Buyers Guide: Finding the Right DVR for Cord Cutting




tablo_dvrA DVR should be a big part of every cord cutter’s set up in order to get the most from cord cutting. Not only does a DVR allow you to record TV from your antenna, but it also helps you save data for anyone with a data cap.

There are three main DVRs for cord cutters: Tablo, Channel Master, and Tivo. Here is our quick overview of the pros and cons of each device.


PrintIf you want a DVR that will stream both recorded shows and live TV to set-top boxes like Roku and Fire TV then the Tablo may be your device.


  • Stream your content to any Roku or Fire TV in your house
  • Stream your content to any connected laptops or tablets around the world
  • Supports external hard drives for recording shows


  • Must have an external hard drive to record shows
  • No pass-through to your TV requires a Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, AppleTV (which uses AirPlay from an iPad), or a Chromecast dongle (casting from an Android device or Chrome browser)

Why Buy a Tablo DVR?

If you want all your streaming apps and TV on one device through a Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, etc., the Tablo may be the DVR for you. There is no need to switch sources between devices because live TV and your streamed content will come through one device.

Tablo DVR is also a great option for anyone who travels and wants to watch live TV or their recordings from home.

You can find our full review of the Tablo DVR by clicking HERE.

You can buy the Tablo DVR on Amazon here:

Channel Master

Channel MasterThe Channel Master DVR+ combines a streaming set-top box and DVR in one device. With built-in YouTube, Vudu, and Pandora, it offers several options in addition to live TV.


  • No subscription fee with 14 days of free channel information
  • No additional device needed
  • Supports several streaming services


  • Netflix and other popular streaming servers are not supported

You can find our full review of the Channel Master DVR by clicking HERE.

Why Buy a Channel Master DVR?

If you really want a DVR without paying a monthly fee for your channel guide or a life-time subscription the Channel Master may be the DVR for you.

You can buy a Channel Master DVR on Amazon here:


TiVo_LogoTivo is the granddaddy of all DVRs. The new Bolt or older Roamio boxes both work great for cord cutters because they both support over-the-air recording.


  • Great user interface
  • Easy to use with excellent features
  • Can stream to other rooms in the house


  • Monthly fee or high life-time bill

Why Buy a Tivo DVR?

If you really want something simple to use that will look and feel a lot like your old cable DVR a Tivo may be the right device for you.

You can buy a Tivo on Amazon here:


A DVR is a must have for all cord cutters. If you are not watching TV with an antenna and using a DVR, then you are missing out on a lot of great free content.

If you need help buying an antenna, check out our antenna buyer’s guide. Or head back to our buyer’s guide home page.

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