Channel Master, known for its over-the-air TV antennas as well as some early digital video recorders that go along with these antennas, started shipping its new DVR+ this week — and the company is already looking to bring additional functionality to the device. Channel Master EVP Joe Bingochea told me at the CES in Las Vegas Wednesday that his company is looking to introduce a small companion device in the next few months that will turn the DVR+ into a whole-home digital video recorder.
Channel Master sells its new DVR+ for $250. For that price, consumers get a pretty neat box with a very clean design as well as a programming guide — something for that TiVo charges around $15 per month, depending on the individual plan.
However, the device also has its downsides. It only comes with 16 GB of onboard storage, which means that consumers have to connect an external hard drive to record more than a handful of TV show episodes. It also doesn’t support Wifi, and instead offers an Ethernet port and the option to buy an extra wireless adapter. And at least for now, the DVR+ only comes with one streaming app — Vudu (s WMT) — but Bingochea said that others will follow soon.
Channel Master has been positioning the device as a solution for consumer that don’t want to pay any monthly fees at all, and Bingochea also said that many of his company’s customers are more used to the traditional channel grid used by pay TV providers. That’s why the company also isn’t including ann app store. Instead, it lists Vudu right alongside other channels in the channel grid.
Bingochea said that whole-home DRV functionality was one of the most-requested features, which is why the company is now developing an adapter that can be connected to other TVs in the house to stream recordings from a DVR+ over the local network. The device won’t allow out-of-home streaming, but Channel Master cooperated with EchoStar (S SATS) on the development of the DVR+, and as a result, it is compatible with Sling’s Slingbox 500.