SiliconDust has refreshed its lineup of HDHomeRun over-the-air (OTA) network tuners with three new models that gain DVR capabilities, ATSC 3.0 tuners, or both. Replacing the old CONNECT DUO and CONNECT QUATRO models are a new pair of devices called the HDHomeRun FLEX DUO and HDHomeRun FLEX 4K which both now have a USB port that allows you to connect an external hard drive for DVR capabilities, eliminating the need for a standalone DVR. As the new same suggests, the FLEX 4K also includes ATSC 3.0 tuners, which its predecessor lacked. The third new model is the HDHomeRun Scribe 4K which replaces the older SCRIBE QUATRO and also adds ATSC 3.0 tuners in the process.
Similar to the Fire TV Recast, HDHomeRun devices allow you to stream OTA channels captured by an HD antenna to numerous devices on your home network, include Fire TVs, phones, tablets, and computers. At the entry-level of the lineup is the new HDHomeRun FLEX DUO for $99.99 which includes a pair of ATSC 1.0 tuners that let you watch or record 2 channels at once. Since this model does not come with any ATSC 3.0 tuners, which is the new OTA format that is just starting to be deployed in the US, its streams and recordings cap out at a resolution of 1080i.
The big change with this new model is that it now includes a USB port on the back that you can optionally connect an external hard drive to if you want it to double as a DVR. With previous entry-level models, you had to either use a computer, NAS, or secondary HDHomeRun device to record programming. Now, this one inexpensive device can do it all, however, you do still need to subscribe to the HDHomeRun DVR service for $35 a year to cover the cost of the necessary channel guide data. The HDHomeRun FLEX DUO can be pre-ordered now from SiliconDust and will ship May 31.
At twice the price of the FLEX DUO is the new HDHomeRun FLEX 4K for $199.99. It too now comes with a USB port to serve double duty as a DVR but also gains a pair of ATSC 3.0 tuners for streaming and recording the latest broadcast standard in 4K. If ATSC 3.0 channels are not available in your area, the additional tuners are not wasted because they can still function as ATSC 1.0 tuners for a total of 4 simultaneous streams or recordings. The FLEX 4K is available to purchase now from SiliconDust or from Amazon and will ship immediately.
Lastly, SiliconDust has replaced the old SCRIBE QUATRO with the HDHomeRun SCRIBE 4K for $279.99. This device has the same 4 tuners (2x ATSC 3.0 and 2x ATSC 1.0) as the FLEX 4K, but instead of a USB port for an external hard drive, it has an internal 1TB drive that provides enough space for 150 hours of recorded programming. It would have been nice to see the addition of a USB port to the SCRIBE 4K for storage expansion options, but that’s, unfortunately, not the case. You have to decide between the flexibility of the FLEX 4K or the cleaner all-in-one aspect of the SCRIBE 4K. Notably, the SCRIBE 4K does include 1 year of DVR service, a cost of $35, which the FLEX models do not. The HDHomeRun SCRIBE 4K is also available immediately from either SiliconDust or from Amazon.
Remaining in the lineup is the HDHomeRun SERVIO, which essentially acts as a 2TB network hard drive for any HDHomeRun tuner to use for DVR recordings, and the HDHomeRun Prime, for cable card users. Out of the lineup, the HDHomeRun FLEX 4K is probably the one I’d recommend because its ATSC 3.0 tuners make it futureproof and it gives you the option of adding DVR capabilities if you choose to.
This is exactly what I said about the Scribe,sort of. I said it would be a lot better if it had a USB port for extra storage. This is better, because if you can get by with 2 tuners the 99.00 Flex is a good deal. What support told me yesterday is that using another source for the DVR: PC, Shield, NAS is still better because it can handle more streams, a concept I don’t totally understand, but sounds pain enough. The Flex is limited to 4 streams I think he said. I have 3.0 in my area, but what little I read in forums doesn’t make the 200.00 investment seem necessary yet and for some time to come, Why else would SD make any new tuners without 3.0? I’m intrigued by the Flex Duo and it looks like I’ll have a month to think about it before it ships.
How does this compare to the Tablo 4 tuner. I have a 2 GB disk attached to it and can record 4. Are these an improvement worth looking into? Thanks for your info you’re pretty awesome
Sorry, but I can’t really judge how they compare because the Tablo and the HDHomeRun that I own are quite old models. I assume they’ve both made improvements with more recent models so I don’t know how they compare these days.
Thank you so much for responding! I guess since I’m currently happy with what I have I should just wait until something that would be a big upgrade comes out. But I wouldn’t have even know about this if it wasn’t for your updates. I followed you (many) years ago and was bummed when you took a break. Totally get it and I hope you got to spend the time with your family that you wanted. Thanks again I’m so glad you’re back on!
Thanks for the kind words and it’s great to be back! I’m glad you rediscovered my little corner of the internet and I’m glad the info was helpful.
How’s the app for the HD Homerun? I cut my cable and added a recast a few months back. The recast DVR itself is fine, but I’m really not thrilled by the firestick UI, particularly since the changes last month. They really f**ked over the DVR access, and Amazon’s constant flood of ads for non-prime content is getting a bit much.
I have a mix of firesticks and AppleTV devices in my home. I chose Recast over HomeRun or Tablo, and I’m beginning to regret the choice. Thankfully, the DVR price is cheap enough that I can gift the recast to someone else, or sell it, and not lose any sleep. The question is, “What comes next?”
It works well with Plex these days.
I think the most obvious thing you will notice about the HDHomerun DVR is that the guide is not the grid style. It scrolls down the right side of the screen leaving the current channel taking up most of the screen. Some love it. Some don’t like it at all. In my brief experience with the Recast I decided the picture quality is not as good as the HDH. I think the Recast transcodes the video.I was bugged by the spinning drive noise and no app on other platforms. HDH is on all the major devices.I would not buy another Recast and have stuck with HDH. On the other hand Recast has no annual fee.
Do you get PSIP data with these devices if you don’t subscribe to the guide data? Can you schedule shows by time and channel number, if you don’t subscribe to the guide data?
You do get channel and program data information for currently airing shows and for the next 24 hours with HDHomerun devices without a subscription. However if you want some form of DVR scheduling solution you will have to use a service like SiliconDust DVR Service solution or a third party solution such as Emby or Plex.
I know there are websites that say what channels get atsc 3, but are there any that show what format, 4k etc, the channels are?
I’ve never looked for a list like you’ve asked, but even if there is one you have to be wary of its accuracy because many channels broadcasting 4K are just upconverting 720 or 1080 broadcasts. I don’t think we’ll see channels truly adopt 4K as the norm until they can cut off their ATSC 1.0 signals, which is 5 years after they start broadcasting ATSC 3.0.
Seems like the current ATSC 1.0 stations are still adding subchannels and reducing the bit rate of the HD channel. There is only room for one 4K channel on an ATSC 3.0 station. Cable TV also reduces their bitrate to show more channels. More lower resolution channels drive revenue. I think they will use the additional bandwidth from ATSC 3.0 to add more 480i subchannels.
Off topic, but the Firestick 4K is on sale for $37.99
at Amazon, Best Buy, Bed & Bath…
Thanks, just finished writing about all the deals going on right now. https://www.aftvnews.com/many-fire-tvs-fire-tablets-echos-and-kindles-have-gone-on-sale-ranking-how-all-these-deals-stack-up-to-past-discounts/
Can’t figure out why they didn’t put if 4 tuners for ATSC 3.0. Since I have 4 OTA channels I watch and record, I don’t want to record with a lesser format. Hope they reconfigure this soon.
Are the ATSC 1.0 tuners any more sensitive than the tuners in the old HD Quattro?