Echostar & Channel Master Prep New OTA DVR

Dave Zatz —  July 11, 2013 — 9 Comments

Not the Channel Master K77

Boxee may have abandoned the market to secure their survival, but Echostar & Channel Master are teaming up once again to tap the over-the-air television crowd with a new line of retail DVR. According to a FCC filing (embedded below), the two Channel Master K77 models “combine access to broadcast programming with over-the-top and DVR functionalities.” Both units are slated to include 16GB of Flash storage, presumably to house the OS and any potential OTT apps, with DVR storage handled via an integrated 320GB hard drive (in the higher end SKU) or added via USB storage by end users. Previously, the two companies collaborated on the DTVPal DVR - which seemed to enjoy a decent amount of buzz and interest. More recently, Channel Master has been pushing an Entone-powered OTA DVR… but may not be pleased with the results given their rekindled relationship with Echostar. We firmly believe there’s an audience for this sort of product and are looking forward to what Echostar brings to the table. Related, Simple.TV, with a new line of funding, is likely also preparing an updated OTT/OTA DVR. Combined with TiVo’s incoming 4-tuner Series 5 and Aereo’s contested cloud-based approach, options are certainly heating up for cord cutters.

9 responses to Echostar & Channel Master Prep New OTA DVR

  1. Wow, that’s cool. I’m on an old TiVo HD, and trying to decide what’s next. Right now I’m waiting until Aereo gets into my area (MSP), or TiVo comes out with something a bit more bundled. I totally agree though, that there really is a market for something like this. Especially if they can keep the price down. Simple.TV had a lot of potential, but I think one tuner per box, with having to buy one hard drive per box… kinda killed it.

  2. My series 3 Tivo is getting long in the tooth and since I got rid of cable I have been watching for options to replace it with a DVR that has OTA tuners. I hope to see something that gets good reviews sowing up on the scene.

  3. Optimistic for good reviews!

  4. Anyone else notice the remote looks exactly like a U-verse remote? And even the box looks similar to a U-Verse Box. Same Hardware???

  5. I wonder if this will be as weak sauce as their old units. I could never understand why anyone would buy one of those units compared to just buying a TiVo with lifetime. The pricing didn’t work for the Channel Master units, and their feature set was pitiful compared to a TiVo. They either need to seriously cut the price and go for a budget market, or bring Hopper-level tech to make it a decent value.

  6. is there a subscription? as my kids make it out into the real world I am looking at items like this to give as presents so they can avoid the cost of cable as they start out making their onw way. if there is a sub, then heck Netflix and basic cable/internet will keep them happy

  7. MegaZone….

    Agreed. TiVo recording from OTA are not “stuck on the box” that recorded them. You can move them around to other TiVos, a Tivo stream, to your iPad, or extract them to your computer.

    Another advantage to go/stick with TiVo is the established “hacker” community. You can easily buy the lowest capacity TiVo, and upgrade the hard drive to 2TB yourself.

  8. Needs at least two tuners that can record HD video (cheaper ota dvrs are 1 tuner and sd-only)

    however, a used series 3 tivo with lifetime is $300 all day long off ebay, and even cheaper from private sellers on tivocommunity.com

    and for as little as $75 extra you can max out the above tivo with 2TB of storage.

    sure, ott apps are rudimentary, but $50 gets you a Roku.

  9. I’ve never owned a Tivo and certainly won’t bad-mouth them. In fact I’ve recently been thinking I might have to buy one, if one of my existing DVR’s quits on me and I have no other options (I won’t pay the crazy price for cable and we are only 8 miles from tallest broadcast antennas in the upper-midwest, so we get great OTA reception). That was before I heard that Echostar/ChannelMaster will apparently be releasing a new model late this year.

    However, I don’t agree with comments above that the “pricing didn’t work” on other recent ChannelMaster/Echostar OTA DVR’s. I have owned several of the old DTV Pal models (CM7000 after they went to ChannelMaster) and had good luck with two of them– one did wear out a little faster than I’d have preferred (like 2 years). I paid $249 for two of them and $299 for one. At that price, the Tivo monthly fee for a new buyer– i.e., a person who can’t get any “deal” from Tivo for lifetime service based on a long history as a Tivo customer– equals the cost of the non-Tivo DVR in only about 18 to 20 months. And that’s if you somehow got the Tivo box for free! I’ve never had one of these ChannelMaster boxes that didn’t last at least 20 months. Even the somewhat higher $349 that they were charging for the short-lived CM7400 model doesn’t take too long to pay for itself when compared to Tivo.

    Sure, the functionality isn’t exactly the same. Tivo has some nice features and if I’d been used to them, perhaps I would miss them a lot if I didn’t have them anymore. But I have lived fairly well so far without having a service that guesses what I might like and then records it for me, etc. Again, not saying it might not be nice, but I don’t consider it crucial either– or think it’s worth too much extra money, imo anyway. I can set up recordings on a one-time basis or for every week on my existing no-fee DVR’s, and that works out fine for me and my family.

    I believe Tivo is probably a great product, but just somewhat overpriced– especially when compared to something like Netflix streaming service, just to pick an example. If Tivo was charging about $8/month for their enhanced program guide and the rest of their service’s functionality, then I could probably see it. Netflix can maintain a huge library of programming and movies to stream and charge $10/month or whatever is right now.

    Another note here is that the picture shown at the top of this page is the CM7400– no longer offered. As the small note under the picture says, it is “Not the ChannelMaster K77″. I mention this since one poster wondered “Is it the same hardware?”.

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