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How To Pause and Record Live TV on a Smart TV?

How To Pause and Record Live TV on a Smart TV?

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You’re in the middle of watching Sunday football when you get an urgent message calling you into work. If possible, you’d love to continue watching the game when you return, but is there a way to pause live TV on a smart TV? 

Yes, you can pause live TV programs on some smart TVs using Timeshift. This handy feature records and pauses live TV so you can watch it anytime you want. 

If your TV doesn’t have Timeshift, there’s another way to pause live programs using the PVR Live app and external storage. 

In this article, we’ll go over both methods of pausing live TV on LG, Samsung, Hisense, and TCL TVs. We’ll also walk you through all of the materials you’ll need.

Let’s get started!

Timeshift

MYTVOnline Timeshift

Several TV models are fitted with a Timeshift feature which allows them to record, save, pause, and play live TV programs without installing any external apps on their TV. These programs can be saved directly to your TV’s storage or an external storage device, like an external hard drive or USB. 

However, users will only be able to pause live TV while simultaneously recording. 

While these recordings can be saved on external storage devices, they can only be played on the same device they were recorded on per the Digital Rights Management (DRM) regulations. 

TVs can only support Timeshift natively and it cannot be installed on any devices. 

How to Know If Your TV has Timeshift?

young couple watching TV and using remote to control TV

Most TVs with Timeshift do not advertise this feature, especially with the growing popularity of on-demand streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc., that allow users to play and pause content within the app. 

Additionally, because Timeshift is a setting, it will not be found within your TV’s app catalog. 

Instead, you will have to look for it similarly to how you’d search for HDMI-CEC: in its settings or user manual. 

Open your TV’s settings or manual and search for Timeshift, Recording, or PVR. We recommend finding your TV manual online and using CTRL + F (or cmd + F on Macbooks) to search for keywords. 

Alternatively, you can search for your TV model on this list of TVs with Timeshift

You may also want to check if your TV’s original remote features a Record button, which is usually represented by a red dot. 

If none of the recommended methods yield results, you can also try contacting your TV manufacturer’s customer care and asking them about your TV’s Timeshift and recording capabilities. 

If you find that your TV does not have Timeshift, head to the next section TVs Without Built-In Timeshift Feature to learn how to pause and record live TV on a non-Timeshift-compatible unit. 

Installation and Setup

Let’s learn how to use Timeshift on compatible Samsung, LG, Hisense, and TCL TVs. 

Materials Needed

1. Storage Device, a minimum space of 40GB is recommended.

  • External Hard Drive : This is the best option as it can provide the largest storage at a decent price.
  • Flash Drive : This provides the smallest storage option.
  • External SSD : The storage options can be as large as external hard drives, but it fetches a higher price due to faster read/write speeds.

2. Timeshift-compatible TV

Connection and Setup

connecting USB storage device to smart TV

Samsung

Several Samsung TV models have a Timeshift setting with a maximum recording time of 90 minutes, which is just long enough to record a soccer game or feature-length film. 

TV models that support this feature will have a Record button on their original remote. Some universal remotes also have Record buttons. 

Let’s learn how to use Timeshift on your compatible Samsung smart TV! 

Step 1: Plug your external storage device (e.g. hard drive, flash drive, or SSD) into your TV. USB-compatible storage devices must be plugged into one of your TV’s available USB ports. 

Step 2: Head to the streaming app you want to play content from or go to your TV’s live TV section. Then, play the video you want to record. 

Next, press your remote’s Record button to activate Timeshift. Your TV will not start recording yet. 

Step 3: A pop-up message will appear on-screen with a Performance Test which will ensure that your external storage device is compatible. If it’s not compatible, you must make sure there’s enough space on your storage device or use another compatible device. 

Step 4: Once you’ve completed the Performance Test and confirmed that your external storage is compatible, a taskbar with all of the available recording options should appear. 

Once the taskbar appears, your TV will automatically begin recording the content on-screen. 

Step 5: To record and pause the live TV program, use the buttons in the taskbar or on your TV remote. 

Step 6: When you’re ready to stop recording, press your remote’s Stop button, represented by a solid square. 

You can then access the recording you’ve just made by clicking your remote’s Source button and going to Storage Device. Select Contents and click on the recording you want to watch. 

Watch the video below demonstrating how to use Timeshift on a Samsung smart TV. 

How to Record Live Television from Your Samsung Smart TV to an External Device
LG

Timeshift on LG TVs is labeled Time Machine and is found by accessing its Q.Menu.

While you can save the recording directly to your LG TV’s storage, we advise against this as you will quickly consume your TV’s memory. This may prevent you from downloading new apps and software updates, and may even cause your TV to lag. 

Instead, we recommend connecting an external storage device to your LG TV. 

Step 1: Attach your external storage device of choice to your LG TV’s USB port. Ensure it’s securely fastened in place and has enough free storage space to hold your recordings. 

Step 2: Next, turn your attention to your LG TV remote. Find and press the Q.Menu(123) button, which will display a remote on your TV. 

Step 3: Use your TV remote to select Clock (represented by an icon of a clock) from the on-screen remote. A progress bar will then appear on-screen. 

Step 4: Click on Option from the progress bar to reveal the setup menu for your TV’s Time Machine function. 

Step 5: Click on USB Device Initialization, followed by Initialize

Step 6: When asked if you want to format the storage device and set up the Time Machine, select Yes using your remote’s Enter/OK button. 

Step 7: Now you can navigate to the live TV program you want to watch. Then, press your remote’s Record and Pause buttons on your remote to record and pause the video on-screen. 

When you want to stop recording, press Stop Recording, found in the progress bar. 

Step 8: Now that you’ve recorded the live TV program, you can access the recordings through your TV’s SmartShare section. 

Tip: You can also use your TV’s Time Machine feature to schedule recordings. 

To learn how to access your LG TV’s recordings, watch the video below. 

LG Time Machine 2 Demo
Hisense

A Hisense smart TV’s Timeshift feature can be found by navigating its settings. Hisense units cannot store recordings in their built-in storage, so you will need to connect an external storage device to them instead. 

Let’s learn how! 

Step 1: Connect your preferred storage device to your Hisense TV via its USB port. 

Step 2: Then, find and press the Quick Menu button on your TV remote. 

Step 3: Navigate to Settings.

Step 4: Click on System.

Step 5: Then go to Advanced Settings

Step 6: Head to PVR & Timeshift Setting

Step 7: Select Timeshift Setup

Step 8: Finally, click on Data Drive

Step 9: Once you’ve completed the setup process, press your remote’s Down Arrow button. 

Step 10: Select Timeshift to activate your TV’s Timeshift feature and reveal the taskbar. Now, you can Pause, Play, Rewind, Fast Forward, Stop, and Record using the on-screen taskbar or your remote’s buttons. 

Press the Stop button to stop recording. Then, you can access the recording by changing your TV’s Input to your external storage device. 

TCL

Timeshift on TCL TVs is called Live TV Pause and is hidden in its settings. Live TV Pause will pause live TV programs for 90 minutes, so it’s best to only use it if you’re planning on stepping away from the screen for a short amount of time. 

You can also use this feature to record shows to watch later. 

Step 1: Plug a USB-compatible storage device into your TCL TV’s USB port. 

Step 2: Navigate to the channel you want to pause and record, then press your TV remote’s Options button. 

Step 3: Next, head to Live TV Pause

Step 4: Go to USB Drive Setup Wizard and follow any on-screen instructions to set up the Live TV Pause feature. 

Step 5: When prompted, click on Auto

Step 6: Select Next

Step 7: Finally, select Finish

Step 8: Once you’ve set up Live TV Pause, an on-screen menu will pop-up containing options to Pause, Play, and Record live TV. 

Once you’ve stopped recording, you can play the recordings by going to the Roku Media Player on your TV and selecting the external storage device you’ve recorded the content onto. 

Watch the video below demonstrating how to record and pause live TV on a TCL Roku TV. 

TCL SECRET FEATURE - 90min LIVE TV PAUSE - TCL 55C803 & 55C807

TVs Without Built-In Timeshift Feature

family watching soccer moment on tv

While you cannot install Timeshift onto TVs that do not natively support it, you can use third-party apps that provide a similar service. 

We will be using the PVR app as an example, but you can use any compatible recording app of your choice. 

The PVR app allows users to both record and pause live TV, as well as schedule recordings. The app also continues to record live content when you’ve paused it, so you can pick up right where you left off when you continue watching it later. 

PVR Live

Materials Needed

  1. Android TV or Google TV
  2. PVR Live App
  3. Storage Device, a minimum space of 40GB is recommended.
  • External Hard Drive : This is the best option as it can provide the largest storage at a decent price.
  • Flash Drive : This provides the smallest storage option.
  • External SSD : The storage options can be as large as external hard drives, but it fetches a higher price due to faster read/write speeds.

Connection and Setup

Step 1: Plug your external hard drive, flash drive, or SSD into your TV’s USB port, usually found on the back or side of the unit. 

Step 2: Head to the Google Play Store on your Android or Google TV. Then, search for and install the PVR Live app.

Step 3: Once the app is installed on your TV, launch it and follow the on-screen instructions to set it up. 

Step 4: Once you’ve completed the setup process, press your remote’s Record button, and when prompted, select the external storage device you want to save your recordings on. 

Then, wait for the app to run and complete the Speed Test. 

You’ll know you’re ready to record when the pop-up window disappears. 

Now, you can head to the live TV program you want to watch and press your remote’s Pause button to pause and start recording the show. 

Then, press Play to stop the recording and continue watching your show.

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