Exploring the DirecTV Nomad: DVR on the Go

DirecTV Nomad Remote Control

DirecTV Nomad is a small, router-like device that can revolutionize the way you watch Satellite TV — if you subscribe to DirecTV DVR services. If you find yourself wishing you could watch your favorite shows on the move, at the computer, or with your laptop, the DirecTV Nomad may prove to be a great purchase.

Independent Mobile Viewing on DirecTV Nomad

DVR (Digital Video Recorder) technology allows you to automatically record and store your favorite TV shows or events and watch the recordings later. This makes it easy to manage your TV time, or watch one program while recording another playing at the same time. The Nomad takes this process to the next level by integrating DVR technology throughout your entertainment system and digital devices, no matter where you are.

Buy the DirecTV Nomad device, attach it to your DVR system, and record your shows as you normally would. Then use Nomad software to “prepare” the shows saved in your DVR for remote viewing. This preparation time takes just as long as it does for the show to record, so you have to wait at least an hour after the show ends. But when your finished, the show is synched up to all your surrounding mobile devices. Download the corresponding DirecTV Nomad app on your phone, tablet or computer, then watch your show as it streams from your DVR system.

The Nomad can hold up to 16GB of prepared data, enough to store a collection of programs, and it costs $149. There is no extra monthly cost after you have bought the device and downloaded the right apps. If you need more space, you can plug in one or two USB hard drives

Superficially, the DirecTV Nomad looks like the Slingbox, which is a similar product. However, Slingbox uses an Internet connection to provide its services and allows viewers to watch live TV as well. Nomad only stores shows, but does not depend on an Internet connection or Internet quality to show TV, once your programs have been synched.

Customization and Favorite Shows

Just as you can set your DVR to record specific shows or create a long-term command to record new episodes of certain programs, you can also set the DirecTV Nomad to automatically prepare and synch these programs. In other words, you do not even need to turn on your TV to watch the latest episode — simply activate the app on your phone or computer and look for the latest synched show.

The DirecTV Nomad cannot be controlled through the DVR, so you need to use the software to set up these advanced commands, which may feel like recording the same show twice. You also need to control the Nomad directly through your home network, so you cannot activate it remotely from your phone, if there is a sudden change you want to make. Plan your programs well ahead of time to take full advantage of Nomad capabilities.

Limitations and Future Development

The DirecTV Nomad does come with some limitations. For example, not all video content is available through the Nomad, even if you can record it using another device. Pay-per-view and on-demand content cannot be transferred, leaving you with only standard TV channels to work with. If you can transfer a program, you must synch it and watch within 30 days, or you lose the ability to view it remotely.

While Nomad playback is both wireless and smooth, you do have to spend some time preparing your shows before viewing them. Watching shows on your phone or laptop will still sap battery power, making it difficult to view multiple shows in a row without a recharge. The waiting time may also be annoying if you want to watch an episode of your favorite show immediately, but have to wait an extra hour before it is fully prepared.

You may also struggle with compatibility issues, based on what type of mobile devices you prefer. You can use your iPhone, iPod, PC, and some other Mac devices. However, if you have an iPad or an Android phone, you cannot use Nomad quite yet. DirecTV has plans to add compatibility to these popular devices in the future, but for now you will have to wait.

If you think the DirecTV Nomad can work for you, visit the Nomad FAQ page that DirecTV has set up and watch the informative introductory video to learn more. If you want to make the move, you can order a Nomad directly on the website. This is also a useful place to find updates on compatibility if you have an iPad or an Android phone and are waiting for an app.

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Photo source: Flickr