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ZapperBox Helps You Ditch Cable With Their M1 Over The Air DVR

ZapperBox M1 & A1 NEXTGEN TV antenna

ZapperBox M1 & A1 NEXTGEN TV antenna


  • Product Name: M1 DVR
  • Manufacturer: ZapperBox
  • Review Date: February 23, 2024 00:35
  • MSRP: $250 - M1 DVR, $150 - A1 NEXTGEN TV antenna
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • DVR + Pause/FF/RW Live TV
  • 4K video & HDR
  • ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 signals
  • Wi-Fi & Ethernet
  • Grid guide | Auto software updates
  • Dolby AC 4 Audio
  • USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD-Micro slot

I’m always looking for a way to streamline my life. Francis Ford Coppola once said, “I like simplicity, I don’t need luxury.” Many in the audiophile community may disagree with him. Sometimes it feels like the intention of home theater is to make things more complicated. More speakers, more subwoofers, more power! Simplifying my life could mean living without a home theater system, or even a TV, but I do enjoy my time in front of the screen while winding down the day. 

What I don’t like is the ever-rising costs of cable. Like many people, our family has cut the cord and relied on streaming services to fill the void. Audioholics has done several reviews on how to cut the cord to cable like, Considerations Before Cutting the Cord On Your Cable or Satellite Provider Cord Cutting Is Hard But It Might Soon Be Necessary. 

The need is apparent. The struggle is real. 

I keep it simple. All my streaming subscriptions go through my Apple TV so it’s easy to keep track of what I’m paying for. No Mandolorian or Asoka? Disney gets shut off until it renews. I already have Amazon Prime for shipping so that stays. There are more relevant shows and movies on Netflix than all the major networks combined so whether I have cable or not I would be paying for those. I get HBO for free with my ATT phone plan, but I do miss local programming. So it was interesting when I received the email before CEDIA 2023: 

Today, ZapperBox issued a press release announcing the availability of its revolutionary ZapperBox NEXTGEN TV DVR set-top box which will be unveiled at CEDIA Expo 2023 this week. We believe this news will be of great interest to your readers. Be captivated by the combination of the ZapperBox A1 NEXTGEN TV antenna by Televes and the ZapperBox M1 DVR, which mirrors the transformative impact that free over-the-air ATSC 1.0 high-definition broadcasts with Dolby Atmos.

I like Dolby Atmos, I also like free. The ZapperBox M1 is a small set-top box that attaches to an antenna to pick up broadcasts from local TV stations. I’ve used other set-top boxes and antennae in the past with mixed results. I’m based in the Tampa Bay area where two of our antennae are 30 miles to the east and two of the antennae are south. I did get local channels for free, albeit only two at a time depending on the position of the antennae. I felt like I was eight years old again, moving aluminum foil attached to the antennae to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

ZapperBox  rear

I talked to Gopal Miglani, founder of ZapperBox at the CEDIA 2023 show about the technology and he assured me the NEXTGEN TV antenna by Televes and the ZapperBox M1 DVR would be a perfect fit for my situation.  

The ZapperBox M1 boasts an abundance of advanced features, including Dolby Atmos support, 4K resolution, and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities, the ZapperBox M1 is poised to redefine over-the-air home entertainment experiences for the modern era.


The M1 will come with content security, also known as digital rights management (DRM), which will allow you access to DRM-encrypted channels and is the only commercially available DVR, compatible with both ATSC 3.0 and ATSC 1.0 standards. The M1 also comes with the certification for Dolby AC-4 audio. 

Key Features of the ZapperBox M1 NEXTGEN TV DVR Include:

  • 4K video quality: Experience stunning 4K video with HDR, 
  • Dolby Atmos support: 
  • Software flexibility: to accommodate forthcoming advancements

Since the inception of ZapperBox in 2017, our vision has been to reshape entertainment experiences through innovation. The ZapperBox M1, which we started shipping in July 2022, exemplifies our dedication to pioneering technology. Our commitment to consistent software upgrades ensures that our customers will enjoy the latest advancements in the years ahead.

–Gopal Miglani, founder of ZapperBox

ZapperBox is already working on future models which will include the ZapperBox M1 Pro, which will be tailor-made for the AV Pro market. According to Gopal Miglani, the ZapperBox Pro promises IP controls and seamless integration with leading home automation systems such as Savant, Crestron, Control4, Elan, Josh.ai.

The ZapperBox M1 Pro is our step towards pushing the boundaries of home entertainment even further.

–Gopal Miglani, founder of ZapperBox

What we think of the ZapperBox M1…

We’ve reviewed other set-top OTA boxes like the TiVo Bolt ($250) and the now discontinued Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR ($230) which has a comparable price to the $250 M1.  The TiVo Bolt has a required $7/month service fee however so I would give the edge to Zapperbox for that. The TiVo Bolt does come with 1 TB of storage, whereas the Zapperbox requires you to provide your own storage and supports SSDs, powered HDDs, and microSD Cards (min 128GB). All three products do require a separately purchased antennae. ZapperBox recommends their NEXTGEN TV antenna by Televes and sells it alongside the M1 for $150. I couldn’t find any antennae recommendations from TiVo, so you’re left on your own to decide.  

ZapperBox  antennae

Some may balk at the $400 price for the M1 and NEXTGEN antennae, but our local Spectrum cable app is $60/month, and you have to use Spectrum Internet to subscribe to their app. At that rate, you’ll have paid for the Zapperbox and antennae in 7 months.

The ZapperBox M1 is currently shipping and comes with a 1-year warranty from defects in manufacturing.  

Is the ZapperBox M1 the best way to cut the cord from cable? What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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