Cable and satellite TV subscriptions can be expensive and many people often forget that broadcast television is still free "over the air" (OTA). Anyone who wants a cheap and easy way to get programming from major and local networks can make use of digital TV. To make use of Plex DVR with OTA broadcasts, you'll need both a DVR device and an antenna.
If you do have cable service, though, you can still make use of a DVR that supports cable to let you view unencrypted content!
Plex Media Server Platform Support
The DVR beta is currently available when running the Plex Media Server v1.4.1 or newer "Preview Release" of the server, which is available for Plex Pass subscribers.
Be aware that if you run your Plex Media Server on a low-powered NAS device that doesn't support transcoding, many apps will be unable to play recorded content. Over the air broadcasts are often in MPEG2 or other older formats, which few devices or apps can play directly (and would thus require transcoding in those cases).
Tip!: Remember, to use the DVR beta, you need to install the Plex Pass preview release of Plex Media Server.
Supported DVR Devices
Plex currently supports HDHomeRun (HDHR) devices by Silicon Dust. Different models have different capabilities and are appropriate in different locations.
ATSC over the air broadcasts (Canada, Mexico, United States):
- HDHomeRun CONNECT - model HDHR4-2US
- HDHomeRun EXTEND (can record in H.264) - models HDTC-2US, HDTC-2US-M
DVB-T over the air broadcasts (Australia, Europe, New Zealand, United Kingdom):
- HDHomeRun CONNECT - model HDHR4-2DT
- HDHomeRun PRIME - CableCARD - models HDHR3-CC, HDHR3-6CC-3X2 (United States)
- HDHomeRun EXPAND/ HDHomeRun 4DC - DVB-C - model HDHR3-4DC (Europe)
Tip!: If you already have an older, unsupported HDHomeRun model, you can email SiliconDust details and the
Device ID for your tuner to discuss a possible discount on a new, compatible model.
You will need to connect your DVR to an antenna to be able to pick up the free digital Over the Air broadcasts.
Plex will work with any digital antenna, regardless of manufacturer. The best antenna for you can vary greatly based on a number of factors, including: your particular location, channels availability, and distance/direction from the broadcast sources. An "amplified" antenna may provide improved reception and allow you to reach more distant stations, particularly when using an indoor antenna.
Both the Mohu and HD Frequency websites have information about the different types of antennas that are available. There are also many other resources for great information and tips on choosing the most appropriate antenna for you, including the following.
Related Page: The Wirecutter: The Best Indoor HDTV Antenna
Related Page: Lifehacker: How to Choose the Best Over-the-Air Antenna for Free HDTV
Related Page: Over the Air Digital TV: Choosing an Over the Air TV Antenna for Free HD Channels