Future of recording ota tv


I was talking to a friend today who suggested that recording ota broadcasts is going to stop being possible as streaming services get stronger and stronger. This seems to also tie in with Uk providers launching britbox as a paid service.

Apparently there is a way that the industry can stop hard disk recorders including the likes of HDHomeRun from actually recording ota programmes

Can this be true. ?


Free terrestrial broadcasting in the UK is guaranteed until at least 2030. After that the format may change (5G broadcasting is being discussed). Encryption is supported in the DVB-T/T2 spec (and we did have it in the UK in the early days of digital broadcasting before Freeview). It's highly unlikely it would be implemented again, and certainly not before 2030.

I'd rest easy; your HDHRs are going to be just fine for at least another 10 years.


Well that is reassuring in one way. But the info i was given was suggesting that the encryption would re appear as the likes of BBC & ITV in the UK move further over to their streaming model. I gues that both here and the US we have many more urgent matters to deal with than this!!!


BBC will never be encrypted in the UK on any traditional broadcast medium (terrestrial, satellite, cable) as it is funded by the licence fee. ITV...it's a possibility since it's a commercial channel, but most likely not. I suspect we'll continue with the status quo where ITV keeps most of its HD channels behind a paywall except for ITV1 HD, and the SD channels are all free.

Britbox is coming to the UK, but BBC iPlayer will continue and will still be free. Britbox is likely to be a combination of ITV catch-up/back catalogue (without ads) and BBC back catalogue (and eventually Channel 4 and Channel 5 content). Like iPlayer, I expect ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 catch-up services to continue separately as well (free but with ads).


I’m sorry. I misunderstood my mate. It’s about the length of time you’ll be able to keep recorded files. Any info on that (since you seem so well informed!!)



The recordings made off the HDHomeRun are raw video files with no DRM, and there is no way for anyone to limit how/when/where they can be played back.


Ok thanks. I can move on now !


Ah, I think I know what you're getting at now. Are you thinking of American services like DirecTV Now or PlayStation Vue where you can subscribe to a package of live streaming channels with the ability to record them (basically Sky or Virgin but over the internet)? Yes, those types of services do place limitations on what you can do with your 'recordings' and how long you can keep them (since they're not really recordings and don't really reside on your hardware). That will come to the UK eventually; Sky for example is working on a streaming service that doesn't rely on a satellite dish. That said, the UK is committed to free terrestrial broadcasting for at least 10 more years, so you won't be forced onto one of those streaming services for a very long time.

I'm hoping that eventually the streaming services will adopt the model that HDHR tried with its premium service: treating streaming channels just like broadcast channels and allowing you to make true recordings that you control. HDHR Premium failed because they partnered with a dodgy company, but the model was sound. Time will tell if the market agrees with me.


Yes that’s what I meant. I think we would all agree that the hdhr premium model would be great. I’ll be amazed if any of the streaming companies adopt anything like though...... as you say. Time will tell.

Thanks for the info anyway.


Personally, I am a cord-cutter. I use my own antennas, have my own high capacity NAS, run my own servers, etc. And it is fantastic!

But that is certainly not the direction that things are going. Everything is moving toward cloud-based solutions these days. Users are not required to maintain hardware, mount antennas, run servers. All media is accessible on-demand, hosted somewhere else. No user setup required. No DVR scheduling is necessary. The recordings are already there. No messing with guide data from multiple different zip codes. No hardware required, other than an internet connection and a device with a screen. This gives a lot more control to the company providing the service, but it is what the majority of users want.


And that's exactly the problem isn't it. With the fairly imminent launch of Disney + , Apple, Sky etc as well as the aforementioned Britbox streaming services, why would the companies want to maintain OTA in the long term. Or indeed allow you to download and store files/programmes etc


The companies may not want to maintain it, but I expect that in the UK the government will mandate continued free terrestrial broadcasting beyond 2030, although potentially in a format other than DVB-T/T2 (eg, 5G). Freeview is just too popular. That may change in 10 years, but I hope we don't become like most other European countries (and the USA) where you need a subscription service (eg, Sky/Virgin) in order to receive content beyond the primary channels.


Neither do I. But considering how brexit has been handled I’m not that hopeful!!


There'd be a lot of frustrated old people who can't get their VHS recorders to tape Coronation Street any more.


Ha ha


Analogue swtichover was a process that took the best part of a decade and cost millions. Nobody is wanting to repeat that any time soon, so terrestrial broadcasts are going to conitnue for a long time yet.

There's still an awful lot of people who don't have strong enough internet to get TV with streaming, and even then having to pay for internet just to get TV is a big ask.


I completely agree that here in the UK Openreach's claim of 95% of the country with access to hi speed broadband is pretty spurious.....but as another poster was saying, the pressure is coming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon and now Disney..........