Pros OTA channels, 2 tuners, no monthly fee, nice remote
Cons Can't keep time! Loses up to nine minutes almost every day. Was sent a replacement unit; it has the same problem. Broadcast signal very good, so not a broadcast issue. Complained to CM for 3 months, but no remedy.
Summary This unit does everything I need, but the time-keeping issue is a deal breaker. I hope a competing product becomes available before it's too late to return this unit.
Pros Works great when it works
Cons I'm on my third and last(new)unit, I've had it with this device.
I can't get more than 7months of service
1 no boot in 20 days
2 no reception in 7 months
3 no boot after 10 months.
Support saying they will call back and never do.
Summary Don't buy it, it's a waist of money
"Works great!!!"on by BigDog811
Pros Initial setup and configuration was easy (just read the manual and follow the on-screen instructions folks).
Excellent reception with an unamplified rooftop antenna. Signal strength is between the mid-80s and high-90s on all my local broadcast stations.
Cons Menu system is somewhat complicated and takes some getting used to.
Can't see or hear programing when the channel guide is open.
A bit expensive for what it does, but way cheaper than my early VCRs.
Summary I've used this unit for six months now, with no problems what-so-ever. I only use it for time shifting, not archiving shows and movies. Recordings are deleted almost immediately after I watch them.
When I'm not watching a recording my television input is on antenna and the unit is off, acting as a pass through. When I watch a recording I use a HDMI connection. The recordings are bright, crisp, and indistinguishable for the original broadcast.
Recordings can be scheduled to repeat daily, Mon-Fri, or weekly. I have several of each and it's never failed a scheduled recording. The scheduling is a simple time and date operation like a VCR. If the station moves the program you get whatever was broadcast at that time and date.
I read a lot of comparisons of this unit to a TIVO, and the lack of TIVO like features. Guess what? THIS AIN'T A TIVO!!! If you want a TIVO and the monthly fees that go with it, then buy one. If you want a HD DVR that just does what it claims, simply and reliably, then buy this unit.
Pros No monthly paments.
Cons Initial retail pricing.
Summary So I bought this DVR for me and my boyfriend's house. I like the fact that it's quality TV for no monthly costs. I'm not a very tech savvy person, so I looked up a few of these boxes online. Just seemed to be the best value in what you get. Initially when I took it home, it functioned as it was supposed to and I was glad to see my boyfriend enjoy it so much. The set up took us no time. He works a lot and the recording features of a DVR are great. When I read other reviews about this product, I became a little skeptical about the CM customer service. I decided to get a box and test the waters for at least the first 30-day money back guarantee. I thought I had a malfunction with my unit and called the tech support team immediately, however, come to find out the customer service really took care of me. I called on a Friday and within 45 minutes, they got back to me. I was pleased to hear that I just had my remote on the wrong frequency and my issue was handled in no time. Through this process I believe CM is a company with integrity. I will recommend Channel Master and their DVR to anyone.
Pros HDMI cable connection definitely increased the picture quality!, "TV Guide" guide for us living in a large metropolitan area, remote control also controls our Sony HDTV, records 2 shows at once with good picture quality
Cons Remote control is slow slow slow when surfing channels (easier to use the on-screen guide), TV's signal strength changed when antenna connection made to DVR box rather than TV (weird), remote control won't control our Phillips DVD/Stereo
Summary We have been very happy with our OTA DVR (and we have this exact box) for the past month or so. We paid a discounted rate (just search at random times of the week, month, etc). We learned from one of our local stores, that this product can ONLY be sold online because of those subscriptions boxes having some sort of legal thing (sorry, can't remember what). We get unreliable signal strength sometimes, depending on weather conditions. When we had the antenna directly hooked to our HDTV, I had the antenna set up in our house in the perfect spot. Now that it's hooked to the DVR instead, the signal is not as reliable (still trying to figure that one out!). We had our first "Skipped" recording today.... assuming due to this signal issue. We have had completely dropped recordings because of signal strength.
My final words of caution:
1. Ensure you have good signal strength with the antenna in ONE SPOT. If not, you may have to "pre-move" it to ensure your show is recorded.
2. If you live in a rural area, or outside a major metropolitan area, check with who provides your local "guide" and clock - you'll probably have to call them to get their clock set properly. It seems to be the largest complaint of this box on many sites. (It's probably PBS or CBS.)