The Channel Master Stream+ (CM-7600) combined a streaming media player with an OTA DVR, presenting a unique, all-in-one product that was perfect for cord-cutters.
Sadly, it is no longer being produced. Read on to find out more including great alternatives.
A Little Background
It’s no secret that cable companies have a stranglehold on consumers. Expensive bills burn a hole in the pocket while little choice only adds to the frustration.
Most of us are aware that pricey cable TV packages bundle tons of channels most consumers only ever flick through while channel surfing. This has led many consumers to search for a cheaper, more cost-effective way to watch their favorite TV programming. For most, this has led them to consider “cutting the cord.”
If you choose to sign up with a major streaming service like FuboTV, this is relatively easy. But if you are getting local channels over-the-air (OTA), you may find yourself without a DVR and channel guide.
The DVR allows you to record live TV so that you can watch it later. The channel guide is something that most consumers take for granted. The live listing of everything that is on every channel makes finding what you want to watch a breeze. Saying goodbye to either the DVR or the channel guide is a pretty big blow to TV enjoyment.
Fortunately, you don’t have to stick with price gouging cable companies to keep your channel guide and DVR. There are several third-party DVRs and channel guides that don’t require a cable TV subscription.
What Was the Channel Master Stream+?
One of the most interesting and affordable DVRs on the market over the past few years was the Stream+ (CM-7600) from Channel Master. Unlike most of the DVRs on the market, the Stream+ required no monthly subscription fee. Additionally, it featured an integrated channel guide, so you didn’t have to flick through the channels to see what was on.
These two features alone are often enough to pique the interest of cord cutters, but the Stream+ had one more trick up its sleeve. The Channel Master Stream+ was also a streaming video player powered by Android.
Channel Master Stream+ Cost
With the Stream+, you got two great products in one — a streaming media player and an OTA DVR. So, how much did the Channel Master Stream+ cost?
Consumers got all that functionality for only $149. That made the CM-7600 Stream+ not only one of the most affordable third-party DVRs on the market, but one of the most versatile as well.
Channel Master Stream+ DVR Functionality
The Channel Master Stream+ worked with any antenna, making installation super easy.
The Channel Master Stream+ (CM-7600) was simple and intuitive to record television programs. It also allowed users to schedule their recordings via the channel guide. Users could schedule single recordings or an entire series. Furthermore, users could watch one show while recording one (or two) simultaneously.
Unlike many DVRs on the market, the Stream+ relied on an external hard drive to store recorded TV shows. Other DVRs often use either a built-in hard drive or cloud storage.
The problem with built-in storage is that it can fill up quickly. High-definition over-the-air broadcasts chew up a ton of storage space and having to delete stuff in order to make room for new recordings can be frustrating.
Cloud storage often succumbs to the same problem; however, it has the added disadvantage of requiring an internet connection to use. This means that if your connection cuts out or you live in an area with a slow or spotty connection, you can have issues watching your recorded content.
With the Stream+, users could simply plug in their own external hard drive, making upgrading to larger storage hassle-free. In addition, because all of your recordings were stored locally on the drive, you didn’t need an active Internet connection in order to watch or record your favorite OTA programming.
In addition to being able to record all your favorite programming, the Stream+ also featured a comprehensive channel guide. When you consider that many third-party DVRs charge a monthly subscription fee for their channel guides, the Stream+ offered exceptional value for the money.
In addition, the channel guide of the Stream+ offered programming information for two whole weeks. That’s fourteen days of channel info, meaning you can see what’s on well in advance and schedule your recordings way ahead of time.
Integrated Streaming Apps
The Channel Master Stream+ also allowed users to connect to streaming media apps. The Android-based player could connect to the Google Play Store. That meant that you could download all of the apps that you use to stream media from — YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and many, many more.
As an added bonus, the Stream+ organized all of your OTA channels and streaming services into one intuitive interface. This meant that users wouldn’t have to flick back and forth between pages or tabs in order to access all their available services and channels.
The Channel Master Stream+ is no longer being produced. But many good alternatives have become available over the last couple of years. Here are two of the best:
- Nuvyyo Tablo Dual HDMI ($149.99): Features great quality video from its 2 tuners. It uses external storage. It has only a 24-hour guide. You can get a 14-day guide for $5.00/mo ($50/yr) for the 14-day channel guide.
- Amazon Fire TV Recast ($229.99): Good unit if you use Fire TV device/mobile app or Echo Show. It has 2 tuners and 500 GB (75 hours) of storage. You can get a unit with 4 tuners and 1 TB (150 hours) of storage for $279.99.
For more options, see Best OTA DVR for Cord-Cutters.