SiliconDust has refreshed its lineup of HDHomeRun over-the-air (OTA) network tuners with three new models that gain DVR capabilities, ATSC 3.0 tuners, or both. Replacing the old CONNECT DUO and CONNECT QUATRO models are a new pair of devices called the HDHomeRun FLEX DUO and HDHomeRun FLEX 4K which both now have a USB port that allows you to connect an external hard drive for DVR capabilities, eliminating the need for a standalone DVR. As the new same suggests, the FLEX 4K also includes ATSC 3.0 tuners, which its predecessor lacked. The third new model is the HDHomeRun Scribe 4K which replaces the older SCRIBE QUATRO and also adds ATSC 3.0 tuners in the process.
Similar to the Fire TV Recast, HDHomeRun devices allow you to stream OTA channels captured by an HD antenna to numerous devices on your home network, include Fire TVs, phones, tablets, and computers. At the entry-level of the lineup is the new HDHomeRun FLEX DUO for $99.99 which includes a pair of ATSC 1.0 tuners that let you watch or record 2 channels at once. Since this model does not come with any ATSC 3.0 tuners, which is the new OTA format that is just starting to be deployed in the US, its streams and recordings cap out at a resolution of 1080i.
The big change with this new model is that it now includes a USB port on the back that you can optionally connect an external hard drive to if you want it to double as a DVR. With previous entry-level models, you had to either use a computer, NAS, or secondary HDHomeRun device to record programming. Now, this one inexpensive device can do it all, however, you do still need to subscribe to the HDHomeRun DVR service for $35 a year to cover the cost of the necessary channel guide data. The HDHomeRun FLEX DUO can be pre-ordered now from SiliconDust and will ship May 31.
At twice the price of the FLEX DUO is the new HDHomeRun FLEX 4K for $199.99. It too now comes with a USB port to serve double duty as a DVR but also gains a pair of ATSC 3.0 tuners for streaming and recording the latest broadcast standard in 4K. If ATSC 3.0 channels are not available in your area, the additional tuners are not wasted because they can still function as ATSC 1.0 tuners for a total of 4 simultaneous streams or recordings. The FLEX 4K is available to purchase now from SiliconDust or from Amazon and will ship immediately.
Lastly, SiliconDust has replaced the old SCRIBE QUATRO with the HDHomeRun SCRIBE 4K for $279.99. This device has the same 4 tuners (2x ATSC 3.0 and 2x ATSC 1.0) as the FLEX 4K, but instead of a USB port for an external hard drive, it has an internal 1TB drive that provides enough space for 150 hours of recorded programming. It would have been nice to see the addition of a USB port to the SCRIBE 4K for storage expansion options, but that’s, unfortunately, not the case. You have to decide between the flexibility of the FLEX 4K or the cleaner all-in-one aspect of the SCRIBE 4K. Notably, the SCRIBE 4K does include 1 year of DVR service, a cost of $35, which the FLEX models do not. The HDHomeRun SCRIBE 4K is also available immediately from either SiliconDust or from Amazon.
Remaining in the lineup is the HDHomeRun SERVIO, which essentially acts as a 2TB network hard drive for any HDHomeRun tuner to use for DVR recordings, and the HDHomeRun Prime, for cable card users. Out of the lineup, the HDHomeRun FLEX 4K is probably the one I’d recommend because its ATSC 3.0 tuners make it futureproof and it gives you the option of adding DVR capabilities if you choose to.