Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Help and support for HDHomeRun DVR and HDHomeRun software for Windows 10, Mac, Android, XBox, etc.
3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by 3579mike777 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:51 am

I got an Android Box and it works pretty good with LiveTV with my HDPrime with Xfinity. I get all the channels and they look and sound good. I got the DVR subscription and it registered my device.

The problem is I can't access the hidden DVR setup menu because my remote doesn't have a play button. The OK button does this function. I click it 13 times and nothing happens. When I click on it in Live TV, it just repeatedly stops and pause the channel. When I put it on the Recorded tab, it just searches for recordings. I have a mouse connected but I can't find access to the setup menu.

I have a 2tb external drive connected and setup, but I can't access the hidden setup menu.

I also have a Windows 10 computer with HDHomeRun software, but I don't want to use this as the DVR storage because I don't want to leave the computer on all the time. I can access the HDHomerun setup program so I turned off the DVR function for the computer. I also have a Windows 7 computer with WMC on the same network.

Seems pretty funky that there is not a simpler way to access the setup menu with Android.
Last edited by 3579mike777 on Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

leerandall
Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:49 pm
Device ID: 131102D9, 1326E147

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by leerandall » Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:54 am

Hold the OK button on the remote until the setup menu appears.

Edit: This will only work if you do not have the beta UI enabled.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by 3579mike777 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:37 pm

Holding the OK button a hidden menu did appear. Limited choices, but one was use this device for storage DVR. Checked this and the app crashed. Reinstalled the app, and I was able to get the option checked and still view live TV. But I could not find the option on how to configure the DVR. I will read the install instructions again.

leerandall
Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:49 pm
Device ID: 131102D9, 1326E147

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by leerandall » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:12 pm

Perhaps the device is not an official Android TV box, and therefore may not support running the DVR engine. Someone more knowledgeable than myself would have to answer that question. Sorry.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by 3579mike777 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:15 pm

Still no luck. When I go to your website and check order status, it says "no DVR configured." When I clicked on the activation email link, it said it was registered. When I view the key on your website, it says the activation code is "unassigned." I will try again later. Maybe there is a delay in the process with your server.

If I can't get this Android box to configure the DVR, I will probably cancel the DVR subscription and ask for a refund. I was supposed to get two free months, but I see my credit card was already charged immediately.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by 3579mike777 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:48 am

In case anyone is curious, I kind of got the Android Box working as a DVR. But when I start the app, it gives me an error message about it stopped working. If I close this box, it goes to live TV my last channel and the record button is available. I never found the choice to pick my DVR drive, but it is automatically defaulting to my external 2TB drive. Right now I am recording one channel, watching another channel on the Android box, and another channel on my Windows 10 computer, which is maxing out my three Prime tuners. Working good. And the Windows 10 machine now shows the recording on the Android box and I am able to play it. The app menu on the Windows10 box now has more options than it did yesterday.

This being said, it is a little buggy on startup, and yesterday when I was getting similar results, when I closed the HDhomerun app on the Android box, the recording stopped. Maybe I can leave the app running on the Android box, setting it on the recorded tab so it isn't playing a live channel. Since I am perfectly willing to dedicate this box to only DVR, this would not be a problem. However, when I turn my TV off, the box appears to power off, even though I set sleep to never.

I'll experiment and let you know. For reference, here is the cheapo box I bought.
https://amazon.com/gp/product/B07PHSJ48W

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by 3579mike777 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:24 pm

I was able to keep the HDHomeRun app open and turn off my TV and not have the Android box shutdown. What I had to do was go into the HDMI CEC settings for this particular device on my Samsung TV and disable "shutdown" of the device when my TV turns off. My TV remote will still do remote functions for the Android Box, which is good because I don't like the included remote, if I keep HDMI CEC set to yes on the box.

So, fingers crossed, the $36 box might be a nice dedicated DVR (with portable hard drive.) This is why I got this box, not to do all the other stuff, my Roku and Samsung Smart TV apps are way better than this box, so doing nothing but HDHomeRun app all the time it fine with me.

I will give it a good test in the next few days and let you know how it works.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote

Post by 3579mike777 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:55 pm

BTW, while my four year old Samsung 4K TV will do 4K with the built in apps, my HDMI inputs are only HDMI 1.3, so I set my output to 1080P, which is fine because that is the best Xfinity is putting out right now.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by 3579mike777 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:11 am

Also for reference, here is how I setup the external drive. I had an old Hitachi 2TB in a USB 2.0 docking station. In Windows 10 I completely got rid of any partition information, so it was blank. Plugged into the USB port and set it up as an external drive in the Android box settings. As far as I can tell, the entire 2GB is available. Like I said previously, HDHomeRun record data storage automatically defaulted to this drive. I am really curious what would happen if I plug in a bigger external drive. I have a Seagate 4TB I would like to try. Also this old Hitachi is not in the best shape, so I want to swap in another drive.

As for the need for USB 3.0, that is way overrated. I have had a Prime cable tuner since 2013. At various times in the past I have used big USB drives, 5TB and 4TB, with my Win7 WMC computer. I could easily record three channels to this USB 2.0 drive and play a recording all from the same drive and it did not miss a beat. The only thing I noticed was fast forward and rewind was not as smooth as the internal drive, but certainly use-able. With this Android Box and the Hitachi drive described above, I have recorded channels simultaneously with viewing another channel and it worked fine.

One thing that might be an issue is that according to my.hdhomerun.com, my DVR recorder firmware needs to be updated. I tried to do it from Windows 10, but the only way my.hdhomerun.com sees my recorder is if the app is open and running on my Android Box. If I close the app, the page says no DVR recorder is setup. I don't know if the firmware can be updated from Android box, but if it is running, Windows 10 setup can't install the firmware update because it is running. What I might try is disable the DVR function on the box, set my DVR to my Windows 10 computer and try updating the firmware that way.

NedS
Silicondust
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Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by NedS » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:25 am

3579mike777 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:11 am
Also for reference, here is how I setup the external drive. I had an old Hitachi 2TB in a USB 2.0 docking station. In Windows 10 I completely got rid of any partition information, so it was blank. Plugged into the USB port and set it up as an external drive in the Android box settings. As far as I can tell, the entire 2GB is available. Like I said previously, HDHomeRun record data storage automatically defaulted to this drive. I am really curious what would happen if I plug in a bigger external drive. I have a Seagate 4TB I would like to try. Also this old Hitachi is not in the best shape, so I want to swap in another drive.

As for the need for USB 3.0, that is way overrated. I have had a Prime cable tuner since 2013. At various times in the past I have used big USB drives, 5TB and 4TB, with my Win7 WMC computer. I could easily record three channels to this USB 2.0 drive and play a recording all from the same drive and it did not miss a beat. The only thing I noticed was fast forward and rewind was not as smooth as the internal drive, but certainly use-able. With this Android Box and the Hitachi drive described above, I have recorded channels simultaneously with viewing another channel and it worked fine.

One thing that might be an issue is that according to my.hdhomerun.com, my DVR recorder firmware needs to be updated. I tried to do it from Windows 10, but the only way my.hdhomerun.com sees my recorder is if the app is open and running on my Android Box. If I close the app, the page says no DVR recorder is setup. I don't know if the firmware can be updated from Android box, but if it is running, Windows 10 setup can't install the firmware update because it is running. What I might try is disable the DVR function on the box, set my DVR to my Windows 10 computer and try updating the firmware that way.
On Android the DVR "firmware" is built into the app and gets updated when the app does. Google Play will eventually update it, so no worries for now.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by 3579mike777 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:46 pm

Good to know about the so-called firmware DVR Record on Android. To me it sounds like software, not firmware.

NedS
Silicondust
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Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by NedS » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:09 pm

3579mike777 wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:46 pm
Good to know about the so-called firmware DVR Record on Android. To me it sounds like software, not firmware.
It gets a little blurry because the SCRIBE and SERVIO will treat it as a firmware update, just like it would for the other tuners. It's purely software on a PC/NAS/Android, but the my.hdhomerun.com page doesn't make a distinction between different types of DVR storage. It's likely something we can improve in the future, so that platform-specific instructions are linked.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by 3579mike777 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:44 am

I updated the HD on my Android box and the firmware is now updated. Now it doesn't give me an error message when start the app. The guide also appears to be working way better than it was. Good update.

Before the update, I noticed a problem that my recordings would stop sometime around 2.5 hours. I can't be sure how long because your DVR doesn't give any details on the recording length, nor does it give a timeline on the bottom that shows how much time is left. When I use to the file viewer on the box, I can't find the recordings. It won't open the Android folder on the external drive. Not sure if this record problem is fixed with this update, or maybe it is related to my Android box setup. I setup a long CSPAN show for record this afternoon. I'll let you know if it cuts out early. I would find it strange if this Android box formatted this drive to something like FAT32, with its notorious 4GB file size limit.

I find it is easier to set recording DVR stuff with my Samsung S8 phone than it is with the Android box.

I would much prefer for the guide where you have a channel grid which shows multiple channels, and you can scroll up and down through the channels, and forward through the timeline.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by 3579mike777 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:57 pm

I discovered the reason for videos stopping at 2hr 20 min mark. The drive was in fact formatted by Android as FAT32, with the 4GB file size limit. I could see and even play the recorded videos with Windows 10.

What I will try next is to reformat it as an "internal" Android drive, not removable, and see if it formats to something besides FAT32.

This box supposedly has Android 8.1, so I would kind of be surprised if it has a 2TB drive limit, like older computers.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: Android box how to access hidden DVR menu with remote and how I got it to work as DVR

Post by 3579mike777 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:22 pm

For anyone following this, I tried formatting the 2TB to exFAT. When I connected to the Android box, the drive was accessible from the OS. So I went back to the HD app and after a minute, the exFAT formatted drive automatically defaulted to my DVR drive. This should solve the FAT32 4GB file limit problem.

My next step will be to do the same to the 4TB, simply reformat it to exFAT and see if I get the full space on the drive. I think it might work. I will update.

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