Tivo Roamio OTA and Channel Master DVR+ are competing head to head on both features and price. They will appeal to the end users who want the product that just works out of the box with no necessity for technical know how.
Let’s see how they compare at the beginning of 2017.
Tivo user interface and ease of use cannot be matched by any of the OTA DVR solutions. It also has all of the streaming apps (Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) already on the box so it becomes a single solution for all of your cord cutting needs. OneSearch which allows you to search across live TV, your recordings and online streaming services is a tremendous time saver. SkipMode which skips the commercial block with a single press of the button is another great feature. I wish other OTA solutions would replicate it as trying to fast forward through commercials is a bit of a pain. All of this comes in a box that is extremely easy to setup and run and requires no technical knowledge whatsoever.
- Requires purchase of Tivo Mini (MSRP $149.99).
Tivo Roamio OTA is a clear winner here no matter what scenario you are in. Currently Amazon.com is running a sale on the 1TB model and it can be had for $369.99 shipped. Occasionaly Tivo is on sale for as little as $200 including All-In (Lifetime Guide Subscription). Most recent sale happened during the Black Friday of 2016 when refurbished Tivo Roamio OTA 500GB model could be had for $200. I honestly cannot see the reason to buy the Channel Master DVR+ at this point unless their pricing structure changes or they extend their feature set.
Tivo is by far the best OTA DVR solution on the market and if you can afford it you should look no further.
Let’s quickly compare Tablo and Android TV Live Channels
solutions for OTA DVR and see how they fare against each other in the beginning of 2017.
They are not competing head to head on features but all will appeal to semi DIY crowd with some technical knowledge.
- There is a free option but that doesn’t allow for series recording. Only manual schedule can be set.
- You can only filter what is live at the moment. Useful for watching live TV but pretty useless for scheduling recording.
- There is a substantial lag when switching the channels which makes it painful to use. This was a deal breaker for me.
- Separate device is required to play live TV and recorded content. Minimum cost for one of the streaming sticks is $40.
There are drastic differences in the feature set of each of those solutions but both are pretty easy to setup and are not in beta like their competition from Plex DVR and Silicondust HD Homerun DVR.
Android TV Live Channels has some pretty crucial limitations but if you can live with them and the budget is important to you then it is a clear winner.
Otherwise Tablo, Plex or Silicondust HD Homerun DVR will be a better choice.
It all boils down to how important the recording of OTA is to you. I think a lot of people don’t realize what a staggering amount of content is available to them via antenna. In my area I am now picking up 58 channels (after the last re-scan few days ago). Out of those there are quite a few channels with quality content. Being able to watch on your own schedule and skip right over the commercials is a huge time saver. I myself cannot stand watching live TV unless it is sports and even then I prefer to time-shift through commercials as much as I can.
Depending on your media consumption habits you might get away with having OTA DVR and one streaming service at a time.