OTA (Over the Air) DVRs

All that's needed to watch amazing 1080i resolution broadcasts over the air for free is a high definition TV set with a built-in HDTV tuner and an HDTV antenna. These are the basics for cutting the cable cord, but losing the cable box means losing DVR capabilities, i.e. the ability to record for later play back, pause, rewind and fast-forward live television. An OTA DVR solves this problem.


Over-the-Air HDTV can be received by using an ordinary TV antenna. See article on HD Antennas for more details and a list your local HD broadcast stations.

Over the air (OTA) DVR options have come down in price, and there are now quite a few options. Paired with a good HD antenna, it is possible to regain the convenience of a cable service with a higher quality. Cable operators compress their TV signals to conserve bandwidth. Over-the-Air (OTA) HDTV signals received through antennas are uncompressed, delivering an incredibly crisp HD picture far superior to what Cable providers provide.


Based in Canada, this company makes excellent OTA DVRs. This DVR does not connect directly with a television. Instead, it connects to the HD antenna and the router and by so doing, allows you to broadcast the received content to Tablets, Laptops, FireTV, AppleTV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast via WiFi.

The Tablo requires an external storage, such as USB hard drive which does not cme with the device. The storage enables the pausing, recording and skipping features.

Tablo Options

  • Two Tuners allow you to record and watch two different programs on up to 6 devices in your home. Connects to your antenna (we recommend the Mohu Leaf) and record up to 2 shows at a time.
  • The four tuner option allow you to record and watch four programs concurrently.

Tivo Roamio

TiVo Romio

The TiVo Roamio OTA DVR works for both over-the-air broadcast signals and streaming services - Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, VUDU and more - and Searches TV and streaming content simultaneously.

It is very easy to setup. All that's required is an HD Antenna, the TiVo Roamio OTA HD DVR and the Streaming Media Player.

A subscription is required to keep you TiVi working properly. Subscriptions are either annual (payable monthly) or lifetime (pay once for lifetime). The Roamio OTA 1TB model lists for $399 and includes a lifetime subscription. This is your best option.

TiVo also makes the TiVo Bolt that has an additional interface for cable (Roamio does not have a cable connection). In contrast to the Raomio, the lifetime subscription is sold separately and costs an additional $549.99 on top of the cost of the DVR or annually for $149.00 paybale monthly.

Other related articles: Free HDTV Service Plucked Straight from the Air | Convert your old television to receive Digital TV | Cable TV Cord Cutting - the alternatives