How do I Choose the Best DVR?

Carol Francois

There are four things to consider when selecting the best DVR: cost, capacity, user interface and customer support. A DVR, also known as a data video recorder, personal video recorder, or PVR, is used to record digital audio and video media. The best DVR is one that meets your needs, allows for future growth, and is easy to use. There is no benefit to purchasing an item that is too complex to use or provides excess capacity that is never used. Explore the different product offerings to find one that works for you.

An external hard drive can hold data from a DVR.
An external hard drive can hold data from a DVR.

A DVR is a storage device that is attached to the satellite or cable box. It is used to record both the audio and video digital signals from these sources. The recorded items can then be selected using the software provided. Many DVRs come with additional features, such as scheduled recording, skipping commercials and saving high definition output.

A DVR is capable of recording video for playback at a later time.
A DVR is capable of recording video for playback at a later time.

Cost is an important item when selecting the best DVR. These items range in price, which increases with each additional feature that is added. Think about how you plan to use the DVR and your recording habits. Shop around to find sales and discounted pricing on a DVR.

The capacity of a DVR is recorded in gigabytes (GB). The average two hour movie requires 2 GB of memory. A high definition movie requires 4 GB of storage space. Think about how much space you will need and purchase the appropriate capacity. Keep in mind that data can be moved from the DVR to an external hard drive if you need additional storage capacity.

The user interface is the software used to control the different features of your DVR. This tool should be simple to use and intuitive. Try out several different models to find one that works for you.

Customer support is an important consideration when purchasing the best DVR. They can help you with the installation and using the technology. If there are any problems, they may be able to assist you in retrieving the data.

A DVR is a great way to record digital media. These units can be transportable, allowing you to take your favorites movies and shows with you. To view the stored data, simply plug the DVR into the TV directly. Many people attach the DVR to their computer and use it to save photos and family videos.

DVRs are used to record digital and audio media.
DVRs are used to record digital and audio media.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfest -- maybe that was true in the past, but it is not so true anymore. There was a time when the DVR was thrown is as kind of an afterthought. After HD providers learned how popular they were, they started offering better machines to their customers.

Most providers still offer the standard, entry level DVR but there are often more choices than that. Why? The DVR was once an afterthought, but consumers have gotten more adept at seeking out the providers that offer the best DVRs at the most reasonable prices. Competition, see, is a great thing for consumers.


A lot of the time the choice of what DVR you get is determined by your HD provider (satellite, cable or fiber optic). Unfortunately, those are rarely the best and most advanced DVRs on the planet. They just get the job done and rarely offer a lot of space or the bells and whistles one might get from a standalone DVR that you can pick up at your favorite electronics store.

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