Google adds native DVR support for HDHomeRun to Android TV

Google’s Android TV has supported live channel viewing for a couple years now. The feature was mainly added for televisions that ship with Android TV as their main operating system, but it also works with set-top boxes, like the NVIDIA Shield TV, when teamed up with networked antenna tuners, like the HDHomeRun devices. SilconDust, the makers of HDHomeRun, have announced that they’ve worked with Google to support native DVR capabilities with Android TV’s live channels interface.

The new DVR feature allows the NVIDIA Shield TV and the Nexus Player to locally record content from an HDHomeRun CONNECT, EXTEND, or PRIME that exists on the same network. Content can be recorded to an external USB hard drive connected to the Android TV box. A minimum of 50GB is required, but a 500GB USB 3 drive is recommended.

If you have all the required hardware, and the latest Feb. 15 version of the Live Channels app, you’ll be able to record any live show and mark future shows to be recorded. If the Android TV box is asleep, it will automatically wake up to record scheduled shows.

There are several limitations in place at the moment that make this less than ideal, but it’s a nice start. Currently it only supports one networked tuner, and recordings can only be viewed on the same device that made the recording. Cable channels with DRM cannot be recorded, but it should work with all OTA channels. There is no option to pad recordings and the DVR does not recognize between recent and old airings.

While SiliconDust has collaborated with Google on this new feature, they advise customers to direct feedback and issues towards Google. This is likely because they have their own DVR solution, which is far more robust and feature rich, that works on many more devices, including the Amazon Fire TV through their recently updated app.

Due to its head start as a television operating system, Android TV has superior support for live channels and tuners than Amazon’s Fire TV operating system. Amazon’s announcement of Fire TV Edition televisions earlier this year does thankfully shows they’re moving towards this type of functionality. They have shown no indication of adding DVR functionality or of bringing tuner support to their set-top boxes, but hopefully this new feature from Google moves Amazon in that direction.

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9 comments
  1. Craig says:

    I can’t imagine Amazon not wanting to work with SiliconDust to allow HDHomerun tuners access to the new Fire TV channels app (found on Fire TV sets) on the set-top boxes too. But for the time being? I’m done waiting for Amazon to update the launcher on the FTV Gen 1’s or ever adding Ultra-Violet support. So everything’s been Nvidia Shielded and Xiaomi MiBox’ed on my end with Vudu and HDHomerun-Live Channel’ed. Been waiting. Done waiting. Just done.

  2. Gd says:

    Aftv still sucks for interlaced content yeh? Eg 1080i

  3. Richard says:

    Should the headline read “Google releases terrible DVR solutions”?

  4. Ichijoe says:

    HDHomerun is about as useful as a Chocolate Teepot. First of all like all good things it’s only available to the Yanks. So if your not living in the Land of the Free, and the home of the Brave. They don’t want to see you. Secondly you can only record FTA non-encrypted content. Third the HDHomerun (when it does work) will ONLY work on its native Android TV (e.g. Shield TV, MiBox, other), and not on any other Device. (e.g. Android Phablets, iThingies, etc…)

    So why would anyone drop a load to buy one of those Devices is lost on me, when you could just install TVHeadend on the Shield Pro, along with OSCAM (To decode legally subscribed content) is a much more elegant solution in my humble opinion.

  5. Robert Simandl says:

    Anyone know if there’s a MAXIMUM size hard drive this will handle? And any drives known to work better than others?

  6. Ichijoe says:

    Is the Drive formatted?* i.e. does it have just the single Partition.
    Formatted by something better than FAT32. My guess would be ext4. But, it might be better to just bite the bullet and, format the Drive as internal. Granted that might take a while, not unlike the Pro, and for the same reasons. As the Drive will also be encrypted at that time.

  7. shwru980r says:

    The DVR technology seems like that of a VCR with a graphical guide. Most TVs already have a tuner to watch live TV. I think a popular use case for the DVR feature would be to record live sports events, which often need to be padded to ensure the ending is not cut off, but padding functionality is not available.

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