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Channel Master DVR+

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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Thin design

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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Relatively deep

There's not much else to the slim, gray box, although it's pretty deep (10.5 inches), so you'll need considerable room on your TV stand.

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Ports on the back

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.

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USB drive nearly required

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.

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Remote

The included remote has a simple, sensible design and can be programmed to control a TV as well.

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Program guide

Most DVRs charge a monthly fee for electronic program guide (EPG) data, but the DVR+ provides that info, supplied by Rovi, for free.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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Dual tuner

Unlike the original Simple.TV, the DVR+ has dual-tuner capabilities, so you can watch one program while recording another, or record two programs at once.

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Records programs by name

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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Vudu included too

Connecting the DVR+ online also allows you to stream content from Vudu, which shows up right in the program guide.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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USB Wi-Fi dongle

The biggest hurdle for the DVR+ may be the upfront cost. $250 isn't cheap, especially when you have to bring your own hard drive and antenna, plus pay an extra $40 for the Wi-Fi dongle accessory.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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Power adapter

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IR extender

The DVR+ does include an IR extender, so you can hide it in a cabinet and still control the DVR+ with the included remote.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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Side view

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.

For more information, see CNET's full story on the Channel Master DVR+.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Moskovciak/CNET
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