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Our friends Sling TV launched their popular TV streaming service in February. While a lot of cord cutters have been enjoying watching channels like ESPN and HGTV without a cable subscription, many have been wishing for a way to record live content from Sling TV and watch it later since a portion of their content does not offer an on-demand option.
Can I use my Tablo DVR to record content that doesn’t come from an Over-the-Air HDTV antenna such as streaming services like Sling TV, Netflix or other OTT channels available through HDMI streaming boxes like Roku?
No, Sorry. It’s just not possible for Tablo to record content from sources other than a ATSC digital TV antenna.
There are a few reasons for this:
1. Tablo’s only content input is a coaxial connection specifically for Over-the-Air signals captured with ASTC digital TV antennas.
2. We want to focus specifically on providing the best platform to discover, record and watch live, local broadcast TV and leave streaming to our ecosystem partners like Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
3. Streaming service providers like Sling TV, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix often have legal agreements with content providers that prevent them from enabling DVR-type functions on their own services.
Are There Other Options?
Well… This is where things get a bit legally murky. There is a service called PlayLater that is designed to record shows and movies from your favorite streaming services onto your computer. However, user agreements for specific streaming services and ‘fair use’ rules may prevent this from being 100% in the clear say the folks at Tom’s Guide. And even then, they still say you should consult a lawyer on the subject.
The Good News
While there’s not a clear and easy way to capture content from streaming sites at the moment, the growth of the cord cutting movement is pushing streaming services, content providers and legal restrictions to loosen. (Just look at Netflix which is pondering removing country restrictions.)
Today, consumers expect to be able to access the content they want, when they want, and on the device they want, for a fair price. If we all keep pushing for this cord-cutting nirvana instead of accepting the status quo, we’ll have a better chance of achieving it sooner rather than later.
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