A Digital Video Recorder is an electronic device that acts as an updated VCR; it records television shows on a hard drive instead of using blank video tapes. DVRs are usually much easier to set up future recordings; all you have to do is to find the program you want to record in the program guide and press the record button.
Before you get a DVR, you have to set your schedule to your favorite shows. If you love to watch Bones (and we do!), you’ll have to be ready to watch the show when it is aired. However, with a DVR, you can simply set up a series recording and the DVR will automatically record all episodes for you. You’ll then be able to watch your favorite shows on your own schedule.
The ironic thing is that you may end up watching less television when you have a DVR; I don’t think I watch as much tv as I used to, but I watch more of what I want to see when I choose to do so.
You can also pause a live television show; this is really helpful when watching something and your pizza is delivered (not that I do that much! ) You can also rewind and re-watch parts of the show, which allows you to pick up missed dialog, re-watch that awesome play or review those questionable fouls called by the referees.
One of the most remarked features of the DRV (and the most hated feature by studios and advertisers) is that you can skip commercials in your recorded shows. As I feel that advertising has become so intrusive (it’s everywhere), I love this feature. I will sometimes go back and watch the good commercials (Peyton Manning, anyone?), but I’m not forced to set through the really annoying ads (no more Head-On!)
We first got a 40-hour Series 2 Tivo in September 2003. We quickly learned that 40 hours may seem like a lot of storage space, but you end up using it pretty quickly. The 40hr capacity is available when you use the basic quality level; it looks ok on smaller televisions, but it looks pretty grainy on larger televisions. When we bought our 50″ LCD during the summer of 2005, we really noticed the limitations of the 40hr Tivo, so we went out and bought a 140hr Series 2 Tivo in September 2005. Using this new larger Tivo, we were able to use a higher quality recording and still have plenty of room for our shows.
The main drawback with Series 2 Tivos is that they do not support HighDef television. So when Insight started offering DVR-capable set top boxes, we got one (a dual-tuner, that allows you to watch one show while recording another or record two shows at once). We got a second DRV from Insight for the bedroom, since it really didn’t add much money to our monthly payment.