One thing I’ve learned from writing about cord-cutting is that people are particular about their DVRs. If a streaming service’s DVR doesn’t provide the same creature comforts as cable set-top box, it can be a dealbreaker.
Visual preview is the perfect example. With cable, you can typically see a thumbnail preview while fast forwarding or rewinding through recorded programs, so you know exactly where you’ll be after hitting play. Over the years, I’ve gotten a bunch of messages from readers who won’t tolerate any live TV streaming service that lacks this feature.
Upon digging into the matter, I’ve discovered that visual preview is a nuanced and occasionally vexing issue in the world of live TV streaming services. The ability to skip past commercials with ease can depend not only on which service you choose, but on the device you’re using and even the button you press to fast forward on your remote. After a whole bunch of testing, here’s what I’ve learned.