Cord cutting is a phrase that has gained so much momentum that it has hit the mainstream, but while the concept sounds great, it isn’t always the easiest to manage. For many people, they can get by for some parts of the year with just a simple over-the-air (OTA) antenna and then supplement with an online streaming service for access to their favorite shows or sports teams. The problem has been that there aren’t many options that can give you easy access to view and record both OTA and premium streaming channels in one slick interface. HDHomeRun Premium TV looks to solve that problem.
SiliconDust, the company behind the HDHomeRun products, is a company we’ve followed closely since this site’s inception. Their OTA and CableCARD tuners can’t be beaten, and they continue to innovate with new services like the HDHomeRun DVR. Now they are expanding their offerings again with a premium TV streaming service called HDHomeRun Premium TV. At its core, the service offers access to 45 premium channels (like ESPN, CNN, and AMC) for $34.99.
HDHomeRun Premium TV is meant to be the perfect companion to the company’s existing OTA tuners. In fact, you’ll need to have at least one of their supported devices (HDHomeRun CONNECT DUO, EXTEND, or QUATRO) to gain access to the streaming service. If you have one of the dual-tuner devices you’ll be able to stream two channels from the premium TV service at once. If you have the Quatro you’ll be able to stream four channels at once. Owners of the CableCARD-equipped HDHomeRun Prime are understandably out of luck. It seems unlikely that a customer who is already paying for cable would want to pay for another premium TV service, but there’s another reason for the lack of support. Building in support for the new service would require the CableCARD tuner to be re-certified by Cable Labs, and that’s not an inexpensive or fast process.
Any streaming video service is only as good as the content it delivers. HDHomeRun Premium TV is launching with a nice lineup of channels. You’ll be able to watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC and C-SPAN for your news fix. If you’re into sports you’ll have access to ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNews, ESPNU, and ESPN Classic. Unfortunately they don’t have any of the NBC or Fox Sports properties. For kids they offer Nickelodeon and Disney. Of course they also have some of the most watched cable channels like AMC, HGTV, USA, Food, TLC, SYFY, FX, TNT, and The Weather Channel. The offering won’t perfectly fit what everyone is looking for, especially some sports fans, but there’s almost definitely something for everyone.
If you’ve already got one of the supported HDHomeRun tuners then you can preview the new service now. Just update the firmware on your tuner by visiting the my.hdhomerun.com webpage from a computer on your home network. The new channels will appear in the guide within the HDHomeRun apps and you can watch them for a few minutes to see that they work just like watching OTA channels.
One big feature that sets HDHomeRun Premium TV apart from much of the competition is that if you also subscribe to the HDHomeRun DVR service you can record from the premium channels just as you do with OTA channels.
HDHomeRun Premium TV’s channels can be watched just about anywhere the OTA channels can be viewed. That includes Windows 10 and Mac computers, Xbox One, Android mobile devices, Android TV (including the NVIDIA SHIELD TV), and iOS devices. While you can watch the streams on practically any device, perhaps the biggest downside to the service is that even though the premium channels are streaming over the Internet, they can still only be viewed from devices on the same network as your tuners. You won’t be able to watch ESPN on your phone from the airport.
HDHomeRun Premium TV is available now in the United States and will be coming soon to Canada. It can be had for $34.99/month and it doesn’t require an extended contract. With the fall TV season starting, and football right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to give the new service a try. Do it’s many features, like OTA and cable channels in one interface, out-weigh the few cons? Let us know in the comments below!