A lot of people may know about this, and a lot may not. Here's the straight skinny. Last year DirecTV rolled out the ability to go to a web page and give instructions to your DVR to record a program. TiVo and Replay TV also had this ability for quite some time. Meanwhile Dish Network just announced integration of Slingbox technology into some of their new DVRs.
DirecTV has a mobile web page that makes this easy on web enabled devices like the iPhone. It should also work on the iPod touch. Using Safari you go to m.directv.com. That will put you on a page called "DVR Scheduler." Then you log in and search for the show by name or by channel. You can also search by actor names or host name. Any eligible DVRs will show up and you can ask for the recording to be made. In my experience this can be done very closely to the scheduled air time of the show. Shortly after, you'll get a confirmation that DirecTV has your request. It is not a guarantee that the recording will work, however, but it always has for me. DirecTV then sends your request from the website to your DVR and all should be well.
You don't need an iPhone to do this. It works from a laptop or desktop computer, and DirecTV provides a list of mobile phones that work. Here's the FAQ that tells you all about it. (You'll need to be a DirecTV customer to see this.) This page should give you information if your are not logged in or a DirecTV customer.
So if you haven't tried this, give it a go. It has saved me a few times when I forget to record something while I was away from home. It might save you too.
Schedule DirecTV recording with your iPhone
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