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Cloud DVR Comparison: What Is The Best Live TV Recording Service?

Cloud DVR

Cloud DVR capability is just as crucial as pricing or channel count when selecting the best live TV streaming service. Because it is closely related to the ability to watch shows or movies when the viewer wishes, it may be the most crucial component for certain homes. This tutorial delves into the Cloud DVR services provided by all of the main live TV streaming services. Various variables must be considered when comparing DVRs, including how much room is provided, whether there are additional non-space restrictions and whether a subscriber must pay extra to enhance the recording experience.

Knowing this information before subscribing and incorporating it into the decision-making process can assist in disclosing the actual cost of a live TV subscription. Before digging into the intricacies of each live TV streaming service, keep in mind that these services are always growing. Each major live TV service has modified its DVR on many occasions during the last few years. This might imply that certain advantages and restrictions can be introduced or removed at any time.

Cloud DVR Comparison Conclusion:

The chart below includes how the major live TV services compare against one another on DVR. This is followed by a closer examination of the recording experience provided by each of the major live TV streaming services and any restrictions that customers should be aware of.

Cloud DVR Comparison:

Service Cost Storage
Keep for
Restrictions Upgrade
DirecTV Stream Free Unlimited 9 months 30 episodes (per show) X
fuboTV Free 1000 Indefinite X X
Hulu Live TV Free Unlimited 9 months X X
Philo Free Unlimited 12 months X X
Sling TV Free 50 Indefinite Not all channels ✔ ($5 for 200 hours)
YouTube TV Free Unlimited 9 months X X

What Exactly Is A Cloud DVR?

Many people are already familiar with DVRs in general, as the option to record on a digital video recorder has been available for quite some time. However, in an age where everything is migrating to the “cloud,” DVR has followed suit. In theory, a Cloud DVR is no different from the DVR that everyone is currently familiar with. Users may still record their favorite TV shows and movies because it is still digital video recording. However, that is not to argue that there aren’t distinctions.

There are physical restrictions with a real DVR device. The storage is the most evident. Recordings are made to a physical hard drive, and the hard drive’s capacity limits the amount that may be recorded. All recordings using Cloud DVR are stored in the provider’s data center. These recordings, like emails or any other sort of modern-day data, are stored elsewhere rather than locally. In principle, this means that there is no limit to how much information an individual may record.

The number of channels that may record simultaneously is another limitation of physical DVRs. DVRs employ tuners to record content, and most devices tout the number as a selling factor. For example, the maximum number of channels that may record simultaneously on a dual-tuner DVR is two. Cloud DVR, like storage, does not have actual tuners. Again, this means that Cloud DVRs may record an endless number of channels simultaneously.

Then there’s device compatibility. Physical DVRs are typically built for playback on a single device, usually linked to the physical DVR. There are exceptions to this rule, but the general practice is to only playback on one device at a time. In this regard, cloud DVRs vary since users may watch recorded content on any device or platform that is compatible with the service. In principle, a video may be seen on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.

To summarise, physical DVRs differ largely from Cloud DVRs in terms of how many videos can be recorded, how many recordings can be made simultaneously, and which devices can play back the recordings. While Cloud DVRs have the ability to circumvent all of these restrictions, this is only theoretical. The truth is significantly more convoluted since each service determines whether or not to offer a Cloud DVR. If they do, they decide how much storage space they’ll provide, how many recordings may be made simultaneously, what devices they’ll support, and if they’ll charge extra for any of this. Because businesses make these decisions, the outcomes are certain to differ.

DirecTV Stream Cloud DVR

DirecTV Stream, formerly known as DirecTV Now, AT&T TV Now, and AT&T TV, provides a variety of live TV plans, the cheapest of which is $69.99 a month. Regardless of the plan, anyone who signs up for the service today can access an unlimited Cloud DVR. This is a significant advance over previous versions of the service, which gave only 20 hours of recording space with the option to upgrade to an unlimited DVR experience for $10 per month. However, subscribers on one of the older legacy plans may be limited to the limited DVR.

DirecTV Stream Recording Restrictions:

Even though DirecTV Stream provides an unlimited Cloud DVR, there are certain restrictions. Recordings, for example, are only stored for a maximum of nine months. Likewise, subscribers on a legacy plan may find themselves limited to the prior 90-day limit or even the 30-day limit before that. The recordings are automatically deleted after nine months, irrespective of whether they have been seen.

Series recordings are another limitation to be aware of. While subscribers can record an entire series, DirecTV Stream only permits a maximum of 30 episodes from the same series to be stored simultaneously. If further episodes are planned to be recorded, the oldest recorded episode will be deleted automatically.

DirecTV Stream DVR Conclusion:

1 – Unlimited DVR (few legacy subscribers limited to 20 hours).

2 – After nine months, recordings are automatically deleted (90 days for some legacy subscribers).

3 – There is no limit to the number of devices from which you may record or playback recordings.

4 – There is no limit to the number of recordings you may make at the same time.

5 – Series episodes are limited to 30 recorded episodes (10 for some legacy subscribers).

fuboTV Cloud DVR

fuboTV used to be a basic and uncomplicated sports-focused streaming service that cost $7 per month. Much has changed since then, and fuboTV is now a full-fledged live TV streaming service with plans beginning at $69.99 a month and a channel list to rival the best. Although fuboTV does not presently offer an unlimited Cloud DVR, all subscribers receive 1000 hours of recording capacity. fuboTV presently does not offer an upgrade option for individuals who desire an unlimited DVR. On the other side, fuboTV imposes fewer restrictions on recordings once they’ve been made.

fuboTV Recording Restrictions:

Unlike other live TV services, fuboTV does not have a time limit on how long recordings may be stored. Instead, all recordings are preserved for as long as the subscriber desires and must be deleted manually. While fuboTV now provides all subscribers with 1000 hours of recording space, this was only sometimes the case. Previously, the limit was substantially lower, and some legacy subscribers may still be limited to fewer hours.

fuboTV Cloud DVR Conclusion:

1 – 1000 hour limit with no upgrade (some legacy subscribers are limited to 250 hours).

2 – Recordings are kept indefinitely or until they are manually deleted.

3 – There is no general limit on the devices from which you can record or play recordings.

4 – There is no limit to the number of recordings that can be made at the same time.

Hulu Live TV Cloud DVR

Hulu Live TV has seen a few adjustments over the years, including adding a DVR. Before 2022, all Hulu Live TV subscribers were limited to 50 hours of recording time and had to pay to upgrade. Even yet, the improved DVR was still limited in storage capacity. On the other hand, Hulu Live TV now provides unlimited Cloud DVR free to all new and existing subscribers. As a result, there is no longer an option to upgrade or reduce the DVR because all subscribers now have unlimited recording capacity.

Hulu Live TV Restrictions:

Even though Hulu provides an unlimited DVR, there are certain restrictions. Hulu Live TV, like DirecTV Stream, only enables recordings to be stored for nine months. They are automatically deleted after this time, irrespective of whether they have been seen. Despite the unlimited upgrade, this is more restrictive than previously, as Hulu used to enable recordings to be saved indefinitely.

Another limitation pertains to living room devices. Hulu is a single-household service, which implies that subscribers must choose a home network. Once a network has been identified, subscribers may need help accessing the same Hulu account from living room devices (including smart TVs) that are not linked to the same home network. This includes having access to previously recorded content. Subscribers may also experience difficulties watching DVR content if they are away from home for more than 30 days without checking in via the home network.

Hulu Live TV Cloud DVR Conclusion:

1 – Unlimited DVR storage.

2 – After nine months, recordings are deleted.

3 – Hulu restricts the number of living room devices used outside the home.

4 – There is no limit to the number of recordings you may make simultaneously.

Philo Cloud DVR

Philo is a less expensive live TV service than others, but that doesn’t mean it sacrifices the recording experience. All Philo subscribers have free access to an unlimited Cloud DVR. Technically, Philo’s DVR is not the same as the DVR supplied by the other services, and this is because the DVR is not a DVR at all. Philo, on the other hand, automatically records and makes available (for a limited time) everything that is broadcast live. As a result, rather than recording videos, Philo subscribers save them to view later. Although this strategy differs somewhat, the ultimate result is the same.

Philo Recording Restrictions:

In general, Philo’s DVR experience has relatively few restrictions. The most aware thing to remember is that all recordings are only stored for one year. Subscribers still on a legacy plan and locked in at a lower monthly fee will have their recordings deleted automatically after 30 days.

Philo Cloud DVR Conclusion:

1 – Unlimited Cloud DVR.

2 – After one year, recordings are automatically deleted (30 days for some legacy subscribers).

3 – There is no limit to the number of devices you may record or playback recordings.

4 – There is no limit to the number of recordings that can be made at the same time.

Sling TV Cloud DVR

Sling TV is among the oldest live TV streaming services available and one of the most affordable, with plans beginning at $35 a month. However, when it comes to Cloud DVR, the lower price does result in a more limited experience. Not only does Sling TV not give unlimited Cloud DVR, but it also does not have the option to upgrade to unlimited. Instead, all Sling TV subscribers receive 50 hours of recording time. While there’s the option to upgrade the DVR for an extra $5 per month, the upgrade merely boosts the recording space to 200 hours.

Sling TV Recording Restrictions:

The biggest limitation of Sling TV Cloud DVR is storage capacity, which means that the service will automatically delete older episodes and movies to make room for newer ones. Furthermore, Sling TV’s DVR isn’t accessible on all channels. Subscribers, for example, cannot record ACC Network Extra, ESPN 3, SEC Network+, or Local Now.

On the plus side, Sling TV has a Protect option that can be engaged for individual recordings and prevents them from being deleted automatically. Furthermore, Sling TV does not place any time limits on how long recordings may be stored. Rather, recordings are stored indefinitely or until the subscriber deletes them directly.

Sling TV Cloud DVR Conclusion:

1 – Time limit of 50 hours.

2 – For an additional $5, you may upgrade to 200 hours.

3 – Recordings are kept indefinitely or until the user deletes them.

4 – When the storage is full, older recordings are automatically deleted to make room for newer ones.

5 – There is no limit to the number of devices you may record or playback recordings.

6 – There is no limit to the number of recordings that may be made at the same time, although not all channels can be recorded.

YouTube TV Cloud DVR

A YouTube TV subscription costs $64.99 monthly, and the service has always been strongly pro-DVR. As a result, it has always provided one of the best recording experiences available. YouTube TV, for example, provides an unlimited Cloud DVR, and each profile sharing a subscription also receives a customized DVR. However, while YouTube TV is liberal with its Cloud DVR, it is not completely free of restrictions.

YouTube TV Recording Restrictions:

While there are no storage restrictions, YouTube TV recordings can only be stored for up to 9 months. After that, the service will automatically delete them. Another major limitation to be aware of is that subscribers cannot delete recordings manually. Because YouTube TV offers an unlimited DVR, the service sees no value in deleting recordings, which can result in bloated and chaotic recording libraries.

YouTube TV Cloud DVR Conclusion:

1 – Unlimited Cloud DVR.

2 – After nine months, recordings are automatically deleted.

3 – There is no limit to the number of devices you may record or playback recordings.

4 – There is no limit to the number of recordings you may make simultaneously.

5 – Subscribers cannot delete recordings manually.

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