Channel Master just announced a new DVR device based on the Android TV which if implemented correctly will be a game changer for the Over-The-Air (OTA) DVR market. It is available for pre-order at $99 shipped. Channel Master promises that it will ship by the end of January 2018.
In short it is an Android TV device which has dual OTA tuner built in and uses FREE Android TV Live Channels service to provide OTA DVR functionality and 14 day guide without any subscription fees.
It integrates everything that other Android TV devices have to offer with Over-The-Air DVR that requires no technical know how to setup. Live Channels setup process and usage is extremely easy and can almost rival TIVO. You can read more about it in my detailed review from when it was first made available by Google.
Let’s go over this new arrival in detail:
- Quad Core ARM CPU
- 8GB of storage
- 2GB of RAM
- 4KP60 UHD 10-bit HEVC (H265) – 4K HDR HDR-10 video support
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1
- SPDIF optical audio port
- Ethernet Port (10/100BaseT)
- MicroSD Port (Class 4, 6, 8, 10 and UHS I)
- USB port
- Chromecast built-in
- Certified Android™ TV 7.0 Nougat
- Remote control runs both Bluetooth and IR (infrared) which will allow it to control the TV volume and power.
Quick summary of the Live Channels DVR functionality as it pertains to Stream+:
- FREE OTA DVR
- FREE 14 day EPG guide
- Pause, Rewind and record live TV – requires a microSD card and hopefully USB 3.0 port will be supported in the future.
- Watch one live program while recording another – dual tuner
- Record two live programs at the same time while watching a recorded program or using a streaming service
As you can see from the specifications this is a pretty powerful mid-range device. It will not rival Nvidia Shield but if you are just planning to stream, play some Android games and most of all record over the air TV this device is a perfect fit. Yes, there is a place for Nvidia Shield but majority of folks don’t need all that power.
There are couple of drawbacks which I hope will be resolved by the time this device will be shipped in January 2018.
- As of this writing only supported DVR storage is the MicroSD card which severely limits how much can be recorded. – Channel Master is working on enabling USB 3.0 port for Live Channels storage so external hard drive can be added.
- Netflix isn’t supported yet – Channel Master is actively working with Netflix to get their blessing
I’ve already gone over the Live Channels setup and functionality some time ago. At that time I was using Asus Nexus Player with XBOX ONE Hauppauge Tuner. As stated in that review this setup had a serious limitation in the fact that it had only one tuner so I could either record or watch live TV. This device looks to be much more powerful and already has dual tuner built-in so you can both watch live TV and record one channel.
Last time I compared Live Channels DVR vs Tablo it was was still early in the Live Channels livespan and I could only get 48 hours of EPG. That has now been resolved and it comes with 14 days of FREE EPG. Back then I also used Sling AirTV for comparison. That device was more expensive, only came with one tuner and it was a much less powerful device that Channel Master Stream+. Once Stream+ comes out and I am able to get my hands on it I will update that article to take this device into account.
So what would I recommend at this point well it’s hard to say. This device is what I have been waiting for for the longest time. It fits my needs perfectly. Two biggest unknowns are the Netflix and USB storage support. If those two are resolved Stream+ will become a go to device for all the budget minded cord cutters out there that need the OTA DVR functionality.
Great job Channel Master!