With a flurry of virtual pay-TV competition bearing down on it, Sling TV has begun beta-testing a feature it has been accused of sorely lacking: Cloud DVR.
In December, the Dish Network-owned over-the-top service will begin an invitation-only program involving subscribers who use Roku. Customers can sign up to be included in the beta test here.
As outlined in a Sling TV press release, the DVR will store up to 100 hours of programming in the cloud (Sling didn’t specify whether this is HD or SD). Subscribers to both Sling TV platforms—the sports-oriented legacy “Orange” and the dual-stream “Blue”—will be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward through recorded programming. They’ll also be able to record multiple programs simultaneously (although Sling didn’t reveal the number of simultaneous recordings, either).
“Unlike other OTT services, we’re delivering a true cloud DVR with no 28-day restriction on your recordings, marking another win for Sling TV and our customers,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV, in a statement. “Two years ago, we became the first live OTT provider, and we continue to innovate and bring the best experience to our customers.”
Sling made the announcement on the same day AT&T is set to reveal the launch date and other details about its virtual pay-TV service, DirecTV Now. Hulu and Google/YouTube are also at work on over-the-top bundles of live-streamed broadcast and cable channels.
Dish was early out the gate with Sling TV, launching the service in February 2015. Despite myriad technical issues, the service has amassed between 600,000 to nearly 1 million users, depending on whose estimate you believe.
DirecTV Now billed its service not as a replacement for traditional pay TV, but a service targeting the 20 million or so U.S. homes with broadband service but no pay-TV subscription. However, Dish has advertised the service as an alternative to cable, and has concurrently built it out to feature a robust selection of programming choices, particularly in the area of sports.
Sling TV has previously been criticized for not featuring a cloud DVR, which is available with Sony’s rival vMVPD service, PlayStation Vue, and also likely available with the soon-to-launch DirecTV Now.