At one point in time, the Brite-View BV-980H Digital HD OTA DVR was actually bought and tolerated by folks because it offered DVR functions without paying for a subscription. It’s an OTA DVR (over the air DVR), so you get your local broadcasts just fine. It can also accommodate your cable service. It then recorded TV shows on its hard disk, which is a decent 320 GB. You could record in real time or program it to record. At least, that’s what it says in the ads.
If you’ve been reading other BV-980H reviews on retailer websites, then you probably realized that the Brite-View BV-980H OTA DVR is hardly perfect. In fact, it’s so full of missteps and bugs that it’s like someone made a demo of an item with great potential but didn’t get to complete it.
UPDATE: This is no longer available. I would actually read our review on the Channel Master DVR here.
Let’s start with the timer. This is a crucial piece of equipment in an over the air DVR, since you need to set the time if you want to record a TV program when you’re not there. And guess what? You can’t manually adjust the time! So if the day and even the year are wrong, you have to live with that.
For example, if the TV program you want to record is at 9 pm, and your Brite-View BV-980H OTA DVR is off by exactly two hours, then you need to set it at 7 pm. If the time’s off by an inexact number of hours (it’s the wrong day and the time is off by an hour and 47 minutes) then figuring out the right time to set the record may drive you crazy.
That’s just the start of your problems. You’ll find a lot of complaints about it. Many people hate the fact that it’s very hard to use. Others even find it a chore to set up. And even when you get it up and running and somehow you figured out how to use it properly, you discover that you can’t rely on it to work properly all the time!
And don’t even think about getting help from their customer support. It seems like all they’re good for is to provide a sympathetic ear while you vent your frustration. In the past, they used to tell people that firmware upgrades are forthcoming, but now they’re telling us that there won’t be any more upgrades. It’s now in WYSIWYG mode.
So why buy it? Actually, you should not buy it at all! Most of the people who expressed some sort of satisfaction despite the many faults did so because when they first bought it, there was no alternative. It was either the Brite-View BV-980H or nothing at all when it comes to subscription-free DVR.
Today, you have a wider variety to choose from. You have the Magnavox models and the Channel Master to start, with other alternatives as well. For the love of all that’s holy, even a subscription would probably be better than to stick with the Brite-View BV-980H OTA DVR. This is an over the air DVR that has simply served its function in the past, and now it’s time to put it out to pasture.