LAS VEGAS — Channel Master's DVR+ has been one of the most affordable broadcast TV DVRs available, but it has seriously lacked in the internet TV arena compared to it's competitors. LinearTV, a just-announced software upgrade for DVR+, has the potential to change that.
LinearTV works as an aggregator, pulling down internet streams to create new channels in the DVR's TV guide. Once they've been added to the guide, they function just like any broadcast channel. That means DVRing the morning news or an old episode of the Colbert Report is as simple as a key press on the DVR+ remote.
Going hands-on with the software upgrade, I found it tremendously snappy; each "channel" loaded as quickly a traditional TV channel — an impressive feat on a show floor full of Wi-Fi interference and sluggish broadband. It was also simple to add new channels.
The aggregator seemed to work best with websites that function like current TV channels and stream 24/7. Other sites, like YouTube, were a little more clumsy, pulling users into a search scenario. If ChannelMaster adds the ability to add your YouTube playlist or favorite Pandora stations things could get very interesting real fast, but there are currently no plans for such features.
LinearTV will arrive as an update for current DVR+ owners in early 2015 and will require little more than a download and an online registration to start working.
Alex Cranz is the Assistant Reviews Editor at Tom’s Guide. When she’s not devising tests for new tech she’s figuring out the best way to run Plex on it. Follow Alex @alexhcranz. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.