Aereo promised a for cord-cutters: the ability to watch and record over-the-air TV without the hassle of an antenna or additional hardware for $8 to $12 a month.
means . (CBS, the parent company of CNET, is one of the companies that brought the suit against Aereo.) But that doesn't mean that cable cutters are out of options. Over the last year, several compelling over-the-air recording solutions have hit the market, making it easier for cord cutters to supplement streaming video services like Netflix with traditional network television, as long as you get reception.
I've reviewed most of the major over-the-air DVRs and the good news is the options are far better than they've been in the past. Each solution has its strengths and weaknesses, so which one is best for you will largely depend on your budget, viewing habits, and level of tech savvy.
Let's take a look at what's available.
TiVo Roamio: The best, if you're willing to pay
If I could only recommend one over-the-air DVR, it would be the TiVo Roamio ($200 list price).
It has a whopping four tuners, which is more than enough for the limited over-the-air (OTA) programming options, and a 500GB hard drive built-in, so you don't have to tack on your own as you do with other OTA recording solutions. TiVo's software and interface remains best-in-class and incredibly easy to use, plus it's been overhauled to be much faster than previous models. There's even built-in Wi-Fi and a handful of streaming media apps, so you can watch more than just network TV.
The big drawback is the price. Add up the lifetime subscription ($500), the hardware ($200), and some incidental costs, and you're looking at about $750 for the three-year cost of ownership.
The TiVo Roamio certainly costs too much, but its mastery of the over-the-air TV experience gives you the best chance to avoid - and that will save you so much money in the long run, it almost makes TiVo seem like a bargain. Almost.
Channel Master DVR+: No-frills recording at a budget price
The Channel Master DVR+ ($250) hits most of the major points cord-cutters have long been looking for. There are absolutely no subscription fees and the DVR+ comes with free premium program guide data from Rovi, which is a big step-up from the guide data that's embedded in over-the-air signals. It has dual-tuner functionality and support for Vudu, plus its image quality is excellent.
Still, it's not perfect. The DVR+'s upfront cost is low, but you need to add a lot of your own accessories (antenna, hard drive, Wi-Fi adapter), which can drive up the price. Its software and user interface is decent, but rough around the edges, lacking basic options like the ability to only record new episodes of your favorite shows. And while the DVR+'s image quality is typically great, I experienced a few glitches during playback.
None of that is enough to sully what the DVR+ has accomplished; it's the "good enough" DVR without subscription fees that many have been looking for. If your primary goal is to save money, and you don't mind its imperfections, it's hard to beat the Channel Master DVR+.
Nuyvvo Tablo: Innovative option that's best for techies
Nuvyyo's Tablo ($220) is the most exciting OTA recording solution to come out in years.
It uses the same concept, but Tablo implements it better. Most impressively, its image quality looks excellent, even with sports, which has been a sore spot for similar devices. The box feels responsive and can stream to a growing list of supported products, including iOS and Android devices, Roku boxes, (using AirPlay), and Chromecast. Sure, Tablo comes with a $5 monthly fee for program guide data, but it still ends up being relatively affordable compared to other OTA DVRs.
But Tablo isn't quite ready for mainstream adoption. It's too hard to add recording time to sporting events, so games can get cut off when you care the most: the final minutes. Also the best way to watch Tablo in the living room is by using a Roku box, but the Roku interface is clunky and lacks essentials such as an easy way to fast-forward through commercials.
Those flaws are enough to keep me from wholeheartedly recommending Tablo, but there's no denying that Tablo is a thrilling device, especially for a newly-launched product. If you're an early adopter willing to live with some growing pains, Tablo is well worth your $220.
Simple.TV 2: Improved, but with competition
($200) is the only product here that CNET hasn't reviewed yet. It's the successor of the original Simple.TV, adding some key features like dual-tuner support and more compact hardware.chelsea building society alzheimers society british psychological society newbury building society saffron building society ms society royal society balans soho society justice society world war ii lost society battersea kent reliance building society family building society furness building society britannia building society british horse society the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society monmouthshire building society royal society of chemistry darlington building society leeds building society login leeds building society for intermediaries society cafe royal geographical society find a solicitor law society royal society of medicine wine society login marine conservation society skipton building society interest rates society synonym british menopause society lost society progressive building society west brom building society autistic society medical protection society fabian society mr foggs society of exploration dudley building society fish society building society reference number nationwide building society payments royal pharmaceutical society the society season 2 golf society leeds building society mortgages vegan society sussex ornithological society the fish society we live in a society branch line society law society ni humane society society joiner limb crossword nationwide building society opening times childrens society cornwall railway society ecology building society secret society of second born royals swansea building society society of radiographers coventry building society interest rates yorkshire building society isa rates ipswich building society the folio society the garden society the coventry building society menace ii society bible society black label society society 6 yorkshire building society branches mr fogg's society of exploration leeds building society intermediaries flat earth society royal osteoporosis society bath building society the childrens society society meaning cinema society vernon building society branchline society macular society loughborough building society the law society find a solicitor soft serve society coventry building society intermediaries henry jackson society epilepsy society the society cast leeds building society interest rates cafe society red band society the royal society national counselling society chartered society of physiotherapy royal life saving society society girl crossword clue coventry building society savings civil society www.nationwide building society mysterious benedict society hinckley and rugby building society marsden building society south uist appreciation society mansfield building society the aviation society guernsey literary and potato peel pie society teachers building society lost society putney welsh pony and cob society national deaf children's society leeds building society isa rates yorkshire building society isa royal society of arts market harborough building society dead poets society cast www nationwide building society cumberland building society carlisle coventry building society arena british thoracic society spastics society royal aeronautical society ms society uk patriarchal society the last tuesday society texel sheep society society standard the cinema society nationwide building society interest rates friendly society the arts society law society of scotland find a solicitor society golf the children's society pda society coventry building society opening times what is a building society roll number hereford cattle society open society foundations the law society contact number nationwide building society contact number guernsey potato peel pie society spastic society world mission society church of god royal photographic society gourmet society membership north east autism society café society dead poets society book building society account yorkshire building society fixed rate bonds