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Friday
Nov092018

Podcast #869: SiliconDust Streaming TV Service

We recently read a news story about a TV streaming service from SilconDust, makers of the HDHomerun a device that allows you to take your over the air TV signal and broadcast it over your network to mobile devices as well as set top boxes like the AppleTV.

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Smart Home Security

We have discussed Smart Home Security before but with the recent proliferation of Smart Home and IoT Devices we thought it would be good to review some precautions you can take to protect your home network. These are general good practice steps. Some will be simple to incorporate others may require some tech savvy concepts.

Passwords - We know it's a pain but the stronger your password the harder it is for someone to crack it. Never use the default or no password. That is the first thing someone would try to gain access to your stuff. If available use 2-factor authentication. Have a code sent to a trusted device or use the Google or Apple 2-Factor system.

Multiple Networks - Create a seperate network for your IoT devices so that they do not have access to the rest of your network. This way if there is a security flaw in your connected microwave your automation devices will not be vulnerable.

Create your own Cloud - Rather than having your information like video from your cameras stored to the cloud. Have the video go to a NAS. This will minimize the risk of your video falling into the wrong hands.

Monitor your Network -  Periodically look at what is connected to your network. If there is something you don’t recognize investigate and take action.

We have plenty of network experts that listen to our show. If you have additional ideas please let us know and we’ll share with the listeners!

 


SiliconDust Streaming TV Service

We recently read a news story about a TV streaming service from SilconDust, makers of the HDHomerun a device that allows you to take your over the air TV signal and broadcast it over your network to mobile devices as well as set top boxes like the AppleTV.

Milton Scritsmier of Boulder Colorado was kind enough to write in with his experience of the service. It was a bit longer than a typical email but we wanted to share it with our listeners so we turned it into a segment on the show.

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I've been using it for the last month and overall I'm happy. It should only be considered by people who can get OTA broadcasts. But if you do, it has two big advantages the other streaming TV services don't.

One, because OTA is free, you don't have to pay for local TV stations in the SiliconDust package. You get all the broadcast networks offered in your area, not just some of them. The money saved this way can go for the other channels SiliconDust offers in its package (it currently costs $34.99 per month). I'm pretty happy with the channels provided, but it's not heavy on sports.

Two, you can use your own network storage device as a DVR. This means you are not limited in the number of shows you record nor how long you keep them since it only depends on the size of the disk you have. The number of simultaneous viewers of recorded shows is limited by only what your NAS and your network will support. The shows are recorded in H.264 and can be viewed on all kinds of equipment and players. It also means you can skip over commercials any time you want. The quality is better than what I've seen with DirectTV Now, the only other streaming TV service I've tried. Because SiliconDust's equipment works with Plex, you can use it for remote viewing of shows on any device that supports Plex.

It does require a significant outlay in equipment to get started beyond the monthly fee. I paid $150 for SiliconDust's HDHomeRun Connect, which lets me record four OTA shows at a time in addition to whatever is sent to me over the internet. To activate the SiliconDust's DVR service there's a $35/year annual fee. You need some kind of set top box like an Amazon FireTV to run the HDHomeRun app which displays the shows on your TV. If you don't have an antenna for OTA, you'll have to pay for that as well. I live in a remote area and a year ago it cost me $500 to have a professional mount an antenna on my roof and calibrate it. Finally, to record the shows you'll need some kind of NAS. This can cost $200 to $300 for a low-end one if you don't have one already and it needs to be one supported by SiliconDust (for example, WD's NASes work well).

The other big downside is that the user interface is still in its early days. For example, it sometimes gets lost when navigating the schedule. Because the HDHomeRun app has to run on set top boxes and other devices without sophisticated remotes, the user interface is not ideal like it is on a TiVo. But the user interface is not laggy like it is on some other streaming services.

Because of the OTA and equipment requirements, I don't expect SiliconDust's streaming TV service to become one of the majors. But many people who have cut the cord may already have many of the pieces. I already had most of the equipment mentioned above and I cobbled together a NAS from a 7TB external drive and a Raspberry Pi super-clone, so the initial outlay was not that much for me.


 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Bluetooth for Receivers:
Listening to your podcast with Trekz Bone conduction headphones
My Harman Kardon receiver has no option for bluetooth In/Out
The solution is a Bluetooth Transmitter & Receiver made by Avantree BTTC-500
it's audio input comes from an 8th inch Headphone cord from the Sanyo 50" TV
(that is also the Windows Desktop Monitor) The Avantree takes the headphone input as an Aux signal that can either be passed to the Receiver or Paired with the Trekz stereo bone conduction headphone.
The Avantree is able to transmit bluetooth audio using a Low Latency codec aptX
the delay is 40ms and works fine for TV / Computer audio. This works if the bluetooth
device is also able to receive using the aptX codec (Trekz and Plantronics 5200 devices do)
Something that may not be an obvious benefit is that many bluetooth devices (Trekz and Plantronics headsets) can connect to the Avantree Bluetooth and your Cell Phone at the same time. So when your phone rings, it becomes the primary bluetooth audio and you can answer and talk without having to mute the TV (another person listening via bluetooth will still hear Avantree TV audio as their phone not yours is the 2nd paired bluetooth device.)

November 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Settle

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