Best OTA DVR for Cord Cutters


Cable and satellite tv for pc can get costly, however you do not have to pay an enormous month-to-month invoice to observe TV. In the event you dwell in a metropolis or city with good over-the-air reception, placing up a TV antenna is a simple solution to reduce the wire and get entry to free TV. Pair this with an OTA recorder and you can pause dwell TV, save your exhibits for later and fast-forward by way of commercials. Most of the DVRs we have examined will even allow you to stream your recorded content material to a number of TVs or whenever you’re away from dwelling.

The draw back, after all, is that “free” can flip into, properly, not free, particularly in case your DVR fees a month-to-month price. For instance, a primary DVR just like the AirTV 2 begins round $100, earlier than you add a tough drive, whereas a TiVo Edge with all of the bells and whistles is at the moment $350 (with lifetime subscription). But, in comparison with the price of cable TV and dwell TV-streaming providers reminiscent of Hulu Plus Dwell TV or YouTube TV, even the costliest antenna DVR can pay for itself in due time.

It is price mentioning that the subsequent model of the ATSC broadcast commonplace, known as NextGen TV, is now out there in over 50% of houses. NextGenTV guarantees visuals as much as 4K sooner or later in addition to interactive options not attainable with commonplace broadcast. Some TVs have onboard NextGen tuners, whereas there may be at the moment one DVR out there for it — the HDHomeRun Flex 4K. In the meantime, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 Quad HDMI OTA DVR has been delayed for the foreseeable future.    

There are three standout OTA DVR merchandise to contemplate when shopping for a cord-cutting digital video recorder: the AirTV 2 and the TiVo Edge for antenna, and the Nuvyyo Tablo Quad. Every has its personal distinctive options, tuner and capabilities, however there’s one I might advocate to newcomers and outdated fingers alike. Sadly, our earlier suggestion, the Amazon FireTV Recast, has been discontinued. Let’s dive in and try the perfect OTA DVR choices.

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TiVo has the perfect identify recognition of the gadgets right here, and if you would like a standard set-top DVR the Edge for antenna is the best choice. Whereas the Tivo Edge is pricier than the opposite merchandise right here (particularly after the lifetime OTA DVR service is added), the Edge for antenna additionally provides a ton of options together with streaming apps, all packaged with TiVo’s interface. 

In the intervening time Channel Grasp is providing the Edge DVR plus lifetime service for $349 (down from $449).

Learn our TiVo Edge hands-on.


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The AirTV 2 has its pluses, particularly because it’s the most cost effective of our OTA DVR suggestions and it really works with out incurring a month-to-month cost. But this OTA DVR is de facto designed to enhance a $40-a-month Sling TV subscription by including native channels. And it is advisable add an exterior onerous drive (not included) to make the AirTV 2 perform as a real DVR, although it lacks dwell TV pause. If you need pause performance it is price upgrading to the AirTV Anywhere which incorporates an onboard 1TB onerous drive for $200.

Learn our AirTV 2 evaluation.


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The Tablo Quad is the most recent model of the favored cord-cutting DVR and goes all-in on options. There’s room for an inside onerous drive and the inclusion of 4 tuners ought to cater for even essentially the most demanding customers. Every thing is managed by way of the Tablo app. This OTA DVR shouldn’t be the simplest system to arrange, although, and you will have to pay a subscription to access many of its features.

Learn our Nuvyyo Tablo Quad evaluation.


Varieties of OTA DVR: Set prime vs. networked TV streamer?

There are two important varieties of DVR choices: a standard set prime, which connects on to a single TV through an HDMI output; or a networked TV streamer, which connects to your private home community and streams to your gadgets within the dwelling or on the go. The TiVo Edge for antenna is a standard set-top (which additionally has in-home streaming) whereas the AirTV 2 and Tablo Quad are straight networked TV streamers.

A set-top is finest for individuals who normally watch on one TV, whereas a community system is for individuals who wish to watch on a number of gadgets — a streamer like a Roku or an Amazon Hearth TV and different gadgets like telephones and tablets. Basically a networked TV streamer is the extra versatile OTA DVR possibility, and might higher complement dwell TV streaming apps or providers like Netflix.

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Different options to look for

No matter which fashion of OTA DVR you select, there are some options widespread to each that it is best to look for.

Two or extra HD tuners: One tuner is simply not sufficient. Relating to HD tuners, the extra your system has the merrier. The naked minimal is 2 so you may file two channels on the similar time, or watch one when you file one other, however heavy antenna heads would possibly recognize much more.
1TB or extra of storage: Relying on the system you could have, a terabyte of built-in cupboard space ought to supply about 150 hours of program content material. However in case you select a tool such because the TiVo which robotically data exhibits it “thinks you want,” you could possibly run out in a short time. Which is why you additionally want…
The power so as to add further storage through USB or SD card: An exterior onerous drive is a wonderful possibility, offering your DVR does not want a proprietary mannequin. Usually, a 1TB external hard drive is cheap at about 50 bucks.

A 14-day program information is crucial on a contemporary DVR.

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14 days of information knowledge: Whereas seven days is de facto the minimal helpful quantity, two weeks offers you extra flexibility.
No ongoing charges: Most individuals reduce the wire to save cash, so paying one more month-to-month price does not make a ton of sense. TiVo does supply a lifetime service possibility so that you pay for the system and information knowledge upfront.

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