Happy young woman watching television on sofa

DIRECTV NOW Just Cut The Number of Hours Their DVR Beta Offers


Since the DIRECTV NOW DVR Beta launched it has come with 100 hours of DVR storage included. This week though AT&T opened up their DVR beta to more DIRECTV NOW subscribers and also cut the number of hours each new DVR beta tester gets.

After talking with multiple Cord Cutters News readers who are in the DVR beta we can confirm that new beta testers are only getting 20 hours of DVR space. As best we can tell early beta testers who got the 100 hours of DVR storage still have access to all 100 hours.

How many hours will you get with the DVR when it goes public? We are not sure. Sling TV’s DVR beta offered 100 hours, but when it went public it only offered 50 hours. We will need to wait for the official announcement to find out what the storage limits will be.

So far we can confirm that DIRECTV NOW’s new DVR is being beta tested on the Apple TV, Android, iOS, Fire TV (2nd gen), Chrome browser, and the Chromecast. AT&T now lists Roku as coming later but no date and time have been set.

Did you get a beta invite from AT&T recently? How many hours did you get? Leave us a comment and let us know what you found.

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  • Karl Childers

    Before these streaming services became available having a DVR with a lot of storage was extremely useful because it was really the only way to go back and watch content that you’d missed. Now you can watch a lot of shows through On-Demand and various channel apps. DVR certainly is still beneficial for watching content at a later date but having the ability to store thousands of hours worth of programming so you can build your own On-Demand library really isn’t necessary anymore.

    We’ve been with DTVNow since it launched and have gotten by fine without a DVR so 20 hours will probably be just fine for our needs. They’ll likely have an add-on for a larger DVR so that that who feel that they need more space can have the ability to purchase it.

    • Nathan John Ganiere

      honestly for most part can live without it but 20 hours would be enough to record a game should I be away from the television, about the only real need for one anyhow, most the other shows can catch on-demand elsewhere

    • swkerr

      If I have to sit thru adds then On-demand is not acceptable. Plus On-demand generally only keeps a few episodes and like to binge a full season at a time in 20 hours would not even cover one season. Youtube TV great at this point because I can skip adds on DVR and the adds for On-demand seems very limited. 40 hours on Hulu was not acceptable for me mostly because daily news and late-night shows would eat thru it very fast because there were no tools to limit them to 1 or 2 shows. Not being in the pilot makes it impossible for me to judge the overall experience but I have to think 20 hours will be incredibly limiting.

  • Infensus

    I prefer a DVR over VOD since I don’t want to watch commercials. The DTVN current implementation, is providing me with 20 hours of time. Now, if this was for 20 different shows, that would be a great start for me. However, the DVR is similar to Vue where you schedule a show, and all recordings are kept. So, I wanted to record the newest episode of “Big Bang Theory”, but instead of 30 minutes recording, I ended up with over 2 hours since all older episodes recorded too.

    Hopefully this will be adjusted going forwards (I gave them feedback on this), but the 20 hours can disappear overnight, as did with me. I wanted 5 new recordings and ended up with 17 due to older episodes recording.

  • mnsportsgeek

    20 hours is plenty for me. When I had Xfinity I never had more than 3 or 4 shows to watch at a time.

  • Joseph Duffy

    Can’t live without a DVR. I have YouTube TV and just subscribed to DTVN for $10 to try it for a month (wife needed Hallmark Channel for the holidays). The VOD on DTVN is very frustrating. Episodes of past and current seasons are missing. Having no hourly limit on Youtube TV’s DVR (other than episodes being erased after 9 months) is extremely convenient and easy. Find a show or sports team, set it, and then forget it. Also, unless I missed it, DTVN offers only two streams and one main account. So right now I have to share my watchlist. Will that be the same for the DVR? Youtube TV offers multiple accounts for one subscription price and those account holders get their own DVR.

    • muledoggie

      Can’t skip commercials on DVR content on YouT, right?

      • Mike Thaler

        Have had YTTV for 5 months. Never a problem skipping commercials whether in the midst of a live recording you start watching an hour after start or a completed show.
        Can’t recall if there is “trouble” skipping on a VOD type recording. There sure was/is on Comcast.

      • Joseph Duffy

        When you record, it’s different with each network. For example, record anything on Fox News and you can fast forward through commercials. After recording CBS shows they revert to VOD versions and you have to suffer through commercials. SYFY offers VOD and some of those shows were commercial free.

  • filmex

    Don’t understand the attraction here with On Demand. Yes, if you are content to watch shows with ads, you don’t need a DVR, or one with pitiful capacity. It’s the same reason CBS Access is of limited appeal…why pay a subscription fee to watch programming with commercials when, if you had half a brain, you wouldn’t need to.

    Every time DTVN teases and then backs off their DVR development, it just proves the lack of commitment they have to the tool. Too many satellite customers paying $130/month to get that hardware DVR to really get serious about offering a superior cloud component that will cannibalize their satellite business.
    DirecTV went from being an industry leader to be a middling player the moment they hooked up with AT&T.

    • id10t

      I think for many folks it has to do with how the Networks handle the shows through the app. CW for instance on many programs only allows you to go back 4 episodes. I agree if you are keeping up with the show weekly or bi weekly it makes little difference. Some sports that are live you only get one shot to record it and there is no other means to get it if you miss it. So I would say there are a few cases where the DVR makes sense even with the Apps being available for streaming later.

      I know Playon solves this issue for me. I have heard question as to the legality of Playon however my spin on it being legal is this. It requires you login to your service and play the show/record in real time. If you have 2 Netflix or Hulu streams it uses one of them and records it to your computer. If you try to record using Playon using both streams from Netflix simultaneously and try to log onto Netflix, Netflix tells you you have no streams to use and must stop watching on another device. You cant bypass that part of the service. This is the same way it works with cable services and Tivo work. Now if Playon were recording/ saving the programs and redistributing them as a file or stream I would consider that illegal.

      It took getting my family to watch from Playon instead of the apps a little getting used to but once they figured out they were using the streams and Playon would fail to record because it didn’t have a stream to use they started using Playon. Its a real bandwidth saver to record/download for say Survivor that everyone in the family watches to a single place then let it be served up locally on demand verses 5 separate times to family members.

      • Vegas Steve

        Recording with Playon isn’t illegal (assuming you’re not distributing it), but it violates the terms of service for these streaming services. I guess they could shut down your service, but that’s about it.

        • id10t

          That’s my feeling. Those same terms of service existed with cable companies in the 80’s and the cable companies/networks tried to stop folks from using VCR and sued all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. Dish also won a court case in which the networks chose not to take to the Supreme Court over time shifting/ fast forwarding through commercials which terms of service said you could not do.

          The method of distributing the same content as 30 years ago has changed and Playon is keeping up with the times just as Tivo did.

          I would think that if the Networks/streaming services felt they had a case they would have sued Playon by now. However I think they would have a tough row to hoe considering they themselves now allow you to download content to watch later as well as the other precedents that have been set in how the content is treated once it reaches your home.

    • Bill Meyer

      You can get CBS All Access commercial free for 9.99

      • filmex

        Well, if Vue stops recording CBS for us…and then our Tivo Roamio breaks down so we can no longer record CBS OTA, and we still have an urge to pay for programming that was free to begin with, we’ll keep that in mind.

  • Malignar

    I just wish I could reliably pause live tv with DTVN. When the youtube tv roku support comes out I may switch to there and add philo.

  • Robert Anthony Hartzell

    20 hours will more or likely be free. Sling charges $5 for 50 hours. It wouldn’t even be worth charging for over half of that amount. 100 hours is probably the addon version. Hopefully they offer it at $5 a month. They probably want to see how testers do with both versions.

  • TechSupport

    Then that settles that. I will be staying with PlayStation Vue.

  • JoeRaiderXX

    I wonder if this means a 20gb dvr for free or $5mn and a 100gb with more features for $10-15mn

  • Richard Alan Haugh

    If DTVN had all their On Demand next day, I wouldn’t need a DVR. But most of their On Demand is two or three weeks behind. Since I use Roku, I go to each channels app and watch their On Demand.

  • muledoggie

    Another concern other than the amount of storage and, God forbid, add on costs would be how well fast forwarding actually works. Any feedback from Beta users? I have AmznP and NF and fast forwarding is sub par on Roku, Apple TV4k, and Tivo. By sub-par I’m comparing to hardware DVR.

    • It’s unlikely they could provide better fast forwarding than Amazon and Netflix. There are just plain limits to buffer sizes and network latency.

  • Jdmac29

    I got an invite and it was 20 hours. Still happy to beta test with a seperate app for apple tv so my family can use the standard app. I beta tested for sling and got the 100 hours during those tests.

  • Herman222

    The PS VUE logic still is the best in my opinion. No limit as to the amount of things you can DVR but then the DVR playback capability fades after 28 days (or more). After that, you’ll still have access to the VOD version as well as the App options. They still have to solve the problem of recording all instances, especially for sports. Why we can’t choose specific teams to record is my question.

    • Infensus

      DTVN DVR works similar. It records an entire series, links to VOD. The negative with DTVN is that it has a number of hours restriction. My 20 hours disappeared literally over night.

    • Joseph Duffy

      Youtube TV lets you choose a team and then records all available games. It keeps recordings for 9 months but often switches to VOD version of recorded shows so you have to suffer through ads.

  • In my household, the biggest reason for need of a DVR is time shifting live prime time programming that my wife wants to watch. The reason is that the next day when she goes into work, all of her female coworkers are talking about last night’s TV (This is Us, the Bachelor, Designated Survivor, etc).

    if she’s wasn’t able to see it on the night it aired, on her schedule (usually after the kids have been put to bed), then she basically can’t talk to her office mates the next day, because all they are talking about is what happened – spoilers!

  • Robert Anthony Hartzell

    Just waiting for Philo to be on Android TV and Youtube TV to be available in my market. Once that happens I’ll have a Frankenstein version of Vue, but with more of the channels I want.

  • Vegas Steve

    20 hours is laughable.

    • Marc H

      I imagine the 30 hour version will come with the service and you can pay for more. I still use DTV and the DVR is the most important thing after HD. Whatever service I eventually get will need to have a fully functional DVR with no time limit and a large capacity. It’s the one thing I am willing to pay a premium for.

  • John Lee

    Just got selected for beta test. Only received 20 hours DVR storage. I have a feeling that is all the free storage customer would get. 20 hours is a far cry compares to PS Vue. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/853bdf819c4d235d30aa554ffad155f5e61e24a728098c66c1daf9f252b2b39c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d156a021fa402d91b2c69eff0d5eb23a0fecfa1327d413d859b929a138c7ed7f.png

  • OHIOCRITIC

    I am a Beta Tester and I get 100 hours of recording. They have had several issues on the recording. I also notice that recorded shows do not show until the next day. Some channels I had on the Direct TV Now or moved to another tier in the Beta version. They have also added some local stations or networks reducing some need for an antenna. When they release it, I will drop my cable. I also got an unlimited plan when AT&T gave an instant $25 credit so, I am only paying $10 monthly. New subscribers only get an $15 credit.