Channel Master DVR+ Now Available For Pre-Order ($250)

Dave Zatz —  December 16, 2013

We’ve been tracking Channel Master‘s moves since new digital video recorder hardware first surfaced in FCC documents last summer. They’ve clearly used the intervening months wisely to fine tune both the product experience and marketing strategy as the originally documented pair of K77 set-tops has been whittled down to the single and more memorable DVR+ ($250). And, as you probably guessed from the video above, I do indeed have product on hand… and my initial impressions are quite positive.

The first thing you notice about the dual-tuner, over-the-air DVR+, developed by EchoStar to Channel Master’s specifications, is its amazingly slim form factor. Weeks in, I’m still in awe of the hardware that has similar dimensions to a legal pad or slim notebook. It’s both physically solid and quite handsome… as is the matching remote.

Of course, to hit such slim proportions, compromises had to be made. And we assume the absence of analog inputs is the result. Related, the Channel Master DVR+ ships with a mere 16GB of flash storage, good for 2 hours of HD recording and the ability to pause live television for up to 15 minutes. Having said that, I appreciate Channel Master’s modular approach with DVR+ — buy what you need, when you need it (or as funds permit). For example, without an Internet connection, the DVR+ is capable of receiving a modest amount of guide data over the air and software updates can be performed manually via USB. But add Internet, via integrated Ethernet jack or $40 WiFi adapter, and more comprehensive guide data (powered by Rovi) extends to 14 days with software updates coming over the ‘net. Add USB storage to increase your recording capacity, and also receive a larger 1 hour buffer to pause and rewind live television. As a dual tuner DVR, the hardware is capable of recording up to two high definition, over-the-air broadcasts via antenna with the ability to simultaneously watch previously recorded programming. And all of that sips a miserly 9.7 watts. In fact, Channel Master intends to apply for Energy Star 3 or 4 certification.

On the software front, Channel Master has seemed to strike the right balance between form and function – the guide looks sharp, with well implemented transparency. And, functionaly, novices can get up and running with minimal fuss while there are more advanced features (like padding) for those willing to dig deeper. If I had to ding any aspect of the presentation, I’d say the networking settings and configuration could be tightened up. The plus sign in DVR+ refers to its online capabilities and those who run it connected to the Internet will have access to over-the-top app content. At launch, we’re looking solely at Vudu video on demand. But Channel Master tells me they have additional deals in place and development work will commence shortly… and I sure hope YouTube and Netflix are on the 2014 roadmap. Interestingly, Channel Master has decided to implement online content within the guide versus a dedicated app area. For example, Vudu resides at “channel” 200 and others will come in above it, with plans to map a remote button to the 200s for efficient access.

While we frequently discuss “cord cutters”, the fact is that there are something around 15 million antenna-only households… many of whom are price sensitive and still fumble around with VCRs. This is the market Channel Master is prioritizing with DVR+ and the company’s first goal is a rock solid over-the-air digital recorder, with additional online content to follow – to expand its utility and potential audience. Further, unlike a TiVo, the DVR+ does not require a service fee (or Internet connection) and that aforementioned modular approach makes for a flexible solution. Pre-orders begin today, for January shipment, and I’ll be taking questions below.

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74 responses to Channel Master DVR+ Now Available For Pre-Order ($250)

  1. Also, unlike TiVo, no ads cluttering up the UI other than the small Channel Master and Rovi logos. Hit me with questions as I can testing various scenarios and reach back to Channel Master as needed. Depending on the number and nature, I’ll answer them here or follow up with a post of answers.

  2. Very cool. Now I have something else to recommend to friends who want to cut cable. :-)

    So there’s no web based viewing of content, though, like Simple TV or the dearly departed Boxee Cloud DVR?

  3. I wonder if pairing this with an Xbox One is the “ultimate solution” that the Xbox One fell a little short on. I’m currently testing the HomeWorx HW-150PVR, but the Channel Master may be a better solution. Thanks for the info!

  4. Only two tuners? That seems kind of low for it being almost 2014.

  5. Is this an improvement on Channel Master’s two previous models? I have the CM-7000 PAL. Actually I have two of them and am quite happy. Except for the lack of program guide. Seems my local tv stations really slack on the updates. I would consider the subscription program guide if it was cheaper. The whole idea with these devices is to avoid a monthly payment. I Tried the CM-7400 briefly but went back to the 7000 after glitching problems. Seemed the processor wasn’t fast enough for the device. I don’t understand why they would not include bigger storage? You have to buy an external hard drive? Doesn’t this kill the sleek low profile design? Are there any problems you have run into yet? What kind of external drive did you connect? Can you post a photo of what it looks like with a hard drive sitting next to it or on top of it?

    Thanks!

  6. Any plans for the CM boxes to network with each other for multi-room viewing?

  7. No Qam tuner?

  8. Not sure this is a better solution than Tivo Roamio. Tivo Roamio (base) is seling for $149 on Amazon plus you can get lifetime for $399 (with the PLSR code). That’s $550. When I price this on Channel master and add the 500GB HD ($99) plus wifi ($40), its coming to $390. So, for $160 more, you get 4 tuners on the Tivo, better OTT (for now, Netflix, Youtube, Pandora, etc…). ChannelMaster should add other services at some point, but Netflix will probably stay ahead with the Opera TV store, etc…

  9. Can it do named series recordings? Can you tell it only to get new episodes? Are there settings to extend recordings for sports?

    I don’t get the slim push. Its not a phone, I can live with a bigger box for some component outputs.

  10. Any chance it can stream content across a home network, like plex for instance

  11. Looks good, but is there a monthly fee? That’s a deal breaker for me.

  12. Dave, can you attach any drive to it? if so, can you record something and see if you can take out the recordings? thanks.

  13. Two tuners is a deal breaker for me. Even using just OTA, I often have 3 or 4 streams being recorded at once. Especially when you need to factor in padding.

    The price is right, and I would buy one simply to play with (I currently have Comcast, 4 TiVos AND DirecTV–yes, I love my TV) but two tuners is a no-go.

  14. astrohip, aaronwt, I assume they went with two tuners to keep the price, size, energy usage, and heat down. Again, their initial target market is folks coming from nothing or VCRs and this would be a huge upgrade. Knowing my viewing patterns, I would rarely have a problem with two tuners OTA but I do see how it would be limiting for some.

    Al, Cliff, while they haven’t validated every USB drive many (most?) will work. I have an unbranded USB-powered 1TB drive attached now. It doesn’t add much bulk and I haven’t had any issues. Channel Master sells drives of varying capacities depending on your budget and recording needs, plus bundles will also be offered according to CNET. I did try a USB stick, but received a message that there is an 80GB minimum requirement. Al, I’ll take a look at the drive to see if I can offload recordings – it was formatted when attached, so it may be locked down in some way. And what I’m capable tonight of versus the community over time may not be the same.

    Bruce, Brendan, it’s safe to assume they would examine home whole configuration and additional apps/media. But phase 1 is getting a solid OTA DVR out the door.

    Scott, no QAM, OTA only.

    Mike, no fees.

    D, I will examine the recording options further tonight and report back. Maybe I’ll do another post with imagery. Related, I was asked on Twitter to report on the padding and skip options, in addition to fast forward, rewind, and pause smoothness.

  15. Can you download recordings from it to another device such as a computer or tablet? Do we know what format is used for recording…MPG? MP4?

  16. So we’re looking at a $250 OTA-only DVR with essentially zero storage, so add on a mandatory $100 to $200 external drive. This is actually competitive with the next-generation simpletv, which retails for $200 (at newegg).

    The simpletv2 is a networked device that streams to various mobile devices and roku, so you need to add on fifty bucks for a roku to get it on your TV. Of course a simpletv2+roku will give the cord-cutter user dramatically more functionality, as the roku channel ecosystem is very rich and the channel master only has vudu– you’d need to buy a roku or similar streamer anyway.

    I was also going to compare unfavorably to TiVo but Jusitn beat me to it.

    On a different note, I’m very dubious about the ability to pause liveTV with NAND storage. NAND can handle a very limited number of writes, and if the DVR+ constantly writes to a buffer like a TiVo, that storage is sure to die super quickly.

    And hey, what’s up with the lack of wifi on these things? Neither the simpletv2 nor the DVR+ has it. It’s 2014, guys. Don’t force people to buy a ghetto dongle.

  17. Dave,

    Thank you very much for this timely review. One thing I’d like to confirm is, does this thing have functionality to fast forward through commercials while watching live over the air?

    (for example, a 1 hour program starts at 7 pm, start watching at say 7:20pm, after the buffer gets started, then fast forward through commericals as they are encountered, and finish watching at 8pm, the same time the over the air program ends?)

    Someone told me their cable DVR allows them to do this, this would be a key factor for me.

    Thanks

  18. great questions great answers, thanks Dave

  19. Mark, Al, I haven’t tested offloading recordings yet but I’ve heard back from Channel Master that they’re using the Linux file system. So we may be able to offload, but it may not be pretty. Sounds like they may be working on a way to support this. I’ll try to play with it some over the next couple days to see what I can turn up if/as time permits.

    Rodalpho, we’ve got a SimpleTV review coming too… :)

    Tim, yes. However, you’ll probably want an external drive as the buffer using the internal storage is limited to 15 minutes – with an external drive, that buffer is extended to an hour. I’m going to do more testing with pause, fast forward, and rewind tonight to provide more color in this area.

    In regards to Rovi and comments over on AVS – this EPG service is unrelated to TVGOS. SimpleTV has also licensed a Rovi guide, for example.

  20. Dave,

    Thanks – I was presuming that I would buy the external drive. WIll be interested in your pause, fast forward and rewind testing.

    Thanks again

  21. What are the chances of upgrading the internal drive, similar to upgrading a stock TiVo drive? Clearly given the size it would have to be flash-based. Not sure there is a benefit to this given the cost of flash drives and what size would be needed to eliminate the need for an external drive but just curious.

  22. How sensitive is the tuner? Does it get all the stations, fewer, or mroe than the tv or other dvr? I have a Homeeowrx 150PVR and a simple.tv, and neither gets all the stations my tv tuner picks up. Thanks for checking this out for us potential customers. We can get an unbiased user review prior to purchase.

  23. Mark V, interesting question. I’ll ask (versus opening mine), but I suspect it may not be so easy with the OS loaded onto it. Would require time and effort, if possible, similar to the older TiVo upgrade path (versus Roamio which preps bare drives).

    Sandi, Hard to say and I’m probably the wrong guy to ask. OTA reception in my neighborhood without an aerial is spotty and varies room to room, position to position. Also my small Vizio “test” TV is several years old at this point – would that be a good or bad comparison to your gear?

  24. My vizio tv is also several years old, maybe a around 2008 or 2009. It has a built in tuner that works very well. I fiound the Homeworx and simple.tv, which are new devices inctroduced in the last 12 months, get fewer channels than my older 4-5 year old tv. I am close to towers, about 16 miles and have tried different types of antennas. Result is always the same, fewer channels located on the dvr than the tv.

  25. I have a Roamio Basic that I use for OTA. It cost me $175 and then my monthly plan is only $6.95 a month. That was transferred from my Premiere(which also got lifetime for $99)
    Even twelve years ago I could not have gotten by on only two tuners. There is no way i could get by with only two tuners from OTA. Although I also have cable. But my GF who has never had cable and only uses OTA, can’t get by on two tuners either. She needs all four tuners on her two S3 TiVos for recordings from OTA.

  26. Wow, you must get a lot of channels OTA. I get Univision and CBS. CBS cuts out half the time and I no hablo Espanol.

  27. I’ve been spoiled for many years by the speed of Dish/Echostar DVR software. Can you compare? How fast to skip forward 30 seconds on playback? Back 15 seconds? How about speed to “last watched”? Thanks, Dave

  28. When Dave first posted about it (about 10 days ago) I posted this:

    “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.

  29. Is there anyway to use this as a whole-home DVR?

    I have Rokus for every TV in the house. Right now, I’m recording shows on my Windows 7 PC using Windows Media Center and watching them on any TV in the house using PlayOn’s MyMedia channel, after using MCEBuddy to reformat the files and rename them.. I use Remote Potato to schedule recordings using my iPhone or iPad. I was hoping that the new Channel Master DVR+ would offer a simpler, out-of-the-box solution to do the same thing, a kind of Simple.TV without the subscription. However, I saw nothing in this review about access the recordings (or the live TV for that matter) from TVs which are not directly connected to the DVR. If this can’t act as a whole house DVR, then I’ll have to cross it off my list and either continue doing what I’ve been doing or opt for Simple.TV or Tablo.

  30. This might be worth buying just for the free program guide for live TV when used ones and closeouts go on sale on Woot or Ebay for $50 in a couple of years.

  31. Sandi, please take it with a grain of salt as there are many variables at play… but a quick channel scan by the DVR+ turned up 33 channels while my small Vizio TV locked onto 29. Of course, that doesn’t cover quality or strength of signal, but it’s a positive data point.

    To those seeking into on offloading capabilities, I mounted the EXT3 formatted external drive on both Windows and Mac using third party utilities (like this one) and, as we might expect, the recordings are MPEG2 and written to .ts files. I haven’t actually gotten them to play yet, but I didn’t work too hard at it either.

    As far to skipping, pausing, advancing, rewinding, it’s all relatively smooth. Sometime later this week, I hope to find a few minutes to shoot another video that covers it.

  32. Dave,
    Will this handle an external DVD drive?

  33. Dave, I see nothing in the guide for programming the remotes to use with multiple DVR+ units. The earlier Echostar/CM units had this function, allowing you to use two or more of the same DVRs in one room. Many of us currently have multiple DVRs in use now because we need to record 3 or more programs at the same time. If that function hasn’t been included, I see no acceptable way to get around it with these new units. We may have to keep using our old DVRs instead of updating to the new model. Is it there, but not listed in the manual? Can CM add this feature through a software update?

  34. Just the fact that you need to have some kind of external storage to get more than two hours of recording time means the people using it will need to be tech savy.

    If they really wanted to open this up to a wider group of people they should have included a hard drive for storage. Your average person will expect to be able to store more hours of content than two. But the fact that you need to supply some external storage means those same people will have no clue what to do.

  35. So I looked into this a little bit more last night. Channel Master is suggesting adding a Slingbox 500 to play the on other devices not connected directly to the DVR+. That would require an investment of another $300 (though you can get the Slingbox 500 for less than that with not too much effort). Add in at $100 for more external storage, and this suddenly costs more than $600 to make it into a simple whole-house DVR solution. Even then, I’m assuming you’d have no cover art, episode summaries, etc.

    I certainly see some value to those who lack tech savvy, but for those who do, this seems like a very expensive and clunky solution if you are looking for a whole-house DVR. If you only have one TV and no devises to serve, then this looks like potentially a good buy.

  36. Greg: It looks like Channel Master didn’t really consider whole home/out of home use. They could allowed for using a NAS for storage via Ethernet and allowed for access to the recordings on the NAS via almost anything (multiple DVRs, computers, tablets, phones) along with allowing for out of the home stream that didn’t require a sling box. Instead they went with USB attached storage not accessible by anything else.

    I still think there is a place (and demand) for a lower cost entry level OTA DVR like this, but that is what it is. Those looking for a more sophisticated whole home/out of home system will have to get something else.

  37. Michael Moskovitz December 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Dave thanks so much for the review and detailed answers. It sounds like THE solution for customers that can’t stand fees. I guess that I’m lucky to have a $10 per month over the air deal from TiVo. I just upgraded to a Roamio so I’m on the hook with TiVo for two years. If Channelmaster can’t add the key cord cutters streaming sources such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Youtube, this unit could retire my TiVo and Roku.

  38. This is not the all-in-one cord cutter’s solution I was hoping for. If this box had Netflix and Amazon it would be ideal, but it doesn’t. If I were to buy this I would have to use a different box for streaming. I will stick with my TIVO, which has it all. If they add apps down the road I will take another look at it.

  39. I have been interested in the DVR+ since it was announced this summer, and while it looks like a nice stand alone DVR without a fee it does leave something to be desired. In looking into other forums it looks like to soon-to-be-released Tablo is a much better alternative which will stream to Roku, ATV, ios and android at approximately $4 per month for the guide after the first year.

  40. How well does the closed captioning work? Does it show CC on recorded playback?

  41. I wonder if this DVR would work along with my cable company SDV box and give me most of my channels.

  42. @Brendan – Looks like time ran out on Tablo’s IndieGogo campaign so they didn’t get funded. Doesn’t mean its dead but…

    @Radolpho – Well, lets do the math… Assume they used the cheap stuff, MLC flash. Then you’ve got about 100,000 erase/write cycles.

    With flash typically, ignoring over-provisioning, 16GB = 16,000,000,000 bytes or thereabouts. How much recording space is that? Max HD OTA bit rates is 19.39Mbps, which would consume the drive in only 1.8 hours, so they must be assuming lower bit rates. According the wikipedia the typical rate after removing program guide data etc from the transport stream is 18.3Mbps, and the real bit rate of an individual channel on average is probably even less than that (some channels of course have sub-channels and they may strip those out). But regardless, it looks like the drive will be pretty damn full if you have two hours of recordings on there.

    Anway…

    Assume there’s nothing else on the drive.

    At 18.3Mbps it’ll take about 2 hours to cycle through the entire drive. So you’d use up all the cycles in 100,000 * 2 hours = 8,333 days or about 22 years. Not a problem.

    However, assume you’ve got 2 hours of recordings @ OTA HD rates it seems like there might at best be 15 minutes of recording space left. If that’s the case, then you’ll write every cell in that buffer every 15 minutes. So you’ll exhaust 100,000 cycles in 100,000 x 15 minutes or 1,041 days or about 2.85 years. That *could* be a problem.

    Of course you could fix it by adding external storage at that point.

  43. @ Wesley – It won’t get QAM channels at all, let alone SDV ones. And certainly not anything encrypted by the cable company since it doesn’t have CableCARD support. So no. As far as whether most of the channels you watch are available OTA in your home, I have no idea. You can assume off the top that any cable-only channels like ESPN, TNT, USA Network, etc will not be available OTA. Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, WB, PBS and a few others *may* be available.

  44. wiscojim, remote is not addressable.

    RWILL, quite a few captioning options and the few minutes I ran it, it looked decent. But I’m probably the wrong person to pass judgement on that feature. Check out of the photos linked below.

    Based on requests over on AVS, I shot some quick and dirty photos. They’re not labeled, but hopefully self explanatory.

    https://plus.google.com/113747739680935437662/posts/836S33K3F3C

  45. Is there an option to have a full-screen guide instead of just the bottom half of the screen? Also can you make the background solid when viewing the guide?

  46. Dave please post some screenshots of the PSIP channel guide.

  47. I live in Canada. Vudu doesn’t. Ergo, this is just an OTA PVR with an internet connection. It’s still just what i’ve been looking for, after spending hours with XBMC, Serviio, Plex, etc. I’ve been working on a Mac professionally for over 26 years, still can’t make head nor tails out of these incredible clumsy apps. It took over an hour to get Plex into English from Dutch.
    So i’ll buy one. I’m paying $75 a month for Jeopardy, the BBC news and 200+ channels of crap. Plus $8 for Netflix, which has more good movies than my $25 TMN. Plus $25 for an antiquated Rogers DVR. Without Vudu, (Why would they ignore 40,000,000 potential customers?) I’ll just have to keep working on Plex to stream internet content to it. In English.

  48. Dave, will the DVR+ be able to pull guides from two different zip codes? I sit right in the middle of Indy and Louisville and wmc can only do one or the other. Because of my location, I need to pull a few stations from one or the other to get the full lineup. That may be a deal breaker for me.

  49. I bought a Dish DTVPal DVR as soon as they became available. I love it and I use it every day. It works great with my analog TV. I understand the DVR+ does not have composite outputs. Is there a way I could get it to play into an analog set?

  50. No, Tom, not really. I think you would be disappointed in a digital to analog converter. Maybe you can find the DTVPal DVRs cheap on eBay now that these are out.

  51. Glenn: SLC has 100,000 write cycles. MLC has between 5,000 and 10,000 depending on process node (newer, smaller, cheaper nodes having lower counts). TLC is even lower at 1000 to 1500 cycles. So divide your estimates by 10-20x. Maybe worse if they did not license a decent flash translation layer.

  52. When the player plays back recorded OTA HD content, will the playback be in the format that was stored, such as 1080i and Dolby Digital 5.1, and provided via both the HDMI and optical audio outputs?

  53. When the Channel Master DVR+ plays back recorded OTA HD content, will the playback be in the format that was stored, such as 1080i and Dolby Digital 5.1, and provided via both the HDMI and optical audio outputs?

  54. * Can you record by time and channel or must you record by selecting a title from the program guide? I know that sounds like a dumb question but I’m a Mac user so I’ve learned the hard way that programmers don’t live on the same planet as the rest of us.
    * Can you record in SD for extended time on the internal drive? I’m not keen on using an HDD. If I can’t use a flash drive or upgrade the internal drive or at least record in SD, I’ll have to wait for the next model or shop elsewhere.

  55. Seems like when channel surfing, when you go to the next channel there is a delay before the video shows. Does that seem long to you?

  56. Please answer! When the Channel Master DVR+ plays back recorded OTA HD content, will the playback be in the format that was stored, such as 1080i and Dolby Digital 5.1, and provided via both the HDMI and optical audio outputs?

  57. Enjoy your vacation

  58. Can we use 64GB flash (thumb) usb rather than hard drive? Simpler is better, don’t need TB storage for our use case.

  59. John, already addressed that here. There’s an 80GB minimum (whether or not a thumb drive is suitable for continual read/write access). Once I’m caught up from CES, maybe next week, I’ll try to get some more answers posted.

  60. I am excited, my DVR+ shipped out and will be at my home tonight. I have the old DTV PAL and it is on it’s last leg after 5+ years. I was bummed until I saw this comming out and I ordered it the First of the year.

    I am crossing my fingers it works as well or better. I picked up a 1TB drive at Costco for $79 so I am sure I should not have a problem with needing to delete shows I want to keep.

  61. 1. Is there a skip ahead 30sec option/key on the remote
    2. Is there a skip back option (on Tivo you can hit a button that takes you back 8 seconds)
    3. Can I start watching a program that is currently being recorded, specifically: while the program is being recorded can I rewind/fastforward or start playing from the begining?
    4. Without starting a recording can I watch 2 different programs using both the tuners by “jumping” back and forth between the 2 channels and make use off the buffering to be able to rewind. In other words (while not recording) are both tuners automatically buffered for live viewing with trick play (currently possible on Tivo).
    5. Season Pass: Can I set up a season pass to skip repeats (i.e. record first time aired shows only)
    6. Scheduled Recording: Can I specify a start ahead and/or stop later options.
    7. Are there multi-speed options for ffwd/rewind (for example: 2x, 5x, 30x speeds)

    Appreciate your responses.

  62. Just checked out the images you had posted at google plus that answered a couple of questions:
    1,2: Yes, these can be setup to desired skip intervals.
    6: Yes.

    One more question:
    8. What happens if more Season Pass calls for more that 2 programs to be recorded simultaneously?, what is the recording prioritization scheme?

    Hoping to hear back on the remaining unanswered questions. Thanks.

  63. I had the DTV Pal for over 5 years and loved cutting the cord. Up to about 4 months ago it was working great and I was bummed when it started to die. I looked into many different products, but I did not want to pay a monthly fee. I read this article and decided to purchase one.

    Things I like:
    1. Compact Size
    2. Use your own Hard Drive (I bought mine from a BIG BOX store, they had the 1TB Seagate.)
    3. I love the new screen / user interface!!!
    4. Recording a show is easy.
    5. The wireless interface gives me about 2 weeks advance of what will be on TV and I don’t have to pay a monthly fee.
    6. The IR Blaster lets me watch and keep my cabinet closed.
    7. The Remote Control can change the Video input on my TV, previous one did not.
    8. Since it is my own hard drive, I will not have to worry about deleting shows.

    In the future, I hope there will be an upgrade to have an app on my Android so I can record a show remotely or use my phone as a remote control.

    If you were a DTV PAL user, you will enjoy this one.

  64. I have the answers to my questions.

    I’ve been reading the user’s guide and it looks like you must use the EPG to record. You can’t set a future event by time and channel. So if two shows overlap and you want to record partials of each, you must be present to manually record instantaneously. That’s too bad but just a very minor inconvenience; certainly not a deal breaker.

    By looking through the preferences for my EyeTV, I learned that it can not record an HD program in SD to conserve disk usage. Recording quality is controlled by the broadcast. I assume this is part of the technology so the Channel Master must follow the same restriction.

    Storage conservation is also no big deal as long as one is using a large EHD. It’s just that I really want to use a flash drive. I have a 128GB flash that would serve my needs well and would be much more convenient than than wiring up a chunky EHD.

    (Side Note: My EyeTV does allow me to adjust the interlacing, which goes a long way when recording two shows on my older laptop but that would not be an issue with the Channel Master, which connects to the TV, not the computer.)

  65. January 30, 2014

    Dave,

    Many thanks for your posting! Given the paucity of decent programming, two tuners works just fine for me and I truly like having an external drive for storage. I hope Channel Master soon has these back in stock.

    Tschüss

  66. Got one of the original shipments of the CM DVR+. Really is a nice little unit.
    Relying on the OTA EPG has been a little problematic. Odd program records happen.
    What I’m hoping happens in new updates is the option to go out to a scheduling source for info. That would help with recurring recordings and new or not episodes. That’s my main beef. You have to record everything. You can’t choose “New”.

    Also you cannot delete a recording when done watching. You have to go back in to the recording list and delete it from there.

  67. Shame this doesn’t come with a real hard drive, or at least the means to install one. Why does everyone keep sacrificing function for ‘thin’? I’d rather have it a couple of inches thick so it could tell me that channel Im on.

    $250 is just too much when you still have to add storage.

  68. It’s not for thin. USB disks mean extensibility. The idea is that you can plug and unplug disks to add space or to organize your media. For instance, you might put in a special disk to record a movie you don’t want to delete.

  69. Except that the extensibility is currently somewhat restrictive. As Dave pointed out, the EHD has an 80GB minimum requirement. If I’m going to use separate drives to save shows, I want to use flash, not a hard disk drive. 16GB – 32GB SD cards would be perfect for archiving individual movies.

    EHDs may be more economical but they’re only practical if you get one that has at least 250GB, preferably 2TB. That’s fine if you want to save multiple programs on the same drive but it’s not nearly as convenient as SD cards. And hard drives take up enormous space. And let’s not overlook the failure rate of anything with moving parts, which is another reason why the device doesn’t come with a hard drive built in.

    So I definitely like the option to use my own drive. But I’d rather pay the premium for flash. It would be nice if the on-board flash were at least 64GB or larger but I’m not buying a unit until the restriction on capacity for external drives is 64GB or SMALLER. (And this assumes that you can use flash drives at all, rather than hard drives. I see no reason why not but we still don’t have verification on that.)

  70. This probably isn’t the best DVR for you.

  71. question. I’ve had the DVR+ for a couple of days now. I went out and bought the digital optical audio cable with the three and a half a millimeter plug that goes into the back of the box with the standard Toslink connector on the other end of the cable hooked into my home receiver. its hooked up into exactly the same toslink port that i used for my Dish Network hopper that I just replaced, but for some reason the DVR plus will not break the audio out and send it to my receiver. Ive dug through every inch of all of the dvr+ menus, but can find anything that helps. Is there anything you can offer that might be that might help me out. I appreciate your response.

  72. The previous comment has been removed. We don’t mind if you express dissenting opinions, concerns with a company or their product quality based, etc. But we do expect you to remain mostly on topic and won’t tolerate thread crapping on the forum I graciously provide by suggesting anyone expressing positivity here must be a shill or ignorant. Thank you for your cooperation.

  73. @Andy Sobien fyi, Channel Master doesn’t make anything. Their CM7000 was a rebadged EchoStar DTVPal DVR, the CM7400 was made by Entone, and EchoStar is making the CM7500. You were not alone in your disappointment with the CM7400, but you may be pleasantly surprised by EchoStar’s new DVR.