Is a cloud DVR better than a regular DVR?

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Think back to those days back in the 2000s. Back then, you might have been an “early adopter.” You had a DVR and that’s where the stuff you wanted to watch sat. You had total control — you set up the recordings and you deleted them.

Then, on demand came. In a sense, on-demand is kind of like a cloud DVR. It stores stuff you want to watch plus a whole lot more. Some people jumped on it right away and stopped worrying so much about the DVR.

A few years later, streaming video really hit big. That wasn’t so long ago, right? I mean it wasn’t that long ago that a lot of people still had to deal with buffering and low quality when they wanted to stream.

It seems like the best of all words came with DIRECTV’s and Sling TV’s Cloud DVR. Let me explain.

Enter the cloud​


When you set up a recording with DIRECTV for internet (DIRECTV Stream) or Sling TV, you’re doing nothing more than setting a shortcut, like a shortcut to your desktop. A lot of programs on both services is already being recorded somewhere. You’re just telling the service that you want it on your “playlist.” I’m sure there are some programs that don’t record at all unless someone asks for them. If you do ask for one of those then it records and then adds it to your playlist.

This is a change to earlier forms of cloud DVR, which actually did a separate recording for everyone who asked for it. At the time this was sort of a negotiated settlement. Content providers didn’t like cloud-based DVRs at first and actually sued to stop them. Funny thing, those content providers actually won! It took until 2009 for the Supreme Court to say that a cloud-based DVR could even be legal.

Today’s cloud DVR systems are more a result of legal maneuvering than technology. The technology by now is pretty easy, but it took years for the lawyers at DISH and DIRECTV to come up with the contracts.

DVR is easy, contracts are hard​


The Cablevision case, as it was called, established the rules:

  1. Cloud DVR is a form of broadcasting.
  2. Broadcasting is ok if the rights holder says it’s ok.
  3. People who want to broadcast have a right to ask if it’s ok, and the rights holder has a right to set whatever terms they want.

It comes down to those simple principles and so, armed with that, the lawyers went to work. They came up with some rules. You couldn’t keep stuff on your playlist indefinitely. In most cases it’s going to disappear after somewhere between 30 days and 90 days. You can’t keep stuff longer than the pay-TV company has the right to keep it anyway. And, the TV company has the right to charge for DVR service if they want. That all makes sense, although it’s frustrating if you thought you’d be able to watch that recording of the evening news forever.

Which is better, cloud or regular?​


After all, you’ve read this far based on the title of the article, and you deserve an answer. A cloud DVR lets you watch your content anywhere. Most regular DVRs do too but it’s not always as easy. A regular DVR lets you keep your recorded content as long as you have the DVR. Neither of them lets you offload content.

I think the closest thing to perfection would be a system where the DVR uploads its playlist to a central server. The goal would be to match the programs on a local DVR with those on a cloud DVR. That way if you changed DVRs, you’d still have access to some of your programs.

This wouldn’t really solve the problem of people keeping old content on their DVRs, because once you’d passed that 30-90 day mark then DIRECTV or DISH wouldn’t have that content in the cloud. But, it would still let people watch stuff they’ve recorded recently.

A lot of folks would say that the answer would be to just let people offload content to a local hard drive without encryption. Sure, I agree that would be great. But I think you can imagine that it would create as many problems as it solves.

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The post Is a cloud DVR better than a regular DVR? appeared first on The Solid Signal Blog.

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With a hard drive..YOU decide when to delete a recording...with the cloud THEY decide when to delete a recording
 
With a hard drive..YOU decide when to delete a recording...with the cloud THEY decide when to delete a recording
What do you do when the hard drive fails, which seems to be happening more since DirecTV/Dish’s equipment is getting so old.

Even internal/external hard drive seems to be failing more often, since they are so cheaply made in today’s world.
 
I never understood using a DVR to create a library to save long term, I always used it to time shift and get around commercials.
 
I never understood using a DVR to create a library to save long term, I always used it to time shift and get around commercials.
Myself also, specially with the vast majority of content on streaming services, old and new, free and paid.

When I used a DVR, watch it, delete it, why hold on to it?

If I want to watch older stuff, press the mic on my Roku Remote, it then tell me where it is available, for example, wanted to revisit the Beverly Hillbillies last year, Roku told me it was on Pluto, every season/episode was On Demand there, watch all of it over a month, barely any commercials.

Also, in 720P ( that is what all of Pluto TV is in), since the show was shot on Film, best it ever looked.
 
If you assume the rules are the same then a physical DVR has to be the better option. Why? Because the cloud DVR relies on the Internet, the physical DVR does not. It's that simple. If the Internet goes down I can still watch recorded content. Can't do that with the cloud. I'll give you a great example, a bad electrical storm went through and knocked the electricity off in a large area which in turn took down the Internet. I fired up my generator and I was back in business. Try doing that with the cloud. Another example, a truck hit a pole and knocked down all the wires - no electricity or Internet. Same as before, fire up the generator and I'm back in business. Seems to me it's a no-brainer.

As for physical hard drive reliability, if there was ever a more apt application of "You get what you pay for" this is it. I never understood why people are so willing to cut corners when buying a hard drive just to save a few bucks while ignoring the risk to their data. Makes no sense. Buy the best you can afford. At the very least I use WD Black drives, not Blue, not Red, not Gold. I stay away from Seagate (failure rates of up to 25% believe it or not) and the likes of Toshiba if you value your data.
 
Movies, movies and movies
Who would want to watch a movie in less quality, for example, edited for time, censored depending on what channel and in lower bitrate 720P/1080i.

versus watch in 1080P or 4K/HDR/DV along with Dolby Digital+ or Atmos on streaming services, unedited.

Even on FAST TV Services, where there are free, they are unedited either live or on demand, yes you get commercials , but still in much better quality.
 
Who would want to watch a movie in less quality, for example, edited for time, censored depending on what channel and in lower bitrate 720P/1080i.
If all you want is movies and serials, this is a valid argument. If you're more concerned with events, streaming typically isn't your daisy.
 
Who would want to watch a movie in less quality, for example, edited for time, censored depending on what channel and in lower bitrate 720P/1080i.

versus watch in 1080P or 4K/HDR/DV along with Dolby Digital+ or Atmos on streaming services, unedited.

Even on FAST TV Services, where there are free, they are unedited either live or on demand, yes you get commercials , but still in much better quality.
Because you don't have to PAY for it again
 
If all you want is movies and serials, this is a valid argument. If you're more concerned with events, streaming typically isn't your daisy.
Why is that, events have been streaming for a long time now, in the better quality I have been referring to.
 
Why is that, events have been streaming for a long time now, in the better quality I have been referring to.
Because they can't be saved long-term. That also happens with some movies and series should the service remove them (i.e. Disney+).

"Quality" doesn't trump availability.
 
Because they can't be saved long-term.
As far as events goes, I assume you mean sports, I have never gone back and watched a Football game again, all the excitement is gone, just no reason for it.

Based on the failure of ESPN Classic, I would say the vast majority would not do so either.

That also happens with some movies and series should the service remove them (i.e. Disney+).

"Quality" doesn't trump availability.
First, if a movie is pulled from Disney+, there are usually other ways to watch.

Second, I would never save a movie from Paid Live TV, if I wish to watch something, it definitely would not be a edited version.

For me quality does Trump availability, if it is not available in the highest quality available, I have no desire to watch it.
 
As far as events goes, I assume you mean sports, I have never gone back and watched a Football game again, all the excitement is gone, just no reason for it.

Based on the failure of ESPN Classic, I would say the vast majority would not do so either.


First, if a movie is pulled from Disney+, there are usually other ways to watch.

Second, I would never save a movie from Paid Live TV, if I wish to watch something, it definitely would not be a edited version.

For me quality does Trump availability, if it is not available in the highest quality available, I have no desire to watch it.
Not everybody has that luxury...many people just like watching dish network
 
Not everybody has that luxury...many people just like watching dish network
And spend more money, I like spending less for the majority of the same content from paid Live TV, in much better quality, the streaming content, tons of movies (new release and older), in at least 1080P, more and more in 4K.

All for $77.

Time to embrace the future.
 
As far as events goes, I assume you mean sports, I have never gone back and watched a Football game again, all the excitement is gone, just no reason for it.
"Events" are by no means limited to sports. There are things other than sports that are eventworthy that may or may not eventually be released as documentaries. Consider how long it took to come out with a visually and aurally satisfying rendition of Woodstock. The World doesn't revolve around what you value. I would have thought you would have figured that out by now.
First, if a movie is pulled from Disney+, there are usually other ways to watch.
I think you know that isn't true. There were many titles that were removed (and perhaps even more that were never made available) that were being looked forward to. Some aren't available and others are only available as SD transfers (perhaps even VHS). The replacement of physical media by streaming as a primary source makes this even more critical.
Second, I would never save a movie from Paid Live TV, if I wish to watch something, it definitely would not be a edited version.
I'm not sure I understand your assumptions that all Paid Live TV must be edited (or ad-infused) and that non-linear content necessarily isn't.
For me quality does Trump availability, if it is not available in the highest quality available, I have no desire to watch it.
Again you're placing your values high above those of all others. That doesn't work for all others.