Though I’ve been a technology careerist my entire life, I’m not one of those consumer types who just has to replace older gear that is perfectly adequate to my needs simply in order to have the newest gadgets. So it wasn’t until a couple months ago, when my long-suffering VCR began failing, that I began looking for a digital video recorder (DVR).
To further cement my image as a dinosaur, let me mention that my TV service is over-the-air (OTA) exclusively. First off, I’ve never lived anywhere where cable (or pizza delivery) was available; and as for satellite, I subscribe to the philosophy of Fred Reed, who once observed that “if the good lord chose to make idiots, that was his business, but I wasn’t going to pay thirty bucks a month to look at them.” The Phoenix area has a plethora of digital OTA stations and networks, and they do for me just fine.
For whatever reason, those of us looking for an subscription-free OTA-capable DVR have really only one choice available in the marketplace, and that’s the ChannelMaster CM7400. [Update, 4/2014: This is no longer the case. The TiVo line now records OTA, and is so much better.]