Learning about a Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

If you’re thinking about getting a DVR, but you’re not sure what they are or if it’s something you need, maybe these articles will help you. We will look at what a DVR is, how one is set up, and the basics of using one. Even though the TIVO brand is synonymous with digital video recorders the brand used for reference will be a DirecTV DVR since consumers are more likely to be using this than a stand-alone Tivo these days.

What is a DVR?

The Digital Video Recorder is, and is not, like a VCR. It IS like a VCR in that it can be used to record programs for watching at a time convenient to the user. It is NOT like a VCR in that a program can NOT be recorded and kept on a separate media like a DVD or VHS cassettes. With a DVR the programs are recorded on a hard drive, just like one found in a computer. And like computer hard drives a DVR drive can die suddenly, but usually after a few years of use. So you can’t rely on the DVR to keep your recording safe forever. And the recording space is limited on a DVR so you must either delete recordings or save them to a separate source.

How to keep recordings safe

If you want to save a program indefinitely, like the VCR cassettes that used to be ubiquitous just a few short years ago, you’ll need another component. Fortunately there are better alternatives to the VHS cassettes which tend to have a relatively short life span. We can now use DVD recorders to save those programs for decades or more. Using the DirecTV DVR that is most common you will need a separate DVD recorder. There are DVR models which contain a DVD recorder, but the current standard model from DirecTV doesn’t have this feature. I found a good alternative in a VCR / DVD recorder combo. These typically allow you to record the VHS contents on a DVD. So if you have those tapes with some programs (or home movies) you want to save, a combo unit is something to consider. Not only can you save your DVR recordings to a DVD but you can use it to save your VHS recordings to a DVD. That will extend the life span of the recording as well as save space and money.

{Read Part Two of This Series}

Article by forums member Bama19642