From the horse’s mouth
Those of you who follow HomeNetworking01.info from the USA most likely would have heard of the DirecTV satellite-TV service and this pay-TV operator has designed a whole-home DVR which shows what could be yielded for this class of equipemnt.
\Here, a whole-home DVR, known as the DirecTV Genie, has a high-capacity hard disk of at least one terabyte and has at least four RF front-end tuners to receive and record the broadcast TV signals. It will have the ability to stream live or recorded TV content to two or more other suitably-equipped TVs using the home network or other means.
This whole-home DVR that DirecTV has a one-terabyte hard disk and five broadcast front-ends so it can comfortable handle three or four TV sets as well as recording the shows to the hard disk in a reduced-conflict manner. It can also work with a optional regular-TV front-end kit to catch locally-broadcast TV shows. According to the review, this device connects to the main TV and can work with it very easily including having it as a client for the DLNA Home Media Network.
What impressed me about this box was that it implemented the RVU specification for distributing content to the extra TV sets. At the moment, most of the Samsung Smart TVs made in the last two years support this functionality and the standard has been called as part of the DLNA specification for TV and video setups. Over the next few model-years, more of the manufacturers could implement this in to their Smart TVs and Internet-capable video peripherals. This may also include some existing models having this function delivered as part of a firmware update.
On the other hand, you may have to use a DirecTV "Genie Client” box with existing TVs or can stream the content to certain DirecTV set-tops if you have these in place serving the extra TVs. Oh yeah, there are the mobile-client apps for setting up recording jobs, controlling the Genie and using the TV Everywhere functionality on iOS and Android devices.
The unit can be provided for free for new DirecTV customers who sign up to certain (mostly high-end) plans for a prescribed contract period like 24 months or US$300 for those who have this service. Personally, I would like to see equipment like this offered for free to existing customers who have finished their contract period and want to continue with the service further on a similar or better plan. This is a practice that some mobile-phone providers offer to their existing customers who have completed a contract period and want to upgrade their phone to something newer.
The DirecTV Genie could become a benchmark for whole-home pay-TV gateway device with DVR capabilities and I would hope that companies in the pay-TV space keep an eye on this review so they can look at what they can offer to their customers.