Sling TV reveals much-needed cloud DVR feature as live TV streaming competition heats up

Dish’s Sling TV live television streaming service is launching a preemptive strike at the imminent $35 DirecTV Now by swiping a handy feature from yet another rival. On Monday, Sling announced plans for cloud DVR, which Sony’s PlayStation Vue already offers.

Sling’s cloud DVR sounds pretty straightforward. You’ll be able to record as many shows as you want simultaneously, and tell Sling to record specific series so you’ll never miss an episode. If your available cloud storage space fills up Sling will automatically delete the oldest recordings to make room for new ones. There’s no mention of erasing recordings after 28 days—a noteworthy omission as PlayStation Vue eradicates DVR-stored videos after that time frame passes. 

Further reading: Best cable-TV alternative: Which service should you subscribe to?

Sling isn’t rolling out cloud DVR to everybody just yet though. The feature will launch in beta form next month, and initial support will be limited to Roku devices. You’ll need to register for consideration in the beta. Sling says that “At launch, customers selected for the beta program will receive 100 hours of cloud DVR storage at no charge,” which suggests cloud DVR may be included as an upsell rather than a core feature whenever it launches for the masses.

Another caveat worth mentioning: DVR functionality isn’t available for all channels, much like Sling TV’s basic time-shifting controls. The image Sling’s showing on its registration page displays DVR recordings from NBC, HBO, AMC, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, HGTV, Bravo, and Spike, however.

The story behind the story: This announcement’s timing is no coincidence. On Monday, AT&T will formally reveal DirecTV Now, a Sling rival that offers 100 live TV channels for just $35 per month.

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