Channel Master on Monday unveiled a “subscription-free” HD-DVR that specializes in navigating and recording free over-the-air TV programming and streaming over-the-top video via the device’s integrated broadband connection.
Seemingly tailored to so-called cord-cutters as well as cord-nevers that rely on OTA TV, Channel Master’s said its new, somewhat modular entry, dubbed the DVR+, can pick up major broadcast networks when used in tandem with a digital over-the-air antenna. Channel Master said device sports 16 gigabytes of internal flash memory, enough for just two hours of video storage, but will allow customers to expand storage with a USB-connected external hard drive.
Blogger Dave Zatz, who posted a review of DVR+ today, said the internal flash storage provides enough buffer to pause live television for up to 15 minutes.
In addition to two tuners and an integrated interactive program guide, the device’s baked in Ethernet port will also support OTT video, starting with VUDU, “with additional streaming services coming soon.”
Future upgrades and OTT apps will be delivered either through a broadband or a USB transfer, the company said. The device doesn’t inherently support Wi-Fi, but staying true to its modular approach, users can add wireless with this $39.99 USB-connected Wi-Fi adapter.
Channel Master said it is taking preorders on the $249.99 device at www.channelmaster.com and expects to begin shipping in “early January,” noting that it intends to announce product availability and additional retail partners at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show. EchoStar, the set-top and technology spinoff and corporate cousin of Dish Network, is Channel Master's DVR+ tech partner.
"Consumers today are demanding freedom and flexibility for their TV experience," said Coty Youtsev, president of Channel Master, in a statement. "Channel Master is providing a premium option with DVR+ as consumers rediscover free over-the-air broadcast programming in the midst of a fragmented TV-delivery industry."
Here’s Channel Master’s video promo of its latest handiwork: