Mentioned Above Amazon Fire TV Recast Read CNET’s review Now playing: Watch this: Josh Goldman/CNET Though the Roamio OTA Vox is discontinued, you can still find it on sale. It’s not as fast as the Bolt but works in the same way. Try to get the lifetime option and you won’t have to pay ongoing fees. Read CNET’s review 38 The Tablo Quad is the latest version of the popular cord-cutting DVR and goes all-in on features. There’s room for an internal drive and the inclusion of four tuners should cater for even the most demanding users. It’s not the easiest device to setup though, and its device compatibility doesn’t live up to the same power-user expectations. AirTV: Best supplement for Sling TV Sarah Tew/CNET Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. $229 Types of OTA DVR: Set top vs. network streamer? Sarah Tew/CNET The are two main types of DVR: a traditional set top, which connects directly to a single TV via an HDMI output, or a network streamer, which connects to your home network and streams to your TVs (via streamer like a Roku or, in the case of Recast, Amazon Fire TV) and other devices (phones and tablets) in the home or on the go. The TiVo Bolt OTA is a traditional set-top (which also has in-home streaming) while the AirTV and Amazon Fire TV Recast are straight network streamers. A set-top is best for people who usually watch on one TV, while a network device is for people who want to watch on multiple devices — say a tablet, phone and a living room TV. In general a network streamer is the more flexible option, and can better complement live TV streaming apps or services like Netflix. Other features to look for Regardless of which style of DVR you choose, there are some features common to both that you should look for. Two or more HD tuners — When it comes to HD tuners, the more your device has the merrier. The bare minimum is two so you can record two channels at the same time, or watch one while you record another, but heavy antenna heads might appreciate even more. 1TB or more of storage — Depending on the device you have, a terabyte of storage space should offer about 150 hours of programs. But if you choose a device such as the TiVo which automatically records shows it “thinks you like,” you could run out very quickly. Which is why you also need… The ability to add extra storage via USB or SD card — An external hard drive is an excellent option, providing your DVR doesn’t need a proprietary model. Generally, a 1TB external hard drive is cheap at about 50 bucks. A 14-day program guide is essential on a modern DVR. Sarah Tew/CNET 14 days of guide data — While seven days is really the minimum useful amount, two weeks gives you more flexibility. No ongoing fees — Most people cut the cord to save money, so paying yet another monthly fee doesn’t make a ton of sense. TiVo does offer a lifetime service option so you pay for the device and guide data upfront. DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu and more: Live TV channels compared: Here’s how the top 100 channels stack up.Amazon Fire TV Recast review: One of the best cord-cutter companions yet. See at TiVo Sarah Tew/CNET Is it a streamer or is it a DVR? While the Stream plus is not quite there yet, some upcoming improvements — the ability to watch a still-recording program from the start and a full 14-day guide — should make this little streaming box more attractive. Amazon Fire TV Recast: Best DVR for cord cutters 17 Photos Share your voice Review • Amazon Fire TV Recast review: One of the best cord-cutter companions yet See it The AirTV has its pluses, and it is the cheapest of the three, but it’s really designed to complement a Sling TV subscription by adding local channels. So that’s an extra $25 a month on top.When paired with a Sling TV subscription, the AirTV provides the local channels that the service lacks. While you can use it on its own without paying extra money per month, the Amazon Fire TV Recast offers a better overall experience. And you need to add an external hard drive (not included) to make the AirTV function as a true DVR. Read CNET’s review See at Amazon Amazon Fire TV Recast Read CNET’s review Channel Master Stream Plus See at Amazon See at Channel Master 2:14 Read CNET’s hands-on Read CNET’s review There are currently three standout products to consider when buying a cord cutting DVR: the Amazon Fire TV Recast, the AirTV and the TiVo Bolt OTA. Each has its own unique features and capabilities, but there’s one I’d recommend to beginners and old hands alike. Let’s dive in.Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.My top three picks TiVo Bolt OTA: Best set-top DVR Dan Ackerman/CNET Comments Sarah Tew/CNET If you want a traditional set-top DVR, the TiVo Bolt OTA is your best option. While it’s pricier than the other products here (with service included), it also offers a ton of features including streaming apps, packaged with TiVo’s superb interface. While TiVo has the best name recognition of the three devices, the Bolt is not the “gotcha” you would expect from a company that basically invented the modern DVR. The Bolt relies a little too heavily on streaming apps and it’s twice as expensive — or more — than the other two. See at Tablo Three more optionsNone of those top three appeal to you? I’ve also reviewed a trio of other OTA DVRs that I didn’t like as much. They still have appeal for certain users, however. If you live in an area with good access to TV broadcast channels, putting up an antenna is an easy and inexpensive (read: free) way to get the shows you want without paying for cable. And hooking a DVR to that antenna enables you to unlock the full potential of those broadcasts: saving them to watch later, skipping commercials and even, in some cases, streaming them to watch on multiple TVs or outside the home.The downside, of course, is that “free” turns into, well, not free, especially with DVRs that charge a monthly service fee. A bare-bones DVR like the Channel Master Stream Plus starts at about $150 while a TiVo with all the bells and whistles is about $500 after you pay the lifetime service fee. But compared to the cost of a live TV streaming services like DirecTV Now or YouTube TV, even the most expensive antenna DVR will pay for itself eventually. TiVo Roamio OTA Vox See at Amazon Preview • Amazon Fire TV Recast: The antenna DVR with Alexa starts at $230 10 old cables you should keep around (and 6 to toss) Cord Cutters (OTT) News • The Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR is back on sale for $190 TiVo Bolt OTA vs Amazon Fire TV Recast: which DVR should… Nuvyyo Tablo Quad: Best DVR for tweakers CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags The Amazon Fire TV Recast is my pick for most people looking to cut the cord.It’s not perfect — it really needs a Fire TV stick to work (and a Prime membership is also helpful) — but its combination of features and flexibility put it over the top. At $220-plus it’s not cheap, but at least it comes with an onboard hard drive. And there’s no monthly fee.While you’ll need a Fire TV Stick to watch on a TV, the lack of any ongoing fees makes the Recast very attractive. Amazon says it is also working to improve the visibility of live TV within its interface, which will make it even more easy to use. DVRs
SDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019 Remember that brief period of time when everything seemed to be going OK for the gang on Riverdale? Me neither. But things were looking up. Bughead was back together, with Betty working to suss out the identity of the Black Hood. Varchie (we need a better ship name) has been the strongest pair all season, showing each other nothing but love and support. Well, no more after last night. For all its artsy lighting and experimental storytelling tricks, Riverdale is still a soap opera. There’s nothing a soap opera likes to do more than break your heart. And when it does, it breaks every piece of it, even the places you didn’t know could break. How can they expect to keep you watching if everyone’s happy?This week’s episode picks up in the wake of last week’s triptych. Archie and Veronica are boning constantly. Their fear of the Black Hood has manifested itself in a desire to have sex all the time, everywhere. Why narrator Jughead knows so much about their exploits is never answered. Is Archie telling him all this? That’s not cool, Archie. Everything’s going great until Archie, in the heat of the moment, says “I love you.” Veronica doesn’t say it back, and from there comes the tension for the rest of the episode. Archie wants to talk about it, Veronica doesn’t and oh boy, the kids handle this just about as poorly as can be. For once on this show, the parents actually give decent advice. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. It’s no surprise that the best advice comes from Fred Andrews. He says those words happen on different schedules with different people, and you shouldn’t pressure someone to say them. The real surprise comes from Hermione Lodge, who talks to her daughter about being ready to hear the words. That’s way more of a mom than she’s been all season.KJ Apa as Archie Andrews and Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)Fortunately for Varchie (still sounds bad), Betty and Jughead are there with a distraction. Jughead did some research on the Riverdale Reaper after what Candyman told him last week. It leads him to a house where a family of four was murdered. It just happens to be the same house that the Black Hood sent Betty too and told her to look in a mirror. But they can’t deal with that right now, because FP is getting out of jail. Instead, they send Archie and Veronica to play detective for the week. It turns out the house belonged to a family of five. One kid managed to escape, and the police changed his identity to keep him safe. That kid grew up to be the Riverdale High janitor. At first, Veronica thinks he’s the Black Hood. Let’s be honest, he does give off some serious creep vibes. But Archie looks into his eyes and concludes they’re not the same eyes he looked into in Pop’s diner. That he could have been using contact lenses never crosses Archie’s mind. Even though the show is telling us this guy’s not the killer, I’m not quite convinced yet. Forgetting that colored contacts exist would be a very Archie thing to do.Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead are dealing with FP’s release from prison and subsequent retirement from the Serpents. He’s clean now, and takes a job at Pop’s. Cheryl delights in making him clean up spilled milkshakes because she’s still awful. (And creepy possessive of Josie. This is the most interesting story going on right now, and the episode only gives it two short, rushed scenes.) Jughead feels he has to stay in the Serpents because of everything that’s happened so far, but he promises his dad he’ll keep writing. Betty wants to become “Serpent-adjacent,” and learns she has to go through her own initiation: a half-striptease pole dance. Why? Where Archie and Veronica’s story had a fun mystery and real, relatable relationship drama, this… isn’t that. It’s like the episode was trying to do too much with Jughead’s story in too little time. Plot points come out of nowhere and are dropped immediately, and nothing feels satisfying. The conclusion to Archie and Veronica’s story had natural build-up over the course of the episode. Betty and Jughead’s ending felt tossed out there at the end.Madchen Amick as Alice Cooper and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)Alice’s turn in this episode also comes out of nowhere, and I really wanted more of it. With FP’s exoneration, she returns to her serpent roots, making awkward jokes about FP’s sexual frustration right in front of his son and her daughter. She even attends his retirement party in full serpent gear, making fun of Betty for attending in her modest dress. I really wanted to spend more time with this version of Alice. Where did it come from? Why does FP’s retirement party bring it out of her? I really hope the show explores this side of her more in the future. Otherwise, it’s a missed opportunity. What we all could have used less of was Betty’s striptease. The show even goes out of its way to tell us what a sexist tradition it is, only for Betty to go through with it anyway. Why? It doesn’t fit her character, her becoming Serpent-adjacent has never been discussed before this, and it’s not even sexy/titillating. Unlike the other sexy scenes on this show, this one just feels gross in a way that the show can’t have intended. We know Lili Reinhart is an adult, but in the world of the show, Betty is a teenager stripping for a group of much older men for reasons that were only brought up minutes before.Of course, the real reason she does it is because the plot needed her too. It’s the episode just before the midseason finale, which means everything needs to go to hell. Betty needs to do something to make Jughead push her away because that’s how teen soaps work. Jughead’s dad reveals he’s not retiring, and the reason is Jughead’s dealings with Penny Peabody. Jughead is made to think his actions only draw people into destructive cycles, and Betty’s show hammers that point home. What’s even worse is this comes right after Archie and Veronica’s break-up. After Archie tells Veronica that he’s not going to pressure her to say he loves her, she tells him that it should matter to him that she can’t say it. So the episode ends by destroying everything we love, turning us into emotional wrecks just one week before the midseason finale. This episode was especially nakedly manipulative, but damn if it isn’t good at it. (Also, while Archie and Veronica’s/Betty’s cover of the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World” was good, people need to listen to the original Tears for Fears version. It’s a better song.)Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)Riverdale has always been just a little trashy. What saves it is its self-awareness. It knows it’s a trashy teen soap opera and makes no apologies for it. Even here, where it devolves into a rushed, uncomfortable mess, it’s still not a bad hour of TV. Riverdale is rarely bad, and even its missteps are entertaining on some level. It’s also usually smart enough to avoid the biggest pitfalls of the genre. Well, after it killed the Archie-Grundy relationship anyway. Even last night though, when it produced an overall fun, bonkers episode, it stepped into some uncomfortable territory. First, there was the Betty striptease. Again, why? Then there’s the end. With both Bughead and (sigh) Varchie gone, the door (or window, rather) is open for… Barchie? Betchie? OK, maybe Archie just has to die alone. His name is too stupid for him to find love. The fact that the show avoided having Betty and Veronica compete over Archie, like they do in the comics, was one of the coolest things about it. Now, it looks like they’re heading that direction anyway. I hope that’s not where this goes, but it’s not like this show is immune to bad ideas. I guess we’ll see where this goes in next week’s season finale. Possibly. It looks so bonkers, it may not even have time for this relationship drama. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target
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