Channel Master Taking Pre-Orders for "DVR+"

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#1
Finally the long anticipated Channel Master DVR+ (CM-7500, K77) is available for pre-order to be shipped in January. :applause:

Channel Master Products | ChannelMaster.com

All initial indications are that this will be a top end contender in the OTA only space. This is a modular design. The basic box includes 16 GB of flash memory, and Ethernet connectivity for the internet. The box will be able to be used with external hard drives making its storage potential infinite. There is also a $40 WiFi adapter available. The main limitation is that it is HDMI out only.

If not connected to the internet the box gets its guide data from PSIP. If hooked to the internet it uses a free 14 day guide provided by Rovi. The box has a guide that will be familiar to most cable and satellite subscribers as well as those who have used Channel Master's former DVRs or the Dish DTVpal DVR. Like the CM-7000pal and Dish DTVpal the new DVR+ is manufactured by EchoStar, which is the equipment manufacture for Dish Network. The DVR+ can be used with a Slingbox for remote viewing.

The + in DVR+ refers to its internet streaming capabilities, which will start out with Vudu, but rumors are that there are deals in place for more apps. The apps are integrated into the guide to give it a more "seamless" viewing experience. Watch out cable, your $18 a month DVR rental fee, high priced channel package days may be limited. ;)
 
#2
Looks pretty cool. Will it integrate a random internet "channel" (URL) into the EPG? The URLs change periodically, so you'd need to be able to associate any random URL with a cable or OTA channel.

Just a thought... I'm pretty sure you can do that with the ReadOn (kind of a free Windows Media substitute) software program, though I haven't worked up enough ambition to try it. I get everything I want.

Rick
 
#3
I'm crushed! I just found the following on the ReadOn site:

"Thank you to all our wonderful customers and supporters. It's been nine years but unfortunately, as of December 2013, we will no longer be producing or supporting our ReadOn Product.
Please note that we retain all our existing legal rights over the ReadOn product and brand.
Hope to see you again soon.
"

Also, the Wikipedia article seems to be gone. I'd been planning to try it for several months, but I kept getting sidetracked. I really think it would have been possible to set it up to do everything this DVR+ does for under $50. You'd just need some device to convert WiFi, Bluetooth, USB or even a printer port to remote-like infrared output. I know I've seen something like that for well under $50. And it would be a pain to set it up. That's what you're paying $249 for.

Without their support the EPG will quickly get outdated. Very hard for one person to keep up with the constant changes (not with the channels per se, but with the underlying URLs). Must be a way to extract the Roku source URLs from that lineup. Maybe somebody will take that over -- but it would still be limited functionality compared with what they were doing.

I bet someone threatened to sue over copyright. So now we get to pay through the nose because Channel Master has to pay through the nose.

Rick
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
Pricey... But it looks good. Seriously, though, for the price it should come with the wireless adapter and a small HDD.

I see no mention of how many tuners, but I assume "dual".
**Edit: Found the info. Dual tuners.**

Last attempt by CM was a failure. Glad to see them return to Echostar. The lack of a good EPG has been one of the biggest problems with OTA DVRs - PSIP would work fine if stations used it properly, but most don't. And all other alternatives are now defunct, or require you pay for the guide. (And Homey don't play that...)
 
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dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Since Philips/Magnavox is attempting to sell single tuner, VCR style timer, DVRs for the same price, I have to say it doesn't look like a bad deal. Right now the choices for OTA DVRs are the glitchy low end iView/Homeworx style, the Philips/Magnavox digital VCRs, TiVo, or the Channel Master. The price point isn't bad considering the options. Of course there are also the networked options like Simple.TV and Tablo.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#6
Since Philips/Magnavox is attempting to sell single tuner, VCR style timer, DVRs for the same price, I have to say it doesn't look like a bad deal. Right now the choices for OTA DVRs are the glitchy low end iView/Homeworx style, the Philips/Magnavox digital VCRs, TiVo, or the Channel Master. The price point isn't bad considering the options. Of course there are also the networked options like Simple.TV and Tablo.
I wonder if the online program guide is going to be free or paid, or will it go away like the TVGOS and others have?

I agree that there isn't ANY real competition for a GOOD DVR. The Phillips / Magnavox units are not much more than a VCR with a hard drive, and the HomeWorx / Iview units have some unresolved issues.

If someone could create a reliable OTA dual tuner DVR with a free EPG that goes out even one week for that price, it would own the market.
 

Jim5506

DTVUSA Member
#7
The first line of their features set me back... OTA is not uncompressed, it is MPEG2 compression, their engineers need to educate the PR folks.
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#9
I wonder if the online program guide is going to be free or paid, or will it go away like the TVGOS and others have?
Free and provided by Rovi (TVGOS). I don't know how they are planning on paying for it. I'd think ad supported, but I haven't seen any ads in the screen shots so far.
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Got a couple questions about it...

It won't connect directly to Cable Service (Infinity), but, can be slaved and record from/via a Cable Box on a preset channel ?
(I'm expecting a yes on that)

Once having recorded a program to the External HD, does it have software where you can label/title that program ?
 

Jim1348

DTVUSA Member
#12
Channel Master's DVR+ Offers True Subscription-Free Over-The-Air TV Recording

Here is what CNET says about this.

Channel Master DVR+ - Video Players and Recorders - CNET Reviews

It's a familiar story. Cord-cutters give up their cable subscription to shed the ever-increasing monthly fee, only to find that the best alternatives to record free, over-the-air TV, such as the TiVo Roamio and Aereo, require -- you guessed it -- another monthly fee.

The new Channel Master DVR+ ($250) is looking to become the over-the-air recording solution for subscription-phobic cord-cutters. Most DVRs charge a monthly fee for electronic program guide (EPG) data, but the DVR+ provides that info, supplied by Rovi, for free.

The design is unlike any other DVR I've seen. It looks like a thicker, more rigid version of the Mohu Leaf flat antenna, but it's just a DVR -- you'll need to connect a separate (not supplied) antenna to receive over-the-air broadcasts. There's not much else to the slim, gray box, although it's pretty deep (10.5 inches), so you'll need considerable room on your TV stand. On the other hand, it includes an IR extender, so you can hide it in a cabinet and still control the DVR+ with the include remote.

Inside, there's 16GB of built-in flash memory, which can record two hours of HD content, but it's really designed to be used with an external hard drive (not supplied), which can be connected via a USB port on the back. Unlike the original Simple.TV, the DVR+ has dual-tuner capabilities, so you can watch one program while recording another, or record two programs at once.

The DVR+ has an HDMI output on its back, so it can connect directly to your TV. By contrast, competitors like Aereo and Simple.TV require a separate box, such as a Roku. (Aereo is available in nine US metropolitan areas at the current time, and remains the target of legal action from television giants including Disney's ABC, CBS -- the parent of CNET -- Fox, and Comcast's NBCUniversal, alleging that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them.)

You'll also need to connect the DVR+ to the Internet to receive EPG data. There's an Ethernet port on the back, but if you want to connect wirelessly, you'll need to spring for the $40 Wi-Fi USB dongle. Connecting the DVR+ online also allows you to stream content from Vudu, which is accessible from the program guide. (As far as other online streaming apps go, Channel Master is exploring more partners, but has nothing to announce at this time.)

The DVR+ also records programs by name, rather than just VCR-style commands such as "record channel 4 at 7 p.m. for an hour." That means if your favorite show moves its time slot, the DVR+ will also be able to find it, as long as the title stays the same. I wouldn't count on it being quite as sophisticated as TiVo, but you're also not paying a $15/month fee.

The DVR+ isn't Channel Master's first foray into over-the-air DVRs. The Channel Master CM-7000PAL had its loyal defenders, although CNET's review was just lukewarm. (That product actually originated as the Dish DTV Pal before being reborn under the Channel Master brand.) The follow-up Channel Master TV was much more disappointing; I was sent several review samples and could never get it to work reliably.

I had a few minutes of toying around with the DVR+ during a demo in New York and it was responsive and the user interface was easy to navigate. It has a no-nonsense feel; there aren't any cute TiVo-style animations or techie flourishes like smartphone/tablet control, but it gets the job done.

The biggest hurdle for the DVR+ may be the upfront cost. $250 isn't cheap, especially when you have to bring your own hard drive and antenna, plus pay an extra $40 for the Wi-Fi dongle accessory. But when you take into account lifetime cost, the DVR+ looks a lot more attractive, especially for cord-cutters looking to escape monthly TV fees once and for all.

The DVR+ will start shipping in early January 2014 and will be available for purchase via Channel Master's online store and Amazon. Channel Master also says it intends to add bundled packages that include a hard drive and antenna in the future, although no specific bundles are available yet.
 

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