Best DVR for Cord Cutters 2022


Here’s the hard truth for cord cutters right now: The ideal over-the-air DVR doesn’t exist.

While some products are better than others, all of them, from Tablo to TiVo to HDHomeRun with Plex, have at least one critical weakness. If you want to record TV channels broadcast from an antenna, you need to decide which of those weaknesses you will tolerate.

The good news is that the humble antenna is experiencing a renaissance, and we are likely to see even more over-the-air DVR products. But if you want to start recording streaming channels now, here’s a rundown of where the current products stand.

[ Further reading: The best media streaming devices ]

Best OTA DVR for most cord cutters

If you don’t need four wireless tuners, the Tablo Dual Lite DVR, our previous top pick in this category, is still an attractive value. The Tablo Quad DVR is a little more expensive, but makes the fewest trade-offs and of any product in this class. We have a few issues to choose from: interlaced video can’t be played at 60 frames per second, and there are a limited number of streaming frames you can use for viewing outside the home, but in a field that doesn’t include the perfect OTA DVR, the Tablo Quad DVR comes the closest.

runner-up

For those who are all-in on Amazon hardware, Recast is easy to set up, has no subscription fees, and lets you launch live channels by voice with Alexa. But because this over-the-air DVR is only compatible with Amazon Fire TV devices, it’s not a good start for users of Roku players, Apple TV, or Android TV.

The best OTA DVR for advanced users

Channels DVR can be tricky to set up, requiring you to bring your own media server hardware, and its $8 per month subscription fee is more expensive than other over-the-air DVR solutions. But for those who invest the time and money, Channels offers an unparalleled level of polish, video quality, and advanced user features.

What to look for in an over-the-air DVR

Evaluating over-the-air DVR solutions is difficult, because there are so many factors that can make or break the experience. If you want to investigate further, here are some factors to consider:


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