I drive past the Bose corporate offices every day on my way to and from work. I wouldn’t exactly call Mountain Drive a mountain. It’s only a hill overlooking the Massachusetts Turnpike, but the Bose address is The Mountain, Framingham. I’ve never been inside, but c|net recently was able to take a peek.
Before Bob Maresca was named the CEO of Bose he lived in the neighborhood behind mine. That was when I had the porch turned into a sun room and I bought a Bose Wave for it. I don’t know if Maresca still lives there, but I assume after his promotion he was able to afford a bigger/better house.
Aereo, the “DVR in the cloud” service that I used until it was voted out of existence by the Supreme Court, is now a distant memory. So what are the alternatives? One of them seemed too good to be true — an HDTV tuner that doubles as a fully functional digital video recorder for no more than what a converter alone costs (storage and antenna not included). But expert video calibrator Robert Heron recommends it in his list of cord-cutting gear so, with my curiosity piqued, I bought one and, incredibly, the thing really does work! Keeping in mind that it’s a single-tuner DVR, which was the service level I used with Aereo, I would even say that it works quite well. At the moment on Amazon it’s going for a measly 33 bucks.
There are actually two products. The Mediasonic HomeWorx HW180STB and the original model, the HW-150PVR, which was my choice because it includes component video and digital audio outputs the newer model lacks. Also, the USB port is on the front, which a lot of people complained about on Amazon, but I prefer it because plug access is easier. There is no digital rights protection when recording, and the MTS files are supported in Windows Media Player, which was how I got the screen shots that are embedded below.
I successfully tested the 150PVR with a passive Mohu Leaf antenna, a 500 GB 2.5 inch external Western Digital drive and a SanDisk 64 GB Ultra Fit CZ43. An older flash drive I tried worked all right with SD material, but it choked trying to keep up with HD. The HomeWorx can format in FAT and play either FAT or NTFS, but NTFS is a must to get programs recorded as single large files, as seen in Windows Explorer. There are various operational quirks to get used to, and these are well documented in the reviews on Amazon, but for me they’re part of the fun.
Even if it isn’t used for scheduling recordings, the Mediasonic HomeWorx makes it possible to pause and resume while watching a live program, which is a feature I feel should be standard in HDTV tuners. The recording quality is impeccable, assuming a good signal, and for anyone thinking of leaving cable TV and going with over-the-air television, this product absolutely should be their first option for a DVR. Right now the total cost for a complete setup is about $75 — $33 + $18 + $25, for the HomeWorx DVR, Sandisk 64 GB flash drive, and an Amazon Basics 35-mile antenna, respectively. Your antenna mileage may vary. (When in doubt, Go Mohu.)
Except for the Wonder Woman picture, which is SD, these screen shots are from 1080 recordings that I resized to 720.
When the timing works out, I listen to the CBS Evening News during the drive home from work, on WBZ radio in Boston. Yesterday, when the report began, as soon as I heard the voice of the person filling in for Scott Pelley, I shouted out loud, “JANE PAULEY!” What a pleasant surprise on such a terrible news day, with the murders of a TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia, by yet another deranged shooter who had no trouble getting a gun.