Home Theater & Entertainment DVDs, DVRs & Videos Digital Video Recorder Tip You don't have to wait for a show to finish recording to watch it By Sal Prince Writer Sal Prince is a former Lifewire writer and a video production professional and tech enthusiast who has written extensively about electronics and DVRs our editorial process Sal Prince Updated October 21, 2019 Newton Daly / Getty Images DVDs, DVRs & Videos TV & Displays Audio DVDs, DVRs & Videos Tweet Share Email Digital video recorders are well-equipped to record one show while you watch another, and you can watch a program as the DVR records it if you so choose. You don't have to wait for the recording to finish before you start watching it. With a DVR, you can start watching a show at the beginning while it records simultaneously or give the recording a head start and then begin watching later so you can fast-forward through the commercials, even if the show isn't fully recorded yet. 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 seamless viewing experience. Just give the recording enough of a start to finish recording before you get to the end. You can also watch the show in real-time while the DVR records it, but you won't be able to fast-forward through the commercials while you are watching live. If you are recording for another person, you can watch a different show and record simultaneously—no head start is necessary. Pause, rewind, and fast forward all work on the show you are watching even when the DVR is recording another show simultaneously. Cable Boxes with DVRs Depending on your cable or satellite provider, you may be able to record more than one show at a time on your cable box or satellite receiver with DVR capabilities. You may even be able to record two shows while watching another one. Check with your provider or consult the documentation that came with the cable box to find out its limits.