Cord cutters can have DVRs with multiroom and placeshifting

Magnavox's DVRs don't need cable TV or subscription fees to put recordings on your phone.

Most of the developments in DVRs are for people who still have cable or aren't bothered by paying a monthly fee (see the new TiVo Bolt and Dish Network's new Hopper 3), but what about cord cutters? Three new Funai-built, Magnavox-branded DVRs due out later this year have no subscription fee and aren't built for cable at all: They simply record free TV broadcasts via antenna. Better yet, they can stream those recordings to other boxes in your house and stream or transfer the recording to your mobile device (Android or iOS) for watching on the go.

These aren't the first OTA DVRs we've seen from Magnavox, but adding the ability to placeshift recordings and share them around the house among boxes is a nice bonus. The interface is plain but functional, and at least in the CES demo the boxes were all working well. Users can even expand the recording space by connecting new drives with USB.

There are a few downsides, however. The boxes don't have any apps embedded, so you'll probably want to pair them with a smart TV or another set-top box for Netflix, YouTube and the rest. Also, while there's no ongoing fee or service plan, these DVRs aren't too cheap to start with:

  • MDR877H/F7 $399.99 Q4 2016

  • TB560HP/F7 $449.99 Q4 2016

  • TB560HS/F7 $499.99 Q4 2016

The MDR comes with a DVD burner if you need to put your recordings on cold storage, while the two 560 models come with 1TB hard drives inside. The only difference is that the HP has two tuners while the HS has six. Are those good prices? Right now the TiVo Roamio OTA is out of production and tough to find, while Channel Master has a similar DVR with a 1TB drive for $499 with streaming apps built in. But it doesn't do the placeshifting. If you're interested, keep an eye out for these arriving in Q4.