|Brand Name||Channel Master|
|Item Weight||1.14 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||8 x 5.5 x 10 inches|
|Item model number||CM-7500BDL3|
|Batteries||2 Nonstandard Battery batteries required. (included)|
|Specification Met||certified frustration-free|
Channel Master DVR+ Bundle - subscription free digital video recorder with web features and channel guide (CM7500BDL3)
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- This bundle includes: DVR+, USB wireless Internet adapter, HDMI cable and DVR+ remote IR extender
- Watch and record over-the-air broadcast programming in pure, uncompressed HD, a higher quality video than what is provided through cable and satellite operators, displaying both SD and HD video resolutions up to 1080i/1080p
- DVR+ TV connection is HDMI only, does not function as a converter box and is not compatible with older analog televisions
- Full DVR functionality and expanded storage capacity requires an external USB hard drive, not included in this bundle
- Programming reception requires an over-the-air antenna, not included in this bundle
- DVR+ features streaming applications: VuDu, Pandora, YouTube, Channel Master TV and SLING TV which gives access to premium channels such as ESPN, AMC, TNT, History, HGTV and much more!
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|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||—||Amazon.com||weaKnees DVR Superstore||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Talentafterthought|
|Connectivity Technology||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi||Built-in Wi-Fi||—||Built-in Wi-Fi||Built-in Wi-Fi|
|Item Dimensions||8 x 5.5 x 10 in||3.38 x 1.18 x 0.5 in||7.4 x 14.2 x 2 in||9 x 9 x 3 in||7.4 x 15.1 x 2 in||8 x 2.7 x 4.3 in|
|Item Weight||1.14 lbs||1.13 ounces||3.7 lbs||0.93 lb||3.8 lbs||0.7 lb|
|Internet Applications||Vudu||youtube, espn, amazon_instant_video, cbs, facebook, hulu, sling_tv, netflix, fox||Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, YouTube, Vudu, Pandora||Netflix, YouTube||Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, YouTube||Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, Vudu, YouTube|
|Total HDMI Ports||1||0||1||—||1||1|
|Total Usb Ports||1||0||2||2||2||2|
Does not include IR extender of HDMI cable. Does include, DVR, remote, power cable, usb wifi adapter and original packaging. Like new and hardly used.
Top customer reviews
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The latest software/firmware, the 134R, was released on May 10, 2016. This version improves the Sling TV app that was added in January, 2016 to the streaming services and eliminates the cutting out issue of this service. Some bugs in the previous software were also addressed. See my “SOFTWARE/ FIRMWARE PROGRESS” below for more details.
I’m a retired TV tech and have extensive experience with over the air broadcast TV. As my review will attest, I have become quite a DVR+ fan. For me the DVR+ has been a real help by reducing my $185 monthly cable bill (programming, boxes, and dvr rentals) to just $59 for broadband Internet only. An internet connection is not mandatory for the DVR+ to work, but does add to the functionality, and an Internet connection was needed for other things anyway.
PHOTOS ADDED: (1) The first one is a photo of my kitchen counter TV & DVR+ setup. The extremely thin design of the DVR+ makes it possible to fit all of the components between the counter and wall cabinets. The DVR+ is actually under the TV and since it produces no heat and has a sturdy metal case, there are no issues with this setup! The hard drive is hidden behind the TV. (2) The second picture is for the techno geeks like me who like to peek under the hood. (3) The third pic is my latest setup in the rec room (posted 2/9/2016). Got a deal on a 70" TV. I'm using the DVR+ connected via it's optic output to a receiver and a pair of Peavey PA SP1G 15" speakers (sub-bass and surround not in pic). The DVR+ is placed on top of a Sony BluRay player (right side of the shelf), they just happened to be exactly the same L x W dimensions that made a nice setup.
The DVR+ was introduced in December, 2013. It is the next generation DVR from the team at Channel Master (OTA specialists, Arizona), EchoStar (dvr manufacturers in UK), and Rovi (channel guide- formally known as Macrovision, in CA). I've owned two of these since February, 2014, (now have 5) and watched as the DVR+ slowly matured with several firmware updates (see “software/ firmware progress" below).
The DVR+ includes a lifetime subscription free channel guide (Internet connection extends the guide to 14 days, updated daily). It has silent operation, no internal fans, and doesn't get hot. Has a resolution of SD - 480i, 480P, HD - 720P, or 1080i (depending on local broadcast) with minimal data compression. That’s why it looks better than severely data compressed cable or satellite! The streaming services from the Internet; Vudu SlingTV, and Youtube (Pandora is audio only) can have up to 1080P HDX and are included in the same channel guide as the OTA channels. Youtube is a bit clunky on the DVR+, but I usually use Roku for that anyway.
On June 8, 2015, Channel Master added over 30 Internet “streaming channels” to their platform and additions are still being made (currently 33). These are also included in the channel guide and many are HD quality. You must sign up for Channel Master TV (free) to get these channels. To do so, have a computer ready. It requires inputting an on screen alphanumeric (similar to Roku). Currently the guide just lists the station and brief description, not specific programming. Nothing that streams from the Internet can currently be recorded, only the OTA channels.
When first connecting don’t be apprehensive of the DVR+ setup, it’s fairly easy with an automatic on screen setup wizard when first powered up. It asks what language, etc., and then does a channel scan (5-10 minutes). You then input your zip code and set up the time zone. It then installs Internet connection (either WiFi or Ethernet) and will ask for your network security password, so have that handy.
After that you need to update the software: Press “Menu” on the remote: “Settings” > “Tech Info” > “Software Updates”, then just follow directions. Takes about 15-20 minutes to download. After update is completed it may have this message, “WiFi device has been removed”. Don’t worry, that’s just because it’s done a reset. Press “Continue” and then press “Exit” on the remote. Done.
The next step is to connect an external hard drive. You won’t get full DVR+ functionality with this 16gb internal flash drive model without an external drive. I use Western Digital 1TB My Passport Ultra drives ($59 on Amazon). They have a full 3 year warranty as opposed to the Seagate’s 1 year warranty. To connect, power down the DVR+; attach the drive to one of the USB ports. Power up and the DVR+ will then “recognize” the external drive. Then you just confirm the hard drive addition when it asks.
I’ve noticed that several of the low star reviews posted on Amazon are dated many months ago without revisions. The DVR+ did have its issues when first launched Dec, 2013, but most have been resolved through software/firmware updates.
SOFTWARE/ FIRMWARE PROGRESS:
--103R: 12/2013 - Initial launch had problems with system clock, CEC interference with other components, and timing of recordings
--106R: 5/1/2014 -- Fixed the timing and CEC issues, but introduced remote control response time problems.
--108R: 6/7/2014 -- Fixed the remote hang up problems.
--111R: 9/16/2014 - Added streaming channel "Pandora", but a couple of bugs introduced. New software pinged the hard drives forcing them to run 24/7 and also introduced sound degradation.
--114R: 11/21/2014 - Several fixes: (1) The hard drive running 24/7 issue fixed. (2) Enabled recording only new shows (rejecting reruns) in a series. (3) Added YouTube streaming service. (4) Fixed the sound output and quality. (5) Channel Master claims to have an additional 30+ fixes in this update.
NOTE: A bug was introduced in this software update. An intermittent red recording LED failure on the front panel. When in “recording mode” the red LED lamp can fail. The front panel goes totally dark making you think power has been lost. TIP- Do nothing until the blue lamp returns (recording has completed), your recordings are safe. Then push the power button (on the console) for 5 seconds. The DVR+ will reboot and the red recording indicator returns to normal.
--123R: 6/8/2015: Additions and bug fixes. (1) Channel Master TV (30+ Internet streaming channels) was introduced. (2) 3TB hard drives now recognize full drive capacity. (3) Channel Master claims to have an additional 40+ fixes in this update. (4) Provided better navigation in the channel guide. A major bug introduce was the inability to access the streaming services, Youtube, Vudu, and Pandora.
--124R: 6/11/2015 - So, three days later this patch came out to fix the streaming channels bug. This introduced an issue with the video on Youtube to go to black while the audio played. Took a couple of days, but this issue has been resolved.
--132R: 1/6/2016 – Sling TV added to the streaming channel apps. Red LED recording light intermittent failure fixed – but I’ll wait to confirm that later. The Rovi failure to update on some units after 1/1/16 fixed. There are probably other fixes, but not yet posted.
--134R: 5/10/2016 - Improvements in Sling TV app connectivity.
Most complaints about the DVR+ in other reviews were about the remote. According to them it was too small, too difficult to see in the dark, used unconventional batteries (CR2032 coin type), inconvenient placement of the buttons. I understand these issues, but I just don’t agree. I really like the standard remote. For those that do not an “enhanced remote” is now available for $29 from Channel Master that solves all those issues: channelmaster.com/Enhanced_DVR_Remote_p/cm-7500xrc2.htm
WISH LIST – SOFTWARE/FIRMWARE IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED :
1. An option to allow deleting a program immediately after watching without going back to any menu. I'd like to see the red "RECORD" button on the remote as a toggle - if on an already recorded show, press that button and it takes you to the "DELETE" page.
2. Files in DVR+ recorded program folders should have more details to enable recognizing specific programs.
3. The ability to recognize when a "live" program (i.e., sporting events, awards shows, etc.) is scheduled to be recorded and permitting an option to record past the scheduled time for at least 1 hour.
4. Still needs more streaming services (apps), at least Netflix and Amazon Prime, and I like Qello (live concert recordings).
5. I'm not sure yet if the front panel red recording LED failure has been fixed with the 134R update, but, so far so good.
6. A software utility that would enable backing up the hard drive by utilizing both USB ports on the DVR+, one for the original drive and the second port for the backup drive.
7. A defragment utility for the hard drive. I’ve had issues with nearly full drives intermittently having video interruptions not related to signal input issues.
About CM Tech Support:I just wanted to give the tech support team at Channel Master a pat on the back. On January 1st (2016) my Rovi guide stopped updating on one of my now 5 machines. It seemed obvious to me that it was a software issue.
I emailed my issue to CM tech support with the specifics, and then called them later that afternoon. I’m a technician myself and had done all the troubleshooting I knew to do. So, 1st tier could not help. I was called later that afternoon by Tom, the tier 2 support guy. We went through the procedures I had done and then he agreed that it sounded like a software glitch. Long story short, he emailed me instructions on how to force the software, either current or previous, to reinstall on the DVR+.
I reinstalled the 124R, the current version at the time. That did not help, but just luck, the 132R cure came out that day. I upgraded to that version, issue with Rovi download refresh was solved. Thanks Tom for your kindness and instructions.
Below are some links for answers to questions you may have:
DVR+ Channel Master Q&A:[...]
DVR+ complete manual (please note this manual is a bit outdated, but still helpful):
Channel Master recommended hard drives and other accessories:
Antenna Selection Guide:
Here are FOUR (4) REASONS WHY I purchased my new more expensive Channel Master:
(1) - 08-23-15 Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB HDTV Digital Converter Box FAILED!!!
(2) - 08-23-15 Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB HDTV Digital Converter Box FAILED!!!
(3) - 09-21-15 Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB HDTV Digital Converter Box (Purchased to replace #1) - THIS 3rd one FAILED!!!
(4) - 05-20-17 Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB HDTV Digital Converter Box (Purchased to replace #1) - THIS 4th one FAILED!!!
Looking back over 23-months, including sales tax, I spent $150 on cheap Homeworx digital tuners! They offered MARGINAL GUI (human interface), the recording DVR function was like a 1990's TRS-80, though I had separately-purchased WD "My Passport Hard Drives." The recording and playback was ABYSMAL - the functionality required an IT staffer to find last Sunday's football game!
But enough of the Mediasonic Homeworx sad tale.
THE GOOD NEWS IS -- there is a solution from Channel Master that is elegant, well-conceived, and has a lovely on-screen channel guide -- without need to have yet another paid subscription fee -- in the era of cost-effective "cord cutting." Take it from a satisfied consumer. Do yourself a favor. Especially IF YOU SHOULD have a "cheap" OTA digital tuner in your Amazon wish list -- OR WORSE -- in your Amazon cart right now. Delete that sucker. Flee! Buy a top-of-the-line solution for your Over-The-Air local channels. Pay the money NOW, or..... return in 2-years like me and pay the money LATER! Rejoice that you do not have a growing stack of worthless black Homeworx boxes accumulating on the shelf and causing you unnecessary anxiety.
**Update- I reduced my rating to 3 stars. Although the CM is set up to record new shows, it has missed 3. I takes one of the shows, divides it in two recordings and misses parts of it. It also didn't record my favorite show even though I can see that all the scheduling is okay. I was so disappointed. Unless I can figure out a fix for this problem, the rating will stay. If it continues to miss things, I will send it back. (Well I guess not. Just read that I only had 30 days which just passed) Anyway we've already shut off our Dish, and I'm already missing my shows! Wondering if I made a mistake.
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