For a while now I’ve been running Plex as my primary media server. I’ve been trying to use the Plex DVR, but found it to be very finicky. Mostly, it would fail to record shows without telling me in any way. I’d review my upcoming recordings and then check them a couple of days after and they just weren’t there. No notice, nothing. I’ve also been using the Channels app on the AppleTV for live TV. Part of my frustration with PlexDVR is that the channel tuning was always slow. I think if it worked well otherwise I probably would have stuck with it, but that’s not the case. So, I decided to try Channels DVR. What a difference. All I can say is it just seems to work. Everything appears to be getting recorded, channel changes on live TV are fast, it’s really been an excellent experience. I had one issue that I was able to overcome, which is how to get the Channels recordings into Plex in an automated way. Channels DVR has a means of managing recordings and will tag commercials with chapter markers, but that’s just in the Channels DVR app.

I have Channels DVR running in a Docker in Unraid. Probably not necessary, but it’s handy. It was super simple to install. The problem is that Channels DVR wants to record everything to a “TV” folder within the directory you set it to for the recordings. In my case, I have a couple of Unraid user shares related to TV. I have the main TV shows storage at /mnt/user/TVShows and I have the recordings directory at /mnt/user/LiveTV. This means the Channels DVR recordings will go into /mnt/user/LiveTV/TV/showname.

The fix ended up being pretty simple. I run Plex on a Ubuntu server. Here’s my fstab:

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//192.168.169.8/DVDs /mnt/DVDs cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
//192.168.169.8/KidDVDs /mnt/KidDVDs cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
//192.168.169.8/Movies /mnt/Movies cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
//192.168.169.8/TVShows /mnt/TVShows cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
//192.168.169.8/Pictures /mnt/Pictures cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
//192.168.169.8/Music /mnt/Music cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0
//192.168.169.8/LiveTV/TV /mnt/DVR cifs guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8 0 0

Inside Plex I have the TV shows library mapped to both /mnt/TVShows and /mnt/DVR. Plex’s autodiscovery scans both folders just fine and coalesces the shows from both locations. I still need to figure out the comskip, but hitting the jump button is fine for now. In retrospect, I probably could have simply pointed it at TVShows and let it create a new directory in there, but this way keeps the folder structures a little cleaner.

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