Digital Video Recorder Tip

Watching a TV Show While it Continues to Record

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When you own a digital video recorder or media center PC, there are probably times when you would like to watch a show that you are recording while it is recording. You don't have to wait for the recording to finish before you start watching it. With a DVR or media center PC, you can start watching a show at the beginning while it continues to record, or even watch a different program while it's recording.

The Difference Between DVRs and VCRs

In the days of VCRs, you recorded a TV show or movie, waited for it to finish recording, rewound the tape and watched the program. The difference between using a VCR and a DVR or PC is that the VCR is using tape to record, whereas the PC or DVR records to memory, which can be randomly accessed while the recording function continues. 

Using a DVR to Record While Watching

Because you are recording to memory instead of tape, you can start a recording 20 minutes or so before you begin watching a show. This gives the recording process enough of a head start to allow you to fast-forward through all the commercials for a more seamless viewing experience. Just give the recording enough of a start to finish recording before you get to the end.

If you are recording for another person, you can watch and record simultaneously—no head start is necessary. Pause, Rewind and Fast-Forward all work even when a show is recording simultaneously. 

Why DVRs are Better Than VCRs

In addition to the ease fo recording and watching at the same time, digital recording technology offers other improvements over VCRs that include:

  • Better quality recordings
  • No additional media expenses (for blank VHS tapes) are necessary
  • More advanced and user-friendly interface for selecting and scheduling recordings

What Is a Media Center PC?

Just about everyone is familiar with DVRs by now, but not everyone knows about media center PCs. A media center PC is a personal computer that is used with a digital TV in a manner similar to DVRs. The computer records the show to its memory just like a DVR does, and all of the same functions—Pause, Rewind and Fast-Forward—work just like they do on DVRs.

Having the ability to start watching a TV show or movie before it finishes recording or while it's recording is a terrific feature of digital video recorders and media center PCs. It's another advantage that digital video recording technology has over the days of VCRs.