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Digital Video Recorders

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We have all at some time or another missed a show we have wanted to see. Things such as work and school get in our way of watching our favorite shows. Shows that we have watched religiously. Ten years ago, if you knew you were about to miss a show, you would leave the TV on the channel you need to watch, and you would set the VCR timer to the appropriate time. This was and is not the most fun and easy thing to do. At the most, you would want to do this once a week as a maximum. Did you ever have to get up and go to the bathroom while the game is on? Sometimes you have to bear yourself just so you do not miss a single thing.

Digital Video Recorders (DVR's), eliminate all of this and more. If there is a show that you watch, you just enter it in the season pass box of your DVR. This ensures that your recorder will capture every episode of that show for you to watch. Sometimes there is only one showing of something. No problem, just select it and hit record. DVR's make it easy to record anything on TV. They store all of the upcoming shows, so you do not have to enter dates and times. Say you are watching that game, and your bowels go off. Hit the pause button! Yes, with a DVR, it is possible to pause live TV. The thing is, you probably will not be using the pause button for live TV, because you probably will not be watching anything live anymore. You do not have to worry about commercials, you fast-forward through them. With a DVR, you watch what you want, when you want.

DVR's, also called Personal Video Recorders (PVR's), are a consumer electronics device that records television shows to a hard disk in digital format. You might have heard of such popular brands like TiVo and ReplayTV. As costs for such devices drop each coming year, more and more consumers are trying to get their hands on one. The purpose of this research paper is to inform you which brand holds to be the best of them all in the categories of ease of use, functionality, appearance, and price. The brands that are going to be compared are Microsoft's Media Center Edition, TiVo, ReplayTV, and Freevo (a build your own DVR running on Linux). I have tested every one of them, however the results will not solely be based on my experience, but from other sources also.


Probably the most well known DVR, TiVo has met and surpassed the expectations of its consumers. Since 2004, TiVo has recently hit the 3 million mark. TiVo's connect to your cable or satellite connections and then are routed to your television. In the TiVo main menu, you get:

Now Playing List - List of everything that is recorded, this is where you would select a movie or show to watch.

Watch Live TV - Lets you watch TV with the option to pause fast forward and rewind.

Music & Photos - Allows you to look at pictures and music stored on your computer.

Showcases - Shows you special features.

Pick Programs to Record - This is where you pick programs to record and set season passes.

When you first connect your TiVo, you must first connect it to either your telephone line or through your broadband internet company. This ensures that you get the proper updates that include movie and show times, descriptions, ratings, and service updates. This is so that when you type



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