nextPVR


 

Introduction

 

NextPVR is a Windows-based program that turns your computer into a DVR. It works great as a backend server, and can be used on the client side too, but most people generally prefer something like Kodi or Plex as a frontend. It can also be used as a basic media center application, but again, it lacks the power of Kodi or Plex. NextPVR supports Live TV, a programming guide, manual and series recording, and web scheduling.

NextPVR is fairly easy to set up. For U.S. residents, it’s possible to get the EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) data for free, but most of these setups require other programs to be installed that “scrape” the internet and import data into an XML file. To me, the likelihood of something not working right seems rather high. If you want reliable EPG data, your best bet is to sign up for a Schedules Direct account and pay a yearly $25 fee.

For this tutorial, I’m pairing NextPVR software with a Hauppauge Colossus video capture card. All of the Hauppauge drivers should be installed. Note that WinTV is not a necessity, but you’ll want to have Hauppauge’s BlastCfg utility installed so that you can change the channels from the software. I’m using an AT&T U-verse set top box with component cables going from the output of the cable box to the input of the Colossus. The Colossus includes an infrared output port on the card, with an infrared sensor that sticks on the front of the cable box to change the channels.

 

  • Features
  • Reliability
  • Ease-of-use
  • Price
  • Documentation

Summary

NextPVR is a no-frills piece of software that can turn your computer into a DVR to record all of your favorite TV shows or movies. It's rock solid as far as reliability goes. Setup is simple, and it's easy to use. NextPVR is free, but you may want to purchase a $25 Schedules Direct membership in order to get reliable EPG data. NextPVR's website can help walk you through installation and has a forum in order to further assist you with any trouble you have with the software.

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Why use NextPVR?

 

One advantage to using a computer-based DVR is storage space. Most cable companies only offer devices with 1 TB or less of storage space. Multi-terabyte computer hard drives are fairly cheap nowadays. Another advantage is to record shows or movies that you want to keep so you can watch them again later without taking up space on your DVR or without having to pay for digital copies. Reliability is also a factor. I’ve yet to have a DVR provided by a cable company that’s made it a year without problems. I’ve never had any issues with NextPVR, and I don’t have to worry about losing any recordings when I swap out the cable company’s DVR box.

 

Installation

 

Go to NextPVR’s website to download the software. It’s free. You can make a donation if you want to support the future development of the software, but it’s not required. It’s a simple Windows installer, but if you need help installing it you can click here.

When prompted, choose Run.

Click Next.

You can read through the License Agreement or just press I agree.

Click Install.

NextPVR will automatically create Windows Firewall rules as well as start the service.

Once installation completes, click Close.

You can start NextPVR from the desktop icon or by right-clicking the Quick Launch icon and choosing Start NextPVR.


Configuration

 

NextPVR will automatically detect your computer hardware if you’re using a video capture card, such as the Hauppauge Colossus . As long as your hardware is working correctly, you should get a picture with audio in NextPVR without any configuration. Really the only settings you need to change are related to getting your programming guide data. Everything else is just preferences. Follow the slideshow below:


Slideshow- Tap or click to view

General settings. You can leave everything at the defaults or choose your own preferences.

Devices settings. NextPVR will automatically scan your system for hardware. I’m using a Hauppauge Colossus video capture card. Highlight your device and click Device Setup.

Make sure the video and audio input settings are correct. The Channel Changer settings should be automatically filled in if you’re using Hauppauge’s IR Blaster. For a Hauppauge device, you must ensure all drivers that came with your setup CD are installed. Click Import to add channels.

I recommend using a Schedules Direct account to populate the programming guide. Select it in the Source dropdown. Click the Lineup dropdown then select manage lineups….

Input your Schedules Direct login information.

Type in your zip code then click Find Lineups. The Lineup dropdown will populate with service providers in your area. Choose your service provider.

Click the Add Lineup button. Your service provider will now be listed in the Current Lineups box. Click Done. Click OK to close the Devices settings dialog.

Channel settings. Click the Update EPG button to populate NextPVR’s programming guide.

Recording settings. Choose your preferences.

Media Folders settings. Choose the location of your media folders that you want NextPVR to show in the UI if you plan on using NextPVR as your frontend.

Decoder settings. Choose your preferred decoders. I highly recommend EVR as your Video Renderer.

Artwork settings. Choose which metadata you want NextPVR to gather from the internet.

Misc settings. Choose your preferences or just leave at the defaults.

Misc2 settings. Set the EPG settings to your preferences.

DVD settings. Choose your preferences or just leave at the defaults.

Client settings. Select your settings for Kodi under the XBMC section. Ensure the Allow Remote Access box is checked. You can change the PIN or just leave it at the default of 0000.

Status settings. A quick overview of your devices.

Plugin settings. You can deselect whichever options you don’t want to see in the UI menu. Or just leave everything as is since we’re only using NextPVR as our backend. Click OK when you’re finished.







Conclusion

 

NextPVR is great at what it does as recording software. It’s not as flashy or as extendable as Kodi or Plex as a frontend, but it easily integrates with both to give users some flexibility in designing an HTPC setup. There’s not much of a learning curve, it’s easy to set up and use. It’s free and it works- what more can you ask for?

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