Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

Most of us live busy lives and may not be home in time to watch our favorite TV shows. If you have an over the air antenna you can record many television shows using an OTA DVR. It is an excellent way to record free HD television and then watch it in your spare time. There are several types of OTA DVR’s available on the market. We will look at some of the best and compare what may be a good solution for you.

What is an OTA DVR?

An over the air DVR is a device that will record a broadcast television show onto a hard drive or storage drive for later viewing. You can also rewind, pause and skip through commercials. Many OTA DVR’s allow you to schedule your recordings by show, date and time using their built-in electronic program guide.

OTA Antenna

TV Station Locator Tool

The first step to recording over the air television is to buy an OTA antenna. You should check to see what channels are in your area first. This will give you an idea if buying an OTA antenna is worth it. In some cases, you may live too far away from the broadcast towers to receive any stations. You can use our handy Station Locator Tool to find out.

 

Types of Over The Air DVR’s

TiVo BOLT 500 GB DVR

TiVo BOLT 500 GB DVR: Digital Video Recorder and Streaming Media Player - 4K UHD Compatible - Works with Digital Cable or HD Antenna

The TiVo BOLT 500 GB DVR is an excellent solution to recording OTA TV shows. TiVo was one of the pioneers of this technology. They developed one of the first DVR’s and then everyone else copied them. They still make quality products and their new BOLT DVR is no exception. The TiVo Bolt allows you to record 4 shows simultaneously with your OTA antenna. The base model will allow you to record up to 75 hours of HD content. If you need more storage you can always add an external hard drive or NAS unit. This box will also work with a cable television. Subscription fees may apply. It has integrated online streaming capabilities. So you can enjoy all of your streaming apps like: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Hulu and many more. This box is very powerful and is capable of playing 4K resolution videos.
Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

Specifications:

  • Recording capacity: 75 HD hours
  • Hard drive size: 500 GB
  • Video output: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 4K UHD
  • Ethernet port: 1 0 / 1 0 0 / 1 0 0 0 Mbps
  • Coax connector
  • Optical audio out
  • Analog audio
  • HDMI: 4K UHD, 1080p (24/60)
  • External storage port (eSATA)
  • USB 2.0 ports: 2
  • CableCARD slot
  • Built-in WiFi (AC dual band, N, G, B, A)

Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

  1. CableCARD slot
  2. Remote Finder
  3. Coax (digital cable, ATSC, MoCA)
  4. Optical audio out
  5. Audio L/R
  6. HDMI 2.0 / 4K, 1080p 24/60)
  7. Ethernet port: 1 0 / 1 0 0 / 1 0 0 0 Mbps
  8. USB 2.0 ports (2)
  9. External storage port (eSATA)
  10. Power: 12V

Skip Mode

They have a great feature called skip mode that allows you to skip through recorded commercials with a single button. This is a helpful option if you hate having to wait for commercials.

Quick Mode

With quick mode you can watch your recorded show up to 30% faster with pitch corrected audio. It will not sound funny at higher speeds. So you can fast forward through the slow parts of a show.

Search

The TiVo Bolt has excellent search capabilities. With their OneSearch option you can search across several resources at once to find your favorite show. It will look online and on broadcast TV to see where the show is available for viewing.

Mobile Devices

Another cool feature is you can stream content right to your phone, computer or tablet through your wireless network. You can also download your recorded content to your device for later viewing.

Where to Buy:

The TiVo BOLT is available at these retailers.

Ebay

Amazon

TiVo Mini

TiVo Mini with IR/RF Remote - No Monthly Service Fees - Extends Your TiVo DVR

If you have more than one TV in the house you can add a TiVo Mini. The TiVo Mini acts like an extension of the BOLT. You can have access to all the features and recorded shows on another television without having to buy another BOLT. They are small and compact.

Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

 

Channel Master DVR+

Channel Master DVR+ Bundle - subscription free digital video recorder with web features and channel guide (CM7500BDL2)

The Channel Master DVR+ is another good choice for an over the air DVR. This model allows you to record up to 2 shows at the same time without any monthly fee. This over the air DVR is very slim and sleek. You can rewind and pause recorded TV which allows you to skip commercials.

Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

Specifications:

  • Advanced System on Chip
  • DRAM: 1,024MB
  • Storage/Memory: 16GB Flash
  • Two ATSC Tuners
  • Video Resolutions: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i
  • MPEG-4 part 10 high profile L4.0 video decoder
  • HDTV output: SD & HD
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9, 4:3
  • Dolby Digital Plus & PCM Audio Support
  • Size: 8 x 10.5 x .5 in
  • Weight: 1.14 lb
  • Tuner Input Connector: 75ohm Female F-Type
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • HDMl-1.3a port (with HDCP 1.3)
  • Mini TOSLINK – S/PDIF (Optical)
  • RJ45 – 10/1 OOBase – T Ethernet Port
  • 3.5mm jack (TRS) – IR Extension Port

Setup

Set is very simple. Just plug in your over the air antenna, enter your zip code and the Channel Master DVR+ will add all of your available channels to it’s electronic program guide. The EPG allows you to schedule recordings and view what is on TV.

channel master DVR epg

Internet Connection

With an internet connection you get an enhanced EPG with added features and up to 14 days of program information. You can also stream online content right from the device. Streaming services like Sling TV, You Tube, VUDU and Pandora are all integrated into the DVR. Wireless internet does require a Channel Master USB external dongle.

Recording

The Channel Master DVR+ does require an external USB of at least a 80 GB to record, which is not included in this model. You can upgrade to their 1 TB version which includes an internal hard drive.

Here is a list of some of their compatible external hard dives:

Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

Where to Buy:

The Channel Master DVR+ is available at these retailers.

Channel Master

Channel Master DVR+

Amazon

Tablo TV OTA DVR

Tablo 4-Tuner Digital Video Recorder [DVR] for Over-The-Air [OTA] HDTV with Wi-Fi for LIVE TV Streaming

The Tablo TV OTA DVR works differently than a typical over the air DVR. It does not hook up to your HD television. This DVR is designed to record broadcast television onto an external USB hard drive and stream it to your media devices. You can push this content to just about any network connected device that has the Tablo TV app installed.

Record Your Favorite Shows With an OTA DVR

Want to know more about how the Tablo TV OTA DVR works. See our review here.

Digital Converter Box DVR

If you are looking for a simple and cheap solution for recording OTA content you can also use a digital converter box with a built in DVR to record. They do not offer all the capabilities of these other DVR’s, but if your are looking for a basic solution it maybe a good choice. You can see our article below:

How to Record Over The Air TV With a Digital Converter Box.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many options to record OTA TV with a DVR. You can take free broadcast television to the next level using one of these methods to watch and record your shows. These devices let you combine an OTA antenna, DVR and online streaming services into one box. It could be the only solution you may need.

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About Johan
I started the site to educate the public on the alternative ways you can watch television besides subscribing to cable. I have been in the audio visual business for over 20 years. I also have an extensive computer networking background. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ Certified Technician. I hope you will find my articles and reviews helpful in conscious uncabling.

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