After I posted my review of Channel Master’s DVR+, a part of me was just certain that something was wrong about it. That was the first time I used the Kill A Watt meter, and despite what it told me, I thought its numbers didn’t add up. I used the same meter with the same settings on my Dish 922 receiver, and the meter told me that my 922 was responsible for about a quarter of my electric bill. That couldn’t be right.
Sure enough, the meter had somehow bumped my electricity rate from almost 9 cents per kWh to over 89 cents/kWh. (User error? Not that!) After resetting with the right numbers and calibrating against a known amount of usage (a lamp), I was ready to try again.
This time, the meter told me that my Windows Media Center computer was burning less than $1.50/month of electricity. That was based on a measurement over several days, including several hibernation periods, so I took the computer’s measured peak power consumption of 40 watts and multiplied up to about $2.60/month of 24/7 usage. The meter showed a similar reduction for the DVR+, down to a tiny 7 watts. The DVR+ is still much better with electricity, but not $12/month better. I’ve corrected those figures in the original post.
As I was doing these retests, a comment came in. I was expecting someone to tell me that my power figures had to be full of beans, but this one corrected my remarks about DVR+ buffering. Turns out that it works just fine if it’s got an external hard drive plugged in, so I also added that note to the original post. That’s where it all stands now, and if I ever learn how to reprogram the DVR+ skip-ahead buttons, I’ll let you know.
Update: Commenter phil came through with the full DVR+ manual (PDF) which reveals all sorts of things, including the secret of reprogramming the buttons. To change from the default 10 seconds, just go to the DVR menu, which of course is where you would expect to find remote control options.
Once upon a time, I helped prepare in-box manuals, so I understand that printing a zillion short booklets saves real money over printing a zillion full manuals. In this case, with such non-intuitive options, I think that Channel Master would be well served to include those full manuals. Or maybe just single sheets of attention-grabbing colored paper with the note to be sure to go online for the full version. Then everybody would know exactly how it’s supposed to work.