The Channels app and DVR software have become my go-to solution for watching live OTA TV and recording local channels. When you pair Channels with an HDHomeRun tuner, you have instant access to stream local stations to any supported applications on iOS, FireTV, or Android devices. If you choose to pay for Channels Plus, you then have the ability to record these shows on a number of platforms of your choosing. My specific setup involves a Quatro HDHomeRun tuner, a Synology DS218+ NAS, and an iPad / Apple TV for viewing. This setup has proved to be the smoothest and fastest viewing and recording I’ve ever used. The DS218+ is even powerful enable automatic commercial skipping and hardware transcoding during playback.
With today’s Channels TV Everywhere release, Channels now allows you to add pay television as a source for viewing and recording! The feature comes as a public beta for Channels Plus members looking to help expand testing. To get started, you need to make sure you are on the latest release of the Channels server software. From there, you simply add a new TV Everywhere source from the admin screen. Login with your existing provider (Direct TV in my example), and Channels will pull in all the available channels from that source. Once your guide data has been updated, you’ll be able to access these new channels immediately and best of all, they are available to record! Channels, now with or without tuner hardware in the home.
A few points listed below:
- H264 streams are high quality but don’t use a lot of disk space.
- Can watch and record cable streams that might be unavailable through HDHomeRunPrime.
- No CableCARD rental fees.
- Stereo audio.
- No access to local networks stations.
- Not all cable channels are available.
- Streaming bandwidth counts against monthly data caps.
I’ve been testing out this new feature for the past few days it just plain works. I’m able to stream any of the subscribed channels from my provider and also have the ability to record these shows for later viewing. The best part is that once recorded, I’m able to transfer these recordings to whatever platform I choose.
So if you are looking to help test out this latest feature, head on over to the Channels community forum for details.