Move over, TiVo: There's a new contender for cord-cutter-friendly DVR in town.
The Channel Master Stream+ is a new over-the-air DVR that doubles as an Android TV-powered media streamer. Though the company offered an early-bird price of $99, the retail price is now set at $149. It's available for preorder at the Channel Master website and ships in April.
The Stream+ is loaded with impressive specs, including 4K and HDR compatibility for streaming content, built-in Chromecast support and a no-fee programming guide for the dual-tuner DVR. You do have to to provide the storage in the form of a microSD card. But the biggest caveat (for now) is on the app front: Android TV means a wealth of great apps are available, but Netflix isn't yet certified for the Stream+, and Amazon Prime Video isn't universally available. (Channel Master reps said the company is in talks with both providers.)
Unlike the company's big, flat-- which this replaces -- the Stream+ is far more compact: It's roughly the size of an upturned paper cup. There are no controls on the unit but you can use a smartphone app or the included remote control (with microphone!).
Specifications for the Channel Master Stream+ include:
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Ethernet
- 4K and with HDR10
- Quad-core ARM CPU
- Dual ATSC tuner -- record one channel while watching another, or record two channels while streaming an app
- microSD slot for recording storage
- USB 3.0
- Android TV 7.0 Nougat with Google Play store, built-in Chromecast and Google Home ($129.00 at Dell Home) control
Channel Master told us that it hasn't produced any apps for the device (yet), and is instead relying on Google's Live Channels app for the electronic programming guide. We were treated to a demo of the device and navigating the guide seemed fairly zippy.
We were impressed by the DVR+ back in 2014, and the Stream+ seems to surpass it in most ways -- especially the flexibility that should come with the Android TV app platform.
While there are plenty of 4K/HDR streamers on the market -- Apple TV 4K, Nvidia Shield, Roku Streaming Stick Plus ($65.99 at Amazon.com) -- the addition of antenna-based TV generally requires dongles or other add-on receivers. Even with having to bring your own storage, the Stream+ looks to upend the antenna-based DVR market just as more viewers are looking for options beyond the cable box. We're looking forward to giving the Stream+ a full review soon.
Update, March 5: Added pricing and availability. First published Dec. 18, 2017.