Q. I am excited to watch DIRECTV’s new 4K channel. But I’m curious about whether you will be able to record shows off it. Can you? And, if so, how many hours of recording can you store on the DVR? — Tom, Los Angeles.
Tom, as you note, DIRECTV next month will launch pay TV’s first live 4K TV channel, which will debut April 7 with coverage of the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament.
DIRECTV said it would air all four rounds of the Masters on the 4K channel from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET each day of the event, which takes place April 7-10. In addition, the 4K channel will offer 4K programming from DIRECTV’s own Audience Network as well as documentaries and other programming.
So, will you be able to record the Masters and the other 4K shows on the new channel?
I’m sorry to report that AT&T, DIRECTV’s new corporate parent, tells me that it can’t say yet. That’s right. Although AT&T and DIRECTV have announced they will launch a 4K channel in less than three weeks, AT&T’s public relations team says it can’t tell me whether you will be able to record shows on it. (You will need a DIRECTV HR54 HD DVR or above to watch the new 4K channel.)
That may seem strange, but I’ve started asking the PR department several days ago and their response remains that they are trying to find out about the recording capability.
I will update this article if, and when, I get additional information from AT&T.
That said, I have some doubts about a recording feature. For starters, SportsVideo.org reports that the Masters will be an IP-(Internet Protocol) transmission, which means the programming file will be very large, likely too large for the HR54 to store.
Plus, John Ward, DIRECTV’s senior vice president for content operations, notes in the SportsVideo.org article that any 4K file “presents a huge challenge for recording and storage when you think about the fact that an hour of uncompressed 4K footage is roughly 400-500 GB.”
The DIRECTV HR54 only has a 1 terabyte hard drive (1,000 GB) so you can see that it wouldn’t take long before its capacity was reached. Maybe an hour or two of recording; maybe even less.
So, Tom, I await further information from AT&T. But right now, I can’t be very optimistic about a DIRECTV 4K recording feature on the new live 4K channel.
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