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What should I know about a digital video recorder before I buy one?

3 Things to know when you buy a Digital Video Recorder

Purchasing a new gadget or piece of technology should always include a little self-education about what you are getting. When it comes to a digital video recorder, there are many features and tidbits of knowledge that you should know. Having this knowledge at hand will help you ensure you make the smartest purchase. Here are three of these things.

  1. Storage Space – How much storage space do you need? Digital video recorders come with different size hard drives, much like a computer. The difference is these are measured in hours instead of gigabytes. If you plan on recording a lot of television that you plan on saving for a long time, you will want to get at least a 70 hour digital video recorder and nothing less.
  2. Outputs – Would you like to transfer your recorded shows or movies onto your laptop to burn them to DVD? Well, not all digital video recorders have this ability. When you are looking around, make sure that the model you are looking has video and audio outputs as well as inputs.
  3. HD Recording – As high definition television becomes more prevalent, more people will want to record this programming and be able to watch it without losing quality. Double check that your unit can record and playback HD in HD quality. Not every digital video recorder has the same capabilities when it comes to high definition signals.

What makes Tivo unique from other DVRs?

Tivo – The Kleenex of DVR Units

Remember when Xerox meant the company? Now, anytime you want to make a copy, most people call it a Xerox copy, even if it is done on a Canon printer. Just like every tissue paper is now called Kleenex, Xerox had some trouble protecting their brand name. The same is happening to Tivo. Because they were the first on the block when it came to DVR units, almost every DVR now, whether from a cable provider, satellite TV provider, or anywhere else, is referred to as a Tivo.

There are benefits to having an actual Tivo unit. There is always a reason that these brands get assimilated into common parlance and for Tivo it is because they are the tops. For example, a Tivo can work with any digital cable reception. As opposed to a DVR from your cable company which can only be used with their reception, a Tivo can be used for cable or satellite receptions. Another great aspect of the Tivo is their storage capacity. Most non-Tivo DVRs will not offer the amount of storage space that the Tivo offers.

For these reasons and many more, Tivo has cemented themselves at the tops of the digital video recording boom. You can find a Tivo at any number of retailers or on the Internet. Order one for yourself and you will see that there is hardly a match for the original.

How can I free up space on my digital video recorder?

Fixing Space Problems on a Digital Video Recorder

Most people who get a digital video recorder get carried away at first and record everything that is on the TV. Soon they realize that there is simply not enough space on the digital video recorder to save it all. Choices then have to be made as to which shows will stay and which will be deleted. There are a few ways to remedy your space problems on your digital video recorder and here are a few.

First, you can simply delete older recordings that you no longer need. Once you watch an episode of TV, what are the chances you will watch it again? Certain shows fall into this category but most are watched once and never seen again. Once you have watched these, delete them from your digital video recorder and that will immediately free up a bunch of storage space.

The other way to clean up your memory on your digital video recorder is to export the files to another device. Not all digital video recorders give you this option. The TIVO is an example of a digital video recorder that allows you to plug into a computer and store them there. Most computers have far more storage space than a digital video recorder, but most people won't keep them on the computer for long. Once you have cleaned the memory of your digital video recorder and moved files on the computer, these can then be stored on portable media devices such as CDs or DVDs. Then these programs can truly be archived and you will have a lot of space back on your digital video recorder.

How do I set up a scheduled recording on my DVR?

Scheduling a Recording on your DVR

One of the biggest benefits of a DVR is the ability to schedule recording for the future. Let's say that a special is on in a few days that you absolutely do not want to miss. With a DVR you can go ahead and schedule that recording today in just a matter of seconds. Here is a step by step on how to do this on most typical DVR units.

First, go to your ‘guide'. This is the interactive menu that shows you what shows are on now and in the future. Browse to the date that your show will be airing on. Once you have found the date, scroll to the channel and locate the exact show you want to record. Now, there should be a ‘record' button on your DVR and you will want to push that now. The DVR will then ask you about the specifics of the recording including times, channel, and length to store the show. You can choose to store it for a pre-set number of days or indefinitely if you do not know when you will have time to watch it.

Finally, you will be asked to confirm your recording and then you are all set. When the show airs, your DVR will do the job of recording and storing the show. If you get home in time to catch the second half, you can simply rewind your DVR back to the beginning of the live program and watch it from the start. You can even skip through the commercials now.

What is the agreement with Nielsen and TiVO?

TIVO and Nielsen – Marketing Your Information

Everyone has heard of a ‘Nielsen Family'. These are the people who provide networks with statistics regarding viewership. But have you ever heard of a TiVO family? Well, they are almost one in the same these days. Recently, TiVO and Nielsen have reached an agreement to share their information with one another with the goal of presenting more accurate viewership numbers to advertisers.

Many people do not understand how the TiVO business model works. They think that TiVO is in the business of selling subscriptions to their service. This is all well and good, but this is not where the real profits are made. When you use a TiVO, all of your viewing trends and shows are logged and can be brought up for reference. Now, this may sound un-secure, but it is fine. This is what has been going on with Nielsen for decades. With the combined strength of these two systems, viewer information will become more precise over the next years. This all translates into one thing – selling more advertising for the networks.

What are the advantages of pausing TV with my DVR?

Pausing Live TV with your DVR

A DVR (digital video recorder) has many advantages. One of the most relied upon features is the ability to pause live TV. Let's say you get an important phone call that you have to take right before 4th down, you can pause the game and take that call without missing a thing. Absolutely need a bathroom break during a long show? Pause the show with your DVR and you can take all the time you need.

The remote control to your DVR holds the key to most of its functions. Get familiar with your DVR remote so that you can quickly use it when you really need to. When you pause, don't forget that you can also fast forward to get caught up if you like. This is great for if you simply want to skip through commercials after a break. Just pause the DVR and when you return, you can pick right back up where you left off and also fast forward through the next commercial break.

What are some quick tips for my DVR?

3 Things to Know About your DVR

For those that have gotten a DVR (digital video recorder) it becomes an indispensable part of their lives. I have one and my wife and I think it is the best entertainment investment we make each month. There are a few tricks and notes that we only learned over time. I wanted to share just a few of those with you here.

  • Recording New Episodes – Many people who schedule recordings on their DVR forget to only record new episodes of their shows. This is a setting you can choose when setting up your scheduled recordings. Those that record ‘all episodes' find that their DVR is cluttered with repeats and soon enough they are out of disk space. Be sure that you record only ‘first-run' episodes.
  • Rewinding Live TV – This is the biggest misconception about a DVR. Yes, you can rewind Live TV, but only if you were already watching that channel. You cannot just change channels and then rewind, unless you were already recording that channel. Bottom line – record everything you think you might want to watch and then you can rewind at any time.
  • Recording in HD – If you have a DVR in conjunction with a HD reception, you can record your high definition programming on your DVR. The trick is that your playback, while in wide screen aspect ratio, will not retain the HD quality that it initially aired in. Except in cases where you own an HD-DVR which works with DIRECTV service. It will still be a superior picture, but because it is now digitally stored, you may encounter some minor pixilation that you would have on the original broadcast.

Does DirecTV offer its own DVR unit?

Getting a DirecTV DVR instead of an Aftermarket DVR

There is much hype about DVR units and specifically Tivo for recording television. Subscribers to satellite TV have unique options to choose from and one of them is the DirecTV DVR. DirecTV offers their own DVR unit and it is a solid competitor for any out there. Here are a few key points, directly from DirecTV about their DVR unit.

  • Automatically record every episode of your favorite shows, even if they change days or times.
  • Pause live TV, rewind, watch in slow-motion and create instant replays.
  • Record two shows at the same time*, even while you watch another recorded show.
  • Fast-forward, pause and rewind your recorded shows — you have complete control.
  • Automatically record shows that match your interests, such as favorite actors, sports teams or genres.
  • Digitally record up to 70 hours of your favorite DIRECTV® programming. Each of these features of the DirecTV DVR will depend on the model that you get.

However, they each pack a similar recording punch and if you are looking to make the move to satellite TV, don't go without a DVR unit.

Can I burn shows that I have on my TIVO to DVD or CD?

Transfer of Data – A Huge Advantage to the TIVO

Digital video recorders have revolutionized video and video storage. Many subscribers choose to record movies or television shows would prefer to take them from their DVR and store them on DVDs or CDs. One of the only DVR units that has a reliable way to do this is the TIVO. The TIVO DVR is the original and it has stayed at the top for a reason. One of the biggest reasons is the ability to export your stored media to a computer or other storage device.

If you want to burn your TIVO'd programs for longer storage and to free up necessary space on your recorder, you can connect your computer to your TIVO unit. Once connected, you can export your programs onto a specific drive and folder. These transferred files can then be burned using a standard CD or DVD recorder. This will save you from needing to delete older programs that you really would rather save.

Having the ability to export your saved programs from your TIVO is one of the best ways to maximize your TIVO experience. Now, you can record indefinitely and always have a simple way to clear off space for the next recording.

Should I combine DirecTV & Tivo together in my entertainment setup?

DirecTV & Tivo – A Match Made In Heaven

Subscribers to satellite television already know the benefits of being able to pick up more programming for their entertainment dollar. However, there is almost too much good TV to watch sometimes and they end up missing out on their shows. The solution is easy for this dilemma and it lies in combining DirecTV and Tivo into one TV entertainment unit.

With DirecTV and Tivo, viewers can now get all of their programming and watch what they miss at a later time. With a Tivo, you can record your programs, store them, and then figure out when to watch them. You always will know that they are available, which means that he money you spend on your DirecTV or other satellite TV will never be wasted.

Get the most out of your satellite TV system by ensuring that you never miss a single episode of your favorite show. Combine DirecTV and Tivo into one entertainment unit and you will never have to worry about missing a show again. Don't forget to set up scheduled recordings on your DirecTV Tivo as soon as you get it plugged in. That way, you can record shows that won't even air for weeks or months.

Can I skip through commercials with a DirecTV TIVO?

Hate Commercials? Get a DirecTV TIVO!

What is the worst part of watching television? If you are like most people, you answer this question with a resounding ‘COMMERCIALS!' Sure, the Super Bowl gives you a few funny ones, but when you are watching a fast paced new TV show, nothing can kill the mood like a long commercial break. Well, today there is a way to never need to sit through another commercial that has absolutely no appeal to you. It comes with a DirecTV TIVO.

With a DirecTV TIVO you can fast forward through commercials on any show you want. There are a few things to know about to get it right, and sometimes it takes people a while to figure it out. With this article, you can know right away the correct way to do it. First, start by adding approximately 8 minutes to the start time of any half hour show you watch. The key to being able to fast-forward through commercials is to have your DirecTV TIVO recording from the beginning but paused right away. This builds up the necessary time for you to fast forward. There are about 8 minutes of commercials per half hour of TV, so adding this to the time you start watching gets you all the way through the show. For an hour long show, double it to 16 minutes.

Some people have a tough time figuring out how to use their DirecTV TIVO to skip commercials, because there is no actual command for it. Of course you cannot fast forward ‘live' TV. But using this method allows you to skip through your commercials and still finish the show at the same time as your friend so you can call them right afterwards to talk about what happened.

Can I record multiple shows at one time on a DirecTV DVR?

Record Multiple Shows on a DirecTV DVR

Now that television is getting some good shows again, some nights, people have to choose between watching two of their favorites. This can even happen with three shows for the real TV buff. With a DirecTV DVR, these problems have easy solutions. These units give you the ability to record two shows at once, and you can watch your third one live.

Here is how to record multiple shows at a time. First, use your Guide to find the first program you wish to record. Set the time, channel, and length of recording for that program and then exit out. Next, go back to the guide and repeat the process for the second show. There may be an alert from your DirecTV DVR that you already have a scheduled recording during that time and confirming that you wish to record both. Choose yes to this and you will be all set.

When your shows are about to air, you may get a message alerting you that recordings are about to start. Simply exit out of that message and you can watch either show then and the other one later. Never miss another episode because your VCR didn't record in the other room. Get a DirecTV DVR and record them all in one place.

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George Sayour