Rookie

Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

[ Edited ]

This message is to support a new thread for those TWC Subscribers who are seeking information on using their Android TV devices or Android TV equipped TV set with TIme Warner Services.

 

At this time, The TWC app for Android isn't supported on this emerging platform and although there are tricks to install and get it working, The experience doesn't live up to the effort nor is there a timeline to provide this support.

 

In the meantime, Those who wish to experience good quality playback in up to 3 rooms and don't mind spending a few bucks on equipment, You have options to eliminate the need for monthly cablebox rentals as long as you have an internet router in your home.

 

This discussion started on http://forums.timewarnercable.com/t5/TWC-TV-for-Android/Android-TV-support/td-p/78807/jump-to/first-...

 

and I'm moving it here in an effort to get it in one place and consolidate the information into digestible chunks..

 

I have much to share regarding setup, software and configuration details for using the HDHomerun Prime as a wonderful low cost way to get the most out of your service. Most of the directions can be followed by anyone that can use a web browser on either a tablet, phone or PC.

 

For those already familiar with the HDHomerun products and or may have read the lateral forums concerning problems with the HDHomerun and Windows Media Center, Be assured, Protected content stations are working quite well on official Android TV devices using the HD Homerun software on Google Playstore.

 

I'm already well at work writing instructions and an overview and should be posting it over the next few days.

 

If you are already using this product with Android TV and TWC, Please post your experiences here for all to see.

 

I didn't like Simple TV or the TIVO solutions as they added more monthly fees to ownership and in the end for me, The HDHR is the best game in town for lowering your cost of ownership and monthly bill while providing a good experience overall and if you own Android TV devices, You're half way there already!. 

 

 

10 REPLIES
Rookie

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

For those following this thread, Thank you for being patient.

 

As much as I don't like social media and talking about myself, I guess I do need to tell you a little bit about myself for the sake of understanding my motivation and willingness to share information on this subject. Many of you may think I want to stick it to the cable company or have a vendeta against them.

 

All of the above is not true. I am simply an extreme multimedia hobbyist with a love and passion for technology and in the current age, There are consumer appliances that allow even a novice to setup a robust multimedia experience without the need for an Information Technology Degree. The problem still remains that there is a convergance of too many like products out there on market and when you confuse the consumer, They don't buy any of them.

 

About me,
I started out in a career right out of high school in the early 80's as an auto mechanic. I had just missed the first computers being given to schools by Apple and Texas Instruments by 2 years and didn't get to see how integrated computers are in schools like they are these days.

 

I enjoyed my work in the auto business and worked for a few shops over a 13 year period specializing in electrical and early elecronic fuel injection systems. Around 1990, Computers were starting to make their first real appearance in cars and the indepentant mechanic was faced with a new frontier. Auto makers coveted the information on how these systems worked in an effort to make repairs nearly impossible by personal other than dealership technicians.

 

There wasn't any college courses to take or any real information out there. The internet as we know it had not been created yet.

 

In a desperate attempt to gain some form of understanding how computers work, I purchased my first home computer, A TI 99/4A home computer at a fire sale in a K mart store. I wasn't getting very far with it until I joined a local computer club in Orange County, California and was quickly surrounded by knowledgable folks that guided me thru basic and advanced topics I found facinating.

 

The computer bug had bit me and just couldn't get enough. As this platform eventually reached end of life, I gained interest in game development, Console computer gaming systems like the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, All while I contunued my career as an auto mechanic by day and computer junkie at night.

The knowledge gained from learning how to write programs for these systems allowed me to reverse engineer automotive control systems while at the same time, The (DOT) Dept of transportation started putting the heat on auto makers for failing to provide the required information to independant repair facilities and attempting to create a monopoly in this business arena.

 

I then went on to the IBM PC, Learned how to repair PC based automotive diagnostic equipment, became quite accomplished at DOS, Windows and IBM OS/2. OS/2 is still one of my favorite operating systems to this day. It provided true multi tasking and a rich graphical interface long before Microsoft Windows ever reached that milestone with Windows NT. IBM stopped supporting the product in 1995 but there are still a few clubs left in the US and businesses using the operating system in the Banking, Insurance and Manufacturing sector. The product is still being refreshed to run on current hardware today by third parties. Search Google for eComstation and Blue Lion for information for those that remember OS/2 and want to see how far we've come.

 

My claim to fame in the OS/2 community was support and modifications to the Multimedia Subsystem to both educate and keep it current with evolving technologies like Internet Streaming media support, integration with current ported multimedia applications like VLC, Video and Audio conversion software like MPLAYER and FFMPEG.

I even have the HD Homerun devices minimally working on this platform.

 

I had in my living room in 1999 a micro sized ATX PC with wireless keyboard and mouse, A VGA to Video Converter and a connection to the internet running OS/2 watching some of the first internet video streams on my 60in projection TV.

In my garage eventually was a number of PC's running network connected OS/2 servers hosting all of my CDI and DVD's converted to streaming media formats eliminating a 300 disc DVD changer in my living room and VCR.

My electric bill was high using 200 watts a pop to keep the system live 24/7 and storage on Harddrives was very expensive back then.

 

I was convinced this would be the way of the future and eventually our internet connection would become the source of everything Audio, Video and content related.

I kick myself for not investing in Google, Youtube and Netflix to name a few as those services have changed the face of multimedia on the internet forever.

 

In 1995, I was presenting a demostration of my in-home media services at an OS/2 user group meeting when a headhunter from a major electric utility in SoCal was looking for someone with the skills to help them thru a problem with business systems running on the OS/2 platform.

This was the day that changed my life and career forever. I left the auto repair business, Became an IT profesional and worked for this utility for 21 years as a Consultant, Contractor, Internal employee, IT expert and finally an IT business process specialist. My career ended in Jan 2015 when the utility decided to outsource 2/3rd of the IT employees to a company in India.

Due to severance agreements, I refrain from naming the company in question but a google search on abuse of SB1B visa's and electric utility business will tell you all you could ever want to know about how fast americans are losing wage earning jobs in the tech sector.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I really don't want to talk about myself, But the background is required to promote the credability of the statements I am about to make.

 

Inspite of high cable bills, Claims of monopoly in the cable business, Copper,Cable and Fiber is a business that has transformed from a nice to have to a need to have, Therefore, These businesses operate in a world of government regulation and in fact have become utilities. From having worked at a utility for so long, I have been exposed to many of the problems any utility faces. As such, Most if not all utilities face steep regulation from our government both local and federal. On the surface, The regulation model was designed help consumers/businesses, promote free trade and competition.

 

Unfortunaly, This regulation comes in the form of local,state and federal regulations that do not align or work together in a manner that creates a sane environment for the utility to operate in.

Most utilities have to maintain largely expensive legal and compliancy departments to wade thru current and everchanging regulatory conditions to prevent fines, Maintain customer experience, and protect their interests/stockholders.

I would not be able to write in this forum or speak of alternatives for cable system equipment if some of those regulations regarding consumer choice didn't exist.

 

Theres Good, Bad and Ugly in all of this for both the providers and customers but it is our government we're taking about here and it is what it is. If you are seeking exact details on these type of regulations, You will need to do your own research as I would have to write a complete other series of articles just on the FCC and PUC regulations I have been looking at regarding the telecommunication business and my research only covers US and California. TMI!

So, With that out of the way and hopefully a little education on the subject, I can get to the meat of the discusion and only ask that folks posting in this thread do not bash TWC for allowing us to use this community space.

Keep the discusion healthy for everyone.

 

You might be surprized to find out that TWC probabely doesn't care if you choose to use your own equipment or not because the 2nd most expensive cost for any telecommunication utility next to regulation is SUPPORT and by using your own equipment, You are lowering TWC's liability in that area.

 

In a few days, I hope to post the next article in this series. An overview of the HD Homerun device and common acronyms used so I don't have to type full names for common words that will be used often.

 

Thank You TWC for providing a central location and allowing dialog to aid consumers in the choice to rent, lease or own equipment.

 

TWC has a lot of information available on their TWC Central site and I would encorage others to read thru it as the solution I'm suggesting is not the only one that maybe right for you and is solely based on and for the AndroidTV platform, My 2nd love next to OS/2.

Spectator

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

Wow that's a lot of background.  Thank you for sharing all of the data you have. I'll keep my back story short i am a former FIOS,DirectTV customer and also a hobbyist trying to take control of my own DVR. I currently pay $$$ for time warner.   I have been searching hi and low for a solution similiar to yours and have also come to a similiar conclusion regarding hardware  A couple of concerns:

 

*HDHomerun prime - broadcast flags preventing recording and/or extending front end usage on other TV's via a webapp like mythtvweb (not possible with TWC is what i've read).  Prime requires Windows 7 WMC which i have on a laptop and not on the machine i planned to purpose as a backend.  That has Windows 8 which both could be upgraded to Windows 10 which then i could use HDHomeruns new DVR software.  But does that limit playback to the backend only and only allow locals?  I am leaning on cutting the cord and using the extend with mythtv if that is the case.  Watching too much TV is not healthy anyway.

 

*Next Player - I found this because i was looking for a Youtube app that uses voice search so I can avoid reaching in my pocket for a smart phone.  But if it has trouble with the TWC app then this will be frustrating. Does HDHomerun have an app that will work as a frontend to either the new DVR software similiar to mythTVweb, or WMC?  (FYI i understand TWC prevents a mythtv setup).   I am also considering a FireTV but more research is necessary. Roku stick works ok with TWC but Youtube is too sluggish.

 

TWC DVR - I have two DVR's that are sluggish and archaic to what DT has to offer.  Even the DR21 was way better then current DVRs i have (DCX3400).   TWC recently raised my rate by $30 and I tried to negotiate but to no avail.  So again I am thinking HDhomerun Prime maybe.. but extend for sure to put me in a better position.

 

*Raspberry Pi 2 - If i could get by with Kodi and MythTV the RPi2 could work pretty well at least that's what I've read.  So long as the asscessories that i may need like a Minix Neo A2 Lite Gyro Remote with keyboard doesn't cost me too much.

 

It would be great to record Hallmark for the wife and have her access via another front end in a different room but I've heard this is not possible due to the broadcast flags.  Any help would be appreciated.

 

 

Rookie

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

Sounds like you are someone I'd like to share extended technical discussion with. Especially around the DVR saga. I too am playing with MythTV and the HDHomerun DVR system still under development. 

 

The HDHR DVR system final specs to support DRM and the expected 4 months to complete support for many platforms is one of the reasons I started to write this tutorial. My angle with this forum is to keep the techy stuff to a minimun and slowly work up to advanced topics like DVR support. I am also focusing on appliance solutions consumers can easily install. What I liked about the HDHR DVR system is that they have an easy installer to allow the system to be installed on a WD NAS without a consumer needing to become an expert @ linux or even configuring the NAS. I have completely shyed away from any Windows man in the middle based solutions as listed in my bio. I discussed the many PC's I ended up with to create a complete home entertainment system. A 40 watt NAS versus a 100-200 watt PC plus the learning curve to configure it could easily scare someone off.  

 

So I am interested in continuing some dialog with you via email if you don't mind writing me @ theandroidtvguy@twc.com. I want to brainstorm a little with the plans to put up another forum on twc just for the real techy folks like us.Robot Happy

 

I don't want to spoil what I have planned coming up in this forum but I will say? Is DVR really a needed solution any more with HULU covering most of the popular TV shows within 24-48 hours of airing? We pay 12.50 a month for DVR Service not including the rental of the DVR itself. Convert that to $7.99 a month and watch it on demand when ever and where ever you want. The only real thing I use my DVR for now is local shows, news and sports that I can record as all the local stations are not copy protected ..

 

Your comment about Hallmark is interesting. In my area of SoCal, I noted that QVC HSN was copy protected, Why, I can't figure out yet. Channel 123, The Hallmark Channel is not DRM protected here. Go figure.

 

Most other Variety Pass channels are DRM? Doesn't make sense that WGN is protected? Makes me wonder who's driving this. 

 

More later..

 

I still have to finish the next installment and a few days has turned into a few more playing with the HDHR DVR builds so contact me and lets come up with a good set of subjects for gear heads!

 

On the HDHR forums I'm known as MrJinx and just posted a few doozies over there. You might want to look at..

Spectator

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

[ Edited ]

I have a wife and young children so my time is limited but yes, I like to tinker with things when I have the chance.  Right now i have some basic goals that go something like this:

1. Reduce cable bill - find out if I can build a whole house dvr (PC backend with WMC + repurposed laptop WMC)

2. MythTV backend/frontend to possible cut the cable.

3. build low cost mythTV kodi frontend either rpii or nexus player.

4. Convince TWC I'll keep paying the bill if they remove DRM and allow MythTV

 

The NAS solution as you mentioned would be great but prices are steep right now to build one.  But power consumption is an issue with a dedicated PC running 24/7.  If i could use the two 750GB SATA drives i picked up recently from a old mac pro I bought for my father in law that would be ideal.  Those drives are in my current system but I thought building a NAS if possible or just use them in the mythtv backend system.   I like that on the other forum you listed all the hardware I need because I need just about everything you listed.  I am stuck paying for the ultra internet speed and have the old wifi modem with fees.   I am still debating whether to jump to the HDHomerun extend first because of the major hassle with having to call TWC cablecard techs just to get up and running.  Whereas with MythTV its just about plug and play.  Not only that but I would have to put a laptop where the current DVR is located in our bedroom.  I say laptop because its the cheapest way to get WMC up in running where i could tap into the WMC backend?  That is where I am nervous about getting the error message like the YouTube guy ranted about. In such case why bother and go straight for the extend. 

 

FYI.  I'm in the OC time warner market.

 

Rookie

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

As long as the 750gig drives are the same maker model, Bare NAS units can be had on eBay for $70.00.

750 gig would be a fine size for DVR purposes. Just make sure you get one that either uses an ARM or Intel processor with 256 gig of ram on the unitto work with the HDHR DVR software.

 

See my post here on how I got a non directly supported NAS unit working.  https://www.silicondust.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=119&t=30995&sid=56d89455d47a37f23760f440610a6c20

Rookie

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

I can't comment on anything but the Nexus Player (NP) for AndroidTV (ATV), but I have been hesitant to try any of the unbranded ATV STB because of concerns about compatibility and reliability.  So that has left me with the NP as the only really affordable option.  I have expanded the storage of my NP since the upgrade to Android M and went to an ethernet connection through the use of an external usb hub with built in lan port.  I thought I would be disappointed with the overall system speed with the system storage being connected over the external USB 2.0 connection, but I have been pleasantly surprised.

 

I am occasionaly using the NP to watch TV through Kodi with the HDHomerun (HDHR) addon (WMC is my main source of watching live TV).  It is an acceptable format for watching the channels live, but somewhat frustrating with no real channel guide system.

 

I haven't handed over money yet to try the HDHR DVR software, but I imagine that it will cut out a transcoding step that I currently use if I want to watch a copy once flagged show on another screen in the house.  I believe the idea is to make the recordings available to any systems utilizing the HDHR app to watch TV.

 

I would like to move to an ATV STB for watching live TV and consuming other forms of media.  I would plan on using an ATV STB on every screen and use the HDHR DVR software on a server backend to host the recordings and local media content to all the STB's.

 

I currently only have one HDHR prime tuner and have a Ceton infintv6 network tuner I have been planning to add to the system to check functionality and determine its usefulness vs the HDHR prime.  I've been waiting to do this (more than 1.5 years) mainly because I haven't had much need for more than 3 tuners at a time yet.  As my family gets older and everyone develops their own preferences of what they want to watch I know I will have to employ more tuners.  I currently am only renting one CableCard from TWC and I have my own Motorola M-Card that I would like them to activate so I don't have the added rental cost of CableCard on the monthly bill.  While it is fairly inexpensive ($2.50) in central Ohio, the costs will go up over time and that is one of the reasons I started looking into using my own system in the first place.  They have the ability to activate customer owned Motorola CableCards in areas where TWC already uses Motorola CableCards, they have just said that they don't plan to allow it.  I started a petition in hopes that it can persuade TWC to allow the use of customer owned CableCards where it is applicable, but with the low number of users using CableCards and the even lower number of people wanting to use their own CableCards, I don't expect a lot of support.

 

 

 

Spectator

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

If you don't mind me asking, you mentioned that you use WMC for your main viewing of cable channels.  What kind of pc system do you have and what are you internet speeds? If I want to replace my DVR's I am going to have to invest in a small form factor.  Rather then what i am doing now.  Which is using a custom built pc that my daughter is using for gaming. Now I am debating on what to buy.  A cheap optiplex with a HDCP updated graphics card or a intel nuc i3 or i5 HTPC.  Those are spendy but I have to get a stand alone stable backend PC if i am going to make this work.  Any help would be appreciated.

Spectator

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

Update: So far I have limited success with a 2nd drive on my daugher's homebuilt gaming machine with an intergrated card. I followed the setup and it worked but now I am having trouble on a 2nd machine. I have another pc a dell 755 SFF with a XFX HD 5450 GPU installed. I've tried to get windows media center working with my HDHomerun Prime to no avail. Nothing but error messages. "Driver display error vide playback devise does not support playback of protected content". The TWC will flash video for a few seconds and then render the error message. So i'm wondering if anyone is able to use this HD 5450 card with windows media center, TWC, and HDHomerun. Is it my HDMI output (new cable)? Do I need to use DVI or VGA with a stereo cable for audio?

Newcomer

Re: Using the HDHomerun Prime with Android TV

I randomly found this forum by way of another forum where one user was asking about sideloading the TWC app on his Sony AndroidTV.

 

I too have been wondering about the future of DVR. Our Sony AndroidTV is due to have built-in DVR with the latest marshmellow update, but I believe it only will know how to record OTA. In Maine, there isn't much OTA, and ABC is the one local network that is 140 degrees away from the antenna array with all the other channels. Other than ABC, my wife and I have lately been watching BBC news over the local PBS station and at some point our local PBS station may sell out to the cellular companies to gain $$ in exchange for OTA frequencies. At that point, unless I can on-demand watch BBC world news on their AndroidTV app, I might need a DVR-like appliance that can take a TWC feed.

 

Like Mr. Jinx, I've been in the tech industry for over 30 years. I'm just getting back to programming and have been looking at AndroidTV (in addition to other Android environments) to start playing with code. I too could go on forever, but thought it might be worth stating a few items that are relevent to this forum:

  • Any open-source DVR project that can be used with Digital protected content, including use with cable card is of interest to me. (Yes, this means I can dump my HD DVR from TWC)
  • I'm all about using FreeNAS as a product/appliance for storing my DVR content. I use it to store my life. Not only is the software enterprise-grade, it makes very inexpensive, aging PCs become really, really usable home NAS servers. I'm interested in any developments that may be happening with HDHomerun and FreeNAS.
  • I love *thinking about* this stuff in a grand way. I spent my last ten years at Digital Equipment Corp working in research and forecasting media developments. I'd rather not spend a lot of time or money on efforts that don't have good reason for a healthy future. I currently own no streaming devices, so I'm TOTALLY open to possible solutions.
  • Being in the tech support business, I get asked quite often about "cord-cutting". My kids have no cords and probably never will. Some of my best friends have cut the "cord", but I don't believe their viewing was "main-stream" meaning they watched very little tv in the first place.
  • Perhaps not in this forum, or in a TWC forum community, I eventually hope to build a guide that can be used for potential cord cutters to help them decide which services/subscriptions are needed to provide the desired "channel lineup" they are looking for--and that may still include CATV in some form. This guide will include include some mention of required internet bandwidth.
  • And last but not least, I am most interested in learning more about HDHomeRun [Prime] and how it may work with today's content as well as 4K content yet to come.