Live TV and PVR/DVR Setup Guide

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Stop hand.png Note! It is very important to understand that with "Live TV" in the reference to PVR in Kodi, we do not mean streaming video from the internet via websites providing free content or online services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and similar, no matter if that content is actually streamed live or not. If that is what you are looking for then you might want to look into "Video Addons" for Kodi instead, (which again is not the same as the "PVR" or "Live TV" we discuss in this article), but remember that Kodi does not provide any video content or video streaming services.
Live TV and PVR Setup Guide:
  1. Introduction
  2. Setting up the recording software
  3. Configuring live TV settings in Kodi
  4. The basics of Live TV and recording
  5. Live TV Artwork

Kodi features powerful Live TV and video recording (DVR/PVR) abilities using a very flexible distributed application structure. That is, by leveraging other existing third-party PVR backend applications or DVR devices that specialize in receiving television signals and also support the same type of client–server model which Kodi uses, (following a frontend-backend design principle for separation of concerns), these PVR features in Kodi allow you to watch Live TV, listen to radio, view an EPG TV-Guide and schedule recordings, and also enables many other TV related features, all using Kodi as your primary interface once the initial pairing connection and configuration have been done.

Due to the somewhat complicated nature of initially setting up a PVR for Kodi for the first time, this guide was created to try to help users from start to finish.

Kodi can today act as a PVR frontend to many PVR backend software and DVR set-top boxes that the manufacturer and/or the community are providing compatible PVR client addons for. This includes, but is not exclusive to, PVR client addons for PVR software and hardware such as Argus TV, DVBLogic DVBLink, DVBViewer, ForTheRecord, Tvheadend, MediaPortal, MythTV, NextPVR (formerly GB-PVR), VDR, Windows Media Center, and Enigma2-based DVR set-top boxes such as Dreambox, DBox2, and Vu+. as well as PVR client addons for direct LAN connection to network-attached TV-Tuners such as HDHomeRun, PCTV Systems Broadway, VBox Home TV Gateway, and Digital Devices Octopus NET network-attached TV-tuners. There is also a PVR Client Addon for the internet-based television providers FilmOn (FilmOn.TV Networks) and Stalker Middleware, as well as a simple PVR client addon for IPTV in general.

1 How does Live TV and PVR work in Kodi?

First of all, an important terminology clarification in regards to this article is needed, as when we refer to "Live TV" here we are only talking about traditional broadcast television systems using standard digital television or analog television, like you normally recieve through an coaxial cable from an Television antenna, cable, or satellite dish. This mean is that the Live TV reception to your house comes foremost from terrestrial television signals using a cable television, satellite service, or over-the-air television using a physical TV-tuner adapter or network attached TV-tuner appliance hardware.

Logically, the Live TV and PVR functions in Kodi use a distributed application structure that is designed after the client–server model concept which consists of two parts, these two parts are also referred to as frontend and backend:

  1. The PVR backend (as the server side part), which directly communicates with a TV tuner adapter(s) to receive the Live TV signals and create a video or audio stream, and also record to files
  2. The PVR client (as an addon for Kodi) - a Kodi addon which acts as a middleware which translates the commands and controls the presentation of content from the backend to the frontend
  3. The PVR frontend (as the Kodi graphical user interface) - Kodi that acts as a unified frontend and common interface which displays the content from all connected PVR backends

This concept follows a separation of concerns design principle, with the "PVR backend" as such being a separate application/process that directly interfaces with your physical TV-tuner adapter(s) or controller(s) that receives the broadcast television signal into your house and performs the actual task of tuning and streaming, and performs local recording of over-the-air and cable television signals and radio programming. PVR backends can either run on the same host/device running Kodi, or run on a stand-alone host/device on your local home network completely by itself (as a server) with Kodi only running when needed, as long as they have a network connection between them. It may be that PVR backends support only Kodi clients as a frontend for it, but most PVR backends can support both Kodi as well as other frontend applications/devices. In those cases where a single PVR backend is setup for the sole purpose of serving multiple frontend clients, then that PVR backend is commonly referred to as "PVR server".

When paired with one or more matched PVR backends, a configured PVR client addon enables Kodi as a frontend to handle the GUI interface, allowing the user to watch Live TV (with pause/time-shift, if supported by the PVR backend used), to display a graphical EPG (Electronic Program Guide) of all available television programming, to schedule recordings or to listen to radio, thereby giving the same sort of functionality as TiVo-style video recorder devices. Kodi as a frontend can support multiple PVR backends at the same time, and also some PVR backends may be able to serve several clients simultaneously, which means that it is Kodi that displays what is seen on your screen and allow you to navigate its menus with a remote control.

Next step: Setting up the backend software

2 Alternative guides

3 See also