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-   -   help selecting an OTA DVR (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/1511664-help-selecting-ota-dvr.html)

redzoneos 01-13-2014 02:28 PM

Hi all,
so i'm at just a hair over 200 dollars a month for comcast at this point for internet/TV including some premium channels such as HBO. I don't watch TV enough to justify this charge anymore and am looking for OTA options. I have a giant antenna in my attic that picks up OTA HD channels very very well.

On comcast, I have one DVR box and then 2 other receivers. Once I record a show, I can watch it on one of those receivers. I would like to keep this functionality if possible, but depending on the cost of OTA DVR I can skip it (e.g., if its cheap enough to just buy a separate unit for each room.)

I've been considering the channel master DVR+, and the homeworx PVR... I really don't understand the difference between the two. Do they do the same basic thing? why is one so much more expensive then the other?

Aleron Ives 01-13-2014 02:46 PM

The DVR+ has 2 tuners, while the Homeworx has only 1. The DVR+ will let you watch an old recording while making new ones, while the Homeworx will only let you watch a recording if you're not using the tuner. The DVR+ has an optional, free Internet guide for pseudo name-based recording, while the Homeworx can only use PSIP to set its timers. The DVR+ has an actual clock, while the Homeworx relies on stations to send the correct time (and if they don't, you'll end up recording the wrong thing). The DVR+ firmware seems relatively stable in comparison to the Homeworx, too. Both the Homeworx and iView boxes are more for hobbyists than for serious TV watchers. CM is also claiming that it will release an extender to let the DVR+ provide whole-home DVR service, while no other DVR (except for TiVo or an HTPC) can do that. The extender isn't out yet, nor does anybody know what it will cost or when it will be released.

redzoneos 01-13-2014 09:49 PM

thank you very much this is what i needed to know. I canceled my cable earlier today smile.gif I think I'm going to go the el cheapo route for now and try out the homeworx variety in one room to see how I can deal with it... If I don't go back to cable/satellite within a month, I will go for the DVR+ for the added functionality you listed!

Thanks a bunch

redzoneos 01-14-2014 09:17 PM

Aleron do you have any opinions/comparison between this option and the WMC/internet based HDhomerun option? It seems I would need to spend additional money in the long run (to get all my TV's functioning with extenders and all), but overall the functionality may be better considering I can stream and DVR from any room and any location, use it with my laptops, cell phones etc etc.

Wondering if there is a loss in quality, difficulty in using (e.g., having to have a computer on all the time and interfacing with that instead of a TV).

Your original feedback was great so if you have any experience with the HDHomerun and can compare the pros/cons of this option that would be helpful!!

Aleron Ives 01-15-2014 02:17 PM

The HDHomeRun is popular among cable customers, because it is one of the few HTPC tuners that accepts a CableCard to tune encrypted cable channels. If you just want to tune OTA with a PC, you can also use a PCI-E TV tuner, such as those made by Hauppauge. The HTPC route offers more features and is also more complicated to configure. I keep all of my TV and PC equipment in one room, so I have no need for a multi-room DVR setup.

redzoneos 01-15-2014 10:32 PM

you are the man (or woman) thanks!

ADJUS 01-16-2014 10:28 AM

We have a couple of the original ChannelMaster 7000s.  Overall good experience, some quirks which could have been fixed if they hadn't stopped development / support.  I'm hoping the new ChannelMaster 7500 / DVR+ works well, but also want to see how the other solutions like Simple.TV, HomeWorx/SiliconDust, etc. compare in terms of features / usability.


Don't expect a Tivo type experience with these yet though.  I like Aereo, but then I'm back to paying a monthly subscription again defeating the purpose of an OTA ATSC DVR for us.  I can see how it is a great solution for some.  Will be interesting to see how their Supreme Court case shakes out.  Will have a lot of ramifications for all of us regardless of whether you want to be a cable cutter or not.


Some of the products seem like they would require more technical experience.  The thing I like about ChannelMaster's DVRs so far is that I can plug it in, set it up, and be done with it for someone like my folks or grandparents.  If I want to tinker, the other ones might be a better option in terms of feature(s).

nopedals 01-17-2014 12:23 PM

I had the channelmaster box for a year or two, sold it on ebay when the tvgos service went away a year or two ago (PSIP is dreadful). I then bought a reconditioned original model three TIVO with lifetime from weaknees (they upgraded the hard drive, and it had a warranty, so I paid the small premium over what ebay units were going for). It is an older unit but HD and well made (they originally cost $1100). The cost from weaknees was about 3 months of what I used to pay directv, ie, a non-issue. The TIVO is a much better unit than the CM, even a CM with tvgos.

jsohng 01-23-2014 04:49 PM

Anyone have any suggestions for a multi room dvr? Also seriously considering cutting the cord, however I would really need a multi room dvr since I have 2 tvs. I cant pay 80 a month for the only tv that I basically watch 1 channel (espn).

Aleron Ives 01-23-2014 09:48 PM

Buying a TiVo or building an HTPC are your only options at present. ChannelMaster is supposed to introduce an extender for its DVR+ unit, but we don't know when that will happen.

jsohng 01-25-2014 11:04 AM

Is there a multiroom tivo option?

Aleron Ives 01-25-2014 02:31 PM

That's what the TiVo Mini extenders are for.

khollister 01-26-2014 11:28 AM

The Tivo Roamio basic is the current OTA Cadillac solution - 4 tuners, Mini extenders, Streamer for iPad use, great software. The downside is the $15/mo

Kelson 01-26-2014 01:26 PM

Originally Posted by khollister View Post

The Tivo Roamio basic is the current OTA Cadillac solution - 4 tuners, Mini extenders, Streamer for iPad use, great software. The downside is the $15/mo
Does anyone pay the subscription? A $500 lifetime subscription has a <3 yr payback on a box most people will expect to last 7-10 yr.

matadorel 01-29-2014 09:35 AM

The other major  downside is that if you have a Roamio in one room, you can use Wifi, but if you plan to use the multi-room option with one or more Minis, the Roamio must be connected to the internet with an ethernet cable, something not practical for many houses.

Kelson 01-29-2014 11:00 AM

Originally Posted by matadorel View Post

The other major  downside is that if you have a Roamio in one room, you can use Wifi, but if you plan to use the multi-room option with one or more Minis, the Roamio must be connected to the internet with an ethernet cable, something not practical for many houses.
But that would be the case with any whole home DVR system so it is not exclusive to a Roamio setup. Wires may be impractical for some, so for them, Powerline Adapters will work quite well. You can plug them in around the house and stream to your hearts content. I currently have four of them in use.

mdavej 01-29-2014 04:43 PM

6 Attachment(s)
In my 5 room WMC based system, I use a bunch of old DirecTV DECA adapters that were only $12 a pair on eBay (I don't have DirecTV service). They're even cheaper and more reliable than power line.

redzoneos 04-04-2014 09:47 PM

hey sorry to revive my old thread, didnt realize there were other comments after Aleron helped me out. Just wanted to give you guys an update.

I tried out the homeworx solution and works it well enough for what it is, but I recently purchased a new home with 6 bedrooms, basement, etc etc and I don't think this is going to be ideal anymore. I have another thread I started asking questions about whole home DVR options and I think the best route at this point for me is the HDHomerun combined with some form of media center (leaning towards WMC to start).

I just got my raspberry pi setup yesterday, and this also works just "well enough". The problem is that I am experiencing the same "slowness" that others have complained about. It really is okay and if you don't mind a delay every now and then, this is probably the cheapest and most efficient option which allows for a lot of expandability in the future (e.g., replacing with a more powerful setup).

I'm searching for the more powerful setup options right now, considering various android devices etc. Seems there are a ton of options out there, but they all cost around 150-300... not willing to spend that much for each bedroom!! I think ultimately what I'll end up doing is just buy motherboard/ram/cpu's in ITX form when I see great deals and just build small "nuc" type PCs. If I can get them on deals and it costs me less then 150 for each one, I'll be set.

mdavej 04-05-2014 05:49 AM

6 Attachment(s)
Echo or used Xbox is $100 each. I have all Echoes in my 5 TV house. Works fine for WMC. I experimented with Pi too and gave up. Since you only have OTA, any cheap android box will work for you. There are tons of cheap ones out there, as you said, but I don't know any details. Try the Home Theater PC forum.

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