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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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