A personal video recorder (PVR) frees you from TV schedules, so you can watch your favourite programs whenever you want. Here’s how to buy the best one for your home.
Types of PVRs
PVRs come in two types: Standard and HD.
- Both are set-top boxes that convert digital signals into picture and audio that work on your TV.
- They also act as a hard drive to store media files.
- Standard digital video recorders record programs, including HD content, in standard definition.
- An HDPVR keeps HD content in high definition for better quality picture.
PVRs have numerous convenient features.
Storage: Your PVR’s storage capacity determines how many programs it can hold.
- In general, 160 GB can record about 200 hours of standard programming and 25 hours of HD content.
- TV fanatics who follow lots of shows will probably need more storage. Some models have ports for a PVR expander, which can greatly increase your storage space.
Time shift: This feature lets you pause and rewind live television, so you can take a bathroom break and not worry about missing anything.
Time adjustment: TV times can vary ever so slightly and unintentionally cut off the beginning or end of your program. Time adjustment lets you extend or change the recording time so you don’t miss a thing.
USB port: Some models have USB ports so you can watch videos from your computer or other devices on your TV. They also let you move recordings off the PVR to watch on other devices.
Multiple tuners: Are your favourite shows on at the same time? Multiple tuners let you record more programs at once, so you can watch one live while recording others for later viewing.
EPG: Electronic program guides (EPG) display information about your TV programming. Look for EPGs that are easy-to-read and navigate, with information for a few days ahead so you can plan your week’s recordings all at once.
Remote recording: Are you away from home and forgot to record something? With remote recording, you can use an internet-enabled device to control your PVR from anywhere.
Connectivity: If you tend to get content from the internet or want to record from other devices, like game consoles, look for a PVR with internet connectivity.
Factors to consider
- Most cable and television packages include a rental PVR that you can upgrade for nominal fees.
- Purchasing your own PVR frees you from monthly costs, but monthly rentals are your provider’s responsibility if they break.
- If you choose to purchase your own PVR, make sure it can easily connect to your cable box so you can record programming from your television provider.
Whether you rent or buy, take charge of your TV watching with a machine that lets you live your life without missing your favourite shows.