"Solid DVR for OTA only"4.5 starson by pplslbo1212
Pros: No ongoing fees, records OTA which the highest quality broadcast signal available, full 7-day TV Guide (in markets with TVGOS signal), trivial procedure to upgrade HDD (up to 1 TB), low standby power consumption compared to HTPC
Cons: No connectivity with streaming options, e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Blockbuster, etc.
Summary: (this review is for the DTVPal-DVR, of which the CM-7000 is a rebranded clone)
The CNET review is pretty spot on, so I won't belabor those points. I've had this DVR for the past two years, and it's been spectacular. Concerning dropped recordings, for me those happen almost always because of signal strength issues as opposed to anything going wrong with the DVR, so I can't fault the DVR for that. Concerning the basic nature of time- vs. name-based recording, remember that since this is an OTA only box, you're typically only getting ~50 channels + subchannels (albeit in EXCELLENT quality), so finding a program and maintaining its recording isn't too much of a hassle. Lastly while the CNET review says that you cannot record a currently-watched program from the beginning of the buffer, in actuality you can -- just hit record then select Record Entire Program. Works like a charm.
While it would be nice to have this box handle streaming Netflix or Hulu, the back-to-basics nature of the device and the diminishing market for OTA-only households made this never come into existence. Which is a pity because this is a very solid DVR, and helps greatly if you're thinking about going OTA only. I paid off this DVR by avoiding 8 months of cable (current ATT UVerse U-Family pricing including 6-mo intro promotion), and now use the savings to buy 2-3 Blu-rays a month. I find this much more palatable than paying cable or satellite for 80% reality shows and month-long runs of Dude, Where's My Car.