A cloud DVR for DIRECTV?

One of the least fun things about upgrading your satellite TV system is setting everything up from scratch. Not only do you lose all your recordings but you have to set up preferences and recording lists all over again. It can be especially tough when you weren’t planning for it. It’s rare, but if you wake up and find your satellite system won’t wake up with you, it’s time to make a change.

One solution: a cloud DVR

DIRECTV satellite service has been around since 1994. The internet as we know it today has been around a little longer, but it wasn’t until the late 2000s that we started talking about cloud storage. Before that, speeds were just too slow to store things on servers in a different location. The whole reason for a DVR was to bring the recordings in-house so you could watch them when you wanted.

The idea of a cloud-based DVR actually dates back to the mid ’00s when a cable company called CableVision tried it for the first time. Rather than supplying its customers with expensive DVRs, they used servers and a modified on-demand system to do all the recording in one place. Content providers actually sued to stop this. The case was decided in Cablevision’s favor but the threat of more lawsuits slowed cloud DVR growth for years.

No one really talked much about cloud DVRs until streaming video became common about six years ago. If you think about it, Hulu is really a cloud DVR service, providing on-demand playback of recently aired shows. Sling and DIRECTV NOW both now use cloud-based recording to give DVR function to streamers who don’t have local hard drives. It took years to work out the legal issues but cloud DVR is here now.

Will cloud DVR come to DIRECTV Satellite?

There has been talk for years about storing your preferences and the names of your recordings in the cloud. There’s nothing really preventing this technology. The file sizes would be very small and the information could be stored with the rest of your account. Then, if you connected a new DVR the settings would just flow down. Any programs from your old DVR that were available on demand would start to populate your playlist.

It’s been talked about… but it hasn’t happened. I don’t know why that is. It could be that it’s harder than it seems. It could be that the DVRs are so reliable that they aren’t swapped out very often. Remember, changes to the system are made based on the number of people who will benefit and the cost to roll out the change.

At this point it does not look like there will be any sort of cloud storage or cloud backup for DIRECTV Satellite. However, most channels do support 72-hour rewind. This means almost every major show on a national network is available on demand for 72 hours after it airs. That’s something at least. It won’t help you recover those lost recordings. At least, you can watch your favorite shows when the new DVR comes.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.