Review: SiliconDust HDHomeRun (HDHR-US)
A few weeks ago, Woot.com had the SiliconDust HDHomeRun available. I'd heard a lot of good things about it and finally decided to jump on it.
Unlike my other reviews, I'm not going to include pictures in this one, because they're really not needed. The device has exactly four connections to hook up (power, network, and two coax) and that's it. Easy as pie.
The software was just as simple, I had to download it, install it, and run it. The included software is extremely straightforward to use and easy to configure. On the Windows side, the setup utility automatically found my device and upgraded its firmware immediately upon launch. I was then able to input my zip code for use with the Lineup Server and quickly scan in my channels to submit to the site.
The real joy comes from the config utility, which runs on both Windows and Linux. It scans for the next active channel, and then shows three different levels. It shows "Signal Strength" which corresponds to actual received power, "Signal Quality" which corresponds to the SNR/MER of the signal, and "Symbol Quality" which corresponds to the bit error rate. Interestingly enough, these three values all correspond directly to values I can pull off my spectrum analyzer, except the tuner in the HDHomeRun is superior to the one in the spectrum analyzer. Once I learn what the exact conversions are, I'll be in good shape.
Here's what it says for my local stations from Roanoke/Lynchburg.
|Station||Signal Strength||Signal Quality||Notes|
|WBRA (3)||96%||59%||Frequent drops in Signal Quality causes drop in Symbol Quality|
Once tuned to a given channel, you can then choose a subchannel and then you can view it. On Windows, "QuickTV" opens which has a channel list at the right and shows you the picture. Very nifty. On Linux, VLC opens and it instantly connects. I'm very pleased with both.
The device works well with TSReader, making it ideal for that purpose as well. When you open TSReader and choose the HDHomeRun, it lets you choose which tuner you want to access, and then enter a channel. I'm simply loving being able to have my laptop anywhere in the house and pull up TSReader locally. (I have it running in WINE.)
In the near future, SiliconDust plans to launch the HDHomeRun Prime, which will feature three tuners and support for CableCARD as well as tuning adapters. No support exists for any type of satellite.
This is one product I can definitely recommend, and I'm already considering buying more of them to leave places. It's such an amazing device.
If you want to find them for sale, here's where to look.