Multi-Room Viewing vs a Multi-Room DVR

Don’t be confused by the title, a Multi-Room DVR is not the same as Multi-Room viewing. The ability to view a recording in any room of the house is just one of many features of a Multi-Room DVR. If you can’t schedule recordings, check on your Todo list and manage seasons passes in more than one room, you can not honestly call your system a Multi-Room DVR — multiple DVRs are not a Multi-room DVR either. Of course the meaning of words never stopped marketing people from using them, but don’t be fooled, the Dish Network Hopper and Joey are the very first provider Multi-Room DVR ever available widespread. And it’s a big deal.

The DirecTV HR34 is the core of a Multi-Room DVR, but with the C30 RVU clients being MIA and the first gen Samsung RVU HDTVs being so limited, it is hardly ready for prime time — I tried it at CES and the TV’s RVU client made the first build of the TiVo Premiere software feel fast. This is all assuming you can get DirecTV to even enable the feature for you, which seems unlikely given the feedback at Many cable companies, including Verizon, have Multi-Room viewing that they call a Multi-Room DVR, but charging people for a DVR in every room and making them walk between rooms to resolve conflicts can hardly be called a true Multi-Room DVR, in good faith.

I think this is a big deal, because I believe that everyone expects the exact same TV experience in every room of the house, and in the next few years all the providers will provide what Microsoft’s Media Center has been doing for over five years, but in a mainstream way. I can’t wait to try them all out for myself.

5 Responses to “Multi-Room Viewing vs a Multi-Room DVR”

  1. Sam says:

    Hi Ben,

    Wouldn’t the Verizon Multi-Room solution meet your criteria for Multi-Room DVR? My girlfriend’s solution has a DVR in one room and two satellite boxes in other rooms. I thought it was possible to start a recording and manage recordings from the satellite extender box.

    The TiVo Q/Elite & Preview solution doesn’t currently meet all of your criteria but based on the recently posted Charter Support document and comments from Jason Nealis at RCN it will meet most, if not all, of your criteria sometime this summer.


    • Ben Drawbaugh says:

      You can’t schedule recordings from any room of the house on the Verizon solution from the other DVRs. You may be able to from a regular STB, but two tuners for an entire house is hardly a multi-room DVR, either.

  2. Nosgoth1979 says:

    This is an important distinction and I really like the way you lay out the facts. I’ve only had the Hopper for a few days now but I love it. I would never want to go back to my single room DVRs. Being an employee of DISH, I’d known that I would have full functionality in ever room just like if I were at the primary TV, but what I didn’t think about is that I can see what the tuners are being used for in the other rooms too. This was an unexpected bonus, because it makes it that much easier to make sure my kids aren’t watching TV when they shouldn’t be, and that when they are, they’re watching shows and movies that I approve of. Plus that hard-drive…man I can’t even imagine what it’s going to take to fill 2TBs up.

  3. Ben, what are your thoughts on WOW’s new Ultra TV platform, based on Arris’ Moxi technology? Arris walked me through the offering at CES, and while this first offering from WOW specifically talks about “viewing from multiple rooms,” you can dig into the details to learn that you can control the scheduled recordings from any of the remote media players. Arris is a comparatively small player, but this seems like a competitive offering.

    • Ben Drawbaugh says:

      That is one qualification I forgot to include in this post, national availability. Like WOW, there are a few local providers with whole home DVRs and even though the U-Verse footprint is limited honestly they have offered one for a few years.

      You are right, Arris does have a compelling offering, it’s just that it isn’t available to very many people.