Even if you have multiple computers, you only need one TV tuner card to watch TV on all of them. If you’ve set up NextPVR to watch live TV in Kodi, you can actually stream that live TV and its recordings to any computer on your network–from the browser on your laptop and mobile devices, or through other Kodi boxes. Here’s how to set it up.
All this assumes you’ve already bought a TV tuner, installed it in your home theater PC (HTPC), and set up NextPVR using our guide. So if you haven’t done that already, start there–then come back here for the next step.
Step One: Enable NextPVR’s Web UI
The first thing you should do is make sure NextPVR’s web UI is enabled–this feature enabled by default, but let’s check just to make sure. On your PC with the TV tuner installed, open NextPVR, then right-click the user interface. In the menu that pops up, click “Settings”, then head to the “Clients” section.
Ensure that the “Enable Web Server” box is checked, choosing an alternative web server port if you so desire (the default of 8866 is fine if you’re not sure). I’d also recommend setting a username and password, and a PIN for Kodi (labeled here as XBMC, which is Kodi’s former name).
With everything set up, you should now be able to check out the web client from on your HTPC. Open the web browser, type
localhost:8866 into the address bar, then press Enter (if you set an alternative port, replace “8866” with that alternative).
If all goes well, you should now see the web UI. You’ll see thumbnails for all of your recordings, or you can head to the Now tab to watch TV.
Step Two: Access the Web UI From Another Computer
The web UI, of course, isn’t that useful this way. It doesn’t do anything you can’t do from within NextPVR itself, or from within Kodi. Plus, it isn’t exactly remote friendly.
This interface is much more useful when you’re accessing it from your other computers, so you can schedule your HTPC to record shows or watch live TV from any computer in your house.
The first thing you need to do is find your HTPC’s private and public IP address. Then, from your web browser, type your private IP address, followed by a colon and the port you set above. For example: if your HTPC’s IP address is 192.168.1.6, and you left the port at the default of 8866, you’d type
192.168.1.6:8866 in the address bar and press Enter:
To see your TV listings, you can click the “Now” tab to see what’s currently on:
Or you can click the “TV Guide” tab, to see your TV listings:
Shows are the currently on are highlighted in grey; tab them and you’ll see some options.
The red buttons allows you to start a recording. “Record Once” will record what’s happening now; “Record Series” lets you record every episode of a particular show. “Advanced” lets you take control and decide when precisely this exact show will be recorded. These tools make it possible for you to manage all of your recordings from your computer or phone, without the need to touch your remote.
But you’re probably there for the blue button: watch. Tap that and you can start watching the current channel.
The stream itself is HTML5, meaning no browser plugins or extensions are required in order for playback to work. This means you can watch TV on your computer, mobile device, or basically anything else that runs a modern web browser. (I even got macOS Sierra’s picture-in-picture mode working!)
Shows that aren’t on right now are highlighted in black in the TV guide. You can’t watch them, for obvious reasons, but all of the recording options seen above are still offered.
Click the “Recordings” tab and you will see all of your recorded shows, complete with thumbnails.
Tap anything to see a list of episodes, which you can watch in your browser.
Click the “Schedulers” button and you’ll be presented with a list of all of your upcoming recordings.
Tap anything to cancel a recording.
And that’s the web interface for NextPVR, which works for both desktop and mobile browsers. To keep this working consistently, you should really set up a static IP address or DHCP reservation for your home theater PC. Without this your IP address will change every time your router restarts, meaning any bookmarks you make for this interface will break.
Step Three: Access Live TV and Recordings From Your Other Kodi Boxes
The real magic in this, however, comes if you have multiple Kodi-based HTPCs in your home. If you have an HTPC with a TV tuner in the living room, for example, and a Raspberry Pi running Kodi in the bedroom, you can access the HTPC’s live TV and recordings from the Raspberry Pi without having to buy another TV tuner. That’s awesome.
Setting this up is almost identical to setting up Kodi to access NextPVR on a local computer, with one small settings change.
Open Kodi on your second PC and head to System > Add-Ons > My Add-Ons >PVR Clients. Find the “NextPVR PVR Client” add-on, select it, and hit the “Configure” button.
Select “NextPVR hostname”, then type the IP address of your NextPVR machine.
You’ll also need to provide the NextPVR PIN code you set back in step one. Again, if you plan on doing this regularly, setting up your NextPVR machine with a static IP is a good idea.
Once everything is set up, you’ll be able to use NextPVR in Kodi just the same as you use it on the local machine. Because Kodi is available for Windows, Linux, Mac, and even Android, this gives you all sorts of potential devices to steam TV from: just install Kodi and configure it to access everything over the network. As long as you have one device with a TV Tuner and NextPVR installed, you can watch Live TV on any other Kodi machine in your house.
Step Four (Optional): Enable Access From Outside Your Network
All of that is cool enough, but wouldn’t it be even cooler to schedule recordings after hearing about a show at work? Or at the bar? For that matter, wouldn’t it be nice to watch your TV and recordings from outside your home network?
This is possible, but a bit more complicated: you’ll need to dive into your router’s configuration and set up port forwarding. You need your router to to direct all requests for NextPVR’s web client to your media center. How to do this will vary widely depending on your router, but our guide to setting up port forwarding on your router offers a great overview. Just make sure you forward 8866, or whichever port you chose for NextPVR’s web UI in step one, to your HTPC’s IP address.
To connect, you will need your external IP address, or an address set up with dynamic DNS. Here’s how to find your external IP, but consider setting up DDNS if you want an easy-to-type URL instead of an IP address.
If you’ve forwarded your ports correctly, you can connect to your NextPVR from anywhere by typing your external IP or dynamic DNS address, followed by the port number you picked earlier (e.g.
my.dynamic-address.com:8866 ). The web UI should appear, allowing you to schedule recordings, but you’ll notice that both streaming live TV and watching recordings does not work.
This is because, by default, streaming content from outside your home network is not enabled. To change this, you will need to manually edit the “config.xml” in your NextPVR configuration folder, which is found in
C:\Users\Public\NPVR on your HTPC by default.
Edit the file by double-clicking it, or right-clicking on it and opening it with Notepad or WordPad. Ensure that
AllowRemoteStreaming are both set to
true , by replacing the word
false between the relevant tags.
Save the file and you should be able to watch live TV remotely, and download your recordings from anywhere.
Streaming works well within your home network, but in my experience you probably shouldn’t count on watching live TV or recordings away from home. My internet upload speed is 30Mbps, and I’ve yet to really get live TV working from outside my home network. This makes sense: live TV takes up a lot of bandwidth, and odds are anyone without Google Fiber isn’t going to be able to watch much of anything away from home without a lot of glitches. Downloading recorded episodes could work in a pinch, though, if you’re patient, and being able to manage your PVR from anywhere is also pretty nice.