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A personal video recorder (or PVR) is a device containing a computer hard drive which allows you to record TV programmes.
Why is it called a Personal Video Recorder? The idea behind this name is that PVRs allow personalisation of the TV viewing experience. With the more sophisticated recording technology they offer you should be able to watch more of what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.
A PVR allows you to pause live TV. No more missing East Enders when Aunty decides to phone.
A PVR usually provides an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) which gives details of upcoming TV schedules (usually for seven days in advance).
A PVR doesn't need any media to record a programme, because it stores the recorded programme on its internal hard drive.
You can get standalone PVR set top boxes that connect to your TV.
Freeview PVRs - also function as digital TV receivers so you can watch and record Freeview broadcasts. It is best to buy a Freeview PVR that has twin digital TV tuners, so that you can watch one digital TV channel whilst recording another.
Well known manufacturers of Freeview PVRs are Humax and Digifusion.
Sky Q Box - allows you to receive and record digital satellite TV from Sky.
If you are a bit more tech savvy, it is also possible to buy PVRs for your computer. These are either PCI cards that connect internally or external devices that connect to the computer via USB.
This type of PVR will come with software for managing the recording process and for providing an Electronic Programme Guide.
An advantage of buying a PVR for your computer is that you may have more hard disk capacity on your computer - for standalone PVRs, the hard drive is the one of the most expensive components, so they tend to be relatively small when compared to the storage capacity available on desktop computers.
Another advantage with computer PVRs is that some have the necessary connectors to allow you to record from analogue sources such as a VCR or an older camcorder, which is useful for transferring your old video tapes onto your computer for storage purposes.
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