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Digital Video Recorders

A digital video recorder, or DVR for short, is a type of consumer electronic device that records video or live television in a digital format. The first DVRs were released in 1999. Since then, the technology of video recording has become more sophisticated and the storage spaces much larger.

What type of DVRs are available on the market?

Many different types of digital video recorders exist. Some are integrated directly into a television set or monitor. Others are compatible with computers and laptops. The most popular types of digital recorders, however, are stand-alone set-top boxes that record live broadcast television by replacing the standard cable box that connects to a television set. Most DVR companies such as TiVo or Tablo offer their own stand-alone subscription services. Their DVRs are designed to be compatible with most types of cable and satellite providers. Cable or satellite providers sometimes sell their own specialized video recorders, but the compatibility is limited to that one service.

How does a digital video recorder work?

A typical set-top DVR generally works in a very straightforward manner. First, it requires the installation of a cable card so it can decrypt the signal from your provider. Then the recording box captures the digital data of a live television feed after it is received but before it is converted into an analog signal. It then stores the digital data on an internal hard drive for later playback. A hard drive is most common, but other types of digital recorders may instead use a solid-state drive, a USB flash drive, an SD memory card, or a network mass storage device. A modern high-end digital recorder can store a few terabytes of data, which is equal to hundreds of hours of high-definition content. Most video recorders can record from multiple channels simultaneously.

What can DVRs do besides record video?

There are many different types of DVRs, but all of them tend to share a few different features in common. At their most basic level, video recorders enable users to manipulate recorded television shows through fast forwarding, slow motion, etc. Most DVRs also let you access the most popular Internet video content providers, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Video, and Youtube. Modern advanced digital video recorders come with a suite of more sophisticated features, however. Some digital recorders will organize your shows into a watch list or make recommendations based on your viewing habits. Other DVRs will let you fast forward through a video with pitch-corrected audio. This means it will correct the audio in real-time so it sounds intelligible and understandable.

What are network video recorders?

Network video recorders, or NVR for short, are similar in concept to DVRs, except instead of using a video capture card or tuner, the network video recorder captures video across an entire network of devices. A home surveillance system is one example of an NVR. An NVR is generally different from a digital video recorder, but hybrid NVR/DVR devices, which incorporate functions from both devices, do exist.

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