Dish’s Sling TV Launches Test of DVR, But It Won’t Be Able to Record ABC, Disney or ESPN Channels

Todd Spangler
Variety

UPDATED: Dish Network announced a network DVR beta test for Sling TV subscribers offering up to 100 hours of storage, looking to steal some thunder from AT&T’s DirecTV Now launch Monday.

However, Sling TV’s DVR feature will not be available for Disney, ABC or ESPN channels — because the Disney-owned networks’ distribution agreements for Sling do not allow recording of their programming on the internet-delivered service. Sling TV’s cloud DVR beta program will be available first to customers using Roku streaming players and Roku TVs, starting in December. It will be available at no extra cost to subs with either the single-stream Sling Orange package or the multistream Sling Blue plan.

“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,” Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said in announcing the launch. “Two years ago we became the first live OTT provider, and we continue to innovate and bring the best experience to our customers.”

The reference to a 28-day restriction on recordings is to Sony’s PlayStation Vue rival broadband-delivered service, which saves recorded shows for 28 days after live airing.

In addition, Sling TV on Monday launched a new promo offering customers a free Roku Streaming Stick (which sells for $35) when they sign up for one month of service.

The move by Dish to sweeten the pot for Sling TV subs comes as the over-the-top service will face a new crop of competitors. Those include DirecTV Now, set to offer more than 100 channels for $35 per month, as well as a live TV service from Hulu in early 2017. Google also is expected to introduce a YouTube-branded “skinny bundle” next year.

Sling TV’s DVR feature will let users record multiple programs simultaneously without any recording conflicts, and will automatically manage space to make room for new recordings by deleting the oldest watched recordings when capacity is full. DVR recordings will be integrated directly into Sling TV’s “My TV” screen.

Dish said it will continue to develop the Sling TV cloud DVR throughout the beta-test phase based on customer feedback and usage behavior. DVR features planned for future development include the ability to upgrade storage space and protect recordings.

Sling TV subscribers using Roku devices may request an invitation to participate in the cloud DVR beta program by signing up at sling.com/dvr. Dish said applications do not guarantee admittance into the beta program.

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