It's a familiar story. Cord-cutters give up their cable subscription to shed the ever-increasing monthly fee, only to find that the best solutions to record free, over-the-air TV, such as the TiVo Roamio and Aereo, require -- you guessed it -- another monthly fee.
The new Channel Master DVR+ ($250) is looking to become the over-the-air recording solution for subscription-phobic cord-cutters.
The design is unlike any other DVR I've seen. It looks like a thicker, more rigid version of the Mohu Leaf flat antenna, but it's just a DVR -- you'll need to connect a separate (not supplied) antenna to receive over-the-air broadcasts.
The DVR+ has an HDMI output on the back, so it doesn't require a separate box, which competitors like Aereo and Simple.TV require. There's also an Ethernet port on the back, but if you want to connect wirelessly, you'll need to spring for the $40 Wi-Fi USB dongle.
Inside, there's 16GB of built-in flash memory, which can record 2 hours of HD content, but it's really designed to be used with an external hard drive (not supplied), which can be connected via a USB port on the back.
The DVR+ also records programs by name, rather than just VCR-style commands such as "record channel 4 at 7 p.m. for an hour." That means if your favorite show moves its time slot, the DVR+ will also be able to find it, as long as the title stays the same.
The DVR+ will start shipping around CES 2014 and will be available for purchase via Channel Master's online store and Amazon. Channel Master also says it intends to add bundled packages that include a hard drive and antenna in the future, although no specific bundles are available yet.