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Old 12-16-2013, 08:16 AM   #1
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Channel Master's DVR+ offers true subscription-free over-the-air TV recording

I know this thing is new, but has anyone heard anything more about it and how it stacks up against TiVo?

Not just the latest version either, but would it be a good solution for people upgrading from Series 2, 3, or HD's?

http://reviews.cnet.com/video-player...-35833139.html
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:42 AM   #2
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Very interesting. The cable companies won't like this much at all, that's like 2 or 3 months cable bill for a lot of people, and then you're done.

The two weaknesses I see are the lack of Netflix and other similar hooks and the limited tuners. The article sauys you can watch one show while recording one other, even on a two tuner TiVo you can record two shows while watching a third.

The USB interface to the probable external hard drive is a choke point and will be a major engineering weakness.

Still, it sounds like a fun toy for TV/DVR lovers. I bet it will be a hit.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:50 AM   #3
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Zatz has a review of the CM DVR+ up as well today. He's offered to try things out if people have suggestions of things to try or questions that can be answered that way in the comments.

http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2013-12/...vrplus-cm7500/

His review seems to indicate that simultaneous two-tuner recording while watching a third pre-recorded show is supported.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:57 PM   #4
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When Dave first posted about it (about 10 days ago) I posted this on his site:
I would say that if this works well and ships at the price points shown it would be a good OTA option for those who have more than one TV or only need 2 tuners. I have a TiVo Roamio and for me the Roamio with lifetime makes more sense as I only have one TV and need 4 Tuners.

Really hope this one works well as competition is a good thing and TiVo needs more. With this entry OTA users will several solid choices (Cannel Master, Simple TV, TiVo, & HTPCs) for a DVR setup.
This will be a cheaper OTA only solution than a Roamio, but you will also be getting less, what will be interesting to see is how it well it works, and if buying this new ends up being a better deal than buying a used Series 3 or Premiere with lifetime for those who are looking for a lower price point than a Roamio with lifetime.
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Old 12-16-2013, 04:23 PM   #5
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If you really do the apples to apples comparison, this is about $200 less then a lifetimed Roamio Basic (after adding hard drive). That isn't a bad discount, but has two less tuners, no analog out, less OTT functionality, no multi-room cabablity, no tablet integration, and we have no idea what the resale value is. (Caveat - all this takes time)

I am happy to see this market expand, and it isn't a bad product for bargain hunters - but in the end, I still think Roamio is (currently) a better deal.

Frankly, for the $350 it is going to cost you once you get a hard drive attached - you are at a very similar price point as a used Premiere.

///////

Just thinking about this... If eventually they allow multiple networked CM DVR+'s to work together and share a single network storage device - this becomes a very intriging product.
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:04 PM   #6
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Roamio also has the ability to be converted to a cable DVR if you later decide you want cable instead.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:02 PM   #7
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The article says you can watch one show while recording one other, even on a two tuner TiVo you can record two shows while watching a third.
It's two tuners (and watch a recording too).

Need four tuners for me. I understand there will be viewers who can live with two (or jump for joy with two). But even OTA I need four.

I agree that a lifetimed basic Roamio is a better option for the aficionado. But novices may like this.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:40 PM   #8
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I don't think novices will understand that it's only got 16GB and can only hold 2 hours of programming. Plus using an external drive ruins the ascetic of having such a small, thin, box. They should have just thrown a 500GB drive in there and bumped the price accordingly.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
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I don't think novices will understand that it's only got 16GB and can only hold 2 hours of programming. Plus using an external drive ruins the ascetic of having such a small, thin, box. They should have just thrown a 500GB drive in there and bumped the price accordingly.
One question is if I can download the recordings to a PC. If you can do that, and you already have a media PC, then this would be a great box to get OTA recordings onto your media PC, and 16GB is plenty to hold the recording just long enough to download it
(well, unless it is a 4 hour movie :-).
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:41 PM   #10
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One question is if I can download the recordings to a PC. If you can do that, and you already have a media PC, then this would be a great box to get OTA recordings onto your media PC, and 16GB is plenty to hold the recording just long enough to download it
(well, unless it is a 4 hour movie :-).
If you already have a media PC, you can buy Silcondust's HDHomeRun network OTA tuners for it for allot less money and use your media PC as the DVR.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:58 AM   #11
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I don't think novices will understand that it's only got 16GB and can only hold 2 hours of programming. Plus using an external drive ruins the ascetic of having such a small, thin, box. They should have just thrown a 500GB drive in there and bumped the price accordingly.
At $250 it's already pretty expensive for a two tuner device. What is this, 2001? It's almost 2014, four tuners should be the minimum.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:42 AM   #12
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I'd be curious as to whether you can just swap out the external hard drive, instead of off loading the shows.
It would kind of be a pain, but it would allow one to save recordings categorically. Have one drive for "action", one for "drama", one for "sports", etc.
A clunky way to do things, sure. But it is an option that TiVo does not allow.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:01 AM   #13
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At $250 it's already pretty expensive for a two tuner device. What is this, 2001? It's almost 2014, four tuners should be the minimum.
They are using USB drives for storage, with 4 tuners they would have to be able to do 5 streams at once, USB 3.0 could handle that without any issues but my experience with USB 2.0 devices is even though their should be plenty of band width there might be issues with 5 HD streams.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:10 AM   #14
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I'd be curious as to whether you can just swap out the external hard drive, instead of off loading the shows.
It would kind of be a pain, but it would allow one to save recordings categorically. Have one drive for "action", one for "drama", one for "sports", etc.
A clunky way to do things, sure. But it is an option that TiVo does not allow.
There really isn't many restrictions on OTA recordings, most of what TiVo does is to comply with cable card requirements, so an OTA only DVR should be able to allow one to do pretty much anything you want with the recordings, unfortunately it does not appear that these channel master OTA DVRs where built with whole home and out of home use in mind. They could have allowed for direct storage onto a NAS via Ethernet and allowed multiple DVRs, computers, tablets, & phones to have access to those records both inside and outside of one's home network.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:21 AM   #15
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There really isn't many restrictions on OTA recordings, most of what TiVo does is to comply with cable card requirements, so an OTA only DVR should be able to allow one to do pretty much anything you want with the recordings, unfortunately it does not appear that these channel master OTA DVRs where built with whole home and out of home use in mind. They could have allowed for direct storage onto a NAS via Ethernet and allowed multiple DVRs, computers, tablets, & phones to have access to those records both inside and outside of one's home network.
And that is how I would design this thing...

The measly 16GB memory would just be for the local buffer and OS. Allow a user to select a NAS for open extended storage and design multiple units to be cooperative for a whole home solution. Add cooperative scheduling across devices and it would be a compelling product for cord cutters.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:38 AM   #16
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They are using USB drives for storage, with 4 tuners they would have to be able to do 5 streams at once, USB 3.0 could handle that without any issues but my experience with USB 2.0 devices is even though their should be plenty of band width there might be issues with 5 HD streams.
There are zero issues dealing with five HD streams over USB2.0. At least that was the case back in 2005/2006 when I last had an HTPC with multiple USB 2.0 tuners and also using a USB 2.0 drive for storage. It worked perfectly fine with half a dozen concurrent HD read/write streams.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:06 PM   #17
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I wish it at least had the equivalent of tivo to go so you could download shows off of it.. Though I also wonder if you could just have multiple external drives (though presumably you have no way of copying from one to the other, unless the 16 GB memory can act like temporary storage.. floppy copying, here we come again!)
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:00 PM   #18
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I'm buying one of these for my in-laws. They have no internet access and no landline. Tivo is not an option unless they want to add a landline or get an ISP. They want a DVR with a guide that allows for fast rewind, pause, fast forward recording and playback.

A lot of people like the Magnavox/Phillips/Funai boxes, but I think the user interface is extremely unpolished. We are a bit biased towards the EchoStar products first from our time with Dish and more recently from our experience with DTVPal DVRs.

I don't think it stacks up against the Tivo. Tivo is a pretty sophisticated product. Sophistication is not free. I don't expect people to move from Tivo to the DVR+, but I think a lot of people who do not currently have DVRs will find the DVR+ attractive.

Two tuners means you can watch one thing while recording another. Support for 3t disks means 480 hours of HD capacity. Integrated apps means no switching inputs and, just maybe, a single remote that doesn't cost more than the DVR.

Exactly how successful this DVR will be, I think, depends on what they do with apps. Vudu is not particularly exciting. Netflix, Amazon Instant, and YouTube would satisfy most people. Sports and special interests would make this an OTT darling.

We cut our cable nearly four years ago and don't miss Comcast at all. Had no idea we could miss the DVR as much as we did. Bought a DTVPal then four more. The DVR+ is the DTVPal plus internet apps, an internet guide service, and virtually limitless storage. What's not to like?
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:15 AM   #19
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Without an internet connection I wonder how good the EPG is? Apparently it's using the PSIP data transmitted with the OTA signal. My understanding is the PSIP specification can provide up to 16 days of guide data but that the PSIP info can vary widely per station and can even be -- none. Assuming a station provides 16 days worth, how many days will the DVR+ display?

Here's the link to the users guide:
http://support.channelmaster.com/hc/...sers_Guide.pdf
A quick scan revealed very little info about the program guide and the troubleshooting chapter has a section on the Program Guide -- which is empty!

I've submitted a support request to CM on this.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:01 AM   #20
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I'm buying one of these for my in-laws. They have no internet access and no landline. Tivo is not an option unless they want to add a landline or get an ISP. They want a DVR with a guide that allows for fast rewind, pause, fast forward recording and playback.

A lot of people like the Magnavox/Phillips/Funai boxes, but I think the user interface is extremely unpolished. We are a bit biased towards the EchoStar products first from our time with Dish and more recently from our experience with DTVPal DVRs.

I don't think it stacks up against the Tivo. Tivo is a pretty sophisticated product. Sophistication is not free. I don't expect people to move from Tivo to the DVR+, but I think a lot of people who do not currently have DVRs will find the DVR+ attractive.

Two tuners means you can watch one thing while recording another. Support for 3t disks means 480 hours of HD capacity. Integrated apps means no switching inputs and, just maybe, a single remote that doesn't cost more than the DVR.

Exactly how successful this DVR will be, I think, depends on what they do with apps. Vudu is not particularly exciting. Netflix, Amazon Instant, and YouTube would satisfy most people. Sports and special interests would make this an OTT darling.

We cut our cable nearly four years ago and don't miss Comcast at all. Had no idea we could miss the DVR as much as we did. Bought a DTVPal then four more. The DVR+ is the DTVPal plus internet apps, an internet guide service, and virtually limitless storage. What's not to like?

Two tuners is supposed to mean you can record two things simultaneously and watch a previously recorded 3rd thing, all at the same time.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:03 PM   #21
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My answer from CM support:

Quote:
If the device isn't connected to the internet, you will receive a limited guide from the PSIP data your broadcasters send (typically 2-3 days, but it varies). Let me know if you have any other questions.
Even with the internet guide data I don't see any indication it can do Season Passes. That would be a major TiVo advantage.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:37 AM   #22
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Without an internet connection I wonder how good the EPG is? Apparently it's using the PSIP data transmitted with the OTA signal. My understanding is the PSIP specification can provide up to 16 days of guide data but that the PSIP info can vary widely per station and can even be -- none. Assuming a station provides 16 days worth, how many days will the DVR+ display?
Terrible, PSIP is at best usually less than 24 hours of data and is often wildly inaccurate. The OTA stations generally don't give a crap about it (because few people use it), so you'd be better off doing manual recordings VCR-style rather than rely on this.

It's all YMMV based on area and station of course, but IMO you have to have internet guide to make this functional as a real DVR, not a glorified VCR.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #23
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But even with the internet guide data, if it can't do season passes is it a "real" DVR?
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:09 PM   #24
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But even with the internet guide data, if it can't do season passes is it a "real" DVR?
What makes a DVR require a Season Pass function? it's still a DVR without that capability, just not one with many features
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:52 PM   #25
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You don't suppose TiVo users are spoiled for ordinary DVRs, do you?


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Old 12-19-2013, 04:29 PM   #26
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Hey this is a Tivo forum! Real DVR's do season passes.

Just out of curiosity, how many other (so-called) DVR's do SP's? Do the cable co boxes do them?
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:02 PM   #27
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Hey this is a Tivo forum! Real DVR's do season passes.

Just out of curiosity, how many other (so-called) DVR's do SP's? Do the cable co boxes do them?
Every DVR that I know of does SPs. Even cableco POS. Without the ability to set an SP, it's almost worthless.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:33 PM   #28
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Heck, even *Tivos* with Tivo Basic didn't do Season Passes.. That was their attempt to make people pay for the full service.

Though one could also argue, even without trademark infringement issues (if Tivo does indeed have the trademark), whether other recorders DO have a (nearly) equivalent of season passes.. e.g. follow time slot changes and such.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:34 PM   #29
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Hey this is a Tivo forum! Real DVR's do season passes.

Just out of curiosity, how many other (so-called) DVR's do SP's? Do the cable co boxes do them?
Even my Cox DVR I got in 2005 did season passes and did them well.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:03 PM   #30
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This quoted from a post on the AVS Forums DVR+ owners thread:
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The CM-7500 has name-based recording. There is an option when, you select a program from the guide to record, that asks if you want to record other programs with the same name. That sounds like a season pass to me.
The question is how well does this mimic a Tivo SP?

It looks like Dave Zatz is the only person outside CM to have had access to a DVR+. Maybe he could provide some info on this.

In major metro areas OTA can pick up 2 or more stations that air the same shows. There would need to be a way to prevent recording duplicates.

Unless the DVR+ has some reasonable SP-like functionality I think it will have a hard time competing with Roamio even with the $200 price advantage.
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