a PVR that records EVERYTHING on TV for a whole week

Dominic Ludlam writes, "Promise.TV has launched the world's first Promiscuous TV recorder! Working on the UK's Freeview platform, it records every programme on every TV and radio channel and stores them for a whole week. And for all Boing Boing readers who visit the site, we have a daily draw running this week to get a new Promise recorder half price!"

This was originally commissioned as an internal BBC project, and the Ludlams and their partners have been productizing it ever since. It really does what it says on the tin: records the whole Freeview multiplex for a week at a time, which means that you don't have to program your PVR with the shows you like: you always have the last week's TV on tap (this'd be especially cool for when scandalous material is broadcast from Parliament -- if you find out about it after the fact you can go back and check). The folks have worked out several ingenious ways of navigating all this stored material as well.

I've written about this before, and I'm awfully glad to see it finally come to market.

The Promise Home is a recorder that connects four additional televisions in other rooms around the home. All connected TVs can play any of the stored or saved programmes independently, and in they can also share bookmarks. This lets you start watching a programme in one room, set a bookmark and carry on watching from the same point in another room.

Promise.TV (Thanks, Dom!)


  1. You forgot to mention that the Promise Seven comes in a “polished hard wood enclosure with a black acrylic top” and looks terribly like something out of a Look Around You episode.

  2. Wow, the price of this seems crazy?! Although recording every single thing broadcast is an achievement, I think they’re overestimating the actual value of that ability.

    1. It seems like the hardware equivalent to the software of cable/satellite TV in general (paying for hundreds of channels but watching only a half-dozen at most).

  3. We have a similar service from, served over the interwebs (no expensive box to buy). It’s pretty cool – we get German, French, Swiss and British TV, and it will record all of those for a month. It is, AFAIK, a legit service, but it’s so useful I’m amazed nobody has shut them down yet. Oh, and it’s dead cheap (I think we pay <7CHF/month to get HD).

  4. “Promise Pro is an enhanced version of the promise recorder. It has extra features aimed at the professional viewer for use in the home.”

    How does one be a “professional viewer”? Sit there and be paid to watch television? How do I sign up??

  5. There’s probably a professional market for this device, but as a consumer, this is about as attractive to me as a filter that collects all the feces in a building for later inspection. 

    Yes, it might catch a golden wedding ring once in a while.

  6. This product is currently expensive to the average consumer. However, from what i’ve seen this is currently geared towards professional users and provides great value as it includes many more features than simply just recording 24/7 which is cool anyway. I assume that as soon as it is mass produced the price will be much more appealing to the average consumer.

    On top of this, cool high tech products are still being made in England!

  7. Brainflakes, professional viewer probably means TV critics and media pundits. There is a company that records all TV news and allows people to search for things by transcript, time, channel, etc., it’s what news channels use to find clips, but it’s also professionally priced even more than this device. 

    1. The bigger professional market is ad agencies and PR outfits. These gizmos should be virtually indispensable for both.

      1. I used to work at one such place (watching TV professionally is not all it’s cracked up to be).  We had banks of Sky+ boxes in the basement, something like this would be a major step up.

        Although we had PR and Ad Agencies as clients a lot of them were just ordinary (all be it large) companies who want to know when they or their product is mentioned on the TV.

  8. The local cable company stands to make a ton of cash if they were to run an industrial version of a device like this in their back end. They  give people on-demand access to it (including the ability to ‘save’ programs — which is mark them not to be purged post whatever the buffer length is). They can charge a DVR like service fee, without actually providing a DVR — a standard hard-drive-free set top box would suffice as long as it can stream from the back end, and they would be proving a better-than-DVR service.

    1. Um . . . I work in the video server biz. One of the available features is stream capture, for “DVR” like services. But the copyright rules impose all sorts of weird restrictions. Last I heard, cable companies specifically CAN NOT record everything once and then make it available to everybody; they would have to record everything for each interested subscriber.

      There are work-arounds, like a certain big player’s feature which allows a customer to start watching a shared recording any time while the original broadcast is still playing. (So, you could start watching Survivor at 8:59 PM and watch the full hour, but a minute later and you’d be out of luck . . .)

  9. The price tag is utterly ridiculous. £2000 for a freeview box full of daytime television?  To much money in anyones language.  Also, not a mention of HD?  For that amount of cash it should be able to do all your housework and tuck you in at night.

  10. Does it come with a feature where I can jack it directly into my brain and watch a week’s worth of TV in minutes?  Or is it too dangerous to let someone’s IQ drop that fast?

  11. Make it a smaller box, customize how many hrs/days by adding external drives, (make it work outside US) – lower the prize

  12. How much energy and materials are needed to manufacture a billion of these units and run them continuously.  What a waste of resources and only to ensure, that bullshit called entertainment is distrbuted by the rules, which ensure the optimum profit margin for the companies producing that hazardous waste.  If societal comatose has to be ensured, streaming services leave smaller enviromental footprint for increasing level of idiocy needed to produce ideal citizen.

  13. So you can record five times as much programming as it would be possible to watch in an entire week with no sleep?

    I’m not sure I get it. Is there a banana involved?

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