One-day sale on ChannelMaster DVR+

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dgalvan123, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #1
    As an owner of a ChannelMaster DVR+, I can tell you it is quite handy. A good DVR for OTA programming, with zero recurring cost (i.e.: no monthly fees like Tivo has.).

    Last sale they had was black Friday, when I got mine for $175 (down from $250).

    Well tomorrow (Monday, March 30) they are having another sale on open-box units for $189. Check here:
    http://www.channelmaster.com/Open_Box_CM_7500GB16R_p/cm-7500gb16r.htm?Click=54266

    If you are looking for a decent OTA DVR with no recurring costs, I'd recommend you check this out. I'd been using a combo of HD Homerun --> Elgato EyeTV --> iTunes --> Apple TV to get recorded OTA TV shows to my TVs. While that worked ok, it had occasional bugs and an unpleasant amount of babysitting and upkeep. The DVR+ solves that problem. I've been using mine since last November and gotta say it is simple and effective.

    (I don't work for Channelmaster. Just a happy mac user who found the DVR+ to be a simple solution for my needs, and I suspect others on this forum would find it useful as well.)
     
  2. rtrueman macrumors member

    rtrueman

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    #2
    I can't thank you enough! My antenna just came last week and I've been looking at ordering this DVR, but waited until the antenna was mounted. Needless to say, I took advantage of this sale.

    Are you able to stream recorded content to other TVs in the house? I'd love to know how you're set up to do this. We're cutting the cord soon, but I haven't figured out how to watch something recorded on this DVR in another room.

    Thanks!

    Rob
     
  3. dgalvan123, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015

    dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #3
    Glad the timing worked out for you!

    No unfortunately the only real nitpick I have with this device is that it is not designed to serve multiple TVs. You'd basically just have to buy one for each TV in your home where you want the DVR capability. And then it's a hassle of remembering which program you recorded on which DVR, and that limiting where you can watch what. (unless you record all your shows on BOTH DVRs, which I suppose is easily done, but requires you managing your recordings twice).

    My previous setup was the following:
    A HD Homerun "Extend" (formerly called HDTC, or HD Homerun Transcode) is a dual-tuner device that accepts OTA broadcast channels (co-ax from your antenna) and transcodes them to H.264 streams, which it then sends over my LAN to my Mac (it plugs into my router). My Mac, alway on, runs Elgato's EyeTV software, which controls the HD Homerun tuners and stores the recordings. EyeTV is basically the DVR interface on my mac. Once a recording is completed, EyeTV automatically "exports" the recording to iTunes, complete with Title, screenshot, and metadata (show description, date, etc.). Once in iTunes, the show is accessible to either of my Apple TVs (living room and bedroom) via Homesharing like any other media in iTunes.

    When it works, this system is ideal as a whole house DVR. You only store a recording once on your mac, and you could expand to any number of TVs for only the cost of adding another Apple TV. And I'd say the system worked 85%+ of the time. But occasionally EyeTV would simply record the wrong channel, and other times the exporting (from EyeTV to iTunes) process would not work automatically and I'd have to go and tell EyeTV to export manually, which would take a few minutes but was still a hassle. The bottom line was that Elgato did not officially support SiliconDust's HD Homerun hardware. So it worked most of the time, but when there was a bug, Elgato would provide no support or fixes to get it working. And SiliconDust is mostly just the hardware provider. So, in practice, making the system work required a low level of maintenance on my part. This was enjoyable at first when it was novel ("Hey I have the best and lowest-cost system! I can spare a half hour here every couple weeks to trouble-shoot it!"), but after a couple years of occasional but persistent issues and no sign of improved support from Elgato, I got interested in a simpler solution.

    The DVR+ is that simpler solution. It takes my computer, iTunes, Elgato, and SilconDust completely out of the loop, and puts all the software and hardware involved in recording and playing shows in the hands of a single company: Channelmaster. In addition, the electronic program guide service is bundled into the upfront cost, so you never pay a monthly or yearly fee for that service (like you do with Tivo and EyeTV). No recurring costs is nice.

    When I got the DVR+ last November I thought I'd set it up as a trial and see how my wife like it vs. my complicated HD home run / EyeTV / Apple TV system. Within a week she didn't even bother checking the old system for new shows any more. She just used the DVR+ exclusively. Since we only have one DVR+, and it is in the living room, I thought maybe she'd still like the EyeTV recorded shows to watch in the bedroom. But what happens is that she just relegates all the OTA-recorded shows (i.e.: Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS) to the living room, and if she wants to watch something in the bedroom it's usually netflix-based, or from some other Apple TV app (like Downton Abbey on the PBS app). I actually asked her if we could/should get another DVR+ for the bedroom for this one-day sale, and she said "Meh, we don't need it."

    So, for what it's worth, the spouse acceptance factor (SAF) is pretty darn high for the DVR+. Simpler is better.
     
  4. rtrueman macrumors member

    rtrueman

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    #4
    It sounds like sometimes a simple solution is the best! I'll start with the DVR and see how it goes. I loved the sound of your first setup - a totally automated solution that works with ATV. But most of my watching is in the living room, too, and other TVs will have ATVs for other programs, just like your situation.

    Thanks for the great information!

    Rob
     
  5. ActionableMango, Mar 30, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015

    ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    I've found the ChannelMaster to be buggy and problematic. Mainly, problems with timers disappearing, shows being missed for no obvious reason, and extremely unreliable EPG data. The forums indicate that these are all common problems.

    And finally, last year, it just died completely.

    It sounds like you got a good one.

    EDIT: I have an older model, not the one we are discussing. Sorry about that.
     
  6. cardsdoc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Shaker Hts, OH
    #6
    The Tivo roamio with lifetime service can be had for about $500 with promo code available on eBay. While certainly more costly it is by far the best OTA DVR out there. Much more refined than channelmaster with many more features. A Tivo mini (as low as $115 with lifetime service) can be added to any room via ethernet or standard coax cable (moca network) and basically extends the same TiVo experience to any room. There is also Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, spotify, pandora, vudu, etc. If you're going to cut the cord and want OTA HDTV it's well worth the higher cost in my opinion.
     
  7. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    I can't wait until the AppleTV has an app store, and there will certainly be a Tablo app. That should be the perfect ota solution. It would also address the concern someone raised above, about making recorded ota content available acorss devices.
     
  8. rtrueman macrumors member

    rtrueman

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    #8
    Great... My father-in-law just got one and loves it. Like anything, though, I'm sure there are good and bad. At least it's a good place to start and inexpensive if it works.

    Thanks for the "heads-up".
     
  9. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #9
    Are you sure your unit was the "DVR+"? The modern unit has only been available for the past year or two. (I ask because another friend of mine had an earlier version from a few years ago and also complained of bugginess. I haven't experienced any of the problems you or he mentioned.)
    This is the modern version.
    http://www.channelmaster.com/Antenna_DVR_s/336.htm
     
  10. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #10
    My mistake, you are 100% right--I have the older model. I will edit my other post.

    Thanks for pointing that out, I hate to accidentally mislead people.
     
  11. irishtike macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    #11
    i love the DVR+. it works great for getting some live tv like Big Bang theory or other shows not on netflix. i like the youtube support, though i haven't used. it. the only thing that dissappoints is the signal but that is antenna issue not the DVR+. plus they seem to be supporting it pretty well. fixing issues with the software updates.
     
  12. dgalvan123 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #12
    I will say that, since November, I have experienced an annoying issue on I think 3 separate occasions:

    The symptom is that I'll turn on the TV and DVR+ after not using the device for a while, and while I can still turn the channels and watch live TV just fine, I cannot access any menu system. That is, the Guide, the DVR, and the "Info" buttons don't bring up any of those menus, and I still just see the raw OTA TV signal.

    Turning off the DVR+ and then back on did not solve the problem. All three times, the repeatable solution was to physically unplug the DVR+ and then plug it back in. This cost the time involved in the DVR+ booting itself back up once it was plugged back in (say, a full 30-45 seconds). Once that was done full functionality was restored.

    This doesn't happen very often, but it does happen. I suppose everything has bugs.
     
  13. rtrueman macrumors member

    rtrueman

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    #13
    I understand that there's a memory leak in the current firmware (don't recall the number) that requires a hard reset after a couple weeks. Could be rumor, but it sounds like what could be causing the issue. I'll see if I can find better information...
     

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