Future Shop is selling a DTV Converter/PVR? Wha!?

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Here’s the HW-150PVR plus my taped-up USB key for recording.

Dear Minister Glover,

You can rest assured that this is not a sponsored post based on how long Future Shop (owned by Best Buy) took to respond to my product questions.  I am glad and appreciative that they finally did.

Writing today about a DTV device that I bought at the store’s Yonge and Dundas location in Toronto.

While the same location did stock a few DTV analogue-to-digital converter boxes for Canada’s 2011-2012 DTV transition, they haven’t really offered much otherwise beyond some small antennas.

I was pleasantly surprised last month to find that they are now stocking an ATSC DTV converter box (made by HomeworX) that also doubles as a PVR. What!? Wow!

I of course bought it. I think it was $80 or so but I would have paid more (shhhh).

The box feels solid state. It’s fairly big and heavy. As you can see above, it’s metal (the main part at least). And black. Good combo.

The tuner’s scan slurped in all my available DTV channels no problem (other than CHCH which would have required I move my antenna 45 degrees). It even grabbed US stations bouncing off of Lake Ontario such as PBS, Bounce and others. I’m also now getting an audio-only station. Sounds like a Shopping Channel without images. This box really wants to pull in signals. Most just wimp out.

The PVR also works well. I only used the record-on-the-fly option but it looks like you can also program it to record. There is no hard-drive but if you slap in a USB key it will dump to that.

My only issue with the PVR is that the playback will sometimes go into chipmunk speed. This might be due to my banged-up USB key though. It’s a handy glitch for blasting through commercials.

I’ve been so pleased with the unit (and the fact that Future Shop is actually stocking it) that I figured I should contact them.

Here is my interview with Future Shop Communications Manager Elliott Chun.

18/12/2014

To: Steven James May

echun

Hey Steven,

Thanks again for your patience. My team and I have worked on the answers for you and here you are:

1) When did you start selling this item? Why did you start? How are sales?

We’ve been selling it for a couple of years now. After conducting market research, including listening to our customers needs, we decided to team up with Homeworx. The partnership has paid off and we’re proving to serve a need.

2) What percentage of your customers buy ATSC DTV (over the air, also known as free TV)  products like TV antennas? Is this demand growing?

Year over year, we saw a significant lift and it continues to grow as customers see their cable bills grow and adopt web-based programming.

3) Why does Future Shop sell any ATSC products at all in an age of Internet TV streaming and TV on cell phones?

There are a few reasons. One being with internet streaming and TV on mobile devices, customers are stuck with their smaller screens and using up large amounts of data can play a factor, so customers are becoming selective with what they stream. Also, customers still enjoy watching live TV and they want to enjoy it from the comfort of their couch, watching the big screen. However, they don’t want to rack up an expensive data or cable bill.

4) Do you plan on selling more ATSC products? Which ones? Why or why not?

The market is certainly growing, so we are always looking into bringing more products as we see fit, driven by customer demand.

5) You sell portable DVD players but not portable  DVD/ATSC DTV combo players. Why not?

We sell based on customer demand and at the moment, this is an area that doesn’t require our customers’ needs.

6) (MORE A COMMENT THAN A QUESTION) In terms of the above-mentioned HW-150PVR, the packaging suggests it is a PVR recorder but no hard drive is included. You should mention this on the box with a sticker.

Although we are not the creators of the packaging, we have mentioned it on our in-store tags and online that there is no hard drive included

Best,

Steven

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