One of the primary drawbacks of most streamers is a lack of live over-the-air television integration. Sure, you can switch inputs away from your television’s tuner. But wouldn’t a unified interface and guide be cool? Bonus if it comes with universal search. Roku and Terk once went down this path but failed to deliver and Amazon may be working on something. Into the current vacuum, enter: Channel Master’s new Digital TV Hub.This small, single tuner box’s secret is HDMI pass-thru, similar to Xbox One and original Google TV implementations … but with hopefully more interest and appreciation.
While the Digital TV Hub (aka Channel Master CM-7002) doesn’t provide universal search of over-the-air and over-the-top content, like TiVo, it does seem to nicely merge OTA and OTT into a single UI – given the inclusion of a learning remote. Two days of programming is also provided, possibly with picture-in-guide and presumably populated by your local stations over-the-air as there’s no mention of network capabilities. A USB port and remote control “record” button are reserved for future usage, suggesting the possibility of wireless networking or DVR capabilities down the road. Last but not least, the set-top features a dimmable, blue clock.
Whether or not this clever little box is worth $89 (or $69 when using code ‘dtvhub‘) is somewhat debatable. For the interim, I’m thinking the best options for over-the-air television on streamers remain Tablo (which includes DVR), or Channels on Apple TV via HDHomeRun, with AirTV on deck… all at a significantly higher cost than Channel Master’s new offering.