Channel Master DVR+ review: Record over-the-air TV with no fees and few frills

Susie Ochs Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Susie is a proud Mac geek, as well as a writer, editor, snowboarder, and mom.
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Cutting the cord doesn’t have to mean cutting yourself off from broadcast TV. Depending on where you live, an HD antenna will let you pull in dozens of local channels over the air, including sports, news, big events like the Oscars, and a lot of the same network shows you’d find on, say, Hulu Plus.

Channel Master’s DVR+ lets you record those shows, and unlike other DVRs such as the TiVo or the Tablo, it doesn’t have a monthly fee for the channel guide. That makes it one of the cheapest ways around to record over-the-air TV—just don’t expect a slick presentation or a lot of bells and whistles. Optional accessories can expand the box’s capabilities significantly, but it’s nice to not have to pay for features you don’t need.

Setup: BYO hard drive, Internet optional

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Amazon Prime snags HBO shows with three-year delay

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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Amazon has inked a major deal with HBO, bringing the network’s original series to Amazon Prime members at no extra charge.

Prime subscribers will start getting HBO shows in May, including all seasons of The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome, Six Feet Under, Eastbound & Down, Enlightened, and Flight of the Conchords. Older seasons of current shows, including Boardwalk Empire, Treme, and True Blood, will also be available.

HBO will bring more shows to Amazon three years after their initial air dates. That includes previous seasons of current shows such as Girls, The Newsroom, and Veep. The deal also includes comedy specials, documentaries, original movies, and miniseries.

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Fan TV nabs Time-Warner support

Yardena Arar , TechHive

Contributing Editor Yardena (Denny) Arar is a San Francisco-based freelance writer, avid online shopper, media junkie, consummate foodie, and proud possessor of a private pilot's license.
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Fan TV, a petite set-top box that promises to deliver pay TV as well as streaming media services over the Internet, has its first cable TV partner: Time Warner Cable. On Tuesday, Fan TV said that Time Warner Cable customers can now order the $99 device, with shipments arriving by the end of June.

The small purple box, developed by the creators of the Fan TV iOS app and web service, was unveiled last year at the prestigious All Things Digital D11 conference. It has drawn considerable interest for its support of both cable TV as well as third-party media services, its sleek design (which includes a button-free, gesture-based remote), and its ability to search across all programming sources.

fan tv

The Fan TV set-top box and remote

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Aereo argues that ruling against it could hurt cloud storage business

Grant Gross Reporter, IDG News Service

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service.
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If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that streaming video provider Aereo violates the copyrights of TV networks, it may also put cloud storage services at risk, a lawyer for the company argued Monday.

Aereo does not trigger the so-called public performance clause in U.S. copyright law, and should not have to pay royalties, because it gives subscribers access only to TV stations that are available over the air for free, David Frederick, Aereo’s lawyer, told the panel of Supreme Court justices. And unlike cable and satellite TV services, which pay royalties to some networks, Aereo does not give thousands of people access to the same TV show at the same time, he said.

Instead, 2-year-old Aereo—which has been sued for copyright infringement by ABC, CBS and other broadcast TV networks—rents each subscriber an antenna and a DVR service, and customers individually choose what TV programs to watch, Frederick said.

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AT&T helps splash $500 million into some kind of online video service

Jared Newman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jared writes for PCWorld and TechHive from his remote outpost in Cincinnati.
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As online video takes off, AT&T doesn't want to be left out.

AT&T has partnered with investment firm The Chernin Group, and together they're putting $500 million into the online video business. A press release is short on specifics, but says the new venture will look at both acquisitions and new investments.

“The strategic goal of this initiative will be to invest in advertising and subscription VOD channels as well as streaming services,” the release states. It notes that The Chernin Group has expertise in distributing video and making money from it—the firm is the majority stakeholder in the anime-heavy video service Crunchyroll—and that AT&T brings its massive infrastructure, both for wired and wireless Internet.

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Netflix plans price hike for new U.S. customers

Susie Ochs Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Susie is a proud Mac geek, as well as a writer, editor, snowboarder, and mom.
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Netflix announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2014 on Monday, adding 4 million new streaming subscribers to bring its total subscriber base to more than 48 million. That’s still significantly less than HBO’s 130 million subscribers, but Netflix’s streaming revenue topped $1 billion—that’s a major milestone, since no individual quarter in 2013 cracked the billion-dollar revenue mark.

But to keep those revenue numbers up and help Netflix compete for content licenses and pay for original programming, some of you may have to pay a little more for your streaming fix, to the tune of an extra buck or two per month.

Ch-ch-changes

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Aereo court case: Consumer control over TV vs. broadcaster copyrights

Grant Gross Reporter, IDG News Service

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service.
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The ability of television viewers to control and watch programs may be at stake when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a copyright infringement case brought by TV networks against Aereo, a service that streams over-the-air television online.

Justices will hear arguments from lawyers for 2-year-old Aereo and for a group of companies that operate TV networks, including ABC, CBS, Disney Enterprises, NBC Studios and the Public Broadcasting Service. The plaintiffs argue that Aereo is infringing their copyrights by charging customers a monthly fee to stream over-the-air-broadcasts to their mobile devices and television sets.

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