Channel Master has formally introduced Stream+, a device powered by Android TV that aims to cater to cord-cutters by integrating support for both OTT apps and TV channels that can be captured for free, over-the-air.
Stream+, a successor to Channel Master’s DVR+ platform, is being offered for the introductory price of $99.
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And, like that predecessor, Stream+ will not require any subscription fees for its optional DVR capability or integrated program guide.
Stream+ includes two tuners, a USB 3.0 port (for future applications), integrated voice search, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital+ audio support, and 802.11ac WiFi and Ethernet.
Channel Master posted a promotional video for Stream+ that provides a brief walk-through:
Channel Master will announce its full retail price in January, but it’s not expected to be significantly higher than the pre-order price, according to Joe Bingochea, Channel Master’s executive vice president of product development. According to CNET, the final price will be in the neighborhood of $150.
With Stream+, a 4K/HDR-capable device developed in partnership with Technicolor, Channel Master intends to overcome some hurdles it had encountered with DVR+, as the new platform will support a much richer set of applications and carry a lower price.
DVR+ (Channel Master has sold out inventory for DVR+) had started at $249 for a 16 GB model, and had limited access to OTT apps such as Pandora, Vudu and YouTube. Notably, Sling TV pulled app support for DVR+ just last week.
By comparison, Stream+ will have rights to all apps available via the Google Play store. The exception early on will be Netflix and Amazon Video, which require separate approval from those companies.
“We’re pushing hard to get those done,” Bingochea.
Channel Master’s new offering will also include the Google Live Channels app for integration into the guide of channels that are captured over-the-air, and will support Chromecast built-in functionality and Google Home.
Stream+ users will also be able to add DVR capabilities by installing a MicroSD storage card that works with the Live Channels app (Channel Master worked with EchoStar on that piece for DVR+).
The device itself will be “headed,” as it connects to the user’s TV via an HDMI cable. Among examples of similar products that target cord-cutters, TiVo’s pricier Roamio OTA is also headed, but the new Tablo Dual is not, as it works in tandem with separate TV-connected devices such as Roku players, Apple TV and Fire TV boxes, Xbox and Nvidia Shield consoles, or with certain smart TVs (including those from LG running WebOS 2.0 or 3.0).
Among other competitors in this arena, Dish Network last week soft-launched a new cord-cutting device under the AirTV brand that doesn’t support a DVR (yet), but does let users access and stream OTA channels in and out of the home he chute. AirTV, another headless device, has developed apps for iOS, tvOS, Android (mobile and TV), Roku players and Amazon Fire TV streamers.
Channel Master is initially offering Stream+ for pre-orders on via its online store and expects to product to be in stock by mid-January. It will also sell product through retail partners.