|Mediasonic’s HomeWorX HW-150 PVR|
Cutting the cord for cable TV can present problems. For me it was recording television shows I want to watch later. VCRs were great before HDTV and DVRs are fabulous. However, VCRs can’t record current TV signals because they have no tuners. Another issue is that DVRs can record multiple channels at the same time only if you pay a service fee to companies like TiVo. But I found a way to record TV inexpensively-- it’s a little PVR (personal video recorder) from Mediasonic.
I got the Mediasonic HW-150PVR HomeWorX ATSC Digital TV Converter Box with Media Player and Recording PVR Function/HDMI Out (Black). They sell this on Amazon.com for around $37.
This converter box will output a 1080 HD signal via an HDMI cable to your HDTV or a standard definition signal through component cables or standard RCA cables. You can watch a HD picture or a standard definition signal depending on the cord used and, of course, the TV.
The set up of this unit was very easy. All you need is to plug in a USB external hard drive or use a USB Flash Drive to record something. TV programs in HD are big so I would recommend the hard drive.
The cost for a bigger thumb drive makes the hard drive approach less expensive. Furthermore, you can save more programs.
You can use the HW-150PVR to watch TV through the box or stick a USB compatible drive right into the port in the front. Recording is as simple as pressing the Record button or by setting it up to record something later just by hitting the Timer button just like a VCR would do. You can also use the built in program guide to select a program you want to record and by clicking on that program the unit schedules it just like a DVR. All this will go to your USB drive.
By the way, this unit is actually made with metal too. I have had a lot of electronics lately that came in plastic cases. This looks like better quality.
I have to say I spent some hours looking for a device to record over the air television. I looked in my local stores and the sales reps in my local big box stores kept pushing TiVo. They had no DVRs on the shelf except for that one company. When I looked at all the VCRs none had digital tuners! I’ve heard of DVD recorders with tuners and hard drives but none are being carried in stores around me.
This Mediasonic HW-150PVR unit jumped out at me as solving a problem. They make other units as well. I have to try some of those too. You should look at these also because they are all inexpensive and that’s what I wanted! Best Buy and other big box stores better crack open some shelf space for Mediasonic. Had I seen one of these six months ago I would have snapped them up sooner. For just a little more than $37, they also make great gifts.
When you do finally decide that you had enough of those cable fees but still need a way to pick up a good signal for HDTV, then you should try the Mediasonic’s HW-210AN Flat HDTV antenna that I also got to review. This product works like a champ!
The antenna is small, just a bit bigger than a wash cloth. I liked the fact that it’s flat and can hide behind stuff and still get a great picture.
They even designed it with a white side and a black side so you can flip it if you want to make it less visible by having the color blend in with the surroundings. They do give you some hook & loop pads to help stick the antenna to something. They even give you some pins and there are some holes in the antenna to pin it if you chose that route. Mine is just propped up and in an unobtrusive spot.
Mediasonic gives you a nice coaxial cable to attach your antenna. Usually when you get cables with a device they are adequate but cheap. Mediasonic’s cables are high quality with nice long firm connectors guaranteeing you a good connection and the signal you are looking for. You don’t want to buy a great antenna only to lose the signal through a poor cable or a connection that isn’t complete.
Nowadays HDTV signals are broadcast for free over the air in an uncompressed format. Cable TV can be compressed to squeeze more channels through the cable “pipe” so you are paying ever increasing amounts to the big cable providers. Why pay for something you can get for free? And if all you want are the networks and some local stations go with a good antenna like Mediasonic’s HW-210AN and you’ll save a bundle. Even if you’re happy with cable, you better buy one before it goes out so you have something to watch while waiting for the cable repair guy.
The HW-210AN is a simple and clean design. Face it antennas should be something you don’t notice and this one accomplishes that easily. What you want an antenna for is a clear picture and Mediasonic delivers that at a fair price.
I can get all the programming I want over the air. And for the cable shows I want...there’s always DVDs, streaming, and my local public library. I don’t starve for quality TV. I cut my cord and have more money in my pocket.
*Disclaimer: Free products were provided to facilitate this review--not my opinion.*