If you’re a TV junkie, who simply cannot justify the high monthly bills your cable company demands, you’re in a bit of jam. The obvious choice is to install an antenna and buy one of the many great over-the-air (OTA) receivers on the market. This combo will eliminate your cable subscription, and give you free HD content, but it will be limited to the major broadcasters in your area. You definitely won’t find channels like CNN, ESPN, A&E, Comedy Network, or TLC among them. If you find yourself really missing them, Silicon Dust, the company that makes the popular HDHomeRun series of OTA receivers, has a new option for you: Its All-in-One subscription service.
Technically, “All-in-One” is actually two services: The network DVR functionality that has always been an optional, $35 per year upgrade for HDHomeRun users, and a new package of 45 cable TV “premium” channels, for $35 per month. The premium channels are delivered over the internet. Silicon Dust has been making the DVR functionality available to its customers for a while now, and a limited group of customers has had access to the premium channels since August. Strangely, there is no way to subscribe to both services simultaneously — to get the All-in-One combo, you must sign up for each individually. Canadian availability for the premium channels portion is “coming soon.”
The goal for the All-in-One product, according to Silicon Dust president and CEO Theodore Head, is to combine “free live local broadcast from your antenna, top cable TV channels and a DVR service — one that you, the cord cutter, completely control — into a single, seamless app.” Head claims that previously, you could have accessed these different content streams yourself, but it was a disjointed experience, requiring several apps, and inconsistent DVR features and policies. The benefit to the All-in-One service is that you get a single app, with all of the broadcast content you want, managed by a single, consistent user experience. There’s also only one monthly bill. Head said there have also been minor improvements to the HDHomeRun app’s interface, including the ability to pad recording times (start early, end late), and a new search feature.
The All-in-One package could be enticing for both existing, and would-be cord-cutters. $35 per month for 45 channels would be a good deal, even if it didn’t include such big names as AMC, FX, and USA — but it does. We agree that these are indeed premium channels. AirTV, and AirTV player are two products that offer a similar combo of free OTA content with paid OTT channels, though these devices are based on the Sling TV subscription service, and have different channels and pricing.
New subscribers will get their first two weeks of Premium channels free, and those who opt for the DVR platform will get two months of that service covered, gratis.
To really close the deal on the All-in-one offering, Silicon Dust is offering a very time-limited (Nov 22nd – Nov26th) price drop on its hardware:
HDHomeRun CONNECT DUO: Reduced from $100 to $70
HDHomeRun CONNECT QUATRO: Reduced from $150 to $100
HDHomeRun EXTEND. Reduced from $180 to $150
If services like Netflix and Amazon Video represented the first nail in the cable coffin, Silicon Dust’s new offering could be the last. We’ll have to stay tuned to see.