed XFINITY cable channels only thing missing is the 5.1 sound.

PS I dread going through the CableCard reactivation when the remote techs have no clue what Cable Card is.

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I don't understand this statement. Your provider has no bearing on the stream beyond authentication. Your Science Channel stream comes from the Science Channel website, regardless of which provider you used to authenticate.

My Statement is meant to say that I do not have Authentication issues in Philo as I do in XFINITY every month... I find XFINITY TVE can fail authentication at any time Philo is rock solid. So Philo has priority over XFINITY.

Thanks all. This is very helpful info. It sounds like I have a couple of options.

For the DVR server, it sounds like I can still find HDHR Primes out there and it should work just fine with xfinity should I find someone who knows about cableCARD pairing.

It also seems like I might be able to get away with the cheaper option of just using Comcast’s own Xfinity Stream app on a fire TV from a remote location. I need to dig into this further but it seems like it has some sort of cloud DVR service which would be nice because I almost always watch football somewhat delayed so I can skip through all the ads. I’ll have to look into this more. I don’t have a fire TV but I saw a Verge article saying that Comcast struck a bilateral deal to put the Apple TV app on xfinity set top boxes and they, in turn, agreed to put Xfinity Stream on Apple TVs. Honestly if this works I’d also dump my TiVo and run a completely streaming existence at both homes. (I have an unlimited data plan.)


I just downloaded the Stream app and pretty much every channel I tuned to either resulted in an error or said that licensing agreements prevented them from streaming outside of the home. So… HDHR Prime it is…


I'm also using a Prime on Xfinity.
Not sure if you're aware, but currently nothing (besides Windows Media Center) can record the DRM channels.
Channels DVR will not let you view them Live or record them.
Most of the free HDHR apps will let you view them live.

I personally don't care, but I still have my lifetime Bolt connected to Xfinity w/cablecard.
Haven't used it much in years, but it's paid for so I keep it connected as a backup plan since it doesn't cost me anything to use two cablecards, one in the Bolt and one in the Prime.

I have to check out which channels are DRMed. I assume you’re referring to the “copy once” bit? In general what’s DRMed on xfinity? ESPN? NFL Network? Or just the premium movie channels?

I had and loved my cablecard media center PC… used it with Xbox 360s as my set top boxes back in the day.

I’d love to create the same thing with Apple TV’s.