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DVR Review



Why Buy a DVR?

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In the heart of the average American home, there stands a television, glowing with the promise of entertainment. We gather around it, ingesting world news reports, aching for forbidden love and laughing along with our favorite comedians. Believe it or not, there once was a time when catching your favorite show meant scheduling your activities around the desired program. Thanks to the genius behind digital video recorders, (DVRs) those days are gone. With a DVR your TV watching can be programmed around your schedule, instead of the other way around. And you can use it with or without a cable or satellite subscription. A DVR can be scheduled to record different programs throughout the day and then those recorded shows can be played back, just like a movie, whenever it is convenient for you. You can skip passed commercials, cruise by sappy love scenes or watch a winning touchdown in slow motion. To help you pick the right DVR for your home, we’ve written articles on DVRsto help you narrow down the selection.

When you have a DVR gracing your entertainment center, TV watching becomes an art form. With remote in hand, you must schedule shows in a graceful pattern – making sure you record everyone’s favorite shows with minimal overlap. The best DVRs make this process easy with simultaneous recording and a large hard drive. Our favorites are the TiVo Premiere XL4, the TiVo Premiere 4 and DirecTV’s HMC HD. These three products have excelled in our side-by-side comparison of the best DVRs, performing well in the following criteria:

Functionality
A product is only as good as the sum of its moving parts, and a DVR is no different. The most important functional elements under a DVR’s hood are the hard drive space, simultaneous recording options and available recorded hours. Depending on the amount of TV you watch, you’ll want enough space to record and save your favorite shows. If you have more than one TV show airing at the same time, you’ll also want the option to simultaneously record multiple shows at once.

Compatibility
Non-cable subscribers need to keep a careful eye on the compatibility options of their preferred DVR. You will want it to work with your television, whether standard or high definition and be able to access free, over-the-air channels. If you are a cable subscriber and don’t want to use the provided DVR, look for a unit that is compatible with all cable providers.

Access
DVRs can access more than just the cable TV you subscribe to. They can access online video services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and even photo sharing sites like Photobucket and Flickr. If you don’t subscribe to cable, make sure the unit can pull free channels from over-the-air broadcasts (analog) and unscrambled digital signals.

Help & Support
A good help and support base is necessary when choosing the best DVR. These recording devices are fairly complex, and if you run into trouble, you’ll want a manufacturer who has responsive tech support in the form of live chat, email or phone support.

So many good TV shows, so little time. Stop wasting your precious time by enlisting the help of a DVR. With its recording power, you can skip past commercials and unwanted content and head straight for the good stuff.