PROS / The Channel Master DVR+ doesn’t compress HD video and can display resolutions up to 1080i/1080p.
CONS / It has limited functionality unless you buy various add-ons.
VERDICT / The Channel Master has a decent variety of ports and access options but has limited functionality dependent on obscure add-ons, making it a potentially costly annoyance.
Channel Master’s DVR+ is a fairly fuss-free DVR that provides decent access to over-the-air (OTA) and some streaming content. However, it has a somewhat limited recording capacity and is otherwise missing advanced capabilities unless you purchase the compatible Wi-Fi adapter. Between this and its limited functionality, it sits low on our ranked lineup.
The digital video recorder has a built-in 1TB hard drive, which is good for recording and playing back up to 640 hours of standard-definition content or 160 hours of HD content, or it can play a smaller combination of each, depending on your preferences. If you want to expand the storage capacity, you need to provide your own external hard drive, and the company urges that any not on its recommended list may not be compatible. Unlike the best DVR recorders, it only has two tuners. This means you’re limited to recording only two TV shows at once, or only one if you want to watch something simultaneously.
It has a few other standard functions such as parental controls, and you can schedule to record a specific show and skip commercials. The Channel Master also has a built-in TV guide, but it’s limited to a small two-day schedule unless you purchase the recommended Wi-Fi adapter, which expands that up to 14 days.
Though most other devices can record from multiple sources, this DVR recorder is limited to just OTA content. It has no way to access or record any content from your cable or satellite provider. However, it does give you the option to access a few apps, such as YouTube, VUDU, Pandora and Sling, through add-ons, if you already have paid subscriptions to them.
Though the DVR lacks 4K support, it can play back video in lower HD resolutions, up to 1080i/1080p. It comes with a standard set of ports, including HDMI, USB, Ethernet and a coax connection. It does not have composite or component video ports.
The DVR measures 10.5 inches wide, 8 inches long and .5 inches tall. It weighs just over one pound and is black, so it is fairly easy to store without being a distraction.
If you have questions or issues with the hardware, you can contact the company’s technical support representatives via email or phone. Otherwise, the company has a myriad of informational guides and support articles for you to browse through.
The Channel Master DVR+ is one of the costliest units on our lineup. While it doesn’t require a subscription, you have to invest in a couple of add-ons if you want to access its full functionality. It comes with the standard ports and a 1TB internal hard drive to record OTA content and even some video and audio from streaming sources. However, its limited tuner quantity and dependency on the not-included Wi-Fi adapter only give it limited ready-to-use functionality and make it a bit of a hassle in the long run.