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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read something about future Spectrum-Tivo problems. I use to Roamio, cable cards, Tivo Desktop, to download video to my computer. What is going to change? Any fixes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
What you want is a streaming cable TV service. That might be from Charter -- they offer it via the Spectrum TV app -- or it might be YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream, Hulu with Live TV, Fubo TV, Sling, Philo, or FrndlyTV. Be aware that only Spectrum TV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Stream and Hulu with Live TV include major local stations, so you'd probably need to supplement the latter four with an OTA antenna if you went with them. To help you choose between them, try the website linked below. Type in your zip code, then pick the local and national channels that you mainly care about and it will show you your various options and their prices.


The next step after that is figuring out what sort of equipment you want to use to run your selected service's app on. Pretty much all those services I listed support Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Google/Android TV, and Samsung smart TV. One of them -- DirecTV Stream -- offers their own optional custom streaming box and full-scale voice remote that delivers a very traditional cable-like user experience. (They're not rented but purchased for $120 each new or $50 each refurbished with a 1-yr warranty either way.)

Different services seem to work better on different devices, so it's difficult for me to give you advice on which to go with. I don't know which is more important to you -- a specific service/app or a specific device platform. Pick one and then I can give recommendations on which to choose for the other.

The best overall low-cost solution, IMO, is to pair YouTube TV ($65/mo) with the Onn 4K Android TV box with Google-designed remote from Walmart ($20 each). The remote is nice for YouTube TV since it has TV power and volume, plus channel up/down, and a dedicated live TV button that launches you straight into the YouTube TV app. Actually, you can just click that one button and it should turn on your TV, switch it to the correct HDMI input, and bring up the YouTube TV app on your screen so that you're ready to watch live or recorded cable TV. (That's the way it works on my parents' 2 TVs.) In most markets, YouTube TV carries the local ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS stations, plus a big variety of national cable channels. About the only noteworthy ones they still lack are the A+E nets (History, A&E, Lifetime, Vice), plus NHL Network, Magnolia, and AXS TV.

YouTube TV's HD picture quality is good, although DirecTV Stream's is definitely the best. YouTube TV is slowly rolling out support for Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound; it's already fully deployed on DirecTV Stream. Both services, as well as Hulu with Live TV, give you unlimited cloud DVR storage but your recordings auto-delete after 9 months so you can't keep them forever. You can record on as many channels simultaneously as you want. Note that Hulu with Live TV automatically includes Disney+ and ESPN+ too (in separate apps) for no extra cost. DirecTV Stream has a user interface that's most like traditional cable while Hulu's is the least like it (so might have a steeper learning curve).

Anyhow, that link I posted above will help you figure out which service has all the channels you care about. Good luck!
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Which services allow you to download or record to a pc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
You're going to need a two-step solution. First, you'll need to figure out which source or sources you will use to legally obtain your desired TV channels. If you want cable channels, you'll need to choose between a streaming cable TV service such as Spectrum TV, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Stream, Fubo TV, and/or Philo. A subscription to any of these services will give you a way to legally log into almost all of the streaming "TV everywhere" authenticated websites belonging to that service's set of channels. For instance, since YouTube TV includes ESPN, you can use your YouTube TV subscription to log into ESPN.com and live stream the channel there. You'll understand why this is important later, keep reading.

If all you need are your local channels and you can get good OTA antenna reception, I suggest buying an HDHomeRun tuner. Also note that in some areas, with some of the streaming cable TV services I listed above, you will still need to rely on an OTA antenna to pull in some of your local channels, because you may not be able to stream them via their TV everywhere website. For instance, your service may not allow you to log into CBS.com to live stream your local CBS station. And if that's the case, you'll need to rely on an HDHomeRun OTA tuner.

OK, once you've got that all figured out, you're going to want to buy a subscription to Channels DVR for $8/mo or $80/yr. (First month is free to try out.) You'll run their DVR software on a Mac, PC or compatible NAS connected to your home network. You'll run their very nice Channels app on your Apple TV, Android TV or Fire TV device at each TV. The Channels DVR software will take the input from your HDHomeRun OTA tuner (if you have one) plus whatever logins you have from your streaming cable TV service(s) and use those resources to stream live local and basic cable channels to the Channels app at each TV. And of course also allow you to record them. (You won't be able to record, or possibly even watch live, premium cable channels like HBO or Showtime, so I suggest using their own custom apps, e.g. HBO Max, Showtime, etc., where their entire library is available ad-free and on-demand.) From what I understand, some of these streaming "TV everywhere" basic cable channels may not include DD 5.1 surround sound. Some may look better or worse than what you're used to seeing on traditional cable. And a few may not be available at all. You will have to do your own research and experimentation. The support pages at the Channels website (getchannels.com) should be useful to you.

Your Channels DVR recordings will be DRM-free, so you can edit them on your computer as you wish and then share them (but beware of copyright laws). The Channels DVR software features the ability to skip ads, either manually or automatically, with no work on your own part. From what I can gather, I'd say that Channels offer the overall best DVR user experience you can get, second perhaps only to TiVo.

Watch this video to learn more:
Thanks for the info and video, which I just downloaded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
You can schedule recordings (either one-time or recurring series recordings) ahead of time in Channels, pretty much the same way you would in TiVo, either through the 14-day program grid guide or via a search for a specific show/movie. (Also note that Channels uses Gracenote as their source for TV listings data. This is a better source than the guide data that TiVo uses, which is more prone to errors. TiVo used to use Gracenote years ago, until they bought its rival data source, Rovi.)

You set up, edit and delete scheduled recordings right from the Channels app on your TV with your remote control -- you don't have to go to the computer running the Channels server software to do those tasks.

As for recording TCM movies with Channels DVR using TCM's TV everywhere stream, yes, you can do that. It looks like a few folks were having trouble accessing that channel's TV everywhere stream, to either watch live or record it, back in Jan. 2021 but a quick update to the Channels software fixed the problem. You can see all that at this link from the Channels support website. It's a good example of how very responsive the Channels developer team is to their customers. It's a small company and their users seem very enthusiastic about how good the company is at supporting them.

Thanks, again. Reminds me of the way Panasonic DVD recorders used to schedule recordings, several years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 ·
You'll be using whichever remote comes with the streaming device you have at each TV -- Apple TV, Fire TV, or any of the various Android TV devices (e.g. Onn 4K Box, TiVo Stream 4K, Nvidia Shield TV, etc.). Because you'll be running the Channels app on that streaming device.

If your smart TV happens to run either Android TV or Fire TV as its built-in smart operating system, then you can just use the Channels app right on the TV, using the remote control that came with the smart TV.

IMO, the overall best low-cost streaming device is the Onn 4K Android TV box at Walmart for $20. But if you're not concerned about spending, then the best streaming device of them all is the Apple TV 4K (the current one, with the improved newer-style remote), which regularly costs $170. That said, since you really like the TiVo peanut remote, you might want to check out their little Android TV box, called the TiVo Stream 4K, which regularly costs $40. Its remote is a bit smaller and somewhat differently laid out than a traditional TiVo DVR remote, though. And frankly, even though it costs twice as much, it's not any faster or more powerful than the Onn 4K box, except for the fact that the TiVo Stream 4K supports Dolby Vision HDR while the Onn only supports regular HDR. (And if you don't know the difference between those two, then you probably won't be able to see the difference either. It's not a big deal for most folks.)

Remember that while the Channels app will be installed on a streaming device (or smart TV) at every TV around your house, the Channels server software will be installed on a central computer connected to your home's wifi router. (It would be best if you can connect this computer to the router via an ethernet cable but if they're too far apart for that, a solid, fast wifi connection should be OK.) This computer can run Windows, Mac, or Linux. It can even be a specialized type of storage computer, Network Attached Storage (NAS). For a list of the requirements of what kind of computer can run the Channels server software, see their webpage here:

The last piece of the puzzle will be an HDHomeRun over-the-air tuner which you will also connect to your wifi router (again, preferably with an ethernet cable). This device will pull in your local free over-the-air stations via a connected antenna (either an indoor or outdoor antenna) and feed them into the Channels software for live and recorded viewing. I don't know how well you can receive over-the-air stations where you live, so this might be a problem. You can buy a new 2-tuner HDHomeRun tuner for $110, although you can find used ones for less on eBay (which is what I did years ago and it's still running fine). Do a search on eBay for "HDHomeRun Connect". You'll see some that have 2 tuners inside and some that have 4 tuners inside, allowing you to watch/record either 2 or 4 different over-the-air channels simultaneously. Here's a 2-tuner Connect that's available right now for $65 including shipping. (BTW, you do not want any of the following: HDHomeRun Prime, HDHomeRun Scribe, HDHomeRun Dual.)
Thanks for more great info. I have an LG-32-LM62 TV, but its remote is flimsy. I love my Tivo remote.
 
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