Here's the tricky truth for string cutters right now: The ideal DVR DVR doesn't exist.
While some products are better than others, all from Tablo to TiVo to HDHomeRun with Plex – At least have a critical weakness If you want to record broadcast TV channels from an antenna, you must decide which of the weaknesses you want to tolerate.
The good news is that the poor antenna is experiencing a rebirth and we will probably see even more DVR products over the air. But if you want to start recording channels now, here is an overview of where the current products are.
Updated February 22, 201
The Best OTA DVR for Most Cable Cutters
The Tablo Dual Lite DVR launched in late March and it replaces the old two-tuner model as the best choice for most. This whole-home solution streams recordings to almost any connected device. Plug in an external hard drive and an antenna, connect the Tablo box to your network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and you can stream live or recorded TV via the Tablo app on phones, tablets, computers, media streamers and smart TVs. (While Tablo offers a deeper DVR with 64 GB of built-in storage, the Lite version is cheaper even after you factor in an external 1 or 2 TB hard drive, plus it has a faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection.)  The Tablo is easy to set up, has wide device support, and offers common DVR features such as live TV time shifting and recording recordings in progress. In recent months, all Tablo models have also gained more recording capabilities and reduced live TV loading times. Best of all, you never have to switch inputs from the streaming box you already use. These pluses help to compensate for Tablo's audio and video quality, which does not compare with incoming broadcast quality and lack of ad-ship features.
There is a lot to be done here, cutters who have made Four TVs to their media streams, but there are probably also missing to limit Fire TV Recast (which is available in both 75- and 150 -timer SKU) for our runner-up selection in this category.  The best OTA DVR for just a TV
We said that our former pick in this category, TiVo Roamio OTA, felt a bit like an object of cable TV era. TiVo has deleted at least part of that criticism with its new TiVo Bolt OTA, which is built on much more modern hardware. But TiVo continues to ignore many of the best streaming TV services that appeal to line cutters, and the best DVR still has a TV, unless you're willing to invest in extra-expensive hardware.
Best OTA DVR for power users 
Plex is the most powerful DVR solution you can get but not the easiest to use.
Plex is the most powerful DVR solution you can get but not the easiest to use.
If you set up a DVR using Plex, it would be more straightforward to be our non-reservation top pick. As it stands, installing a Plex-based DVR is a daunting process involving products from at least three other manufacturers (you need a TV tuner, a TV antenna, and a set-top box, NAS box or PC). This mixture can lead to difficult troubleshooting.
Once you have everything together, you have a powerful expandable system that provides granular control over the recording and recording management processes. But one of the things you don't get with a Plex DVR is a web-based channel guide on most devices. (Plex has recently added a tutorial for its web app and says it comes to other platforms but has not provided a timeline.) This thorough review will help you determine if the discrepancies are worth it.
What to look for in an over-the-air DVR
Evaluation of DVR solutions is difficult, because there are so many factors that can make or break the experience. To investigate further, there are some factors to consider:
Ad-skip features : Advertising is still a staple of broadcast TV, but some DVRs provide tools to help you skip them. TiVo is the best in this regard, providing an automatic jump button for some applications, and a 30-second jumping button for everything else.
Antenna Location Options : Over-the-air DVR is useless if your antenna cannot receive channels, so unless you have a coaxial cable connected to the ceiling, you need to set up the DVR on a place with a solid indoor antenna reception. Tablo can operate anywhere in the house, HDHomeRun must be connected to your router, and TiVo and Channel Master are tied to your television. Then plan.
Granular Recording Options : Maybe you just want to keep a certain number of recent episodes, or replace your recordings with higher resolution when available. Not all DVRs are the same in the recording controls they provide. Our complete reviews will provide more information.
Live TV Time Shift and Capture : Want to take a break for snack breaks? How about looking at partway through a program so you can skip the promotional files? Most DVR solutions support this type of time shift, but HDHomeRun and Plex currently do not.
Number of tuners : Several tuners mean more simultaneous recordings or live views. TiVo has four tuners, the Tablo has two and four tuner options, and HDHomeRun lets you combine several thousand tuner units with thousands.
Outdoor streaming : Tablo and Plex allow you to watch live and record TV from outside the house. TiVo requires a $ 130 TiVo Stream for mobile device access.
Storage Options : With the exception of TiVo Roamio OTA, all of the DVRs we undergo have supported storage on external hard drives. Tablo has also started beta testing of a cloud-based storage service, but we do not yet know what it will cost, and we have not yet tested it.
Home Support : Unless you just plan to watch a single TV, you will have an entire home system, which means you buy a network tuner (Tablo or HDHomeRun) or set up electrical outlets (for example, TiVos $ 150 Mini Devices).
Streaming service integration: Many of the DVR products we have considered are the full-featured solutions that you access through apps on existing streaming devices. In these cases, you can access all your favorite streaming services along with video without video without having to switch inputs. TiVo is a remarkable exception. It supports some great streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, but you still need a separate streaming box to access others, such as Sling TV and Philo.
OTA DVR solutions that are still in development
Over-the-air DVR space should become more competitive over time. If you are on the fence of today's solutions, there are some future developments (from April 2018) to consider:
Tablo LIVE and cloud DVR: Tablo was launching a $ 99 network tuner with cloud DVR capabilities last year But so far it has not materialized. You're probably better off with $ 140 Tablo Dual Lite anyway, as it can take up to two channels at a time and has a hard drive for local storage.
HDHomeRun Connect Duo + and DVR improvements: SiliconDust's own DVR service did not perform well in our review earlier this year, but the company says that interface overhaul is on its way. SiliconDust also works with a new dual-tuner model with a built-in recording engine and 250GB of storage, making it a more direct competitor to Tablo. The company is targeting the middle of 2018 for the latter, although it has a history of delaying non-shipment products.
AirTV local channels DVR: AirTV's main hook is how it combines over-air channels and Sling TV's streaming cable channels into a single TV guide. Earlier this year, AirTV began testing DVR for over-the-air channels, and everything you need to activate it is an external hard drive. As a beta feature, it still has some major limitations – you can't see recordings until they're finished, for example – but it can become a killer solution for string cutters who are tired of switching between apps.  ATSC 3.0: This year, broadcasters are starting to test a new broadcast TV standard called ATSC 3.0 (also known as "Next Gen TV"). The new standard can support 4K HDR video, better surround sound, interactive features and easier access to phones and tablets. On the downside, ATSC 3.0 will not work with existing tuners on today's over-the-air DVR solutions. This is not an immediate concern, since any channel that adopts ATSC 3.0 must simulate in today's standard for five years, and so far, the test has just begun in Phoenix, Ariz. DVRs are still worth buying, but be aware that they will probably not work forever.
Our OTA DVR assessments