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Premature termination: why American DVRs can't reach the climax

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Verizon FiOS TV DVR Remote (STOCK)
Verizon FiOS TV DVR Remote (STOCK)

Americans have had the ability to record live TV for years, but although today's DVRs are far smarter than the VHS-based systems of old, they can still be tripped up. As Slate reports, anyone watching the first game of the Stanley Cup Final early this week would've missed the climatic final goal, even if they manually added a full two hours to the end of the recording. Despite often using the exact same cable and satellite receivers, however, many people in other countries don't have the same issues. That's because Europe, Australia, and many other places have a feature called "present and following" information added to their broadcasts.

Here's how it works: each broadcast includes a special signal that tells digital receivers when a program starts or ends. If a Brit sets their DVR to record a live sporting event, such as a Formula 1 race, the DVR will continue to record until it gets the signal that the event is over. Similarly, if a program has been delayed thanks to a previous event overrunning, the DVR will adjust accordingly. It's a remarkably simple system, but as Slate's article reveals, it's not one that American networks appear interested in.