back to article SiliconDust HDHomeRun

Fancy a TV tuner for your Mac or PC? Chances are you’ll be looking at a USB device, but there are limitations – the most obvious being it can only be used on one computer at a time. Offering an Ethernet alternative, SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun twin-tuner Freeview box can serve two computers with independent digital telly channels, …


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  1. Wolf Clostermann

    Megadodo Publications, home of the Reg Hardware reviewers ...

    "but it scores over its better-known rival on two points"

    Does it have the words "Don't Panic" written in large friendly letters on the cover?

    And, really, would it have been that hard to test this device with MythTV and ascertain whether it does or does not work? There's every possibility that the combination of this device and MythTV could make a killer product that works even better than the payware software. Surely that would have merited at least investigation, in the name of thoroughness?

  2. Colin Guthrie
    Thumb Down


    MythTV is an excellent application. It's quite developer focused but to be honest if you are buying this kind of kit, you're not going to be all that upset about that.

    The trunk version of MythTV is shaping up to be pretty damn awesome and although I've not used it, the HDHomeRun support seems to be pretty complete.

    Add to that a very vibrant and enthusiastic user community and you'll probably find yourself quite happy with MythTV.

    Why so dismissive of it in the article? A few sentences and a degrading passing comment about "an open source app that may or may not work"... Not exactly what I'd expect from the Reg... should all open source be treated with this level of suspicion?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just use mythtv

    mythtv is free and should work with HDHomeRun, but why bother? Just get a dual-tuner TV card and set it up with mythtv, and maybe chuck a satellite card into the mix as well if you want HD.

    It's cheaper and way more versatile - giving you fully networked TV across as many PCs as you want (and you can of course plug your PC into a TV if you still have one of those old-fashioned things lying around gathering dust).

  4. Mage


    You mention HD

    UK HD on DTT is going to use DVBt-2. Does the Tuner HW support this?

    (French and some others use DVB-t MPEG4 for HD on DTT).

    About 16 countries including Ireland and Estonia use (or will use) MPEG4 rather than MPEG2 exclusively for DTT SD TV (not just HD). Does it support that? The Sony Play TV was a long time before they added MPEG4 reception to the PS3 (odd seeing as it does MPEG4 for BD) and it still will not play MPEG4 recordings (though pauses Live Irish TV, which is record/play of MPEG4).

    A lot of unanswered questions.

    Even Turbo 11g (108Mbps) or 11n 250Mbps may not stream TV reliably, especially if more than one person is using WiFi. You really need wired ethernet or special Video QOS WiFi for broadcast quality TV streaming.

  5. Dave Lawton

    OK hardware, shame about the review

    I would suggest you do your article research more thoroughly before you make comments about MythTV. Try looking here and here also

  6. cliff


    We have no problems with MythTV.

    The point, as I stated in the review, is that manufacturers shouldn't sell you a lump of hardware and then just say - "sorry there's no software but we're sure you can find something out there on the Internet..."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mythtv version number is stupid.

    and don't be put off by 0.21 version number of mythtv.

    That's just down to the guy who runs the project being a tosser who doesn't understand normal conventions.

    It's actually very stable and fully functional. I've been using it for about 5 years now and it just keeps getting better - from the end user perspective.

    I wouldn't want to be a developer on the project though - the source code is incredibly badly written, from a maintainability point of view at least. Magic numbers anyone?

  8. Psymon

    see that tiny speck in the distance over there,

    that was the point you completely missed.

    Whether or not said TV software is any good, is completely by-the-by. The point is, that after spending £160 on a product, I shouldn't be expected to go hunting for the software REQUIRED to make it run myself. Especially if it's free. The pathetic manual and lack of bundled software is the kind of standard I'd expect some £25 korean import, or open sauce software (feed the trolls, tuppence a bag... ;)

    I'd expect at the very least to have a selection of this free software provided in the box for me to try, rather than having to repeatedly trawl through their website for potentially compatible products.


    A sensible criticism of this article cries out from the swamp of troll flames!

    yes, more tech-specs on what formats this box supports would have been more helpful. A table of countries/up-and-coming formats would have been a god-send for those of us who don't keep up with the latest TV format wars

  9. Coyote


    The HDHomeRun is a network tuner in the purest sense. RF in, Ethernet out. It doesn't matter what encoding the video uses, that's up to the clients to decode. There are also special versions of the HDHR designed to be cable signal analyzers and/or data stream receivers.

    That's also why it doesn't come with any software other than the utilities. As a general rule, if you can tune it and get it to play in VLC, you can find something that will DVR it.

    Can't speak for DVB, but the HDHR works extremely well for me in the US, tuning the free HD channels from digital cable.

    Brainiac because when I first got the HDHR, getting it to work with digital cable required an engineering degree. The drivers have improved substantially since then.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See that tiny speck in the distance over there,

    Psymon, that tiny speck is the intelligent insight you have brought to this matter. IOW, none.

    The HDHomerRun is not intended to be the whole appliance, it is a part of a structure. Of course, if you purchase it on a complete whim without understanding what it does and how it works, no wonder you are disappointed and whining. Do you expect that you can just pick up any old turbocharger for your car and it will fit perfectly?

    The HDHR is specifically designed as an external two tuner add-on to work together with whatever particular software your computer uses to record and playback video. And there are lots of programs available for that purpose on various platforms. (Win/Mac/Linux)

    The North American version of the HDHR works perfectly with Over-the-Air ATSC standard transmissions, and with QAM encoded (but unencrypted) cable feeds, whether in standard or high definition. It appears that in England, HD uses a different standard than SD. Don't blame Silicon Dust for that sort of cockup. All you need is an antenna for glorious high def across most of North America.

    And to the supposedly knowledgeable techies of the Register, it's about time you shut down your Windows boxes and actually did some work and research before trashing things which you know nothing mythtv. Mythtv handles the HDHR very nicely thank you. As for some info on mythtv, since it appears you are unable to use google to find an iota of info, Linux Format magazine had an article in the April issue about building a mythtv specific computer and has covered mythtv on numerous ocassions. Try

    A review of the review: A slighting and ignorant trashing of a useful piece of hardware, by ignorant chavs who did not understand the use of the hardware in the first place, and who therefore, focused on the deficiencies of software programs which do not come with the hardware, As an extra touch, since they failed to understand the purpose of the hardware nor how it worked, they trashed the included software for faults it is clear arose from that same lack of understanding. Overall E-. (barely above a complete failure, however, extra points were awarded for the dearth of egregious grammatical errors.)

    The Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

  11. Ray Broadbridge
    Thumb Up

    HDHomeRun Manual

    Firstly, thanks to Cliff for reviewing HDHomeRun at all! We take the point from the Mac users' point of view about software; I have to admit we at Nectar are primarily Windows-based.

    Writing what we describe as the 'UK Installation Notes' was a challenge because we didn't want to over-complicate what can be a very simple install for what we believe are the majority of users: they have Windows Media Center / Vista. Our experience of manuals is that if they're anything but simple, they will be ignored. There are additional instructions on the SIliconDust website, but as these refer to US cable versions as well it tends towards complexity.

    We are revising the Installation Notes to help non-Windows / Media Center users a bit more effectively; and we're playing with MythTV to make sure we get it right. We'll put a revised version on the website soon.

    Regarding DVB-T2, the answer's a no, because there as as yet no chipsets in commercial production for demodulating it.

    Finally, wireless bandwidth: one video stream from HDHomeRun occupies about 6 Mb/s. We reccommend HomePlug-P, if getting enough capacity out of your wireless network is a problem.

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