Sling TV takes on rivals with launch of a cloud DVR

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As competition between television streaming services heats up, Dish’s Sling TV announced a new feature designed to better compete with rivals like Sony’s PlayStation Vue and others: it’s debuting a cloud DVR that will allow customers to record shows and movies to watch later at their convenience. Vue already offers a similar option, which has been one of its bigger selling points to date.

According to Sling, the cloud DVR will first launch into beta this December, and will initially be available only to those who watch Sling TV via Roku devices, including Roku streaming players and TVs.

Sling is clearly targeting Vue customers with this launch, as it notes that its recordings will not expire after 28 days. That just happens to be exactly how long recordings can be saved on PlayStation Vue.

In addition, Sling says that the DVR will offer conflict-free recording, as well as the ability to pause, rewind, and fast-forward through your recorded content.

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During the beta trials, customers will receive 100 hours of cloud DVR storage at no charge. That implies the DVR may come to represent a new revenue stream for Sling TV in the future, as customers could pay for upgraded storage. Sling says it will be listening to customer feedback while the DVR service is in development, with a specific focus on adding features like upgraded storage and the ability to protect recordings, for example.

Once enabled, customers will be able to record movies, TV shows or entire series, and these recordings will be made easily accessible from the “My TV” screen in the app. Like most standard DVRs, when recording space fills up, Sling will make room for new programs by deleting the oldest “watched” recording first.

Participation in the cloud DVR beta is invite-only and requires a Roku device. Sign up for current Sling TV customers is here: http://www.sling.com/dvr.

The announcement comes on the same day that AT&T is planning to reveal details around its own live TV service, DirecTV Now, at a press event in New York. Hulu, too, will roll out its live TV streaming service in the first quarter of next year.