As cable TV rates continue to rise, many people want to cut the cord, but they don't want to be tied to a live TV schedule to watch their favorite shows. So let's talk about over-the-air digital video recorders.
There are two kinds cord-cutters can buy and install — ones that connect to the TV directly and ones that don't. For the latter kind, the antenna connects to the DVR, which contains the hard drive and tuners. Instead of connecting to your TV, the DVR box transmits its live and recorded shows to your TV wirelessly using your home's network.
To watch shows, you'll need a streaming box like Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV. Both types have built-in tuners.
Here are some devices to consider.
WHAT TiVo Bolt OTA DVR
HOW IT WORKS It has a 1-terabyte hard drive and can record up to four shows at once. You will need a subscription for TiVo service, which includes guide data. The TiVo also connects to the internet, so you can stream apps like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. It connects to your TV directly via HDMI cable.
INFO $6.99 per month, $69.99 per year or $249.99 for lifetime service; tivo.com
WHAT Amazon's Fire TV Recast
HOW IT WORKS Since this doesn’t connect directly to your TV, you'll need a Fire TV device on each set. Recast has a 500-gigabyte hard drive and can record up to two shows at once. There is no monthly fee, so it’s popular with cord-cutters who don’t like ongoing subscriptions.
INFO $189.99 (there is also a four-tuner model with a 1 terabyte hard drive for $229.99); amazon.com
WHAT Nuvyyo Tablo Quad
HOW IT WORKS Much like the Recast, it has a hard drive and tuners and it can be placed anywhere. It can connect wirelessly or via Ethernet cable to your home network.
You'll load the free Tablo app on your Roku, Fire TV or Apple TV to watch the content on a TV.
INFO $199.99; tablotv.com
WHAT Nuvyyo Tablo Quad DVR
HOW IT WORKS The Quad doesn't come with a hard drive. It has a slot for a laptop drive that you'll need to add before you can record.
INFO $4.99 per month, $49.99 per year or $149.99 for lifetime service; tablotv.com
HOW IT WORKS This OTA DVR is specifically for Sling TV subscribers. The DVR records local channels from your antenna and records them to an external hard drive that you have to supply. It requires a Sling TV subscription and can be placed anywhere in your home and beams your OTA channels through your home's network.
The Air TV box also streams Sling TV live channels and puts the DVR and your local channels into the Sling guide interface.
INFO $79.99; airtv.net