What's the best DVR out there currently for under $100? (over the air only recording)

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
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In late 2015, I bought a HomeWorx HW-150 PVR, which allowed me to finally record over the air free broadcast tv again. It was a grand total of about $43, shipped. I like that you can start out recording to a USB flash drive, and add a USB hard drive later if you find that you need more recording space. I also like that there are absolutely no recurring fees of any kind.

The remote is designed with tiny buttons, and it has no program guide, but it works. The settings and O/S could use a bit of refining as well.

I'm wondering, now that it has been more than a year, if there is anything on the market for under a hundred bucks that has a better remote, and/or some sort of program guide?

My parents see that I can record over the air programs, but I hesitate to recommend this with the tiny, TINY buttons, since they are in their 70's. Truly, the VCR they were used to using had buttons for the regularly used functions that were 20 times as big as these buttons.

I did a quick search and didn't see any newer models, but that doesn't mean that they aren't out there somewhere. Thanks for any suggestions!
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
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For old folks, pony up for a proper TIVO. Worth every penny given the excellent UI.
 

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
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I appreciate that, but after looking online, it appears that the TIVO is well over the $100 mark. In addition, you then have a monthly recurring fee or a HUGE one time fee. I'd like something like a VCR, where I can just quickly and easily tell it a time and a channel, then how long to record.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,703
378
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There's an OTA TIVO that's $300 I think that includes service.

The biggest problem with other units is the guide data, or lack thereof. My folks managed with the old DVRpal for quite a few years. When the guide data was finally turned off I convinced them to pony up for a TIVO and they couldn't be happier. They had one previously from DirecTV.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
410
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As NutBucket said - the issue would be the guide data which you have to get , someone , somewhere is paying for it. you can do it yourself (Myth ->schedulesdirect route), you can get HDHR HDR beta , you can try Plex DVR (with their lifetime pass if you already have it).

I have HDHR for tuner, Nvidia Shield as primary media streamer, and Plex for local media serving. have not yet looked at DVRs..
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
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91
DIY is great for yourself, but OP is looking for a "all-in-one" solution for his parents...
That pretty much goes
Tivo: $370 = Better Remote + Program Guide
Channel Master DVR+: $250 = Better Remote + Program Guide
Homeworx HW180: $30 = newer version of the 150, remote is even smaller
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
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378
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Don't forget TIVO can also claim to have the best UI. I haven't tried the new CM unit though.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
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91
Don't forget TIVO can also claim to have the best UI. I haven't tried the new CM unit though.
Claims are easy, proof requires a bit more...

Of course which is best will depend heavily on individual preference; for example my Mom absolutely loves the Roku interface, whereas I hate it....
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,703
378
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Fair enough, but most folks consider TIVO to have the best UI. I'm actually not sure if TIVO themselves make that claim. To me the biggest thing is how responsive the unit is. Some of those DirecTV receivers are painfully slow to do simple things like change channel.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
410
106
116
I think what matters to OP is that what he wants does not seem to exist - either the range is too low for companies to bother (imagine testing effort required plus support cost on the top of BOM) or they don't think there is enough of mass market to worth solutions (or both)

so OP either buys up a more expensive out of the box solution or creates his own.

Also, how important is OTA DVR? do people really use them or want to have them but never use them?
 

mdram

Golden Member
Jan 2, 2014
1,512
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havnet heard much about it

but there is the new airtv out there
supports streaming and ota with an adapter
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,703
378
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IMHO once you have a DVR you'll wonder how you got along without it. For my wife and I, there are lots of shows we like so having one is a no-brainer. That said, I rolled my own with Windows Media Center. Worked great until it was mothballed due to a change in housing circumstances.
 

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