Package includes: DVR+, remote control, power supply, instructions and warnings
Input: RF connector (F-type coax), Ethernet, USB 2.0 x 2, Power, IR extension port
Output: HDMI, Optical audio
Pros: Uber-compact form factor, beautiful guide and user interface, easy and reliable dual tuner recording, excellent tuner sensitivity, expandable storage, great features, versatile and adaptable to your needs, plenty of accessories, able to have streaming apps, low power consumption, stable software, no monthly or yearly fees, compatible with SlingBox
Cons: Out-of-box recording capability somewhat limited, currently only one streaming app (Vudu) supported and is not available in Canada (see update below) , somewhat basic remote control
As in the above advertisement for TiVo’s Roamio DVR, the difference between the Plus and the Pro model is 300 hours of HD recording (equivalent to about 2TB) at a price difference of $200 charged by TiVo. By going with a “bring your own harddrive approach”, DVR+ owners get a much better bang for their buck as 2TB of storage can be found on sale from retailers for around $100 (or less) nowadays.
The super-thin remote is powered by two CR2032 batteries (coin-cell type, included), which were chosen as they are probably the only ones that fit in there. Battery life is fair, but we recommend stocking a few extra as the size is somewhat uncommon in household applications when compared to AA or AAA. As there are no buttons on the DVR+, once the batteries do go, you're working blind.
Recording capabilities are fairly limited out-of-the-box with the unit only able to pause live TV for 15 minutes and record about 2 hours of HD programming. Once you add external storage, the DVR+ really comes to life with its full dual tuner recording capabilities (save two shows at the same time). You can also not only pause live TV but you can now go back in time to an earlier point in the program even if you haven’t hit Record (and provided you haven’t changed the channel).
We found the recording features were well organized and easy to use. The status of the recordings is clearly identified as well without the need to navigate to other screens (below). Programs that we set recorded consistently and the dual tuner recording is a great feature since we weren’t forced to choose between two shows.
Playback and Timeshifting (Pausing Live TV)
A cool customer that works well under pressure: The graph above shows that the DVR+ handles its workload very well in our test scenario
Update - November 2014
Channel Master has finally shown Canada some love - after adding the Pandora app (again, geo-blocked for us Canucks) earlier this year, the DVR+ got a new YouTube channel on November 21st that works great in Canada. The streaming quality is fantastic and the user interface is easy to use as well with the DVR+ remote.
On top of that, smart recording has also been enabled as the guide will now identify new shows (new episodes are clearly identified; see screenshot below).
Big points for Channel Master that these features were added for current owners of the device free-of-charge. If they keep this up and the DVR+ were to add a Netflix and/or Plex app, we may need to revise our score to a 9.5 ...