There's also no way to make the guide go full-screen. It's nice how it only covers half the currently playing program (and the guide is even a little transparent so you can kind of see what's underneath it), but a full-screen guide would help me see more channels at once. I couldn't get ABC and CBS to display on the same page without deleting several channels between them, which made it a little harder to evaluate my prime-time choices.
Since the DVR+ has two tuners, you can record two programs at once. You can also pause live TV for up to 2 hours, with an onscreen indicator that shows exactly how much pause time you have left. (I actually like it a little better than TiVo's implementation.)
If you want to access your recordings from a computer or mobile device, the DVR+ works with a Slingbox — Channel Master recommends the $300 Slingbox 500, which sits between the DVR+ and your TV and makes live TV and all your recorded videos accessible from Web browsers and the SlingPlayer mobile apps.
The DVR+ is certainly unassuming in your entertainment center: it's thin, quiet, and it puts itself to sleep when not in use. But best of all, with no subscription fees, it's a one-time outlay and you're done paying. Everything it doesn't do out of the box, it can accomplish with add-ons, from a Slingbox if you want to go mobile, to the Wi-Fi adapter if you don't want to bother with Ethernet. But if you don't need those features, you aren't stuck paying for them.
A TiVo Roamio, for example, starts at $200 with up to 75 hours of HD storage, but then you have to pay for service, which costs $15 a month (with a 1-year minimum, so you'll spend at least $180), or $500 for the device's lifetime. The DVR+ is $250; after you supply your own hard drive (Channel Master will sell you a 1TB Seagate drive for $100) and shell out $40 for the Wi-Fi, you'll still come out ahead of the TiVo owner by the end of the first year. (Neither device includes an HDMI cable, so that's a wash.)
TiVo's more robust software and feature set makes sense if you're using it with a cable subscription and a bunch of OTT apps. But if all you want to do is record over-the-air TV, Channel Master's offering will get the job done.
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