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Question Which PVR Backend software for new build server / Kodi front-end

Jolltax

Active Member
Hi guys,

I live in the UK and watch Freeview DVB-T2 live TV and stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify. We started with a TiVo in the 90's in the UK for our TV PVR until the service was cancelled and then migrated through Windows MCE (now gone) and switched about 5 years ago to a MediaPortal backend server running on a PC with Kodi frontends around the house.

We have many frontend devices on multiple different platforms around the house running Kodi or other frontends LibreElec, iOS, PC. The new backend server will need to support streaming to multiple devices and simultaneous recording and storage of all our TV, it must have a web EPG so we can schedule recordings whilst mobile.
I am about to replace our server and it seems like an opportunity to look again at what options are out there as there are a couple of features we really miss in MediaPortal :
  • A web EPG interface that is not buggy (WebMediaPortal is buggy and seemingly not supported)
  • A proper "Series Link" functionality (not "record every time on this channel") so you can record by series number or new episode
The development version of MediaPortal (v2) has seemingly been ongoing forever and will still lacks these features as far as I can see.

I would love to hear from people how some of the other media servers match up, I have been looking and here are my findings so far :

NextPVR - looks quite good but not sure about web EPG interface
PLEX - Live TV seems a bit of an afterthought / in beta, we don't have a media library and PLEX seems biased towards people who do
TVHeadend - I tried it years ago and didn't like the lack of any proper interface, I don't know much about it these days or how it has evolved
Emby - reviews seem to imply its not as good as PLEX and although it supports Live TV it seems limited compared to NextPVR / MediaPortal
MythTV - I really like Linux but last time I tried it was very horrible to set up and had nasty server interface and compatibility compared to Windows, I can't see wifey building drivers from source, using the command line etc ...
MediaPortal 1 - it actually works OK and does a lot of what I need but the web EPG is sadly neglected and looks likes its about to die at any moment, based on MPExtended, last update July 2013 ... lol. Also desperately needs better series links for UK TV - anyone fixed this?

If anyone has any comments or recommendations for our usage case I would love to hear them :)

*We have no real interest in internet streaming, just Live TV plus we already have Amazon Prime, Netflix and Spotify subscriptions to meet our streaming needs

Chunks
 

maddy

Well-known Member
I'm still using MCE as it's sooooo good but have been looking around for an alternative for a while.

I've tried NextPVR and TVHeadend as the backend whilst I tinker around to find an alternative - has to be rock solid to get the necessary wife approval factor, but given that I run a Windows Server I've plumped so far for NextPVR. The web interface for it is OK, nothing flash, just works.

For guide listings I subscribe to Schedules Direct, costs $25/year for FreeView listings. I started using this for data after having so many outages on the MCE data download. Excellent data supplied by them and NextPVR integrates well with it.
 

Jolltax

Active Member
I'm still using MCE as it's sooooo good but have been looking around for an alternative for a while.

I've tried NextPVR and TVHeadend as the backend whilst I tinker around to find an alternative - has to be rock solid to get the necessary wife approval factor, but given that I run a Windows Server I've plumped so far for NextPVR. The web interface for it is OK, nothing flash, just works.

For guide listings I subscribe to Schedules Direct, costs $25/year for FreeView listings. I started using this for data after having so many outages on the MCE data download. Excellent data supplied by them and NextPVR integrates well with it.
Thanks, I have ordered the parts for my new server and once I have it up and running I was also planning to give Schedules Direct a try for listings.

If NextPVR doesn't seem better as a back-end to MediaPortal, I can always go back to MP!

Jolltax
 

palmer27

Standard Member
Like the OP I went from the original TiVo to WMC.

When I upgraded the HTPC to a Ryzen APU I was forced to upgrade the OS to Windows 10 due to lack of driver support. I used the various methods to install WMC on Windows 1The semi-annual feature updates break the WMC installation so I started with Windows 10 LTSB 2016. But the Ryzen APU wasn't fully supported (pixelation in streaming videos) so eventually upgraded to Windows 10 LTSC 2019 when released. Unfortunately WMC randomly froze or disappeared altogether twice so started looking for alternatives.

Tried MediaPortal and Emby with NextPVR. Live TV channel switching and EPG weren't as good as WMC.

I had tried Plex DVR in the past but the Windows PHT client wasn't as easy to use and smooth as WMC with OpenPHT. The Windows PHT client always transcoded the TS stream to MKV which meant there was a 5 second delay before a channel started to play. FFWD and RWD were useless.

Finally I settled on using the HTPC with only Plex Media Server installed and buying a Nvidia shield TV for the front end. The shield uses the same PHT app but is able to direct play the DVB-T streams. Plex clients on Android and IOS devices are also able to watch live TV and schedule recording. The EPG in a web browser is just as good as the one available on WMC. Plus I can now watch YouTube, iPlayer etc all from one remote without having to get out the keyboard and use Chromecast and Google Assistant.
 

jchh

Novice Member
Hi,

I'm in Oxfordshire and have used Plex for a while. In principle it's great, but they have totally screwed up the EPG over here last week after moving to a new provider.

I am sure it will settle down, but they gave little warning and clearly did not prepare well.

My major criticism is that they seem to focus oil new functionality before ensuring what they have is super reliable.

In the meantime, I have been playing with NextPVR (which requires a subscription to SchedulesDirect.com for the EPG) but so far so good. I am on a Mac and therefore using the beta.

[edit: typos]
 
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Jolltax

Active Member
I created this thread back in April and built my media server a couple of months ago and installed NextPVR backend and have been using it for a couple of months now.

It works really nicely with my Kodi frontends and was a doddle to install and the webUI is fine, only really missing a decent search functionality.

Overall based on all the testing I did, NextPVR is hands-down the best and easiest for my usage case.

Good luck!

J
 

maddy

Well-known Member
@Jolltax
One thing I've found with Kodi is that, if you start watching a recording that's in progress, once you reach the point in the recording when you started watching it, it stops playback.

Is this something you've found, and if so did you find a workaround for it?
Thanks
 

maddy

Well-known Member
Quick update, though I appreciate this isn't my thread...

I bought an HDHomerun a while back, finally got around to installing it and getting it going with Kodi. I had a TVHeadend server up and running but tbh it's just too much faff and part of the reason for moving to Kodi is to simplify everything.

Current solution is Kodi, HDHomerun plus annual subscription for the guide, plus the Zuki HDHomerun script to integrate the guide with Kodi - works great.

I'm just coming to the point where I'll turn off W7 MCE for good.
 

maddy

Well-known Member
Good so far, up to 14 days depending on channel.

I paid for a Schedules Direct sub at $25/year, HDHomerun is $35/year.

The HDHomerun native client for Kodi is rubbish, though. Hence my using the Zuki add-on.
 

jchh

Novice Member
so why bother with HDHomerun subscription at all - just use SchedulesDirect (I am not a Kodi user).
 

maddy

Well-known Member
As far as I can tell, you need to either have a) TVHeadend between Kodi and HDHomerun, with a SD sub, or b) Kodi and HDHomerun using the zuki script and the HDHomerun sub.

B) is a lot easier.
 
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