SiliconDust, makers of the various HDHomeRun networked tuner devices, have just announced a surprising new TV subscription service called HDHomeRun Premium TV. For $34.99 per month, the service gives you access to 45 cable TV networks including ESPN, USA, TNT, FX, TBS, and more. The service works through their existing HDHomeRun devices. While that does mean that at least one tuner box is required to access the service, it comes with the unique flexibility of being able to watch the channels through several apps and DVR solutions, such as Plex, Channels app, Emby, and even Kodi.
At its core, HDHomeRun Premium TV is an over-the-top TV subscription service that streams cable networks over the internet to your connected devices. They have an HDHomeRun app for Fire TV, as well as most major platforms, that you can use to watch the included channels live. What differentiates it from services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and other streaming TV services is it requires an additional piece of hardware to work. My buddy Lon Seidman does a great job demonstrating the new service in his YouTube video, for those of you who want to see it in action.
To view HDHomeRun Premium TV channels, you’ll need one of their compatible tuner boxes connected to your home network. SiliconDust’s newer HDHomeRun CONNECT DUO and HDHomeRun CONNECT QUATRO work with the service, as do their older CONNECT and EXTEND models. The HDHomeRun PRIME tuner made for cable cards does not work with the HDHomeRun Premium TV service at this time.
Even though the HDHomeRun Premium TV channels are being streamed over the internet to your home, the service actually uses the tuner in the HDHomeRun devices to work. This means that the number of available physical tuners you have will determine how many concurrent channels can be viewed or recorded at the same time. So, two different channels can be watched/recorded simultaneously with a HDHomeRun CONNECT DUO and four different channels can be watched/recorded simultaneously with the HDHomeRun CONNECT QUATRO, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of buying a new device to try the service.
While it might seem strange to require an additional piece of hardware in order to stream the channels, doing so adds flexibility to the service that you won’t find with any other streaming TV services. The premium paid channels are treated just like over-the-air channels, so you can view them through numerous 3rd-party apps in addition to the official HDHomeRun apps. This means that you can have access to your paid channels directly within apps like Plex, Channels, Emby, and Kodi. Your paid channels can live right next to your over-the-air channels and your local content in a single app interface. See Lon Seidman’s follow-up video demonstrating how the premium channels are set up inside of Plex.
Additionally, since HDHomeRun Premium TV channels are treated like over-the-air channels, they all work with existing DVR services that support HDHomeRun. This includes Plex DVR, Channels DVR, and HDHomeRun’s own DVR service. An advantage of these DVR solutions, versus the cloud DVRs that come with traditional streaming TV services, is that you’re in full control of your recordings, since they are stored on your own hard drives. This means that the recorded video files are portable, so you can move them to any device and even watch them offline.
The HDHomeRun Premium TV service is available today in the US for $34.99 a month and will be coming to Canada soon. There is no contract, so you can subscribe month-to-month and cancel anytime. There isn’t a free trial that gives you access for a certain number of days, but everyone with a compatible HDHomeRun device is able to instantly tune to any channel for two minutes without needing to sign up for anything. Once you become a subscriber, the 2-minute cap is removed.