Friday, January 19, 2018

Recording The Cloud

When you chord cut you really don’t miss the ability to schedule recordings since pretty much everything is available on demand within a few hours.

Everything except sports, that is. BT Sports takes the best part of a month to get full games up online, Now TV doesn’t provide any catch up at all for sports.

As the rugby season gets into full swing I therefore find myself missing games, since rights are spread over several services (BBC, BT, Sky).

So, I set about seeng if I could set up a cloud recorder.

The first step was to find a way of grabbing a stream. This proved pretty simple using a box intended to record video gameplay. Plug in the HDMI input from my Roku 3 and the output to the TV and boot up in the right order. The box even comes with the ability to schedule recordings. I was able to record any content off the Roku and Fire TV stick (I have yet to get Chromecast to work, but I’m convinced it’s possible).

The next stage was to be able to control all of this when I’m away from the house.

The solution was to use Logitech’s Harmony system to remotely control all the devices (I have it set up with Alexa so that it understands voice commands). You’re able to concoct recipes such as “turn on Roku, the TV on input 3 and the sound bar and go to iPlayer”.

The next step will be to add some visual control, probably by VPNing into a PC in my home network. An alternative would be to use a security camera to see the TV screen.

So, finally, I can do everything that you can on a traditional TV STB, but using the cloud.

It just remains to debate whether this is legal. (The setup does nothing that a VHS did thirty years ago and that any STB will do now. I pay for all the services I’m recording and I only use the recordings for consumption in my home.)