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Does anyone know if it's possible to watch recorded programs on the PVR when the satellite is down for some reason, like weather?
 

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It's very easy to test. Just unplug the coax input.

Some providers do not allow the box to reboot without an input signal, but that's also easy to test by leaving the input coax unplugged and unplugging/replugging the box from the electrical outlet, preferably when it's not busy recording.

That's another good reason to have any PVRs connected to a UPS.

PS. Some providers (like Bell Fibe and Rogers IgniteTV) do require a subscription and connection to view recordings. Bell because their boxes check for "rights" and Rogers because the recordings are in the cloud.
 
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