Over-the-air DVR: An illustrated files for twine-cutters thumbnail

Over-the-air DVR: An illustrated files for twine-cutters

What’s the difference between TiVo, Tablo, HDHomeRun, and varied twine-reducing DVRs? We will point to you.


Jared Newman/TechHive

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Even though I’ve tried on many events to verbalize the difference between TiVo, Tablo, HDHomeRun, and varied over-the-air DVR solutions, one can entirely affect so much with written descriptions.

Over-the-air DVR can rapidly become advanced. Whereas you could even be attempting to file free broadcast channels from an antenna, you could must string together separate tuner containers, laborious drives, antennas, and streaming avid gamers. Whereas I’m a wordsmith at coronary heart—a indisputable truth that must quickly become obvious from my drawing talents—the idea that is basically less complicated to point to with photos.

So let’s affect staunch that. Below is an illustrated files to the ultimate and most neatly-most standard DVR alternatives for twine-cutters, with some additional text descriptions the build appropriate.


tivodrawing Jared Newman / IDG

TiVo DVRs such because the Edge and Trot OTA are one of the best to know: Factual hunch in an antenna, then connect them to your TV with an HDMI cable, staunch like you could with a cable box.

The topic with TiVo’s methodology is twofold:

  • As a streaming software, TiVo entirely offers a small resolution of apps, at the side of Netflix, Amazon Top, and Hulu. Which methodology you’ll want a separate software (such as a Roku player or Amazon Fire TV Stick) for many varied streaming sources, at the side of Disney+, Tubi, Pluto TV, or Peacock. Furthermore, you’ll be repeatedly switching backward and forward between inputs.
  • Accessing your TiVo DVR on extra televisions requires a TiVo Mini extender related to every TV. The sizzling TiVo Mini Lux costs $200 per box and wish to be laborious-wired to your Wi-Fi router unless you utilize an additional $60 per extender on Wi-Fi adapters. This bear of investment is in depressed health-urged given TiVo’s fading interest in DVR.

Illustrated below are some standard entire-home DVR alternatives that resolve every complications.


tablodrawing Jared Newman / IDG

Right here’s basically the most attention-grabbing methodology to tell Nuvyyo’s Tablo DVRs: They’re entire-home DVRs that you just accumulate entry to through your clear TV or streaming player. In must connecting with out delay to your TV, the Tablo streams video over Wi-Fi to the Tablo app, which that you just might perchance download on a big differ of devices.

With this methodology, there’s nearly no restrict on the build that you just might perchance accumulate entry to your DVR. And resulting from the Tablo app is available on streaming avid gamers and clear TVs, you don’t must substitute inputs to make instruct of assorted streaming services, such as Netflix or Disney+.

Reckoning on which Tablo model you desire, alternatively, you could must offer your acquire laborious pressure. Some models like interior storage built-in; others affect no longer.

Fire TV Recast

recastdrawing Jared Newman / IDG

The premise in the assist of Amazon’s Fire TV Recast DVR is a related as that of Tablo: It captures broadcast channels from an antenna, then streams the video to varied devices over your Wi-Fi network. Again, it does no longer hunch with out delay into your tv.

The obligatory difference is that the Recast requires a Fire TV software to stare on your tv. That is always a Fire TV Stick, a Fire TV Cube, or a Fire TV Version clear tv. It’s incompatible with varied streaming devices such as Roku avid gamers or Apple TV.

On the upside, the Recast is deeply integrated with Fire TV in programs that varied over-the-air DVRs are no longer. You’d also tune to are living channels the utilization of Alexa tell instructions, for instance, and there’s a channel files built unbiased into the Fire TV menu map. It’s price thinking about even as you happen to’re all-in on the Fire TV platform already.


airtvdrawing Jared Newman / IDG

Indulge in Tablo and Amazon’s Fire TV Recast, AirTV streams broadcast TV to varied devices across the home. But this networked tuner places a wierd poke on the total-home over-the-air DVR idea.

In must supplying its acquire app, AirTV integrates with the Sling TV app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV. Whereas you’re a Sling TV subscriber, that methodology that you just might perchance accumulate over-the-air and cable channels through a single app and TV files.

One component to express: Whereas the same outdated AirTV 2 tuner requires you to connect an exterior laborious pressure, the no longer too lengthy previously provided AirTV Any place has a 1TB pressure built in.

Plex and Channels

hdhomerundrawing Jared Newman / IDG

Plex and Channels are in point of fact affect-it-yourself DVRs, the utilization of an HDHomeRun tuner to capture broadcast channels and a media server software to file them. The server is always a desktop pc, NAS box, Nvidia Protect TV Pro, or (even as you happen to’re up for one more topic) Raspberry Pi micro-pc. Indulge in the varied entire-home DVRs above, you’ll instruct a separate streaming software to stare are living or recorded TV. (Plex also supports several varied tuners besides HDHomeRun.)

The setup is clearly more laborious than the varied alternatives I’ve described, partly resulting from there’s more hardware fervent, and partly resulting from the HDHomeRun tuner requires a wired connection to your router. But every Plex and Channels are superior at preserving the paunchy quality of broadcast TV, and they give you more flexibility over how and the build your recordings are saved. Channels DVR also has the skill to file wander are living streaming sources, so that you just’re no longer staunch restricted to what’s broadcasting over the air, and Plex offers a paunchy-blown media server that can stream your interior most music, film, TV point to collections to varied devices across the home. These additional components develop them sizable alternatives for energy users.

Snatch into consideration that HDHomeRun does offer its acquire DVR service, which would perchance bustle with out delay on its Scribe and Servio tuners with out a separate media server software. It’s no longer nearly about as polished or much as Plex or Channels, even supposing.


streamingdrawing Jared Newman / IDG

A same outdated misconception in twine-reducing is that you just want one in every of these solutions in the first space. Whereas an over-the-air DVR can give you lots to stare at a fee-efficient, it’s hardly the entirely methodology to cleave the twine.

Dwell TV streaming services such as YouTube TV, Hulu + Dwell TV, and Sling TV all offer bundles of channels previous what that you just might perchance accumulate over the air, and they all consist of their very acquire cloud-based entirely DVR services. Within the intervening time, standalone streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Top, and Disney+ offer colossal catalogs of on-build a query to video, rendering DVR redundant.

So don’t despair if over-the-air DVR looks too advanced or even as you happen to’re unable to receive broadcast channels from an antenna. It’s staunch one methodology amongst many.

Be a a part of Jared’s Wire Cutter Weekly e-newsletter to construct up this column and varied twine-reducing files, insights, and deals delivered to your inbox.

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Jared Newman covers interior most technology from his far off Cincinnati outpost. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for tech advice and Wire Cutter Weekly for serve with ditching cable or satellite tv for pc TV.

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