Deal DetailsPromoted 03-23-2014 at 10:34 AM View Original Post
- Our research indicates that SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime 3-Line Digital CableCard HDTV Tuner is $30 less (23% savings) than the next best from a reputable merchant with prices starting from $130.
- Our research indicates that 2.5" Vantec NexStar SATA to USB 2.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure next best available price is $7.50, so the bundle offers a savings of $37.50 lower (27% savings) over the combined best prices offered by reputable merchants.
Comes with free gift.
Vantec NexStar TX 2.5" SATA to USB 2.0 External Hard Drive/SSD Enclosure - Model NST-210S2-BK
1) What does this do?
This device is a tuner, just like what your TV or cable box has, which translates the cable signal into something other devices can display. This can replace a cable box IF you have an HTPC, PS3, or certain other DLNA devices (ie some smartTVs). Xbox 360s can be used as extenders, but cannot use this device without the aid of a PC. Unlike your cable box tuners which are connected directly to the TV, this connects to your network. That way, any capable device (ie PC) hooked up to your network can act as a TV. For example, if you have 3 TVs, you can hook up an HTPC to one TV and Xbox 360s to the others, as long as the PC is on when you use the 360s. You can also watch TV with your laptop.
2) I plug my cable from the wall directly into the TV. Do I need this?
No, this product won't help you at all. This is a digital tuner. You have analog cable (likely) or ClearQAM (doubtful). This replaces a cable box. SiliconDust makes other products with ClearQAM tuners, none with analog (NTSC) tuners.
**edit, this isn't 100% true.
There are still lots of places / cable companies that support clearQAM, and this tuner does indeed work very well with clearQAM. You can even record up to 18 shows at once on this, *IF* your cable company multiplexes, but realistically, most cable companies only multiplex 3-4 channels. You also need software like MythTV or NPVR (free) in order to record multiple stations off one tuner.
3) Can I use this with my antenna?
Nope. You need an ATSC tuner. SiliconDust makes other products with ATSC tuners.
4) Can I use this with satellite/IPTV?
Nope. Cable only
5) What else do I need besides this?
As said in #1, you need a device to receive the tuner's signal. Also, you will need a cable card (Mcard type) from your cable company. If you buy multiple HDHRP, you need one cable card for each. Some cable companies will give you one or two for free. Others charge a nominal fee. Still others actually pay you to use them. YMMV. If your cable provider is using switched digital video, you will need a tuning adapter that has a USB port, so that the HDHRP can command the adapter to switch to the proper channel(s).
6) Will I get channel ____?
This device replaces your cable box. If you don't get the channel with your cable box, you won't get it with this device, with one possible exception. Some providers (Comcast, especially) sends SD and HD signals using the same encryption and make you pay for HD by giving you an HD box. This device acts as an HD box, so you MIGHT receive HD versions of your SD channels. YMMV. Example: You pay for ESPN but don't get ESPNHD. This might give you ESPNHD. It won't give you ESPN8HD unless you pay for ESPN8, the ocho.
You WILL get HBO, Showtime, etc. if you pay for them.
7) What do I sacrifice?
You will be using your devices UI rather than the cable box UI. For example, you'll use Windows Media Center's guide, DVR scheduler, etc, rather than that of your cable box. You also lose OnDemand and ordering movies/PPV from your TV. You can still order movies and PPV by calling your provider to order.
8) Does this work with Mac? Linux? ChromeOS?
Yes, kind of (see http://www.silicondust
9) Can I sling? Stream to my ipad/tablet?
Apps are available, but official apps are still in development. You can kind of sling from a windows pc using WMP or RemotePotato. However, it's limited compared to an actual Slingbox. Streaming recorded TV works decently (ie remote-access DVR). Streaming live TV isn't the greatest.
10) Can I use my wireless network?
Any network will do, but there are numerous reasons why a wired network (of any type, really -- ethernet, MoCA, powerline) is superior. That said, personal experience says HD channels will stream over an uncluttered N network just fine as long as you're not too far away from the router. SD channels give you further range. YMMV since no wireless networks are identical.
11) Extenders? Like stretch armstrong?
An extender is a special device that "extends" the reach of a computer to a monitor/TV it's not attached to. The most common extenders today are the Xbox 360 and the Ceton Echo, though others can be found. When using an extender, you're presented with the contents of the computer that is being "extended." Other PCs/laptops are NOT extenders. If using multiple HTPCs, rather than extenders, content can be shared. However, your provider may restrict that content using a technique called "flagging." Typical flags are "copy freely" (any HTPC on the network can view that recorded content), "copy once" (the original PC that recorded it and any extenders can view it) or "no copy" (rare -- usually for PPV) meaning you can't record it. Each cable company flags different channels differently, so YMMV. No matter the flag, an extender can view it live. TWC is the biggest cableco to flag almost all 'cable' channels as "copy once".
There are two iOS apps you can use to access the HD prime on an iphone/itouch/iPad: InstaTV Pro and nPlayer. Both are paid apps and require a good WiFi connection for stutter-free streaming. For SD programming 2.4 GHz N wireless is fine but for HD programming you are likely to get stutter without 5 GHz WiFi.
Edit: Also Remote Media Center.
In regards to "slinging," you can setup a web interface to stream LiveTV using Media Browser 3. They just recently started supporting the HDHomerun Prime using a plugin called ServerWMC. You will need to know a bit of know how on port fowarding and maybe Dynamic DNS to access your setup at home, but this can be learned and if you understand what these things are, most likely you can figure out how to set them up. PM me if you want more information about setting up HDHomerun Prime through Media Browser 3 web interface.
There's an Android/iOS app called Remote Media Center that can stream live TV to your tablet or phone, even sling it outside the home, but it requires a special version of Remote Potato running on a WMC computer with a processor powerful enough to transcode the HDHR's MPEG2 stream into a smaller h264 stream.
The newest firmwares include a DLNA streaming server for around the house, but the stream is MPEG-2 so it is fairly processor and ethernet intensive (ie some wireless seyups can be sketchy).
If you use a Roku, you can use HDSurfer Plex Plugin to transcode and stream live TV to the Roku, though channel surfing is clunky. There's also wallop, a ruby server for the Mac which can transcode a stream to h264 for viewing on Apple devices.
Of course all of these streaming solutions are free software perpetually in Beta. But I've used one for four years with my htpc on my main TV, and Windows Media Center works great with the HDHR in my living room.