Digital Video Recorder Tip

You don't have to wait for a show to finish recording to watch it

DVR
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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.

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 is that the VCR used tape to record, whereas the 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 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. 

Why DVRs Are Better Than VCRs

In addition to the ease of 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
  • Advanced and user-friendly interface for selecting and scheduling recordings

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.