Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
52,018
13,637



DirecTV is warning customers that its True Cloud DVR service will officially come out of beta next week, and any customers who were receiving 100 hours of recording space during the public beta will now be reset to the base 20 hours offered as a free add-on to DirecTV Now packages (via Cord Cutters News and Multichannel News). The end of the beta is said to happen on August 29, and anyone who already has 20 hours shouldn't see much of a change in their DirecTV Now app, besides the removal of any beta-related terminology.

For customers with 100 hours of beta storage, AT&T says it will erase any content more than 30 days old and will keep up to 20 hours of the most recently recorded videos. So, anyone with 100 hours on the DirecTV Now True Cloud DVR should make sure they're caught up with all of their shows and movies this weekend ahead of the end of the beta next week.

directv-now-dvr.jpg

DirecTV Now began warning these customers via email earlier in the week:
We couldn't have done it without you.

Thanks to your help with our beta testing program, DIRECTV NOW is better than ever, with great new features like True Cloud DVR beta*, locals on the go**, and an upgraded interface.

As part of the beta testing program, you had access to 100 hours of DVR storage. Since the program has ended, on August 29th your storage will transition to 20 free hours of True Cloud DVR beta, which is included with your service. So make sure to stream all the good stuff you love now. And don't worry - the most recent 20 hours of content will remain on your DVR, as long as it is less than 30 days old.

Keep on streaming and enjoying all of your favorite content, with access to third-party apps, and 40,000+ titles** on Video On Demand.
As the beta ends, AT&T is rumored to be gearing up "several tiers" of True Cloud DVR service that customers can purchase as an add-on to their base plans. Tiers are said to range from 50 hours to 120 hours, but prices haven't been disclosed. DirecTV Now did mention in May that one such tier would be 100 hours of recordings (saved for up to 90 days) for an extra $10 per month, so the cost of additional tiers can be extrapolated from that price point.

The True Cloud DVR has been in public beta since May 2018, and offered most users 20 hours of recording space while a select group of users got 100 hours of space. At the time of that launch, the company stated that "more capacity options" would be coming later in the summer, so it appears that these options will be launching imminently.

If you don't want to add anything else onto your monthly DirecTV Now bill (which recently went up by $5/month), all users will get 20 hours of DVR storage at no additional cost. DirecTV Now is available as an app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and DVR recordings are synced between all platforms that you're signed into.

Article Link: DirecTV Now Ending Public Beta for True Cloud DVR, Will Launch Paid Higher Storage Tiers Soon
 
A great alternative to all these streaming service options if you are willing to pull it all together:
  • HDHomeRun boxes from Silicon Dust. These are boxes you can plug into your home network and stream either OTA (local) channels and/or cable to any TVs and Amazon Fire in the home. I picked up both their Prime box (for Comcast cable programming, using cablecard) and their Extends (for OTA local channels & subchannels)
  • The $25 Channels App. Most people look right over it because they can't imagine paying $25 for an TV app but it brings ALL of the programming from those HDHomeRun boxes together in an attractive (cable TV-like) UNIFIED, on-screen guide, merging OTA locals with Cable channels. This app allows you to put your channels in any order, set up a FAV channel list, hide any channels you don't want to watch, etc.
  • The $8/month Channels App DVR- a full-featured, traditional hardware-like DVR that brings all of those key features NOT available on virtual DVRs to any TV in the house. Your DVR capacity is then NOT limited to ANY size- just add hard drives- and the recorded programming is accessible on ANY TV or computer or mobile device. No proprietary boxes to buy or lease- just use :apple:TV or cheap Fire, etc.
By keeping for-profit middlemen OUT of controlling DVR'd content, the price for accessing recorded content can't be changed (like this). The middlemen can't decide to chop off storage space (like this). Etc. And because this is real cable (but no cable boxes, and thus no box leases), I don't burn a byte against a wired broadband cap, I DO get "double play" discount pricing vs. broadband pricing alone, I don't give up Dolby Digital 5.1 sound for stereo or mono, I DO get local channels for the major networks (local news and sports) and I get ALL of them, and on and on. When Internet is down, I can still watch any of the local channels AND anything on the DVR.

All things considered, at least for my own needs, this seems the optimal way to go. Yes, not true cord-cutting since I still deal with Comcast but that would be the case anyway since Comcast also owns the broadband pipe.
 
Last edited:
Comment

ck2875

macrumors 65816
Mar 25, 2009
1,000
2,631
Brighton
It's a pity it barely functions.

Skip. Jerk. Black screen. Sound goes....

Yeah, I am paying for the 40$/month grandfathered plan, but still have my TiVo with a separate cable subscription. The DVR on DirecTV Now is janky, at best. I've had my content on it not be available a few times (though it eventually showed up the next day), and the UI is still horrible despite this spring's redesign. While I'm sure DirecTV doesn't want me to skip the commercials, that's the main point of me DVRing something and it's honestly hard to beat the "Skip" feature on the Roamio, where I press one button on the remote and it skips all of the commercials.
 
Comment

Starflyer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2003
639
787
Signed up last week and received a 4k Apple TV for free (after prepaying for 4 months). I've been really happy so far!
 
Comment

anson42

Contributor
Mar 13, 2014
738
567
Oakland, CA
Um, isn't a cloud DVR supposed to be just references to a single, stored video stream? I mean, each DVR listing should actually occupy no more than kilobytes of storage to identify the owner of the listing, id of a stream, start and end points of said stream, current resume position, historic view counter and timestamps, etc. The actual stream content only needs to be actively retrievable as long as there are soft references to it from DVR listings. So how does the 20 hours of storage work vs 100 hours? This is all just marketing and pricing gouging? There is no significant storage difference between the two. And if listings are time bound, the long term storage needs of a particular referenced stream are also bounded.

What am I missing?
 
Comment

rwx99

macrumors newbie
Aug 24, 2018
2
2
A great alternative to all these streaming service options if you are willing to pull it all together:
  • HDHomeRun boxes from Silicon Dust. These are boxes you can plug into your home network and stream either OTA (local) channels and/or cable to any TVs and Amazon Fire in the home. I picked up both their Prime box (for Comcast cable programming, using cablecard) and their Extends (for OTA local channels & subchannels)
  • The $25 Channels App. Most people look right over it because they can't imagine paying $25 for an TV app but it brings ALL of the programming from those HDHomeRun boxes together in an attractive (cable TV-like) UNIFIED, on-screen guide, merging OTA locals with Cable channels. This app allows you to put your channels in any order, set up a FAV channel list, hide any channels you don't want to watch, etc.
  • The $8/month Channels App DVR- a full-featured, traditional hardware-like DVR that brings all of those key features NOT available on virtual DVRs to any TV in the house. Your DVR capacity is then NOT limited to ANY size- just add hard drives- and the recorded programming is accessible on ANY TV or computer or mobile device. No proprietary boxes to buy or lease- just use :apple:TV or cheap Fire, etc.
.

I use bot the HDHomeRun box to record OTAs and use the Channels App. They work great!
 
  • Like
Reactions: ebika
Comment

anson42

Contributor
Mar 13, 2014
738
567
Oakland, CA
I think it is a separate recording, commercials and all. Maybe legally they can't store and stream it the way you are describing?

Good point, I didn't think about it from a legal, licensing perspective. Given that a separate instance of a record stream is multiple copies of the content you would think that is worse from a legal perspective... it certainly is from a storage standpoint!
 
Comment

rwx99

macrumors newbie
Aug 24, 2018
2
2
DirecTVNOWs DVR is NOT ready for prime time. After using DTVN for 4 months now I've given up on it. The last black screen I got was the final straw. The past two days the channel would change by itself. Try and figure that one out! I would hit the volume on my remote and the channel would change. Accessing the Guide at times gave me errors. Some recordings that I would try and play from their DVR would give me errors saying that it was inaccessible. And the biggest issue to me was having to scroll through channels one channel at a time rather than having a page down and page up feature. Too many bugs for me so C-YA.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rtrueman
Comment
I use bot the HDHomeRun box to record OTAs and use the Channels App. They work great!

Yes, I tend to really think hard as a consumer (instead of just trusting any corporation(s)) and when I was exploring that combo, I wondered if they would work as well as some said. WOW! They do, making :apple:TVs around my house about 1000 times more useful (and used).

I wanted to go from (traditional) DISH satt to one of the streaming services and- for my needs- it looked like PS Vue was the best all things considered. But then I realized that part of the price beyond NOT getting a few favorite channels was the loss of DD5.1 sound- which is true for ALL of the streaming services. I didn't spend the bucks to build out a great home theater setup to then feed the speakers faux surround sound. And thus, once one starts really digging into the details, the (cord cutting) savings start showing WHAT is being traded off to save what often amounts to a relatively small amount of money.

This combo of HDHomeRun + Channels App + Channels DVR service on :apple:TVs (as the set-top boxes with no ongoing box lease fees) seems best of all worlds right now (for me). The streamers- like this one here- seem to be evolving into the "nickel & diming" phase. I wonder how long until we realize that fees have snuck up to traditional cable/satt levels and yet we are getting so much less than the old "ripoff" cable or satt bundles... because I'd bet large that the sentiment will be there not too much further down this road.

So, I work WITH the traditional offerings but in a new way. No lease box fees make a big difference in the monthly billing. Consistently working to keep intro "double play" pricing makes a HUGE difference. OTA quality is better than cable, satt or streaming for the "big 5" networks. I don't run into broadband cap limits due to video streaming. I don't let for-profit middlemen in as caretakers of my DVR'd stuff. Since I still have a cable subscription, I have cable-required access to all of the individual channel apps. And even if- say- a Florida Hurricane takes broadband down for a few days, I still get the locals and can watch anything on my (local) DVR.

Again, anyone maybe irked by this or anything any of the other streamers are doing (or will do soon) might want to explore whether this "hybrid" alternative might actually be better for them. I'm impressed with it.
 
Last edited:
Comment

jayb3

macrumors newbie
Dec 9, 2015
18
23
Um, isn't a cloud DVR supposed to be just references to a single, stored video stream? I mean, each DVR listing should actually occupy no more than kilobytes of storage to identify the owner of the listing, id of a stream, start and end points of said stream, current resume position, historic view counter and timestamps, etc. The actual stream content only needs to be actively retrievable as long as there are soft references to it from DVR listings. So how does the 20 hours of storage work vs 100 hours? This is all just marketing and pricing gouging? There is no significant storage difference between the two. And if listings are time bound, the long term storage needs of a particular referenced stream are also bounded.

What am I missing?

Yeah, anyone with common sense would have developed it that way. But not DirecTV. I tend to find that if my bandwidth was slow while recording and the picture drops in resolution, so does the playback of my "recording". There should be no storage of anything! And good luck trying to use the AppleTV remote to scrub the timeline. Somehow they made it incredibly sensitive and it's impossible to move around just even by a minute. Really feel like it was just better when we recorded things on VHS. So much for technology... :(
 
Comment

Stryder541

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2011
40
28
A great alternative to all these streaming service options if you are willing to pull it all together:
  • HDHomeRun boxes from Silicon Dust. These are boxes you can plug into your home network and stream either OTA (local) channels and/or cable to any TVs and Amazon Fire in the home. I picked up both their Prime box (for Comcast cable programming, using cablecard) and their Extends (for OTA local channels & subchannels)
  • The $25 Channels App. Most people look right over it because they can't imagine paying $25 for an TV app but it brings ALL of the programming from those HDHomeRun boxes together in an attractive (cable TV-like) UNIFIED, on-screen guide, merging OTA locals with Cable channels. This app allows you to put your channels in any order, set up a FAV channel list, hide any channels you don't want to watch, etc.
  • The $8/month Channels App DVR- a full-featured, traditional hardware-like DVR that brings all of those key features NOT available on virtual DVRs to any TV in the house. Your DVR capacity is then NOT limited to ANY size- just add hard drives- and the recorded programming is accessible on ANY TV or computer or mobile device. No proprietary boxes to buy or lease- just use :apple:TV or cheap Fire, etc.
By keeping for-profit middlemen OUT of controlling DVR'd content, the price for accessing recorded content can't be changed (like this). The middlemen can't decide to chop off storage space (like this). Etc. And because this is real cable (but no cable boxes, and thus no box leases), I don't burn a byte against a wired broadband cap, I DO get "double play" discount pricing vs. broadband pricing alone, I don't give up Dolby Digital 5.1 sound for stereo or mono, I DO get local channels for the major networks (local news and sports) and I get ALL of them, and on and on. When Internet is down, I can still watch any of the local channels AND anything on the DVR.

All things considered, at least for my own needs, this seems the optimal way to go. Yes, not true cord-cutting since I still deal with Comcast but that would be the case anyway since Comcast also owns the broadband pipe.

I’ve been using EyeTV with the old Elgato Hybrid tuners for 10-15 years now and the setup works great except for no direct AppleTV connection. (I do move permanent recordings to iTunes.) The built-in editor is a breeze to use for ads and when saving portions of talk shows, etc. How’s the editor in Channels? What video file format is used?
 
Comment
Channels auto-tags shows to skip commercials. It's guessing algorithm is pretty effective.

But if you want to do it manually, they are in MPG format which will import into Mac video editors. Good information on their site. You can then save the file and-optionally- import into something like Handbrake to squeeze it down into a h.26X file. Because I've long been accustomed to trying to maximize DVR space, I was running recordings through Handbrake to save room but decided to just leave them as recorded instead. It's easy to add more hard drive space whenever I might need it, which has never happened yet (the vast majority of us have probably owned/used DVRs with maybe up to 1TB, possibly 2TB at most. With this option, I could add a 12TB hard drive... or two... or ten if I needed more space).
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Stryder541
Comment

DipDog3

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2002
1,185
679
Had DirecTV Now for 6 months so I could get two free Apple 4K TVs.

The service is just terrible, barely functions most of the time. The DVR was the absolute worst in every way possible.

Every other streaming service I have used has been better (Sling, YouTube, Hulu).
 
Comment

ebika

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2008
542
182
Chicago
Their cloud DVR is a steaming pile of trash. It might be better to have nothing, because the promise of a cloud DVR resulting in such a horrible implementation is such a bitter pill. I'm not sure why they had the beta program, because they ignored all the feedback (I work in tech, and we would be crucified by our product owners if we ran our beta programs at all like they did). Now we're left with only some of their channel lineup being recordable, the skip buttons lag/crash, audio becomes desynced, the scrub bar lags/crashes the app, and it's constantly giving "oops, something went wrong, we've locked your account" which can only be fixed by resetting my password. I'm only barely hanging on to the service because I'm on the $40 grandfathered plan, and watching channels live is working fine for me.
 
Comment

EJ.Campbell

macrumors newbie
Jan 7, 2016
4
2
  • The $8/month Channels App DVR- a full-featured, traditional hardware-like DVR that brings all of those key features NOT available on virtual DVRs to any TV in the house. Your DVR capacity is then NOT limited to ANY size- just add hard drives- and the recorded programming is accessible on ANY TV or computer or mobile device. No proprietary boxes to buy or lease- just use :apple:TV or cheap Fire, etc.

Doesn’t the $96 / year you are paying for DVR software seem expensive to you? It seems like the main ongoing service they are providing is commercial skip points?
 
Comment

NorCalLights

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2006
595
79
All things considered, at least for my own needs, this seems the optimal way to go. Yes, not true cord-cutting since I still deal with Comcast but that would be the case anyway since Comcast also owns the broadband pipe.

Apparently HDHomeRun now has a streaming option too, which is passed on to the Channels app. You might want to look into that instead of paying Comcast for the privilege of watching its content with a cable card. I haven't explored it because it's still pretty new.

I use an HDHomeRun box to record the locals OTA to my Plex server. And we use the Plex app on Apple TV to watch those recordings (and live TV) on any TV in our house. It's a pretty good setup.

Currently we are using DirecTV Now, which is total garbage. Only did it to get the free ATV 4K. Once our pre-pay window is over, I'll switch immediately to Playstation Vue. Even though Vue is more expensive, the channel lineup is much better and the interface is in a different league. We've had DirecTV Now for a couple of months, and the UI is still confusing to me.

The only drag right now is that Plex can't integrate with the TV app on the Apple TV. But I guess that's true with any of these solutions. I'd love to have my live TV and recordings show up there, but I guess Apple doesn't allow that in their API.
 
Comment
Doesn’t the $96 / year you are paying for DVR software seem expensive to you? It seems like the main ongoing service they are providing is commercial skip points?

No, not for having a fully functional DVR that doesn't have in-the-cloud middlemen in full control of the stuff I save. Re-read this story. Strangers at AT&T are arbitrarily going to reduce storage space to 20% and arbitrarily delete anything DVR'd that exceeds the new storage limit THEY HAVE DECIDED for users... unless users start paying up more money to basically buy back the exact same storage to which they've been accustomed... exactly what I expect to see more and more of for these cloud "the future" services. Basically: allow toll booths to be inserted between here and there- where there were no toll booths before- and then don't be surprised when tolls are collected. With entities like AT&T in the caretaker (and thus gatekeeper) role, I'm surprised if anyone is surprised that they are monetizing access. It's AT&T! Of course they will!

By "owning" and "controlling" my own DVR storage (not in a for-profit cloud), I make all such decisions and can readily expand my storage by just adding another hard drive. And frankly, 20-100 hours is really not that much storage for HD video. Own your own DVR hardware and you can add on multi-Terabyte drives if you want gigantic DVR storage capacity. Trying to accomplish the same "in the cloud" via someone like AT&T will probably involve a home equity line of credit;)

I'm coming from a background where a cable or satt (maybe) 200-400 hours DVR box would cost $10-$18/month to have a DVR attached to a single television. This whole-home DVR works with any & all televisions and all mobile screens too for one fee of $8/month. Where the traditional DVR might have had a .5-1TB hard drive, I can add 8TB, 10TB or 12TB drives if I want 8X-12X more storage, or upwards of thousands of hours of storage.

And it is fully functional- like traditional hardware DVRs. Read a few posts in this very thread griping about the quality of the virtual DVR feature with DTV Now. Is that better than fully functional?

Nutshell: it's like Apples to Oranges. I think of $8/month as nearly nothing for this kind of feature. AT&T is about to remove 80% of storage to which users have been accustomed and then offer them blocks of some of that same storage back at probably $10/month or more. $10 for capped virtual storage vs. $8 for nearly unlimited storage (I can add all the hard drives I want).
[doublepost=1535225657][/doublepost]
Apparently HDHomeRun now has a streaming option too, which is passed on to the Channels app. You might want to look into that instead of paying Comcast for the privilege of watching its content with a cable card. I haven't explored it because it's still pretty new.

I use an HDHomeRun box to record the locals OTA to my Plex server. And we use the Plex app on Apple TV to watch those recordings (and live TV) on any TV in our house. It's a pretty good setup.

Currently we are using DirecTV Now, which is total garbage. Only did it to get the free ATV 4K. Once our pre-pay window is over, I'll switch immediately to Playstation Vue. Even though Vue is more expensive, the channel lineup is much better and the interface is in a different league. We've had DirecTV Now for a couple of months, and the UI is still confusing to me.

The only drag right now is that Plex can't integrate with the TV app on the Apple TV. But I guess that's true with any of these solutions. I'd love to have my live TV and recordings show up there, but I guess Apple doesn't allow that in their API.

Yes, there's basically a free trial period for that going right now. And it's pretty good mix of channels though some of my "must haves" are missing (as tends to be the case with about ANY streaming service offering). Curiously, a few of those channels do have 5.1 audio tags, so this HDHomeRun service may be the first and only to offer 5.1 audio with some of the channels (I can't say this for sure yet- just started exploring it yesterday... but I would consider that a big deal for anyone with a purely streaming service mentality that cares about better-than-stereo or mono (in some cases) audio). Pretty good info about the service including channel lineup.

I certainly feel no love for Comcast. However, I can work the "double play" intro pricing deals over and over to keep the cost close to the price of the HDHomeRun Premium channels bundle. It DOES deliver all of the channels important at this house. And since it's real cable, it doesn't count against Comcast broadband cap (as any other streaming service would). True cable also unlocks many individual channel apps that require a cable subscription. Dropping cablecard for a streamer means a higher "single play" broadband bill, which many seem to not consider when they faux cut-the-cord and then tout the savings.

So on:
  • a relative cost basis,
  • my desire for 5.1 audio from television,
  • a desire for getting the whole list of channels I actually want,
  • etc,
...I'm pretty happy with this exact setup right now. Should Comcast take some action to kill this option... or refuse the "double play" specials, I can always hop right back to DISH for television or go with VUE which- all things considered here at my home- seems "best fit" of all purely streaming services available now (for me). I was right on the verge of going with VUE until I realized the lack of DD5.1. Plus I really wanted a few channels not carried.

IMO, about the only great thing about DTV Now is the free :apple:TV offer (and weren't they throwing in HBO or something like that as a promo too). If I'm choosing purely on channel mix, quality of service, etc, there's a number of others that appear better than Now. However, some people seem to be pretty happy with Now... or perhaps happy with a free :apple:TV and maybe haven't really looked around at what else they can get. Some seem to not give a hoot about stuff like DD5.1 audio or robust DVR features, etc... but I didn't spend some bucks for a great surround sound setup to then feed it faux surround so I can "save" what amounts to maybe a restaurant meal out each month or so.
 
Last edited:
Comment

d21mike

macrumors 68040
Jul 11, 2007
3,318
356
Torrance, CA
Apparently HDHomeRun now has a streaming option too, which is passed on to the Channels app. You might want to look into that instead of paying Comcast for the privilege of watching its content with a cable card. I haven't explored it because it's still pretty new.

I use an HDHomeRun box to record the locals OTA to my Plex server. And we use the Plex app on Apple TV to watch those recordings (and live TV) on any TV in our house. It's a pretty good setup.

Currently we are using DirecTV Now, which is total garbage. Only did it to get the free ATV 4K. Once our pre-pay window is over, I'll switch immediately to Playstation Vue. Even though Vue is more expensive, the channel lineup is much better and the interface is in a different league. We've had DirecTV Now for a couple of months, and the UI is still confusing to me.

The only drag right now is that Plex can't integrate with the TV app on the Apple TV. But I guess that's true with any of these solutions. I'd love to have my live TV and recordings show up there, but I guess Apple doesn't allow that in their API.
Take a look at WatchAid. It is really much better then the TV App for managing "all" of your TV Series including PLEX. I have been using it for some time and was part of the beta for PLEX integration and it works great. My content comes from PLEX, Hulu, CBS All Access, HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.