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First Look: Channel Master TV: Subscription-free, over-the-air recording that's just good enough
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First Look: Channel Master TV: Subscription-free, over-the-air recording that's just good enough

3:33 /

The Channel Master DVR+ finally delivers an option for those looking for an over-the-air DVR+ without subscription fees, even if it is a little rough around the edges.

For years I've heard the same request over and over again from cord cutters. For years I've heard the same request over and over again from cord cutters. I just want a basic DVR that records, free over the air TV without any subscription fees. I just want a basic DVR that records, free over the air TV without any subscription fees. It's always seemed like product that should exist, but the options have been underwhelming. It's always seemed like product that should exist, but the options have been underwhelming. And that's exactly the niche the Channel Master's new DVR Plus is looking to fill. And that's exactly the niche the Channel Master's new DVR Plus is looking to fill. Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET. Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET. And the $250 DVR+ is one of the only over-the-air DVRs on the market that truly doesn't have a subscription fee. And the $250 DVR+ is one of the only over-the-air DVRs on the market that truly doesn't have a subscription fee. It has a super thin design, at just an inch and a half tall. It has a super thin design, at just an inch and a half tall. But it's also wide and deep, giving it a unique pancake like shape. But it's also wide and deep, giving it a unique pancake like shape. It's just thick enough to accommodate its ports on the back which include an Antenna input, HDMI output, Ethernet port, two USB ports, and an IR extender port. It's just thick enough to accommodate its ports on the back which include an Antenna input, HDMI output, Ethernet port, two USB ports, and an IR extender port. There's also an included remote which is decent. There's also an included remote which is decent. But there's a lot of room for improvement. But there's a lot of room for improvement. The playback buttons that you'll use the most are all small, and they're scrunched at the bottom. The playback buttons that you'll use the most are all small, and they're scrunched at the bottom. Making it difficult to navigate by feel. Making it difficult to navigate by feel. Setting up the DVR plus doesn't take long. Setting up the DVR plus doesn't take long. But the catch is that you're gonna have to supply a lot of your own accessories. But the catch is that you're gonna have to supply a lot of your own accessories. To take full advantage of all the DVR plus' features, you'll need an antenna to receive over-the-air TV signals, and a USB hard drive to save your recordings. To take full advantage of all the DVR plus' features, you'll need an antenna to receive over-the-air TV signals, and a USB hard drive to save your recordings. The DVR Plus also lacks built-in WiFi, so if you don't have ethernet in your living room, you may have to shell out for channel master's $40 USB WiFi [INAUDIBLE]. The DVR Plus also lacks built-in WiFi, so if you don't have ethernet in your living room, you may have to shell out for channel master's $40 USB WiFi [INAUDIBLE]. Once you've assembled and set up all your gear, you can fire up the DVR Plus and watch some TV. Once you've assembled and set up all your gear, you can fire up the DVR Plus and watch some TV. If you have good reception in your area, you should be able to tune into all the major networks, like CBS, NBC. If you have good reception in your area, you should be able to tune into all the major networks, like CBS, NBC. Fox and ABC plus PBS and a few local stations too. Fox and ABC plus PBS and a few local stations too. There's also support for Vudu streaming video service, which gives you pay per view access to movies and TV shows that you can't get over the air. There's also support for Vudu streaming video service, which gives you pay per view access to movies and TV shows that you can't get over the air. The Channel Master user interface is basic, but it should look familiar to anyone that's used a cable a box. The Channel Master user interface is basic, but it should look familiar to anyone that's used a cable a box. And that's actually a big plus as many of the new, over the air recording solutions like Tablo or Aerio lack an onscreen interface, which can make them a little clunky to use for traditional TV watching. And that's actually a big plus as many of the new, over the air recording solutions like Tablo or Aerio lack an onscreen interface, which can make them a little clunky to use for traditional TV watching. If you have the DVR plus connected online, it will also receive Rovi's program guide data for free. If you have the DVR plus connected online, it will also receive Rovi's program guide data for free. Which is really nice since Rovi's data displays any show airing within 14 days. Which is really nice since Rovi's data displays any show airing within 14 days. The DVR Plus has dual tuner functionality, which means it could record two shows at once or you can watch live TV while recording another program. The DVR Plus has dual tuner functionality, which means it could record two shows at once or you can watch live TV while recording another program. Recording a program is simple, and you can also tell the DVR Plus to record every episode of your favorite show. Recording a program is simple, and you can also tell the DVR Plus to record every episode of your favorite show. Although you can't tell it to record only new episodes. Although you can't tell it to record only new episodes. So, you're probably gonna end up the a lot of repeats you don't wanna watch. So, you're probably gonna end up the a lot of repeats you don't wanna watch. For the most part image quality on the DVR Plus is excellent. For the most part image quality on the DVR Plus is excellent. Although on a few rare occasions I did see some playback glitches on recording programs, which ends up being a minor annoyance. Although on a few rare occasions I did see some playback glitches on recording programs, which ends up being a minor annoyance. But, overall the DVR Plus hits most of the major points cord cutters have been looking for including the big one. But, overall the DVR Plus hits most of the major points cord cutters have been looking for including the big one. It reliably records over the air TV, without any monthly fees. It reliably records over the air TV, without any monthly fees. I wish it was a little cheaper and with more streaming services, and it had more refined recording options. I wish it was a little cheaper and with more streaming services, and it had more refined recording options. But if you're a cutter who's primary goal is to save money, and you can live with the imperfections, it's to beat the Channel Master DVR Plus. But if you're a cutter who's primary goal is to save money, and you can live with the imperfections, it's to beat the Channel Master DVR Plus. I'm Matthew McSkoviak and this is the Channel Master DVR+. I'm Matthew McSkoviak and this is the Channel Master DVR+. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] For years I've heard the same request over and over again from cord cutters. For years I've heard the same request over and over again from cord cutters. I just want a basic DVR that records, free over the air TV without any subscription fees. I just want a basic DVR that records, free over the air TV without any subscription fees. It's always seemed like product that should exist, but the options have been underwhelming. It's always seemed like product that should exist, but the options have been underwhelming. And that's exactly the niche the Channel Master's new DVR Plus is looking to fill. And that's exactly the niche the Channel Master's new DVR Plus is looking to fill. Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET. Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET. And the $250 DVR+ is one of the only over-the-air DVRs on the market that truly doesn't have a subscription fee. And the $250 DVR+ is one of the only over-the-air DVRs on the market that truly doesn't have a subscription fee. It has a super thin design, at just an inch and a half tall. It has a super thin design, at just an inch and a half tall. But it's also wide and deep, giving it a unique pancake like shape. But it's also wide and deep, giving it a unique pancake like shape. It's just thick enough to accommodate its ports on the back which include an Antenna input, HDMI output, Ethernet port, two USB ports, and an IR extender port. It's just thick enough to accommodate its ports on the back which include an Antenna input, HDMI output, Ethernet port, two USB ports, and an IR extender port. There's also an included remote which is decent. There's also an included remote which is decent. But there's a lot of room for improvement. But there's a lot of room for improvement. The playback buttons that you'll use the most are all small, and they're scrunched at the bottom. The playback buttons that you'll use the most are all small, and they're scrunched at the bottom. Making it difficult to navigate by feel. Making it difficult to navigate by feel. Setting up the DVR plus doesn't take long. Setting up the DVR plus doesn't take long. But the catch is that you're gonna have to supply a lot of your own accessories. But the catch is that you're gonna have to supply a lot of your own accessories. To take full advantage of all the DVR plus' features, you'll need an antenna to receive over-the-air TV signals, and a USB hard drive to save your recordings. To take full advantage of all the DVR plus' features, you'll need an antenna to receive over-the-air TV signals, and a USB hard drive to save your recordings. The DVR Plus also lacks built-in WiFi, so if you don't have ethernet in your living room, you may have to shell out for channel master's $40 USB WiFi [INAUDIBLE]. The DVR Plus also lacks built-in WiFi, so if you don't have ethernet in your living room, you may have to shell out for channel master's $40 USB WiFi [INAUDIBLE]. Once you've assembled and set up all your gear, you can fire up the DVR Plus and watch some TV. Once you've assembled and set up all your gear, you can fire up the DVR Plus and watch some TV. If you have good reception in your area, you should be able to tune into all the major networks, like CBS, NBC. If you have good reception in your area, you should be able to tune into all the major networks, like CBS, NBC. Fox and ABC plus PBS and a few local stations too. Fox and ABC plus PBS and a few local stations too. There's also support for Vudu streaming video service, which gives you pay per view access to movies and TV shows that you can't get over the air. There's also support for Vudu streaming video service, which gives you pay per view access to movies and TV shows that you can't get over the air. The Channel Master user interface is basic, but it should look familiar to anyone that's used a cable a box. The Channel Master user interface is basic, but it should look familiar to anyone that's used a cable a box. And that's actually a big plus as many of the new, over the air recording solutions like Tablo or Aerio lack an onscreen interface, which can make them a little clunky to use for traditional TV watching. And that's actually a big plus as many of the new, over the air recording solutions like Tablo or Aerio lack an onscreen interface, which can make them a little clunky to use for traditional TV watching. If you have the DVR plus connected online, it will also receive Rovi's program guide data for free. If you have the DVR plus connected online, it will also receive Rovi's program guide data for free. Which is really nice since Rovi's data displays any show airing within 14 days. Which is really nice since Rovi's data displays any show airing within 14 days. The DVR Plus has dual tuner functionality, which means it could record two shows at once or you can watch live TV while recording another program. The DVR Plus has dual tuner functionality, which means it could record two shows at once or you can watch live TV while recording another program. Recording a program is simple, and you can also tell the DVR Plus to record every episode of your favorite show. Recording a program is simple, and you can also tell the DVR Plus to record every episode of your favorite show. Although you can't tell it to record only new episodes. Although you can't tell it to record only new episodes. So, you're probably gonna end up the a lot of repeats you don't wanna watch. So, you're probably gonna end up the a lot of repeats you don't wanna watch. For the most part image quality on the DVR Plus is excellent. For the most part image quality on the DVR Plus is excellent. Although on a few rare occasions I did see some playback glitches on recording programs, which ends up being a minor annoyance. Although on a few rare occasions I did see some playback glitches on recording programs, which ends up being a minor annoyance. But, overall the DVR Plus hits most of the major points cord cutters have been looking for including the big one. But, overall the DVR Plus hits most of the major points cord cutters have been looking for including the big one. It reliably records over the air TV, without any monthly fees. It reliably records over the air TV, without any monthly fees. I wish it was a little cheaper and with more streaming services, and it had more refined recording options. I wish it was a little cheaper and with more streaming services, and it had more refined recording options. But if you're a cutter who's primary goal is to save money, and you can live with the imperfections, it's to beat the Channel Master DVR Plus. But if you're a cutter who's primary goal is to save money, and you can live with the imperfections, it's to beat the Channel Master DVR Plus. I'm Matthew McSkoviak and this is the Channel Master DVR+. I'm Matthew McSkoviak and this is the Channel Master DVR+. [MUSIC] [MUSIC]

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