Cord cutting advice for heavy DVR user

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,340
2,574
Salem, OR
So I was right and you have no experience with a streaming dvr, and are basing your post off of usage of online on demand services, which is a different animal entirely.
Other than the scheduling features, are the "transport controls" or "trick play" parts of Amazon or Netflix not substantially representative?

For "heavy DVR users", "DVR" means much more than scheduling (something one could do with a VCR). It means skipping/slipping and jumping about with near-instantaneous response -- perhaps including fractional speeds and frame-by-frame stepping (reverse slo-mo seems to have mostly gone away with AVC compression).

I haven't found the right combination of programming through any single OTT service yet that is delivered in full resolution and unmangled sound so I don't subscribe to a live streaming service.
 

msmith198025

Member of the Year
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Aug 28, 2007
29,129
9,186
mississippi
But I have experience with them. At one time or another I’ve probably tested all of them. DVR functionality varies all over the place with streaming DVRs. Some allow trick play, some don’t, some by channel, some across the board. No consistency at all. And exactly NONE of them comes even close to working as well as the poorest cable/sat DVR out there.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
There are some variations, I dont dispute that. Most prominent, to me, is the amount of storage they give you, or the time they allow you to keep the programming. Next on that list is what channels are exempt from trick play. These days however, unless I am mistaken, those channels are few and far between. CBS channels on YTTV and Fox channels on one of the sling tiers. PS Vue also had some locals restrictions, but I am not sure what channels or markets.

On the other channels however, trick play is available just like with a physical DVR. I know we have had some threads where people think it isnt, to find out later they selected the VOD version instead of the DVR version of the program (specifically with YTTV). Hulu you do have to pay extra for ad skipping, and if you have Hulu, I recommend this upgrade, as I feel it turns one of the more limited OTT DVR options into one of the best, on par with or even better than what YTTV offers.

Ive used the Hoppers, the Genies, and have had both, aside from perhaps a small speed issue in some aspects of operation, there is nothing I cant do with a streaming DVR that I could do with either of those. Just my own experience.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
3,874
731
Here and Now
Other than the scheduling features, are the "transport controls" or "trick play" parts of Amazon or Netflix not substantially representative?

For "heavy DVR users", "DVR" means much more than scheduling (something one could do with a VCR). It means skipping/slipping and jumping about with near-instantaneous response -- perhaps including fractional speeds and frame-by-frame stepping (reverse slo-mo seems to have mostly gone away with AVC compression).
The only thing I haven't seen in OTT live TV services is any kind of slo-mo functionality (which I personally rarely used when I had cable/sat TV DVRs). The OTT live TV DVRs I have direct experience with have varying speeds for FF/RW (as does Amazon), and YouTube TV recently upgraded most if not all devices to a "progressive speed" function in which holding down the FF/RW button gradually increases the speed to the point you can zip through a 2-hour show in a few seconds. I usually hit the skip ahead button a few times to get past commercials (there is a thumbnail on the progress bar that shows where you are at in the program making it even easier to find when the commercial ends or a specific scene). With an OTT live TV cloud DVR, a recording never fails due to power or service outages or scheduling issue (the program start/end time shifts for some reason), and I don't have to delete each and every episode as I view them. I don't see myself going back to the "dark ages" of cable/sat DVRs any time soon, certainly not just so I can "super slo-mo" a "super slo-mo" moment in a sporting event.

Hulu you do have to pay extra for ad skipping, and if you have Hulu, I recommend this upgrade, as I feel it turns one of the more limited OTT DVR options into one of the best, on par with or even better than what YTTV offers.
I'd be curious to hear any advantages Hulu's DVR offers over YouTube TV's. I've heard even if you pay the DVR upgrade fee, there are still restrictions that prevent you from doing things like chasing playback while a show is still recording.
 

camo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 11, 2010
875
317
Nebraska
I started out with PSV and switched to YTTV. PSV had many more restrictions for recording channels even many certain programs were unavailable for viewing. Half if not more of the networks don't allow any recordings at all while YTTV I haven't run into these same restrictions. With networks you usually get a dropdown of which recording you want to watch the DVR or Network version of recordings. I always select the DVR version and can always skip through commercials.
 

ncted

SatelliteGuys Pro
Pub Member / Supporter
Jul 4, 2004
4,611
3,112
Durham, NC
My experience with Cloud DVRs from Sling, YTTV, and Hulu is "meh." They get the job done, for the most part, but, honestly, I wish everyone would just adopt the Netflix trickplay method, so you can see what is coming, and not just where you are while scrubbing forward/reverse.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,340
2,574
Salem, OR
The only thing I haven't seen in OTT live TV services is any kind of slo-mo functionality (which I personally rarely used when I had cable/sat TV DVRs).
Perhaps you don't qualify as a DVR power-user/junkie if you don't see an application for still frame or slow motion. More than a few DISH DVR users have come unglued about losing the 4x fast forward speed (exchanged for 10x?).
The OTT live TV DVRs I have direct experience with have varying speeds for FF/RW (as does Amazon), and YouTube TV recently upgraded most if not all devices to a "progressive speed" function in which holding down the FF/RW button gradually increases the speed to the point you can zip through a 2-hour show in a few seconds. I usually hit the skip ahead button a few times to get past commercials (there is a thumbnail on the progress bar that shows where you are at in the program making it even easier to find when the commercial ends or a specific scene).
How frequently does this thumbnail update? The one on Amazon with my Roku box updates approximately once for every five or six seconds of programming and only when in the slowest FF increment. In FF2 or FF3, the thumbnail seldom updates at all. I'm not satisfied with the thumbnail representation as compared to moving through the show with full-screen video that skips frames rather than full seconds.
With an OTT live TV cloud DVR, a recording never fails due to power or service outages or scheduling issue (the program start/end time shifts for some reason), and I don't have to delete each and every episode as I view them. I don't see myself going back to the "dark ages" of cable/sat DVRs any time soon, certainly not just so I can "super slo-mo" a "super slo-mo" moment in a sporting event.
This is a red herring as it doesn't really have anything to do with the DVR UI.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
3,874
731
Here and Now
Perhaps you don't qualify as a DVR power-user/junkie if you don't see an application for still frame or slow motion. More than a few DISH DVR users have come unglued about losing the 4x fast forward speed (exchanged for 10x?).How frequently does this thumbnail update? The one on Amazon with my Roku box updates approximately once for every five or six seconds of programming and only when in the slowest FF increment. In FF2 or FF3, the thumbnail seldom updates at all. I'm not satisfied with the thumbnail representation as compared to moving through the show with full-screen video that skips frames rather than full seconds.This is a red herring as it doesn't really have anything to do with the DVR UI.
Your subjective, moving-the-goal-posts definition of a heavy DVR user (which has morphed into a power-user/junkie who makes regular use of frame-by-frame slow-motion) is the real red herring. In the many hours I've spent discussing OTA live TV services over the past three years on various forums/groups, I have never heard a single complaint that the given service really needed to add a super-slo mo, single-frame-advance function. They all offer multi-speed FF/RW functions; whether it includes the exact perfect speed a given user needs would vary greatly among the many users.

For me a heavy user is someone who records almost everything they watch (which is what the thread starter seemed mostly concerned about -- accessing/managing all the shows he records). And for a heavy user like me, YouTube TV offers all the features I need and then some, including automatically extending the length of any program, whether it's a baseball game that goes to 20 innings, a college football game that has a 90-minute lightning storm interruption and then goes into OT, or a five-hour marathon tennis match at the US Open. YMMV
 
Last edited:

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,340
2,574
Salem, OR
In the many hours I've spent discussing OTA live TV services over the past three years on various forums/groups, I have never heard a single complaint that the given service really needed to add a super-slo mo, single-frame-advance function. They all offer multi-speed FF/RW functions; whether it includes the exact perfect speed a given user needs would vary greatly among the many users.
Adding that your experience comes from being part of "OTA live TV services" is surely placing an arbitrary condition over an operation that many still know as TiVoing.
For me a heavy user is someone who records almost everything they watch (which is what the thread starter seemed mostly concerned about -- accessing/managing all the shows he records). And for a heavy user like me, YouTube TV offers all the features I need and then some, including automatically extending the length of any program, whether it's a baseball game that goes to 20 innings, a college football game that has a 90-minute lightning storm interruption and then goes into OT, or a five-hour marathon tennis match at the US Open. YMMV
And that's great for someone coming from a background of OTT streaming services but it may not provide much insight coming from the context of a late-model Genie, Hopper, TiVo or X1 DVR.

With most streaming services, you don't get a choice of DVRs yet you can be fairly certain that you'll end up having to work with a different one for each service that you subscribe to.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
3,874
731
Here and Now
Adding that your experience comes from being part of "OTA live TV services" is surely placing an arbitrary condition over an operation that many still know as TiVoing.
Ooops! I meant "OTT live TV services" of course. (Context is everything. ;) )

And that's great for someone coming from a background of OTT streaming services but it may not provide much insight coming from the context of a late-model Genie, Hopper, TiVo or X1 DVR.

With most streaming services, you don't get a choice of DVRs yet you can be fairly certain that you'll end up having to work with a different one for each service that you subscribe to.
Genie, Hopper, and X1 DVR represent different DVRs for different services one would have to get used to as well going from one service to another (which many people do to take advantage of new customer deals). The only DVR you mentioned that works universally is TiVo.

Yes, just like the above devices, the DVRs are different for each OTT live TV streaming service. But they all share basic commonalities (record, pause, FF/RW, scroll DVR recordings list to find show, etc). It was actually quite easy for me to transition from PS Vue to YTTV given they both have unlimited storage (just the different time limit) and organize recorded content in a similar fashion.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,340
2,574
Salem, OR
Genie, Hopper, and X1 DVR represent different DVRs for different services one would have to get used to as well going from one service to another (which many people do to take advantage of new customer deals). The only DVR you mentioned that works universally is TiVo.
In that TiVo only works fully with some cable systems and OTA, it isn't really as universal as it used to be. My point is that when you are using any of these DVRs, you don't usually need to have multiple live services to get what you want.
Yes, just like the above devices, the DVRs are different for each OTT live TV streaming service. But they all share basic commonalities (record, pause, FF/RW, scroll DVR recordings list to find show, etc).
Excluding the recording listing, these are what I consider VCR capabilities.
It was actually quite easy for me to transition from PS Vue to YTTV given they both have unlimited storage (just the different time limit) and organize recorded content in a similar fashion.
But would you find them as easy to master if you needed to regularly use to or more OTT service? I WANT one that has the usual stuff and I also WANT Pac-12, Bein Sports and World Fishing Network. Sports with only VCR features can be a lot more work.

Being someone who doesn't subscribe to a post-pay phone plan, I still can't get around things that are "unlimited" having expressly published limits. I don't buy the dance about "may be capped but we hope not".
 

smokey982

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 7, 2005
1,971
84
Cleveland, TN (Chattanooga Market)
This You Tube TV thing sounds pretty interesting. So the DVR is cloud based that is basically available from any device you might be currently on? Is there a limit to how many shows that can be recorded at one time?


Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys
 

smokey982

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 7, 2005
1,971
84
Cleveland, TN (Chattanooga Market)
This You Tube TV thing sounds pretty interesting. So the DVR is cloud based that is basically available from any device you might be currently on? Is there a limit to how many shows that can be recorded at one time?


Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys
 

osu1991

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 4, 2004
9,809
2,253
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
This You Tube TV thing sounds pretty interesting. So the DVR is cloud based that is basically available from any device you might be currently on? Is there a limit to how many shows that can be recorded at one time?


Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys
Unlimited dvr, recordings self delete after 9months.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
3,874
731
Here and Now
This You Tube TV thing sounds pretty interesting. So the DVR is cloud based that is basically available from any device you might be currently on? Is there a limit to how many shows that can be recorded at one time?


Sent from my iPad using SatelliteGuys
You can record every single show on every single channel in every time slot...at least in theory. I don't know that anyone has actually ever attempted that with all 70 channels. And you can watch recorded shows on any device, up to three simultaneous streams, even when you travel.
 

camo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 11, 2010
875
317
Nebraska
I guess being a cloud national broadcast gets automatically recorded and held for a time period so the user just decides of all the available material what he wants to watch is how it works. Not sure about local programming. I record all the NFL, NCAA FBS games but only watch a small percentage. This is why I see the drop-down box of which recording to watch.
 

Yespage

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Feb 27, 2010
6,190
3,671
Ohio
One thing that bites, with Sling at least, NBCSN doesn't allow FF, which is a pain in the butt when trying to watch the Rugby World Cup... and you have to sit through the opening program. Then when the stream crashed, and I tried to restart it, it put me right in the beginning again, no ability to get near the end of the first half, of which was turning out to be a great game. This usually isn't an issue, but when it does pop up, the limits of IPTV DVRs definitely stick out.
 

tcat007

SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 5, 2016
90
43
Austin
I haven't found anything that would make me give up my Hopper 3. Tried YTTV for a month,S don't like the guide or way it "records" everything. So easy on the H3,'s it's as good as anything unlimited. My Hopper is half full, 2T ehd full. Hate to throw away all those recordings. I'm only paying $20 more than I would with streaming to get channels I want, and much more versatile DVR. I'm on Flex and don't watch sports unless on locals. I also have an indoor flat antenna and Tablo to get 21 channels on 3 other TVs (as well as other Roku streaming services).

Spectrum has the closest thing I'd switch to if they weren't so cable minded. If you could do everything within their app (sign up, pause, cancel, dvr), it'd be worth trying.
 

SpaethCo

Pub Member / Supporter
Pub Member / Supporter
Nov 7, 2005
873
122
Minneapolis, MN
One thing YoutubeTV does particularly well is categorizing multiple airings of shows in syndication. Here's some examples of the interface on the AppleTV 4k.

Content is categorized by shows, movies, sports, or events.



Once you add a show to your library, it will record it from all channels on which it appears to build out your library:



When you click on an individual episode, you have the option of selecting any of the available recorded or VOD versions. This can be useful if one recording has something like weather warning overlays, or annoying 1/3rd screen moving overlays to advertise some upcoming show on the network.



When you're navigating a recording, you have a thumbnail to show you where you are in the timeline:



Of course, YTTV is a Google product, so search is incredibly useful for finding stuff out of your library. Want to watch that episode where David Copperfield was on Fool Us? Just search for "Penn and Teller Copperfield" and it will surface that content right out of your library:

 
  • Like
Reactions: Zookster and ncted

JTBenson

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2006
570
69
Not having a DVR was one of the things that I was concerned about when we went to 100% streaming. I cannot remember the last time I actually recorded a show. I don't use a DVR (virtual or physical) any more because I have been able to find everything I want to watch on demand.
 

Zookster

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 19, 2004
3,874
731
Here and Now
One thing YoutubeTV does particularly well is categorizing multiple airings of shows in syndication. Here's some examples of the interface on the AppleTV 4k.

Content is categorized by shows, movies, sports, or events.



Once you add a show to your library, it will record it from all channels on which it appears to build out your library:



When you click on an individual episode, you have the option of selecting any of the available recorded or VOD versions. This can be useful if one recording has something like weather warning overlays, or annoying 1/3rd screen moving overlays to advertise some upcoming show on the network.



When you're navigating a recording, you have a thumbnail to show you where you are in the timeline:



Of course, YTTV is a Google product, so search is incredibly useful for finding stuff out of your library. Want to watch that episode where David Copperfield was on Fool Us? Just search for "Penn and Teller Copperfield" and it will surface that content right out of your library:

A few months ago I wanted to check out a specific episode of King of Queens. So I added the show to my library, and within three to four weeks I had recorded every episode of all 9 seasons. I never thought of using the search function, however, to find a specific episode of any given show. I generally only use search to find new or future programs. That's a great tip!
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top