When we first wrote about our most frequently asked question: ‘Can I Record Streaming Services Like Sling TV or Netflix with Tablo?‘, Sling TV was the only live Over-The-Top (OTT) TV streaming service option available. Today, it seems like there’s a new Live TV streaming option on the market every month! And while most streaming services today offer some cloud DVR recording capabilities, people still ask us if they can use their Tablo OTA DVR to record OTT TV.
Today we’re going to cover the technical and legal reasons why you can’t record Sling TV, DirectTV NOW, Hulu, Playstation Vue, YouTube TV, or other online Live TV streaming services with Tablo…Or any other device, for that matter!
(If you’re even considering paying for a streaming service to watch local broadcast TV instead of watching it for free with an antenna, check out our list of 5 reasons why Over-the-Air TV paired with Tablo is a better, more flexible option.)
Why You Can’t Record Live TV Streaming Services with Tablo OTA DVRs?
You can’t record OTT TV with Tablo antenna DVRs for both technical and legal reasons.
On the technical side, Tablo DVR hardware is designed to ingest content ONLY from Over-the-Air TV antennas and either stream it live to a variety of connected devices inside or outside your home, or record it to onboard or USB-attached storage.
While apps on your set-top-box, smartphone, tablet, computer, or Smart TV provide access to streaming TV content and Tablo content alike, the Tablo DVR device itself was not designed to ingest content from live TV services. This means there’s no way to get OTT TV content into the Tablo device so it can be enjoyed via Tablo apps.
On the legal side, all streaming TV providers operate within licence agreements with the owners of the content they show. These contracts define how that content can be used, including how/when/if it can be recorded and played back.
Live TV Streaming Services and Cloud DVRs
Today Sling TV, Hulu, Playstation Vue and YouTube TV all have licencing agreements with content providers which allow them to offer some type of cloud-based DVR option within their Live TV streaming services. DirectTV NOW does not yet offer DVR, but this option is expected to be available soon. The specifics and playback features of these cloud DVRs vary greatly from service to service.
For example, PS Vue does not allow you to record content from many local CBS affiliates. Sling TV doesn’t allow you to record any content from ABC. YouTube TV allows you to record just about anything, but after 24 hours, most recordings are replaced by ‘On Demand’ versions which do not allow you to skip commercials during playback. Hulu Live asks that you pay an additional $15/month for the privilege of skipping ads.
No, you can not record live TV streaming services using Tablo OTA DVRs for both legal and technical reasons. Live streaming your local TV OTT is an option for some, but beware of the fine print, including limitations and the costs.