Review: SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND FREE Broadcast HDTV

The HDHomeRun Extend is advertised as a way to stream your over-the-air TV through your home network. That sounds like a great idea: the ability to network your house with over-the-air TV without running cables, but it misses the mark.

We have three main issues with the HDHomeRun . . .

1st Wi-Fi

If you look at the box or online ads—as you can see in these photos—you think you can connect the HDHomeRun to your network with Wi-Fi without the need to have a cable plugged into your modem:

HDHOmeRun Arrow

Yet sadly you must connect an Ethernet cable to your HDHomeRun before you can use it. If you are like me and your modem is located in the basement that means your HDHomeRun needs to be in the basement. I have a Tablo DVR in an upstairs bedroom that receives 30+ channels and dose everything a HDHomeRun will do, but the basement-bound HDHomeRun only received 2 channels.

You can use Wi-Fi from other devices to connect to your HDHomeRun as long as it is on the same network.

2nd Apps

Want to use your HDHomeRun Extend to stream over-the-air TV to your other TVs? Sadly, if you have a Roku or Apple TV you are just out of luck…

3rd Hidden Fee

After you get the device set up you need to pay again to watch your content. Want an Android app to stream your over-the-air TV with your HDHomeRun that you paid for? Be ready to pay for their Android app . . .

4th Channel Identification

We followed the set up on the website exactly. When we went to the TV we found it had falsely identified the channels it picked up in the channel guide. The HDHomeRun showed a local private station as Fox and the program guide was off.

I just cannot recommend this device. It is, at best, a 2 out of 5. We had a few issues with streams stopping and the set up was not as easy as other devices we have used. Overall for a device that is well less expensive than a Tablo DVR it does a lot less and is more difficult to set up.

You can find the HDHomeRun Extend on Amazon here:

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9 Responses to Review: SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND FREE Broadcast HDTV

  1. Avatar
    Gary February 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    I have two hdhomerun connect models and I think it’s a great product. I use them as OTA network tuners for my SageTV setup. I don’t use the broadcast EPG data because the broadcasters that put that out can be unreliable.

  2. Avatar
    Hex February 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm #

    My experience with the Extend is the exact opposite. I have used one for about a year and it is fantastic. Our internet router is easy to get to and we live in a one story house so we don’t have the basement issue to deal with. We run ours through a Playstation and the Playstation actually automagically found the HD on the network – I didn’t have to do anything. My Windows based laptop also auto discovered it.

    I do totally agree that they need an app for the Roku. That is supposed to be coming as part of their Kickstarter DVR campaign that wrapped up a few months ago.

  3. Avatar
    Ken February 19, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    My experience has also been very positive. I’m not sure why you say you can’t stream to a Firetv. I’m doing that right now. I’ve used their HD homerun app to do it but my favorite method is streaming from an Emby Server that is connected to the homerun device. I get a nice guide and dvr functions.

    • Avatar
      Admin February 19, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

      I think for most cord cutters a Emby Server is something they have never heard of.

      As for the Fire TV there is no app for it you need to allow third party apps, download Kodi to you pc, put it on a zip drive, install Kodi on you fire TV, download the HDHomeRun add-on for Kodi to a flash drive, install from the zip file, than set it up. That is far from user friendly.

  4. Avatar
    Ken February 19, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    There is an native app and I used before switching to Emby. I found I couldn’t live without the DVR functionality.


  5. Avatar
    dogman February 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    I have 2 HDHomerun Extends. I too have had very positive results with these devices – I get over 58 OTA channels on each of these devices. I have had no issues having the devices in the basement where my OTA antenna feed resides. My cable modem is there along side my router – so everything is centrally located in the same area – makes for easy maintenance when needed.

    Also, Apple TV 4 has an app – Channels ($15) – that utilizes the HDHomerun to get the OTA channels received and stream the signals to your TVs! So there is a solution using the Apple TV 4 and HDHomeruns!

    Quite happy with this setup!

  6. Avatar
    Ron Lencioni October 23, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

    You need to pull your Tablo lenses off and look at these things without bias. I signed up for disqus just to post this. Also, if you have a Plex Pass ($4.99/mo) you can use a plex server as a DVR for the HDHomerun. Plex is avail on all devices even remote.

  7. Avatar
    Peter December 8, 2016 at 1:31 am #

    Just come across this review as I have an old HDHomerun and was thinking of upgrading the the latest version. This guy should not be writing reviews if he does not understand the difference between broadcast channels (30+) and digital tuners (2)! Most of the rest is also misleading.

  8. Avatar
    Mediaman September 24, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

    Comments on the points –
    1) The Extend tuner makes Wifi distribution of the HD TV stream possible. That is what is meant on the part of the box your reading on the comparisons. The Connect and Prime models only can guarantee wifi delivery of SD [standard def] where the Extend can transcode the TV stream from mpeg2 to mpg4 which more easily uses wifi; hence the HD delivery capability.

    The Extend does need a physical connection to the home wifi via Ethernet but that can be done via BPL [broadband over powerline], MoCA, of even AP [access point] wifi devices with an Ethernet port. It also needs a connection to an antenna. So it needs to be where the coax is and then connected to the home network. With both tuners transcoding streaming over BPL is fairly easy with only about 15mbps total.

    2/3) The android app you referred too was primarily for Prime users as it allowed for DRM [digital rights management] protected content from cable service providers to playback live via android. At the time of the review you could have downloaded the beta HDHR [Grey] app for free [the new android app is available now [free with 24 hr of free guide]. There will never be a Roku app as the transcoder stays with the conventional TV codec which Roku will not add to it’s sticks of STB devices. The TV’s that have Roku may have DLNA built in that does access the tuner but guide limited to channel number and call sign only. AppleTV is under development but may be well after the new 4K version is out before it is released? There are two private companies that have apps that do that; Channels and InstaTV. Plus there is Plex and Emby both of which can add additional transcoding for Roku and other items.

    There are about a dozen of choices for viewing OTA TV via one of these tuners. Some are free others cost from $25 to $40 a year. Currently Silicondust has apps for Windows 10 devices, Android, Mac, and iOS. Plus an add-on for Kodi. Silicondust also has it’s own DVR software product for $35 year.

    4) Since you don’t specify what your using for an antenna it hard to say why it is not getting the same number of channels as your Tiblo or why the channel lineup is off. Best I can say is extend the coax or put the tuner on the same antenna and use something to connect the tuner to the network.

    Also obvious that your look at the Silicondust Forum probably missed the nuance’s on the issues with the app you are using in the playback which is used for both android and fire TV devices. With the coming Nougat release on Nvidia shield TV, at the time of publishing this, the app you used was broken by that OS and was removed from distribution. Again there was a free app available and it is now available from the Goggle playstore, Amazon and iOS from Apple.