Help with OTA Streaming solutions

Maverickz

Member
Dec 20, 2013
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I am looking for a way to connect an HD antenna to a tuner card in a media server (running MS Server 2012), then stream the live TV channels to various android boxes such as Fire TV, NVidia Shield, and generic Android boxes. I don't care about DVR ability, but a TV guide (at least 24 hours worth) and the ability to pause, rewind, and FF the feed would be nice. I don't care if the solution uses Kodi or a separate app as the front end on the various android boxes. The ability to encode h.264 or h.265 would be a plus.

I do know about the HDHomeRun boxes, but I would prefer an internal card type solution rather than another box. Also these boxes require a subscription for time shifting capabilities and I have heard some negative things about the lifespan of these boxes.

Anyone have any suggestions?
 

Maverickz

Member
Dec 20, 2013
40
0
6
OK so after doing lots of research and since I got no replies here, I came up with my own solution which I will document here just in case others would like to know.

PREP:
IF you are running this on a regular Windows PC then you can skip this step. IF you are running on Windows Server then this is required. Windows Server OS's are missing some files to support BDA (Broadcast Driver Architecture). You can copy the files over from a Windows 7, 8, or 10 PC using a tool called serverbda. You can get it and instructions HERE. Essentially there is 1 Batch file to grab the files from a Win 7,8,10 PC and another Batch file that moves the files to the Server PC and installs some drivers.

TUNER CARD:
I went with a "Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD" ($66 on Amazon) USB tuner and plugged that into my Windows Server 2012 box. It comes with a license key for their WinTV software but I am not using it. You DO have to download it and start the installation in order to get the drivers installed but you can stop once it asks for the Activation Key to install WinTV itself.

ANTENNA:
At first I went with a Mohu Leaf indoor antenna and it worked great for all of my UHF based channels which are all around 35 miles away, but it did not get any of my local VHF based channels (such as ABC and CBS). So I called Antennas Direct, gave them my address and told them I would be doing an attic mount and what frequencies I needed to make sure to get. They checked my area and make a recommendation for an antenna that works for both UHF and VHF at the ranges I needed. They offered me the antenna for $135 but I pointed out it was on Amazon for $129. After confirming they lowered their offer to $119 for the Antenna. This antenna (Clearstream 4 Max) is pulling in all of my local channels, both UHF and VHF, perfectly.

DVR SOFTWARE:
I went with NextPVR as the backend software. It is completely free to DL and use, and relatively easy to setup. To get the Guide info for FREE I followed the instructions in THIS thread. Using this you can get as many days worth of guide data as you want.

FRONTEND:
I tried using the NextPVR addon for Kodi, but I couldn't get it working so I opted to buy the NextPVR Android app for $6.99. I got the app on my phone and made a backup of the APK to put on other boxes. The APK installed and worked perfectly out of the box on the NVidia Shield and a generic Android box. It initially did NOT work on a FireTV Box but I was able to get it to work. To make this app work on an Amazon box you have to go to apkmirror.com and download Google Play Store (Android TV version) and Google Play Services (Android TV version) and install those. You do NOT need to run them just install them and MAKE SURE to get the Android TV version. Once installed, the NextPVR app runs perfectly on the Amazon FireTV. Now at the time of this writing the Android app is fairly new so while it does work to play live TV and recorded shows it is not yet "fully featured". You can pause live TV but resuming is problematic and FF/RW doesn't work so well on Live TV. These are being worked on though and I expect this to get better as it matures.

SUMMARY:
So for $192 and a bit of effort, I have a solution that can play Live Local TV on any device in my house (2 at a time), has a good TV Guide, can record shows if I want, and doesn't cost me anything on a recurring basis. There is supposedly a plugin than can even allow skipping commercials on recorded content, but I haven't set this up yet. Hopefully this helps others setup their own solution.
 
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