OTA DVR Comparison For Cord Cutters: The Top OTA DVRs

Are you fed up with your cable company? Do you spend hours on the phone waiting for customer service that doesn’t seem to help? If your costly cable company has got you down, keep reading to find out how you can see great programming on your own terms with an over the air DVR.

Contrary to popular opinion, antenna television is alive and well. Thanks to modern technology, such as DVRs, antenna television is even better than ever. Even without cable, an old-fashioned antennas for television viewing gives you tons of great programming and many of the most popular shows.

With your antenna, you can pick up stations that broadcast over the airways in your local area. And some of the best programs, like the NFL and popular TV shows from the biggest networks, come to you over broadcast television. You can even watch the local news.

With just your television and antenna, you need to watch when the show airs. You can’t pause the show if you need to get up for a minute, and you’re stuck watching each and every commercial. But fortunately, today you have options.

There are over the air DVR options that allow you to pause, skip and rewind live television. You can record it as it airs and watch it when you can. You can watch the same show 100 times if you want to, if you’ve recorded it with your over-the-air DVR. Here is an OTA DVR comparison to help you find the device and service that best meets your needs.


Get this device with Amazon Prime. You can try it out free for thirty days, and you also get two-day shipping absolutely free with many Amazon purchases when you have Amazon Prime. This service is highly ranked by users and very popular. Tablo TV is a Canadian company.

The service works by connecting your router to your antenna. That lets you record television that the antenna brings in. Once you have the recording, you can watch it on whatever streaming device you choose. You can even mix it up. If you have a Roku 3 on one television, Apple TV in another and a laptop, you can watch from all of these devices.

You can also take Tablo with you wherever you go. Sync your mobile device with your DVR. This lets you stream your recordings on your device from anywhere. Use the Tablo app or your favorite internet browser.

There are a few things to be aware of with this service. You have to have a streaming device to watch the content. The Tablo and the television don’t connect directly. You also have to have an external USB drive, because you need it to store your recordings.

There are a few different options available for Tablo service. A 2-tuner records up to two shows at once, and you can then watch on up to six devices at once. The 4-tuner is similar to the 2-tuner, but you get to record up to four shows at once. And the METRO 2-tuner is the best choice if you live in a large city, because it comes with a built-in antenna.

You need a subscription to use Tablo. It’s only $49.99 per year or $149.99 for a lifetime. You can buy Tablo and subscribe on Amazon.

TiVO Bolt

TiVO Bolt is a product that does a lot of things in one convenient place. For our OTA DVR comparison, you should know that it brings you recorded television for playback and pausing. But you also have the option to stream content from Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and other streaming content providers.

Too often, users complain that modern television services require too many separate devices and remotes. This is what TiVO Bolt aims to solve. You can also use Bolt on your computer. TiVO constantly improves its services, so TiVO Bolt is faster and more powerful than previous TiVO products. OnePass is an organizational tool that helps you put the best content in one place on a watchlist so you can find it easily. SkipMode lets you skip right over those pesky commercials.

Amazon runs a promotion where you can get a free year of TiVO when you buy TiVO Bolt on its website. There’s a $14.99 per month fee, but you can get a discount on it by committing to a year.

TiVo Roamio

If you’re not over cable, TiVO Roamio might be for you. The service allows you to DVR antenna television and it has some streaming capabilities for Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. It also has internal storage.

Users complain that this service is hard to set up. They also give negative reviews to the interface, which takes time to learn. There’s a larger cost upfront, but no monthly subscription. It’s also built for only one television, with a cost to buy a Mini if you want to move it to another place. The device is self-streaming so you don’t need an external streamer.

Channel Master DVR +

When looking at an OTA DVR comparison, the Channel Master DVR+ gets high marks for being easy to use. It’s similar to a cable guide and you don’t have to pay by the month. Users also like the way it looks.

The downside is that it doesn’t have a lot of features. It can’t handle Wi-Fi, so you need a separate adapter, and it doesn’t support many streaming services, so your options are YouTube, Pandora and only a few others. You can only use it on one TV.

Simple TV

This DVR service works by connecting your router and antenna. You can watch on any television in the house, on up to four devices if you have two tuners. There are also available apps for iOS and Android mobile streaming.

You have to have an ethernet cable to use Simple TV, though, and users complain that it has lots of bugs. Sometimes you have to reload the app to fix the bugs. You need a streaming device and a hard drive to make this service work.


At the end of the day, Tablo has the best features and the highest user rankings. Users report satisfaction with the Tablo, even with the higher entry price than TiVo. Tablo makes up for its entry cost with its lower monthly subscription fee. Conduct your own OTA DVR comparison, cut the cable and enjoy antenna television today.