There are several DVR boxes that have no monthly fee and will record shows.
Most of these No-Fee DVR boxes also have built-in digital (ATSC) tuners. Meaning they can play and record free-over-the-air channels such as CBS, FOX, NBC, and much more.
So What’s the Downside?
Subscription-free DVRs often don’t come with many of the features a cable TV company monthly fee box has.
For example, commercials will not be skip-able; and support is often limited.
What is the Upside?
The main positive is the one-time price of buying the DVR and not worrying about monthly fees.
If you are looking to cut the cable cord, then a DVR box with no fees is ideal since it can record over-the-air free TV broadcasts.
Is a Subscription Free DVR Right for You?
This question will no doubt depend on the person and what they are looking for in a home entertainment box.
While one person won’t mind fast-forwarding through commercials, another person might.
Most people looking for such DVRs are in the process of getting rid of cable TV.
If you are getting rid of cable/satellite TV, then a DVR box with an ATSC tuner is a great option since it can pick up and record over-the-air antenna TV.
Below are some of our picks for DVR boxes with many good units available.
As always, be sure to read reviews on Amazon, forums, or elsewhere to be sure a unit is the right pick for you.
*This post contains affiliate links
Our Picks for Best Subscription Free DVR’s
- Mediasonic HOMEWORX
- ZJBOX Digital TV Converter Box
- EXuby X3200RF
- Fire TV Recast
Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box with Recording / Media Player / TV Tuner Function (HW130STB)
It has a built-in TV tuner card so it can convert free over-the-air channels and record them.
It uses an external hard-drive or flash drive to record shows that must be bought separately.
The Mediasonic Homeworx is a very low-cost option with good basic functionality.
There are more expensive units with large internal storage and more functions, but for those looking to simply record and play back TV shows or movies it is worth a look.
Digital TV Converter Box, ATSC Cabal Box – ZJBOX for Analog HDTV Live1080P with TV Recording&Playback,HDMI Output,Timer Setting TV Tuner Function Set Top Box Digital Channel Free
The ZJBOX is a digital TV converter box that is similar to the Mediasonic HOMEWORX.
It can record and playback videos with a simple to use menu system.
The unit records to a flash drive which needs to be bought separately.
It can connect to a TV with HDMI or the older AV connections, making it compatible with almost any TV.
eXuby Digital TV Converter Box for TV View and Record HD Digital Channels for Free (Instant or Scheduled Recording, 1080P HDTV, HDMI Output, 7 Day Program Guide) – Comes with RF and RCA Cable
This unit from eXuby is another low cost option for recording over the air TV channels.
It is a good basic DVR for picking up broadcasts over-the-air and recording them.
It Connects to a TV with HDMI, Composite, or Coaxial cable.
Fire TV Recast, over-the-air DVR, 1 TB, 150 hours, DVR for cord cutters
The Fire TV Recast is a good option for those who use a Fire TV stick.
It has two versions, 500GB and 1TB, for lots of storage of TV shows and movies.
The Fire TV Recast does not work with Cable TV and is built to work with free over-the-air TV channels.
It also does not hook to a TV with a cable but transmits the video over the WiFi.
This means a compatible smart TV or Fire TV device will need to be used to watch recorded videos.
An antenna will be needed to pick up OTA stations depending on how far away from the towers it is.
There are many good OTA TV antennas, from large outdoor units to cheap indoor models.
The Fire TV Recast is a good option for those looking to get rid of cable and get rid of monthly fees.
Most locations in the USA can get 50-100 TV channels for free over the air, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, Univision, and more.