Review: HDHomeRun DVB-T/T2 Connect

Silcon Dust HDHomeRun DVB-T/T2 Connect Network TV Dual Tuner

 

Connect-front

I recently purchased a HDHomeRun CONNECT, the network TV tuner that can take over the air broadcast terrestrial television and convert it into IP streams that can then be played back on any local network device. This means you no longer need to worry about having a coaxial TV point in every room, providing you have either a wired network point (for HDTV) or a wireless network signal (for SDTV). All you need to watch Live TV is a compatible client device connected to the same local network as the HDHomeRun. Power-line network adaptors can be used to reach locations in the home not accessible via the wired or wireless network.

connect-diagram

Setup was straight forward. I simply connected the HDHomeRun to my outside aerial via coaxial, and then to my home network via the supplied Cat5e patch cable. Once powered, i opened my.hdhomerun.com in a browser, where it immediately detected my device and started to update the firmware to the latest version automatically. From the webpage i had a choice of installers to download, for PC, Mac, Linux and Android. I downloaded the Windows version, installed it, and then opened the HDHomeRun setup application where i could configure the tuners by selecting the country, region and nearest transmitter. The final step was to scan for channels, of which it found 186 (including all the HD channels) on the first scan without any further configuration.

The setup really couldn’t be easier and took no longer than 10 minutes. By comparison other tuners i have setup for Windows/Linux have taken much, much longer, and have involved quite a lot of technical troubleshooting and configuration which would deter many non-technical users.

I was amazed by the plug and play simplicity of the HDHomeRun Connect installation, i can see Silicon Dust have put a lot of focus into making this product accessible to a non-technical audience, and not just those with a computing degree.

There are a number of compatible client devices that can run the HDHomeRun VIEW application, and even more devices that can connect via DLNA or via a 3rd party application, as the table below illustrates:

HDHomeRun
VIEW
Windows Mac OSX Linux  Android  Amazon  Fire  NVIDIA  Shield
3rd Party Applications  Kodi Elgato EyeTV  InstaTV Pro
DLNA Compatible  PS3 XBOX One/360  Samsung 2016 (Series 6,7,8)

The user experience varies depending on how you access content from your HDHomeRun.

The VIEW application offers the best and most feature rich experience. The VIEW application provides the EPG (Electronic Programme Guide), keyword search functionality and fully integrates with the HDHomeRun PVR (currently in development).

Using a 3rd party application is the next best thing, offering similar functionality to the VIEW application. Recording and pausing Live TV is possible with some of the 3rd party applications.

Using DLNA is the most basic means of watching TV from the HDHomeRun. You get a list of channels to watch, but there is no EPG guide data or search functionality.

The Good:

  • Very easy to setup and use
  • Excellent compatibility and support for a multitude of platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and a variety of appliances such as TV’s, HTPC’s, Gaming Consoles, Mobile Devices)
  • Dual tuners allow two programmes to be watched (or recorded) at the same time on different clients
  • Liberates LiveTV across all your home network devices
  • Innovative TV guide, with programme search feature
  • Competitive pricing (£99 at the time of writing)

The Bad:

  • Recording (DVR) functionality requires paying for a separate DVR subscription from Silicon Dust (or using 3rd party applications)
  • The VIEW application currently lacks a conventional ‘grid’ EPG

Tech Specs:

  • HDHomeRun CONNECT device with 2x internal Freeview HD (DVB-T2) digital tuners
  • 1 x 10/100 fast ethernet port, Cat5e cable included
  • External mains adapter
  • DLNA compatible
  • Works with HDHomeRun DVR software (review of the DVR coming shortly)
  • (W)92 x (D)93mm x (H)28mm

 

Connect-back

Download Links:

VIEW app for Windows (Windows Store)
VIEW app for Android (Google Play)
VIEW app for Kindle Fire (Amazon Store)
InstaTV Pro for iOS (Apple iTunes)

HDHomeRun for Windows
HDHomeRun for Mac
HDHomeRun for Linux
HDHomeRun for Kodi/XBMC/OpenElec/LibreElec

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