Q In past columns you have discussed over-the-air TV and recommended antennas for its reception. On several occasions I've looked for video recorders with tuners that work in the digital over-the-air TV environment, as VHS recorders did in the old analog environment. I have had no success finding such a recorder. I say no success, because in the past I if I located a recorder it had terrible reviews and currently I can't find recorders advertised anywhere. Are there any companies manufacturing them? Furthermore, are there any recorders you are willing to recommend?
A They say nature abhors a vacuum, and I have been wondering myself about the dearth of recorders on the market. Channel Master, an antenna manufacturer, has come out with a recorder that looks like a winner. I have not tested it yet, but based on Channel Master's reputation, I am willing to mention it here until I have the opportunity to test one.
The Channel Master DVR+ is $249. It does not include a hard drive, which may seem like a drawback until you realize it gives you the opportunity to choose hard drives according to your budget and needs, as well as allow you to build a collection of recordings on multiple drives. There is a free on-screen programming guide and you can use Vudu for streaming content, either by a built-in broadband connection or with an accessory Wi-Fi dongle.
The system can pause and rewind live TV for up to two hours, just like a pay DVR, and there are two tuners so you can watch one program while you record another, or record two programs at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoy my pay TV with its whole-house DVR, but even for someone like me the DVR+ has a lot of appeal. For example, I always record the Olympic Games opening ceremonies and like to save them for future viewing. I use the now-defunct D-VHS high-definition tape format for this right now. With the DVR+ I could store important events on a hard drive instead of fragile tape, and it would be much easier to program, too. (For more information, visit www.channelmaster.com.)
Contact Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com and use the "submit question" link on that site.