Channel Master’s entry-level TV tuner brings better guide data to over-the-air channels

The sub-$100 set-top box doesn’t do much, except make channel surfing a bit more pleasant.

Jared Newman

Channel Master is giving cord-cutters an easy way to get guide data for free broadcast channels with its latest tuner box.

The sub-$100 box hooks up to an antenna, and then outputs to a TV over HDMI. Users can then view a channel guide for over-the-air channels, showing the current and next three programs.

Keep in mind that you don’t need Channel Master’s box to watch antenna broadcasts. Most modern TVs have a tuner and antenna input built in. Some even provide basic data about the current broadcast. The Channel Master box is just a bit better at displaying show descriptions and upcoming programs.

channelmasterguide Jared Newman

Still, in terms of features, it’s a major step down from Channel Master’s DVR+ boxes, which can record live TV, provide two weeks’ worth of guide data, and stream Internet video apps. The new box doesn’t connect to the Internet at all; it’s basically a way for people to supplement an existing media streamer, such as Apple TV or Roku, with free over-the-air channels. (To that end, it includes a secondary HDMI input, so users can switch to their streaming player without reaching for the TV remote.)

Channel Master hasn’t finalized a price for the box, or even given it a proper name yet. The company is also considering whether to bundle a flat-panel antenna—normally $10—with the product. It should all get sorted out by March, when Channel Master intends to start shipping the device.

To comment on this article and other TechHive content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon