Question: In past columns, you have discussed over-the-air TV and recommended an antenna for its reception. On several occasions I’ve looked for video recorders with tuners that work in the digital over-the-air TV environment, as VHS recorders did in the old analog environment.
I have had no success finding such a recorder. I say no success, because in the past I if I located a recorder, it had terrible reviews, and currently I can’t find recorders advertised anywhere. Are there any companies manufacturing them?
Furthermore, are there any recorders you are willing to recommend?
Answer: They say nature abhors a vacuum, and I have been wondering myself about the dearth of recorders on the market. Channelmaster, an antenna manufacturer, has come out with a recorder that looks like a winner. I have not tested it yet, but based on Channelmaster’s reputation I am willing to mention it here until I have the opportunity to test one.
The Channelmaster DVR+ is $249. It does not include a hard drive, which may seem like a drawback until you realize it gives you the opportunity to choose hard drives according to your budget and needs, as well as allow you to build a collection of recordings on multiple drives. There is a free on-screen programming guide, and you can use VUDU for streaming content, either by a built-in broadband connection or with an accessory Wi-Fi dongle.
The system can pause and rewind live TV for up to two hours, just like a pay DVR, and there are two tuners so you can watch one program while you record another, or record two programs at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoy my pay TV with its whole-house DVR, but even for someone like myself the DVR+ has a lot of appeal. For example, I always record the Olympic games opening ceremonies and like to save them for future viewing. I use the now-defunct D-VHS high definition tape format for this right now. With the DVR+, I could store important events on a hard drive instead of fragile tape, and it would be much easier to program, too. For more information: www.channelmaster.com.
Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.