Digital video recorders (DVRs) record video in a digital format to a disc drive or mass storage device to allow time-shifting for your favorite TV shows. The premise of DVRs is essentially the same as the old Betamax or VHS systems where you could tape your shows to watch later in case you weren’t home when a certain show as on. The difference is that DVRs have much larger capacities, don’t require any additional media and have much more user-friendly interfaces. DVRs work seamlessly with your digital cable or digital satellite subscription, making it easy for you to pick shows you want to record and schedule your recordings. You can even rewind or pause live TV and schedule recurring recordings for your favorite series.
This review will take a look at some of the top DVRs on the market.
This DVR includes a 120 GB hard drive and can record HD programs. With this you are able to watch one show while recording another, record two shows at one time, or watch a previously recorded one while taping another. You can also pause and rewind live programs and you can schedule shows to record in advance with the guide. You can get this cable box/DVR/high definition tuner as a standalone, or you can get it through your Comcast subscription for a small monthly fee. For Comcast subscribers, you can easily record series and keep organized libraries of all your favorite shows, organized by folder. If recordings overlap or conflict, you can set priorities for which programs you want to take precedence over other recordings.
TiVo HD DVR
TiVo HD DVR is a high definition digital video recorder. TiVo is the name that made DVRs famous, and TiVos remain one of the best third-party DVR systems that isn’t tied to a particular cable provider. This one costs under $300 and has two CableCard slots so that you are able to record two cable channels at one time or watch one show while taping another. Unfortunately, you still have to pay monthly fees to TiVo for service. To help offset the costs, you can get a TiVo box for $0 down and pay it off in monthly installments. You will pay more in the long run with this route, however. One great thing about the TiVo HD DVR—it comes with Netflix, Hulu Plus, BlockBuster on Demand and Amazon Video built-in. You’ll still have to subscribe to these services, but this saves you from having to buy a Roku or Apple TV.
Dish Network ViP722
This DVR is offered through the Dish Network and it not only is a DVR but is also the Satellite Receiver as well. This can record up to 350 hours of regular definition TV and up to 55 hours of HD. Like the Motorola, you can only get this DVR box with a subscription to the Dish Network Satellite services.
On comparing prices, the TiVo HD DVR is a little pricey at about $442 not including the monthly service fee which varies according to your location. The Motorola’s price is approximately $25 monthly subscription fee through your local cable company but again varies according to location and cable company. The same goes for the Dish Network ViP722 DVR; price varies with company and location.
So overall I think the Motorola is a good choice for a DVR service because it is included in your cable television service and will be combined on the same bill. It has all of the same features as the other two unless you are looking for a little more space to record more shows, then you should go with the 350 hours of regular definition TV recording and 55 hours of HD that the Dish Network provides.