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Catching up with Silicon Dust, makers of the HDHomeRun

Jared Newman | Jan. 11, 2017
The networked tuner builder discussed DVR delays, new hardware, and a semi-secret exchange program at CES 2017.

On the HDHomeRun Connect vs. HDHomeRun Extend

Occasionally, readers ask me what’s the difference between the HDHomeRun Connect and the more expensive HDHomeRun Extend. I’ve been a bit fuzzy on the answer myself, so I asked Head and Kim for a plain English explanation.

The technical difference is that the HDHomeRun Extend supports hardware transcoding, while the cheaper HDHomeRun Connect does not. In practical terms, that means the Extend doesn’t use as much bandwidth, so SiliconDust recommends it if you’re streaming video over a slower Wi-Fi router, such as one that uses the 802.11n standard or older. The Extend will also use less storage for DVR recordings.

That said, the Connect doesn’t prevent wireless streaming, and it supports DVR. So if you have ample storage space, and plenty of spare bandwidth on an older Wi-Fi network, the Connect could work just fine.

Hardware plans and a semi-secret exchange program

What’s SiliconDust working on next, beyond DVR? The company plans to launch a new version of the HDHomeRun Prime—which uses CableCARD to receive cable channels—with more than three tuners. The HDHomeRun Connect is likely to remain as it is, as will the HDHomeRun Extend, which got upgraded last year with a fanless metal enclosure.

Speaking of which, SiliconDust has been quietly running an exchange program for users of the older HDHomeRun Extend. For $30 plus outbound shipping, the company will remove the fan—which can get noisy—and put in a heat sink, effectively turning the old model into the new one.

There’s no official webpage or sign-up form for this program, but Kim says owners can email support@silicondust.com or sales@silicondust.com to make the switch.

 

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