Cord cutters with a desire to own and operate their own digital video recorder (DVR) and a phobia for the x86-based systems the enthusiast community typically employs for this purpose have a unique option thanks to the combined efforts of HDHomeRun network TV tuner manufacturer SiliconDust, Nvidia, and personal media streaming software company Plex. The latest beta release of Plex Media Server for the Nvidia Shield set top box now supports Plex's recently-added DVR functionality.
Plex offers its Plex Home Theater for virtually every smart device with a screen, but Plex Media Server support for streaming players is unique to Nvidia's Shield. Plex began offering its eponymous Media Server software for the Shield in June of this year. The latest beta release adds DVR support for three current HDHomeRun network TV tuner models: the HDHR Connect, Extend, and Prime. Like many non-core Plex features, the Shield beta release is available exclusively for Plex Pass subscribers. Plex Pass is a software subscription that gives subscribers access to Plex clients for a wider variety of hardware, including smart TVs, as well as offline synchronization for mobile devices, and user management features.
Plex claims its software supports Shield models with the 500GB mechanical hard drive, as well as the base model with 16GB of flash storage. While 16GB may not be ideal for DVR duty, the storage capacity of the flash model can be upgraded with a microSD card or an external USB hard drive.
Shield owners can schedule and manage DVR recordings on their devices with nothing more than a web browser. Plex claims that initial recordings of episodic content will present the user with the option to automatically schedule recordings of future episodes. The software collects a variety of metadata about the recorded content and offers that data to the user through the Plex Home Theater client interface. Hopefully, that browser-based system is secure—no one wants to come home to a DVR full of Kardashian shenanigans.
If you'd like to roll your own DVR using this software, Nvidia’s Shield 16GB sells for $199, and the 500GB model comes in at $299. Compatible HDHomeRun models start under $90, and an annual subscription to Plex Pass costs $40.