Male hand holding TV remote control.

DVR Breakdown – Sling TV vs PlayStation Vue vs Hulu vs fuboTV vs DIRECTV NOW vs YouTube TV


Male hand holding TV remote control.We’re all used to the experience of watching live TV, and most of us have spent a fair amount of time scrolling through a list of shows and movies on demand. The DVR feature combines the two. Using a service’s DVR allows you to record their favorite shows to store and watch later, to be sure you never miss an episode. Below, we’re looking at the DVR feature of a few favorite content streaming services.

Hulu

While Hulu has a great selection of TV episodes to choose from, some of your favorites may not be available. If you have Hulu Live, that won’t be a problem. Hulu Live includes a Cloud DVR for recording live TV, with the following features.

  • 50 hours of content storage with the basic plan
  • 200 hours of content storage with the Enhanced Cloud DVR upgrade
  • Oldest content is removed automatically when full, to make room for new content
  • Pause, rewind, and fast forward live TV
  • Space for 6 profiles to keep content and preferences separate

There are some limits to the content that you can record and watch later with Hulu Live TV. Extra channels, including HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime, cannot be recorded.

Sling TV

Sling TV wants to make it easy for users to easily find, record, and watch their favorite shows with DVR. If you want that convenience, it’ll cost you. Sling TV charges an extra $5/month if you want the DVR feature. Here’s what you’ll get.

  • 50 hours of content storage
  • Oldest content is removed automatically when full, to make room for new content
  • Able to record multiple shows simultaneously
  • Set DVR to record all episodes of a show, or all new episodes

Several channels cannot be recorded with Sling TV. The list includes on demand only channels and everything owned by Disney and ESPN.

The feature is still relatively new to Sling TV, so there have been some hiccups with outages and support. As the company polishes the DVR feature, some of those problems should be resolved.

PlayStation Vue

Recently, PlayStation Vue has been making small updates to its DVR that could make a big impact on the user experience. Those updates, combined with the unlimited storage space available, make the DVR one of the major draws to choosing PlayStation Vue over other streaming services. The following are some of the features that set this service apart.

  • Unlimited content storage space
  • Content can be saved for 28 days after it airs
  • Auto record for programming added to My Shows
  • 50 additional minutes of time recorded after sporting events, in case a game runs long

As with all streaming services, the PlayStation Vue DVR can record most programming, but not all. Extra channels, including HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime are excluded, along with most CBS channels and ESPN channels.

FuboTV

FuboTV was designed to be the content streaming service that caters to sports fans, so it’s no surprise that the DVR feature was set up with the intention of recording sporting events. The DVR feature was originally set up with 10 recording slots that could be filled with sporting events, TV shows, or movies.

Recently, FuboTV changed the set up and followed the style of other services, storing content by the hour instead of the set number of slots. Another major update gave users the option of upgrading to increase storage. This is what you’ll get with FuboTV DVR.

  • 30 hours of storage space with the basic package
  • 500 hours of storage with the upgraded package for $9.99/month
  • Content stored indefinitely, until deleted
  • Recording won’t be stopped mid-event
  • Look Back feature to catch sporting events up to 72 hours after airing

The recent update and option for much more storage has made FuboTV more competitive with other services when it comes to their DVR.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is often overlooked when compared to other big names in TV streaming, but its DVR service is worth taking a look at. YouTube was made to work well with mobile devices, and the YouTube TV service is no different. This is the DVR option that will most likely be easiest to use on the go, if you want to see your content on a smartphone or tablet. This is what you’ll get with YouTube TV.

  • Unlimited content storage space
  • Content can be saved for up to 9 months after airing
  • Separate DVR for each profile, with up to 6 user profiles allowed

As with other services, YouTube TV will replace recorded content with on demand content when available. You’ll still have to sit through ads for many of your favorite shows.

DIRECTV NOW

DIRECTV NOW has been working on a beta version of a DVR feature. With only a limited number of customers testing the DVR, there isn’t much information about what DIRECTV NOW will be offering when the feature officially launches. As of now, it looks like users will have space for 100 hours of content and potentially the option of choosing between a light and dark background. However, anything could change before all DIRECTV NOW customers get to use the new feature.

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  • Fred Koot

    Using Sling for a month with the dvr and its not good. New only recordings don’t work, its set by the month not year. I have many shows that are recorded with a the current day and month, but from any year. Any shows on Fox won’t play.

  • Lance Panton

    Playstation Vue DVR works fine for me. While you don’t actually record HBO, Cinemax, or Showtime, if they are added to the “my shows” list, you are able to watch it instantly via On Demand. The show will appear on your DVR list just like other shows and movies. If the show or movie has already aired, it appears on your list as soon as it’s clicked. In Dallas, I am able to record CBS and ESPN, any show. That’s been my experience with the Vue DVR. The only thing I don’t like is sometimes I just want to record an episode as opposed to every airing. All shows have to be added to the “my shows” list. It’s not the worst thing in the world. I would simply have them add a “record one episode” option.

    • carl_steve

      If a program has subsequent episodes that you don’t want recorded, just delete it from My Shows after you’ve watched the episode you want to see.

      • Lance Panton

        Easy enough, sure. But coming from traditional TV, that is one of the few things on a very small list that I miss. Plus, unless I’m wrong, it’s an all or nothing thing. Either I’m saving ALL episodes or none. Nothing to bookmark or save just that one fav from one episode.

        • carl_steve

          The current DVR feature doesn’t distinguish between programs that air once (e.g., a movie) vs. programs that are ongoing (e.g., a TV series with multiple episodes). Perhaps Sony will expand DVR functionality in this regard in the future.

    • Jmac24

      but you need an internet connection to stream. with true DVRs you don’t. That’s why I like them better than OnDemand

    • FranchisePlayer

      You bring up a good point about HBO, Cinemax & Showtime in that those aren’t really recorded. There are separate apps where you can watch their content without the need for a DVR but that’s also true for many other programs/channels. TNT, FOX, Hulu and others all offer ways to watch shows without needing a DVR.

      I’m sure there are exceptions to this where shows are not available from an app but as more companies get their own apps, I don’t see the need for a DVR. Skipping commercials is probably the best feature which is very nice but if you’re concerned about just missing episodes, it seems like there are other ways to watch them without the need for a DVR.

  • SeaRover

    I’ve tested them all. At this time, Playstation Vue is way ahead of the others, but not just in its DVR functionality.

    • Vegas Steve

      I’ve tested them all but DTVN and I prefer SlingTV over Vue.

    • Kyle Huston

      No viacomm channels tho. I went to directv now. the 72 hour rewind works just fine. I did like Vue better but I want comedy central and spiketv

  • Danny Hensley

    I have not had a problem fast forwarding through commercials even when they replace the recording with the “on demand” version. We have all the locals except NBC and you can even fast forward through the commercials on their shows. They usually make you watch one commercial and most of the time it’s either advertising for the Today Show or the Olympics. Maybe it just doesn’t let you fast forward through commercials on some of the channels I don’t record.

    • Vegas Steve

      It seems hit & miss for me. Sometimes I can and on the same show, sometimes I can’t. Still prefer dealing with that over commercials though.

    • Scott

      Which service?

      • Danny Hensley

        PS Vue

  • SS

    i don’t know where you got info about PS Vue from but it doesn’t replace recordings with On Demand. It gives you the option to choose which version. And, it allows you to fastforward on demand content through commercials for all shows except a few like some FX shows.

    YouTube TV usually lists the On Demand version on the show’s page but if you look at your recordings, you will still find the recorded version and you don’t have to watch the On demand version. Since this isn’t straightforward for some people, they might think they don’t have the recorded option.

    Both PS Vue and YouTube have all new episodes on demand. Some are even there before they air on TV, especially disney shows. But you always have the option to choose the recorded version.

    I would recommend testing these to see for yourself.

  • Jason F. Perry

    Hulu Live is the winner for me. DTVN is a no go for me until they have DVR. SlingTV is a no go because it doesn’t have Fox News or FXM. I tried Vue and it’s okay but I had the worst time ever trying to access my DVR on my Android LG anywhere outside my house and have not had this issue with any other service. Personally, I am with Hulu Live now and I love it as it has everything I want. Fox News and MSNBC (I may have a thing for Mika on “Morning Joe”), FXM and TCM both for classic films, as well as Chiller (DTVN wants you to pay $70 for Chiller!) for my love of horror for no extra charge other than the base $40. Plus I may or may not enjoy some of the horrible V.C. Andrew like films on Lifetime Movies (ahem, I’ll neither confirm nor deny). I couldn’t be happier with it. The only thing I wish they would add they don’t have currently is the ability to access your DVR via Windows 10 instead of having to use my phone or Amazon Fire Stick. I really love their service currently and only seeing it grow and become better as they add more to it.

    • Scott

      Glad you found a favorite. Interesting that you have tried Vue and prefer Hulu’s DVR. Most people I hear from who have tried Vue, then moved to Hulu Live, as I have done, are of the opinion that Vue’s DVR is heads and shoulders the best available, especially when compared to Hulu’s “This part of the video cannot be played” restrictive DVR permissions.

      • Jason F. Perry

        I couldn’t access my DVR on Vue at all except at home because I was outside of my “home network” no matter what I tried. It’s been about six months since I had Vue so perhaps they have worked on this some now and it’s not as bad. It made their DVR absolutely pointless to me if I could only access it at home. I haven’t experienced any of the “this part of the video cannot be played” issues with Hulu yet – but I mostly watch classic films and news programs so perhaps this is related to sports?

    • Kyle Huston

      DTVN does have a 72 hour rewind which works pretty well.

      • Jason F. Perry

        The 72 hour rewind is only available on certain channels.

  • Robert Anthony Hartzell

    Vue has the best features, but is lacking a lot of content. DTVN has the best content, but is lacking a lot of features. Sling seems to be somewhere in the middle.

    • Kyle Huston

      exactly. this is the tldr version of cordcutting right now

  • greg

    Vue says 28 days but shows last much longer…I think if it airs again it restart the 28 days, or maybe it is something else happening. But I can watch shows older than the states 4 weeks… Not sure how much more as I have never paid attention

    • Chris K.

      It’s because when you add something to My Shows, it shows you a combination of what the DVR records as well as what is On-Demand. Some channels add shows to the on-demand libraries right away, others wait five weeks – which means you’d notice them just after the DVR recordings expire.

    • carl_steve

      When a show re-airs during the 28 days, the timer resets.

  • Phuq_Me

    No mention of the number of streams on these service which is kind of important.

  • Phuq_Me

    None of these. All are missing one thing or another..

  • bplewis24

    One thing I like about Sling over Vue (unless something has changed for Vue) is that I can select individual episodes or events to record. One thing that irritated me about Vue was that if I wanted to record one college or NFL football game, I had to record all of them.

  • Respected Citizen

    “As with other services, YouTube TV will replace recorded content with on demand content when available.You’ll still have to sit through ads for many of your favorite shows.”

    Keep in mind that sporting events don’t go on -demand, so they won’t be replaced.

  • carl_steve

    “As with all streaming services, the PlayStation Vue DVR can record most programming, but not all. Extra channels, including HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime are excluded, along with most CBS channels and ESPN channels.”

    That statement is not entirely correct. I currently have over 20 programs from HBO and Showtime saved to My Shows. Only certain programs are excluded.

  • Scott

    I was expecting a more in depth analysis of the pros and cons of each service, however, this reads more like a sales brochure than an objective analysis. For example:

    “While Hulu has a great selection of TV episodes to choose from, some of your favorites may not be available. If you have Hulu Live, that won’t be a problem.”

    Reads like a Hulu ad and discounts the fact that Hulu’s DVR is the most restrictive of all services when it comes to the ability to freely move through DVR content, particularly when joining a scheduled recording live.

  • B&C

    Everything about DTV sux. Country-wide outage today (10-21).