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Personal Video Recorder vs Digital Video Recorder: What’s the Difference Between PVR and DVR?

Difference Between Personal Video Recorder and Digital Video Recorder

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

While exploring how to record TV programs you may have come across PVR and DVR.

You may not be clear as to what each does. You may also wonder which you should get to record your TV programs.

This post will clear the air on the matter.

Personal Video Recorder (PVR)

A PVR is a device that allows you to record video and audio to its built-in hard drive.

Some PVRs allow you to transfer the recordings to an external storage device, like external hard drives, pen drives, network drives, or memory cards.

PVRs can also loosely mean other digital recording devices like camcorders and portable media players (PMPs). Even computer software programs that record audio and video are sometimes classified as PVRs.

Some latest HDTV sets have built-in PVRs as well. Electronics giant LG introduced such a TV as far back as 2007.

On the whole, PVR is primarily associated with the TV world.

How Does a PVR Work?

A personal video recorder records a TV program to be viewed later.

A PVR can be programmed to record a certain channel at a certain time.

Some PVRs can be set up to allow you to watch one channel while recording another. You would have to choose particular models to enjoy this feature.

PVRs also come with time-shift capabilities. You can pause, rewind and fast-forward a live TV show.

How is this possible? The PVR has the capability of saving a portion of a TV show to its internal memory.

So, when you rewind and watch a show, you’re actually watching the show stored in the PVR memory. That’s the magic.

Digital Video Recorder

A digital video recorder does almost what a PVR does. A DVR can pause, rewind, fast-forward and record a show while watching another.

Hence many out there call a PVR a DVR and use these terms interchangeably.

Manufacturers have dropped the usage of the PVR term and have started calling their new recorders DVRs.

The term DVR found popularity with the advent of HDTV and digital TV. The word ‘Digital’ is to emphasize the point that these recorders work with the latest TV technology.

These days DVRs come built into cable or satellite set-top boxes when you sign up for their services. You would have to pay extra for the recording facility though.

If you’re not prepared to pay, you may buy a standalone DVR to record your favorite TV shows. Especially if you would like to record free OTA (Over-The-Air) shows.

Here are some standalone DVRs for TV you may want to check out.

Alternatively, you may want to get a DVD recorder with a hard disk that works much like a DVR if you want to record TV shows on DVD as well.

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