Installing a Silicondust Hdhomerun Prime Cablecard Tuner

We've covered installing tuners in the past with Ceton's InfiniTV4. While installing a SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime is a similar process, the fact that this is a network tuner means that there are changes you need to be aware of before starting out. That said, this is still an easy project that once complete will provide you either three or six tuners of CableCARD digital programming depending on which model you've selected.

Let's walk through the steps necessary to get an HDHomeRun Prime up and running.

Hardware Setup

Connecting the hardware of an HDHomeRun Prime can actually be easier than installing an internal tuner depending on how your home network is setup. The HDHomeRun Prime is a network tuner so you don't need a PC nearby to get everything working. Simply use the provided cables to connect the device to your home network. This can be done through your router or (if you have one) a switch on the same network. The key here is that the tuner must be on the same network as the PCs you intend to use it on.

The HDHomeRun Prime ships with a power adapter, USB cable (for connecting an SDV adapter) and a short network patch cable. If a longer network cable is needed you're on your own but these are cheap to buy and easy to make yourself. Once you've inserted your CableCARD, connected the tuner to your network and attached an SDV adapter if needed, you're ready to plug in power.

Allow the tuner time to start up. At this point you can head to the PC you wish to use the tuners on. Keep in mind, while you'll only need to set the hardware up once, you'll need to run the software setup on each PC you wish to have access to the HDHomeRun Prime.

Software Setup

While the HDHomeRun Prime ships with a disk containing the setup software, you're better off heading to the company's website to download the latest version.

This ensures that you have any fixes or updates that SiliconDust has released since packaging your tuner.

Like most other software packages, SiliconDust's software does a great job of walking you through the process of getting your tuners configured. After clicking through the welcome screen and choosing an install location, the software will run the install unattended. Once the install completes be sure and check the box on the last screen to "Detect and configure HDHomeRun Devices."

Again, the setup process isn't difficult but you'll want to take your time to ensure that things are completed properly. The first screen simply asks for your zip code. The second screen will ask you to select your main application. This is the program where you'll use the tuners. There are quite a few options to choose from. I'll be using Windows Media Center which is found near the bottom of the list. You can also choose a preview application but this won't effect how the tuners work in Media Center.

The third screen will display the tuners discovered. Each tuner has a number and shows the type of source for that tuner. You can change the source type if you wish. Since we're working with an HDHomeRun Prime, we'll leave these set to CableCARD.

The fourth tab allows you to perform a channel scan. While you can select each tuner individually for the scan, you only need to perform this once. It takes all of about three seconds to complete. Once done, I usually verify that the other tuners have picked up the same channel list as the first one just to ensure there are no problems.

At this point you have two options. You can click finish and complete the setup of your tuners. This is more than likely the best option as the advanced settings rarely need to be changed.

If you do decide to change advanced settings you'll want to be sure you know what you're doing first. Making a mistake here can cause issues with tuning.

If this is the first time configuring your tuner, you'll now need to access the tuner website via your network settings and call your cable provider for CableCARD pairing. If however this is a second or third computer that you'll be using the tuners with, there no need to complete this step as the tuner will function just as it does on the initial PC.

Finishing Up

As with any other tuner installation, you'll now need to open Windows Media Center and perform Live TV setup. We've covered this process in the past and Media Center should have no problem in finding your new CableCARD tuner. Once Media Center's live TV setup is complete, be sure and verify your settings and perform and channel lineup editing you wish. Once done, you're ready to record premium HD cable content and view it on any PC in the home you've connected the tuners to. Enjoy!

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