Video: Channel Master CM-7000PAL HD DVR
Steve Kindig has been an electronics enthusiast for over 30 years. He has written extensively about home and car A/V gear for Crutchfield since 1985. Steve is also a volunteer DJ at community radio station WTJU, where he is a regular host of the American folk show "Atlantic Weekly," as well as the world music program "Radio Tropicale."
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Channel Master's CM-7000PAL HD DVR records over-the-air digital broadcasts, so you can get DVR conveniences even if you're just using an antenna.
One of the great perks of working at Crutchfield is that you get to take home cool gear and try it out, and lately I've been trying out Channel Master's CM-7000PAL over-the-air broadcast DVR.
Now I've been using an antenna for years to watch network shows but I also subscribe to satellite TV, but about a year ago I pulled the plug on satellite and I found that I haven't really missed that programming but I definitely miss the DVR conveniences: being able to record shows, pause live TV, rewind, all that stuff. So I was really excited to try out this broadcast DVR because it gave me all those conveniences but without any of the monthly charges either for programming or for the box.
So if you've ever used a cable or satellite DVR this one works virtually the same as those. There's an on-screen program guide and you can just click on a show when you want to record it and once you've got a recording and you're watching it you can skip through commercials instantly with the remote. This one can record up to thirty hours in high-def and a lot more than that if you're recording in standard-def. And you can set the timers to record up to a week in advance and it has dual tuners so you can actually watch one channel while you're recording another. And the picture quality is really good. For example I recorded an episode of "Lost" and that's a show that's kind of challenging for DVRs because there a lot of dark scenes and darkness surrounding a campfire and that tends to show up digital noise really easilybut the picture looked really clean.
The setup is really simple. First you connect it to your antenna and then you connect it to your HDTV using an HDMI cable. The box has a built in setup wizard which is about the simplest I've ever seen. There's just a couple of steps. You punch in where you live and it pretty much takes it from there. There's also an excellent remote. The buttons are big and they're really well laid out and they're color coded and it's virtually identical to the Dish remote so I already knew what to do.
You can find full details on Channel Masters' DVR at crutchfield.com/antennaDVR and if you're ready to buy right now you can click the "add to cart" button on our website. And if you're making the jump from a cable or satellite system to antenna only and you want some help figuring it out you can chat or e-mail with our advisers or pick up the phone and just call Crutchfield.