A DVR works like a VCR. Instead of videotape, a DVR is a simplified computer system (usually Linux based) to digitally record movies and television shows from your TV to a hard disk (like the one in your home computer). DVRs record in real-time, which allows you to pause or rewind at any point in the program.
DVRs also have networking capabilities that allow you to transfer your digital pictures to your DVR. Some even allow you to hook it up to your receiver. You have many options.
Using a DVR is quite simple: you hook your cable or satellite line to your DVR and plug your DVR into an electrical outlet. There are additional set-up steps if your home entertainment system includes a VCR or receiver or if you are hooking it up your home network. See your manufacturer's web site for the steps.
The most common use for DVRs is the recording of movies and television shows via your cable service. Recording movies to your DVRs provides more storage (some offer up to 300 hours of recording) and better recording quality than videotape.can be obtained.
Since DVRs record in 'real-time' DVRs allow you to fast-forward, rewind and pause of live shows. Also, some have channel search capabilities, which allow you to search for shows by director, topic or even actor. Most will conduct nightly downloads of your cable, antenna or dish services listings for up-to-date viewing.
The most common DVR is TiVo. You can purchase a special TiVo DVR or purchase a manufacturer DVR that includes TiVo capabilities. Or you have the option of using DVR receiver services from your cable company. This option requires no hardware as the DVR receiver is integrated with your program menu. You simply order the service from your cable company, and you'll be able to use your DVR services straight from your program menu and remote. Shop around and see which service would suit your needs.
Some DVRs now have online capabilities. You can hook your DVR to your home network and schedule to record your favorite show or movie from the Internet (if you TiVo or similar software). Or use your DVR to organize and store pictures from your digital camera.
Alternatively if you have bought a new PC you could turn your old PC into a Media server that has all the qualities of a DVR plus many more features than the average DVR off the shelf. (Projects for using an old PC as a media server can be found all over the internet. Simply search for 'Do It Yourself DVR').
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