Channel Master, a maker of subscription-free DVRs aimed at the cord-cutting crowd, introduced a new “LinearTV” platform that will enable it to aggregate and integrate over-the-top broadcast content on the guide that runs on its DVR+ platform.
Channel Master, whicn timed its announcement with this week's International CES in Las Vegas, expects to add the new, free feature through a software upgrade in the early part of 2015. The company is still finalizing its initial lineup of OTT linear channels, but an official told Multichannel News that the following will be demonstrated during this week’s International CES: Bloomberg, Al-Jazzera America, WGN, WeatherNation, Daystar, Almavision, NASA, BBC World News, Sky News, France 24, NHK World, CNN World, QVC, Home Shopping Network, TV Mas, Vevo TV, 360 North, Outdoor Cooking Channel, Deutsche Welle, and JewelryTV. A screencap of the LinearTV feature provided by Channel Master also shows access to other services, including Animal Planet L!ve, BYUtv, and CBSN, the new live streaming news channel from CBS News and CBS Interactive.
The version being demonstrated this week in Las Vegas doesn’t allow users to pause or record live streams on DVR+, but it’s an element Channel Master is working on, an official said, noting that the company also intends to offer many more channels when it launches the feature later this year. DVR+ users will also have the ability to add or delete channels from their guide.
According to the company, the new feature will provides linear online video content via the familiar cable/satellite-style channel lineup grid, without requiring users to launch individual apps to access content.
“When we developed the DVR+ we had a vision of a TV solution for both consumers and content owners that would be much more than just a DVR and apps”, said Coty Youtsey, president and CEO of Channel Master, in a statement. “Our LinearTV technology is the culmination of that vision and we’re very excited to get it into the living rooms of our customers.”
Channel Master’s DVR+ platform already integrates access to a growing number of OTT content providers, including Pandora, Vudu and YouTube, and has been striving to add Netflix to the mix. Channel Master, which has been striving to add Netflix to the mix, also supports over-the-air digital TV antennas.
Channel Master expanded its DVR product line last summer with a $399 model that includes 1 terabyte of storage, complementing an original $249.99 model that holds 16 gigabytes, but is expandable using an external USB-connected hard drive. Both contain two tuners and an integrated 14-day channel guide.
Among competitors, TiVo last year introduced a “limited edition” OTA model for cord-cutters that costs $49.99 and requires a subscription that runs $14.99 per month (with a one-year commitment).