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How do I Program a DVR?

By Melissa McKean
Updated May 16, 2024
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A digital video recorder, or DVR, is a piece of equipment that records video on a digital storage device and allows it to be played back later. A DVR can be programmed to record a television show, series, or movie months in advance, so you don’t have to worry about missing something while you are away from home. It is simple to program a DVR, even though it may sound intimidating. Once you learn how to program a DVR, you will be able to take full advantage of its benefits. By following the guidelines in this article, you can ensure that your DVR is functioning properly.

Start by determining the shows that you want to watch. To do this, simply consult the guide on your cable box, or research top-rated shows online. Occasionally, you may see a preview for a show you’d like to watch. When this happens, write down the name and channel of the show, or make a mental note to set the first episode to record.

Turn on the TV and go to the “guide” button. This will bring up an hourly program schedule. If you know when your show is coming on, use the up and down arrows until you are able to highlight the show title. If you don’t know when the show will air, you may be able to search for the show by spelling out the first few letters of the title. This feature may not be available on every types of DVR.

Once you have found the show and have used the navigational arrows on the remote to highlight the title, press the “select” button. The round, red “record” button on your remote will work as well. When you have chosen to record the show, a list of options will come up asking you to define your preferences. You can choose from the following preferences:

  • The DVR can be set to record just one show at a specific date or time, or to record the entire series of the show every week at a certain time.
  • The DVR can record only new episodes, or record repeat episodes as well.
  • The DVR can record the show at the exact time it is scheduled to air, or extend the recording times before or after the show is scheduled to start or stop.
  • Decide how many episodes of each show you want the DVR to keep. You may be able to set the DVR to keep just the most recent three, five, or more episodes. Some DVR’s will give you the option to keep all episodes, while others do not offer this option due to restricted memory.
  • Decide how long you want to keep the shows. You may be able to program a DVR to save shows until they are manually erased, or have them erase automatically after a certain number of days, weeks, or months.

Once you are finished making your selections, be sure to save your recording preferences. If you frequently add recordings, it is helpful to check your scheduled recordings to make sure there are no conflicts. Some DVRs will allow you to prioritize your recordings, automatically recording the one with a higher priority if two shows have a time conflict.

If you follow these simple steps, you will be able to program a DVR quickly and easily. When you program a DVR correctly, you can watch your recorded shows at your leisure, without the headache of having to set up recording options repeatedly. You may never miss a favorite show again, and every time you turn on the TV, you are likely to have a wide selection of your favorite shows to watch at your convenience.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By caluwi — On Jul 01, 2009

I love my DVR - the best thing is that if you set up to record all episodes of a show, and the network decides to change the time, the show usually still gets recorded. Set up and recording is so, so easy.

Some DVRs also are interactive with commercials - for example, when a preview for a new show comes on, you can press a button and the DVR will automatically record the show.

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