There are a lot of large companies trying to conquer the living room and make television easier to record and enjoy. Only Channel Master and its DVR+ devices are offering up HD digital video recording without a subscription fee and making it easier for users to enjoy their favorite content on their own time.
Channel Master showed off the DVR+ set top box at CES 2015 today. That’s the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that’s already seen big entertainment announcements from LG and Sony. Where those companies are trying to make life for entertainment lovers easier by integrating operating systems into television sets, the Channel Master DVR+ is pretty clean and simple.
Users plug the super-thin Channel Master DVR+ directly into an HD antennae to pull down broadcast channels. With an internet connection, the Channel Master DVR+ pulls down relevant information about those channels like scheduling, subject matter and logo. 16GB of storage is built-into the $249.99 Channel Master DVR+, forcing users to add an external hard drive into the USB port if they’re serious about hanging on to tons of video. The more expensive version of the DVR+ includes a built-in 1TB hard drive, but costs a $399. The add-on costs don’t stop there either. There’s built-in Ethernet, but no Wi-FI. Purchasing a Channel Master Wi-Fi USB adapter is another $39.99.
In person, the Channel Master DVR+ is super thin and looks like it’ll blend in with almost any entertainment setup. The software was mostly responsive, but did hiccup. Being on the show floor meant I couldn’t test the broadcast channel functionality. That being said I did get the chance to watch some live streaming internet television thanks to another feature of the Chanel Master DVR+ software. In addition to broadcast channels, The Channel Master DVR+ allows internet based TV. Essentially, there’s a way for companies who already have live streaming web video feeds to add their content directly to the guide built-in to the Channel Master DVR+. I was able to watch a Russian news channel without a problem. Channel Master confirmed that it was in talks with content providers to add more to its internet TV line-up, but didn’t share any names specifically, which was a disappointing.
Overall I’d say the Channel Master performs well and offers something unique in the form of the internet streaming television channels. The true tests for users is cost. At $249, the Channel Master isn’t a cheap set-top box and being made specifically for broadcast channels means lovers of high-profile cable networks are out of luck for now.
Orders of the Channel Master DVR+ are now shipping, according to the company’s website.