Magnavox Ups The Fee-Free OTA DVR Ante

Magnavox and Mediasonic are generally known as manufacturers of rudimentary digital VCRs, while TiVo and Tablo thought of as the providers of more full-featured over-the-air DVR solutions… saddled with a recurring fee. But, from CES, CNET has uncovered some significant updates to Magnavox’s line of digital video recorders, exceeding the similarly fee-free Channel Master DVR+ capabilities on several fronts.

The new trio of DVRs are expected by year-end, supposedly starting at $400 — and, once again, fee-free as the company has underwritten the responsive Rovi guide. Magnavox’s OTA tuner count will range from 1-6, with 500GB – 2TB of integrated storage… that can be expanded via USB drive. As with prior Magnavox models, these also include DVD-burning capabilities (which may also make them subject to Macrovision copy protection, according to CNET).


Most interestingly, the new Magnavox PVR models act as DLNA servers – wirelessly streaming video around the house to iOS and Android app, with downloads for out-of-home viewing also on the docket. Further, via a feature they’ve dubbed “DVR Link,” multiple units within a home will share a single Now Playing list of recordings. Not bad, eh?

15 thoughts on “Magnavox Ups The Fee-Free OTA DVR Ante”

  1. Pricing seems wonky. Wondering if CNet has it right. The mid-level model at $450 appears to be the same as the base $400 model except it LACKS the DVD burner. What am I missing here? And then stepping up to the top model, just a little more at $500, gives you four more tuners and twice the storage!

    All that said, if you’re dead-set against a recurring fee in your OTA DVR and don’t desire streaming apps built in, this could be a solid option. It’s a shame they don’t offer a TiVo mini-like extender (or an app for Roku, etc.) for DNLA-based whole home solutions. Do they expect the target market for this device to shell out at least $800 for a 2 TV set-up?

  2. Tim, the Roku Media Player channel for Roku supports DLNA (in addition to drives connected via USB for models which have a USB port). So you should be able to watch content from one of these new DVRs via Roku. However, I expect such an experience won’t be as nice as Tablo.

  3. I agree the pricing seems a little weird and specs/details were unclear. I think the $400 DVD model is a SD unit, but like I said the details were unclear. The $500 top model doesn’t seem out of line price wise. Guess we will have to wait until this fall and see what we really get and at what price point.

    Will be interesting to see if TiVo gets the Bolt OTA unit out and at what price point or if they decide to bring back the Roamio OTA again.

  4. There is no SD unit and there were three on display. One is a single tuner DVR with DVD burning capabilities, already on the market or a successor to their current models and not so interesting. The two newer (?) ones, with wireless, are the interesting models. Does the pricing make more sense given DVD burning? As these are not expected until the end of the year both the number of models and pricing are subject to change… CNET thinks it’s possible these are also revisions to existing models with the new Rovi guide and such. As we’re collectively unfamiliar with the Magnavox line and I wasn’t present to quiz the company, we don’t have all the answers.

    This image will help overcome my poor (but now tweaked) write-up:

    Official product page here:

    Neil, those Roamio OTA deals were unheard of before the fall and related to TiVo clearing inventory. Who knows what Bolt OTA pricing or deals will be.

  5. Sad to say, but Tivo is such a mess. I will think very hard before plunking down on an All In Lifetime Tivo going forward. For OTA, the channel master along with Roku OTT sounds very sufficient with more sane pricing than what Tivo will try to push for.

  6. Interesting units but a couple of hundreds dollars higher than they need to be to capture cord cutters.400 dollars is a lot of up front money. To the cash strapped 100 dollars is a lot of upfront money.

  7. Well 500GB != 500 hours of recording time. That’s only about 2.2Mbps. If they were recording the original MPEG-2 HD OTA signal its more like 15-20Mbps. Course maybe they’re transcoding before saving? But even then a more reasonable number would be 7.5Mbps or so say (H.264 rate on U-Verse using expensive rack-mode encoders) if they were going to maintain quality near the original. Huh.

  8. The TiVo lifetime subscription has not been available for a while. I have read several hundreds of consumer comments/complaints about hiccups during playback on the Magnavox MDR557H/F7 1Terabyte Hard Disc Drive Digital Video Disc Recorder. And was ready to purchase the Channel Master 1TB until I called them and they said only VuDu and Sling apps, Netflix not usable. My Samsung Smart TV has Netflix and Amazon Prime apps so I would lose ability to get Netflix which costs for 1 month what a few VuDu movie rentals will set you back. And Sling’s $20 monthly fee for lame channels that I just got rid of when I cut the cord does not interest me. I will pay no one a monthly fee and don’t need a TV guide. I want a DVR unit to record OTA and play back without issue and to still be able to access the apps that my Samsung give me for free. Is that too much to ask? Must be because I am willing to spend $600 for a DVR to do just that and can’t find one. If the new Magnavox does not have issues with playback like the MDR557H/F7 I will look at it, but I am not hopeful.

  9. TiVo does offer Lifetime, but probably for more than most are willing to pay. Using the Channel Master DVR+ or Magnavox or anything else won’t erase the Netflix app from your Samsung TV – in fact, you don’t even have to change inputs to access it. Although you obviously won’t get any sort of universal search.

  10. Thanks Dave for the TiVo info. I phoned them and the Bolt is $399.99 but for the lifetime “service” it is an additional $599.99. I asked what “service” I was being provided with and was told it was the ability to use the device. And you are correct, I am not willing to pay that kind of money for the ability to use what I already own. I just do not understand the concept, but I am an old retiree and look at it like me buying a Ford and then paying Ford a fee to drive the car. True I have maintainence, but I am a do-it-yourselfer on most things. To the Channel Master. Yesterday I called them direct and they told me the TV’s apps were not usable, only those associated with CM e.g. Vudu Sling Pandora YouTube. So you are suggesting that if I plug the Ethernet (currently into the Samsung 6350) into the Channel Master I would be able to access all of the Samsung’s apps but not the webBrowser?

  11. The Channel Master rep was probably confused. As long as both their DVR (or anyone else’s) and your Smart TV have an Internet connection, you can use apps on both. If your TV stuff is near a router, you could run one Ethernet line into the TV and another Ethernet line into the DVR. If you have wireless, the TV can use WiFi while putting Ethernet into the DVR.

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