I used to have a Replay unit in the early 90's for recording TV shows\u00a0 \u2014 it was clunky and the hard drive was noisy but it worked. To record shows today you have to depend on a digital recorder being built into a cable box\/satellite receiver. That not only keeps you paying for the TV service, in a sense, but also dictates how the DVR's used by the company providing the TV signal. So if you've cut the cord and get your TV from an external antenna, you've been out of luck. So say hello to the $249.99 Channel Master DVR+ but don\u2019t say hello to extra fees, because using it doesn\u2019t cost anything and that includes the electronic program guide that updates the TV shows on a viewable grid.\r\n\r\nSo lets see how far I can get before I need to use the manual. I\u2019m going to connect the lead from an external HD antenna into the Channel Master and output the signal using a HDMI cable that will go into one of the empty ports on my HDTV. I don\u2019t have an external USB drive, so I\u2019ll be relying on the 16MB of internal flash memory for storage options (about 2 hours HD or 6 hours standard-def). To connect to the Internet, I\u2019ve an Ethernet cable taken from my Blu-ray player nearby, but perhaps I should be using the built-in WiFi instead. That\u2019s the extent of the connections I\u2019m expecting to do.\r\n\r\nLooking at the back of the Channel Master DVR+, which is surprising thin and light (no hard drive to weigh it down), I can see that my expectations, with the exception of there being built-in WiFi, are correct: there is a USB socket for an external WiFI USB dongle however (once I plugged one in, a quick trip to Settings\/Network had it finding my home network and auto syncing once I gave up the password). Plus there\u2019s an optical audio output for use with an amplifier or sound bar. There\u2019s also an IR input for an optional IR extender. The front features a center IR panel (sorta Cylon-y) and a power tab. Plug it into the power brick, turn it on and leave it on, I say. The only other indicators are LEDS: Bright Blue\/On, Red\/Recording, Dim Blue\/Standby.\r\n\r\nPowering it up, I followed an initial onscreen \u201cWizard\u201d that took care of the settings (I also checked whether there were any updates to the firmware, there were so I took care of it). The Program Guide deserves a shout-out. It occupies the bottom portion of the TV screen so you can continue to watch what is on. It also records what you\u2019ve selected by using a name \u2014 making it easier to do and a lot less problematic when you\u2019re mind is wandering or multi-tasking.\r\n\r\nFlipping through the channels, I didn't see anything to complain about \u2014 those HD channels being picked up looked fine.\u00a0 I dig the remote \u2014 it\u2019s a long candy bar-shape but fits nicely in the hand. There\u2019s plenty of space for the controls at the bottom, the numeric pad at the top and the special buttons (Guide, Info, Exit\/Back and Direction-Pad) at the center. The remote also takes care of such \u201cTV remote\u201d needs as changing the channels, working the volume and accessing the Program Guide. Use the manual, as I did, to program it for your TV.\r\n\r\nSo with a recording taken care of, playing it back took but a few seconds to initiate and yes, the picture looked fine; it\u2019s a HD image with all the color intensity and detail that I was just seeing live a couple of minutes ago. But there was an occasional glitch\/artifact which I credit to the antenna, as I\u2019ve yet to watch OTA without some little bugaboo happening now and then.\r\n\r\nI could also see that using an external USB drive for upping the storage level is more of a necessity than an \u201coptional\u201d accessory. What makes this even more true is that pausing \u201clive\u201d TV using just internal storage tops out at 15 minutes (as opposed to 2 hours), doesn\u2019t let you \u201crewind\u201d the TV recording (as opposed to 2 hours of backward swimming) and, worst of all, can only record one show, not two. Since the Channel Master DVR+ has two TV tuners, this is a waste. Later I connected a 750GB USB drive so as to enable all these features.\r\n\r\nBottom line: The Channel Master DVR+ performs with both simplicity and efficiency. Those who want to be able to record their TV shows, and have given up on paying for the TV signal, will not be disappointed with what they have paid for.