Digital Video Recorders are all the rage now, and for good reason. These nifty devices help you to make the most of your cable TV subscription and all those channels you pay for. When you’re at work, or out shopping, there’s always something interesting on TV which you’re missing. So, it’s essential to have TV DVR.
If you look for the reviews of the best DVR options, you’ll find just a handful of models being promoted. Although in fairness they really are the top of the line devices for DVR recorders for TV, there are a myriad of alternatives which are power packed themselves but largely unnoticed.
Here we are reviewing the DVR devices which are compatible with the major cable TV providers. It goes without saying that pretty much any DVR will have basic features like pausing and rewinding live TV, parental controls etc. so we are focusing on what’s different for each model. Read on to find out about some workhorse devices which can fulfill all your recording and watching needs.
Best Spectrum DVR Device
Spectrum encrypts the signals on its network which means you can’t use just any ol’ cable box. For users who are thinking about subscribing to the Spectrum cable TV or are already subscribers, the following is the best DVR device which works on Spectrum’s cable TV network.
The Spectrum201 Advanced Cable DVR is manufactured by two different OEM brands, Technicolor and Humax. You could get any version, however there’s no actual difference between them in terms of performance and features. This model was previously known as “World Box DVR” or sometimes “World Box 2.0”.
The Spectrum201 TV DVR works for both SD and HD channels. The TV guide of this cable box used to be so archaic that users complained about the ancient look of the interface. However, recently most Spectrum HD receivers have had a guide update at no cost. You get full-screen HD guide with a black background. The real geeks will recognize that it’s the iGuide software. Despite the change in look, the navigation is still the same as long-time TWC/Spectrum users are used to. An issue with resetting has also been fixed.
Now onto the most important specs of a DVR. Spectrum201 has 4 tuners, so you can simultaneously record 4 channels. You’ll find other DVR reviewers mentioning models with as many as 16 tuners, but ask yourself, do you really need that many? Most episodes are repeated on the same day so you have can record them in two different time frames. 4 tuners are more than enough for most of us.
In-built storage space on the Spectrum201 DVR is 1TB. That’s an impressive 300+ hours of 720p HD video storage. Here at Local Cable Deals we are pretty avid consumers of TV shows ourselves. We leave some shows to record on the Spectrum201 DVR while we’re working and in the evening catch up on them. We’re never short on storage space.
The maximum video output resolution is 1080p/60, 10-bits. There are two USB 2.0 master ports to connect to your home entertainment system. We’re not going to delve into other details because the rest of the features are pretty similar to other best DVR devices.
You’ll pay $11.99 monthly for the DVR. Besides this, the DVR service fee is $12.99 – $19.99 depending on how many boxes you use.
Best Cox DVR Device
It’s a bit silly to state the best DVR for Cox because they don’t offer several options. You have the Contour Record 6 HD-DVR as your first option and Contour Record 2 HD-DVR.
The Record 6 has six simultaneous recordings feature whereas the Record 2 has…you guessed it, 2 simultaneous recordings feature. Here at Local Cable Deals we think that Contour Record 6 hits the sweet spot when it comes to recording. Not too little, not too much. The Goldilocks of DVRs if you will.
The storage space on the Contour Record 6 DVR is 2TB which Cox claims can hold up to 1000 hours of SD video content. Most of us watch at least 720p HD channels now, so cut the number down to a range of 500-600 hours storage for HD programs.
Besides this, the DVR offers show and movie recommendations based off your previous viewing activity, just like we’ve grown accustomed to on streaming services websites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
If you combine it with Contour Record 2 HD-DVR on the other TV’s in your house, you can have Whole Home Connected DVR service.
People don’t have a whole lot to say about the Contour Record 6 besides these features, which we think is a good thing. It means it’s simple, does its job, and most people are happy with it. To get the Contour Record 6 DVR the equipment charge is $8.50/mo. + DVR service charge $19.99/mo.
Best DirecTV DVR
If you want to get the best DirecTV DVR based on features then that’s the Genie DVR. This baby is 4k ready and has the ability to connect up to 8 TV’s wirelessly with the DVR. Whoa! But, that’s not the DirecTV DVR we’ll talk about. Why? Like we said, there’s plenty of options out there and we recommend the DIRECTV 500 Gigabyte 1080p HD DVR Satellite Receiver known as HR24 in the market.
For about $200 the HR24 can get you the DVR capabilities that you will need the most. The device is a few years old, but still highly relevant for DirecTV DVR purposes. It has the option to record 2 channels simultaneously. You can also stream on-demand video, watch YouTube or dance to Pandora.
Since it’s a 500 GB DVR, you can store up to 100+ hours of 1080 HD video and 400+ hours of SD video.
The HR24 DirecTV DVR has modern features like interactive TV apps, searching for content by title, actor name, or any keyword you choose, and it has subtitles feature as well.
Sometimes it feels like technology is running far ahead of us – of what we need – and it may be smarter to just stick with what we’re actually going to use. The three DVR models we mentioned here can do the job for the vast majority of us. We think that these devices can even compete with 2019’s best DVR’s.
If you want to get a DVR without cable TV provider’s subscription, you might have to pay the “Cable Card” fee to your TV provider which is minimal. But apart from the cost of buying the DVR, you might have to pay a monthly fee to the DVR manufacturer such as in the case of TiVo.