Pros No ongoing fees. Simultaneous dual-channel recording.
Cons -Expensive - Remote Control Only - Missing Recordings - Poor Dual Channel Functionality - Suffers Frequent System Locks - Explicit Statement on Channel Master Support Page this Model is Final Sale (Company Aware that system is Plagued w/ Problems)
Summary This is an Expensive waste of money! System recurrently locks, cannot be controlled by remote. (Unfortunately there are no controls on the unit so it can ONLY be remotely controlled.)... Must remove/restore power to recover or wait until system auto reboots. If watching live tv on delay (live tv pause) channel will automatically change when a recorded show begins on another channel, forcing loss of interim show time on viewing channel. Worst of all, frequently shows appear as Completed but never show in the My Recording list, so shows are completely missed. Or other times appear as skipped. Channel Master won't even stand behind the workmanship in this model as expressed on their support page.
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.
Pros Excellent HD Quality recordings with high quality sound and picture. Records original show as transmitted by network. HDMI output to connect to HDTV or Receiver.
Cons OVERPRICED: Originally sold by Dish @ $249.00 now inflated $349.00. Skips & Drops program recordings. Randomly reboots while recording/playing. Out of space message w/ 2 hours 9 min HD remaining, forcing auto reboot dropping all protection flags.
Summary Great picture and sound quality. Have 2 units set to record same shows, as units are unreliable, forcing one to have a back up unit available for those times when it skips or drops planned recordings. Extremely over priced but does what it claims most of the time, if you exclude the skipped and dropped recordings along with the random reboots and fraudulent capacity claims. When "Hard Drive Full" message appears, unit will auto reboot even if you delete saved recordings freeing up space. Fixed recording quality set by broadcast transmission. You are unable to record HD show at SD quality to save space.
Pros Get's everything over the air, no need for an internet connection, 30 second skip, pause live TV, 7 day guide data
Cons Small hard drive, won't record to USB drive, no season pass, no "new/repeat" data.
Summary The DVR works well for me. I'd like to add, that you can delete channels from the channel list and they won't show up in the guide. The only problem is that you can't tune to those channels after you delete them.
The DVR adds new channels automaticly without the need for a rescan. Just delete them from the channel list if you don't want them or if they are too weak. You can also add channels manually if you know the real (not virtual) channel the channel is broadcast on.
Overall it has worked great for me, and I love not having to pay for cable or for the guide data. Recording means I don't ever have to worry about nothing being on, since I have plenty of recorded backlog.
Pros This is an outstanding device... NO ONGOING FEES! Only the purchase price.
It works very similar to the Dish Network DVRs (which are its ancestors) and their remotes can be used to replace this one if it gets lost (because they always get lost).
Cons Once in awhile timers might get out of whack and cause it to get stuck in a reboot cycle. Fix it by disconnect the antenna and reboot. Then set back to factory defaults which keeps what is recorded but clears the timers and some settings. No biggie.
Summary It will work with any antenna, inside or outside. Of course for signal strength it works best with an outdoor antenna (www.antennaweb.org).
After having usedthe Dish 722 DVR for a few years it was simple to move over to this. The colors are different for the menus (most probably a diferentation choice by Channel Master / Dish Network).
HDMI to the Mitsubishi WD65734 with Optical audio to the Sony Surround sound system and the home theater is operable.
The COAX (75 Ohm output with normal channel choices of 3 or 4) can be used to feed other parts of the house and with a Remote Control extender (available elsewhere) control can be had from the other parts of the home. All TV's would see the same video that is either tuned to or being played back.