A DVR for antenna TV?

Savvy cord-cutters have figured out that if you don’t have an antenna, you’re missing out on a lot. Streaming services like Playstation Vue, Sling TV and even Hulu’s rumored upcoming service aren’t going to give you every local channel and they’re always going to be dependent on the quality of your internet service. Plus, they charge a fixed fee every month which sort of goes against the whole idea of cord-cutting, right?

By now, most readers of this blog have figured out that you can put up an antenna in most parts of the country and get dozens of channels for free. Once you have the antenna there’s nothing to buy, period. No monthly fees, nothing. There’s only one problem that antenna TV users tend to mention over and over…

That’s right. One of the best parts of having cable, satellite or streaming is the ability to pause when nature calls. If you’re watching live TV, you’re stuck with waiting until the commercial break, and that feels… so 1970s. Luckily there are answers out there.

There are several DVRs that actually let you record and pause live antenna television. My personal favorite is the iView 3500STBII. Let me explain why.  The iView isn’t perfect, and if you’re used to the smooth operation of a satellite DVR, it’s going to take some getting used to. It only records one program at a time, and it doesn’t even come with a hard drive — you have to add your own. But even though that sounds like a deal-breaker, it isn’t.

The iView is priced so low that it’s practically an impulse buy. Its built-in tuner is probably better than the one in your television, and it works with a wide variety of USB hard drives. It even works with many flash drives, meaning that you can give yourself a 15-20 hour DVR for just $20 more than the cost of the iView itself.

And really, even though the recording capability is limited, that’s not really why you’re using it. If you’re still subscribed to a streaming service like Hulu, you’re probably getting your shows from there if you’re not watching live. The DVR, even though it’s really one of my favorite inventions of the last 25 years, is most useful for pausing live TV, rewinding it to see what someone just said, and starting a program late so you can zap through commercials. Beyond that, you could be just as happy getting yesterday’s shows through Hulu so why pay more?

The iView is a simple solution that even comes with its own remote (also compatible with learning remotes) so you don’t have to be tied to the broadcast schedule. Put a flash drive in and use it to pause live TV for up to 30 minutes. That’s more than enough time to answer the door, answer the phone, or (ahem) answer the call of nature. And you get all of this for one low price and no monthly fees, ever.

Are you beginning to see why I’m so excited about this product? Try it for yourself, it’s available now at SolidSignal.com.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.