For cord-cutters, streaming local channels can be like pitching a no-hitter for baseball players—really hard to pull off. The most savvy cord-cutters use antennas to catch all their local channels.
One of the biggest downfalls of antennas was always the lack of DVR and guide; that’s not the case anymore, friends. Say hello to recording your local channels and goodbye to foot cream commercials with our list of the best OTA DVRs.
We went through a lot of options and features to weigh out the best OTA DVR, but we finally came to a consensus on an overall winner. Let’s talk about it.
#1 Tablo Dual: Watch DVR content at home or on the go
What we like about it: Recorded content available anywhere with an internet connection
Drawbacks: Monthly subscription required for advanced TV guide access
Who it’s perfect for: Cord-cutters looking for the best overall deal
Mix the price, the easy-to-navigate interface, and the fact that you can watch recorded content on the go, and the Tablo Dual is our winner for the best OTA DVR. You can check it out on Amazon and get it for $179.99.
What sets the Tablo Dual OTA DVR apart
Where most DVR boxes connect to the TV, the Tablo Dual is a totally wireless system. It comes with an ethernet cord if you want to connect the box directly through your internet router, but you’ve also got the four best letters in technology—Wi-Fi. Since you don’t need to plug the Tablo Dual directly into your TV, you can set it and your antenna somewhere out of sight that gets great signal reception.
You access your menu and guide with Tablo Dual via an app you can download on your streaming devices, game consoles, phones, tablets, computers, and compatible smart TVs. Through the app, you control what you want to watch and record. It’s kind of like if Netflix were a live local channel service.
A whopping six devices can stream at the same time, so you won’t need to get in a fight with your kid when it’s your turn to watch TV.
Accessible anywhere, but the guide comes at a price
It’s true—to get a comprehensive TV guide that goes beyond a 24-hour period, you’ll need to pay a $4.99/mo. subscription fee. Out of the box, your Tablo Dual menu will have an updated guide for everything on TV that day, but it won’t go beyond that.
And no, you don’t need the service. You can always visit the TV guide website and get all the info you need there. Just make sure to set your recordings in the morning or set up permanent recordings so that Jeopardy! always gets recorded and you get your Alex Trebek time no matter what.
We’ve tested all the major OTA DVR devices, and though we love the Tablo Dual’s wireless capabilities, it does have some quirks. Occasionally, the app would crash on our iPhone and Apple TV devices, and we’d need to restart the app. Everything crashes from time to time, but the Tablo Dual startup process takes a moment to get going, and that was annoying to repeat. Thankfully, crashing was rare and just required the patience of a restart to get everything humming once again.
All in all, the Tablo Dual is a great OTA DVR option that works as a much cheaper TiVo alternative.
Compatible devices for the Tablo Dual app
Tablo Dual works with tons of apps, which is always nice. You can watch Tablo-provided local channels using the Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox One, and more.