Channel Master just announced through a blog post that it has begun selling its new Stream+ receiver, which should come out in mid-January. The technical specs are everything that I hoped for and maybe a little more.
As expected, Stream+ runs on Android TV with full access to the Google Play store. According to its press release, the device also includes:
- Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. Better than the DVR+’s Ethernet-only connection.
- Integrated voice search. What used to be an amazing remote control feature is quickly becoming required.
- 4K and HDR viewing technology. Soon to be as ubiquitous as HDTV.
- A quad-core CPU for advanced gaming. Never mind gaming, I appreciate what a good CPU can do for peppy responses when navigating Android TV. Do people still play games on general-purpose devices? I really don’t know.
- Two built-in ATSC 1.0 tuners with a MicroSD storage option for DVR. Two tuners are required for a decent OTA DVR. MicroSD makes a small form factor, but USB hard drives can provide more storage. (Update: They tell me the microSD can be up to 512gb. Not bad!)
- USB 3.0 for personal media use and future options. Does that mean users will be able to use it for DVR storage like the DVR+? (Update: They tell me USB storage is in development, but they wanted to get microSD certified first.)
Apparently Stream+ is going to rely on Google’s Live Channels for its free(!) program guide data after separating from Rovi a few weeks ago. I played around with that app a little on my AirTV Player, and I hope it integrates better with the Stream+.
Perhaps the best news is the price point. During pre-release, Channel Master is selling the Stream+ for $99 delivered. That’s a no-brainer for a subscription-free OTA DVR with high-quality over-the-top capabilities. If it works as advertised, the Stream+ could become the signature device for cord-cutters everywhere. I’ve placed my order.