News

Channel Master’s Cord-Cutting DVR+ Updated with OTT & OTA in One Guide

Channel Master DVR+ targets cord-cutters with with LinearTV update, aggregating OTA broadcast, Internet channels, YouTube and streaming services — with zero fees and one slick interface.


Channel Master says its LinearTV software update for DVR+ is expected to be made available early in 2015.

Photos & Slideshow

Joe Whitaker · January 14, 2015

(Editor’s note: During CEDIA Expo 2014, CE Pro contributor and CEDIA board member Joe Whitaker shared his quest to cut the cord by finding the perfect combination of OTA, web, DVR functionality and more. He came close with Nuvyyo’s Tablo TV, with $219/$289 dual/quad tuner models and fee-based programming guide subscription options. Then, at 2015 International CES, CES 2015, Whitaker discovered the DVR+ from the pioneer: Channel Master.

Just when I thought I had made up my mind
on how I was going to cut the cord, here comes another product that offers even more options and reasons to jump ship on cable TV.

I was thoroughly impressed with Nuvyyo’s Tablo TV during CEDIA Expo 2014 and had decided that this product was the straw that broke the cable camel’s back, but I continued to keep my eyes open.

I watched and took note as CE Pro readers kept mentioning the Channel Master DVR+ (check out the comments section under the Tablo TV writeup for some pros and cons). While this looked like another slick option, there were features I thought were still missing and I would wait. Well that wait may have lasted only until last week’s 2015 International CES in Las Vegas.

That’s because Channel Master has announced a simple software update—expected to be made available “in early 2015”—to the DVR+ that adds all the missing pieces that stopped me from using it to cut the cord post-CEDIA. At CES 2015, the company debuted its “LinearTV technology,” which according to Channel Master combines online broadcast content, YouTube, OTA HD broadcast, and streaming services like Vudu and Pandora.

Not only that, but the LinearTV “online video delivery” is presented via a great looking guide where all these options are available to browse from one interface.

But the real spin here is that there are absolutely zero subscription fees. Tablo, on the other hand, charges for it’s programming guide—$5 per month, $50 per year or $150 for a lifetime subscription—although the product works for free without the integrated guide.

VIEW DVR+ SCREEN SHOTS IN THE GALLERY BELOW

The big claim is that Channel Master is the first and only consumer device to boast all these options … and well, they are right. This one slim box could really be the all-in-one cord-cutting device that could replace my cable set-top box plus a couple of other devices.

If you are not familiar, Channel Master’s DVR+ comes in two flavors: a 16GB model that requires a bring-your-own USB hard drive ($249 MSRP) and another model with a built-in 1TB hard drive ($399). This allows flexibility for storage and the ability to get an all-inclusive device.

Hardware-wise they did throw in a bonus for those who truly have cut the cord. With Internet connectivity you get the streaming services and a 14-day program guide, but even totally offline you still get a two-day program guide. Plus, there is an option to go wireless with a ($39) USB Wi-Fi adapter ($39).

Channel Master adds that LinearTV has the ability to deliver hundreds of Internet channels, but for launch expects to begin with around 100.

So now I have two choices to look at as my journey to cut the cord continues. While one uses my existing Roku deployment, the other would use my existing HDMI distribution. I still have a lot of questions when it comes to integrating these devices, but the decision is final the cord will be cut. Stay tuned for my full side-by-side comparison of the Nuvyyo and Channel Master options, setups and experiences.

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Channel Master DVR+ with LinearTV specs:
• Two ATSC tuners
• No fan - silent operation
• Works with all TV antennas
• Uncompressed HD programming
• SD and HD video resolutions up to 1080i and 1080p
• 14-day program guide with Internet connection
• 2-day program guide without Internet connection
• Easy installation with on-screen setup wizard
• Automatic software updates via Internet connection or USB download
• Dolby Digital Plus surround sound
• Ultra-low power consumption (ENERGY STAR 3.0 compliant)
• Universal IR remote control with built-in device database
• User-dimmable bi-color power/status LED
• Wide range IR sensor
• Power/Standby button
• Tuner Input Connector - 75ohm
• Two USB - 2.0 ports - Type A
• HDMl-1.3a port (with HDCP 1.3)
• Mini TOSLINK - S/PDIF (Optical)
• RJ45 - 10/1 OOBase - T Ethernet Port
• 3.5mm jack (TRS) - IR Extension Port
• 0°C-45°C operating temperature
• 8 x 10.5 x .5 in
• 1.14 lb

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  About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in home systems installation and design as well as being an award winning product designer, Joe Whitaker currently is principal of the integration firm thethoughtfulhome.com. He is a current member of the CEDIA board of directors first elected in 2013 and is a frequent contributor to CE Pro magazine. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Joe at joe@thethoughtfulhome.com

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View Joe Whitaker's complete profile.



  Article Topics


News · Antenna · Channel Master · DVR · Video · All Topics
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