What Is the Best DVR?

What to look for in an HD digital video recorder

High definition DVR recorders have changed the way people watch television. They give viewers the ability to pause and rewind live television, and they are capable of storing hour after hour of programming so you can watch it at your convenience, rather than when it originally airs. TiVo was the first DVR to make a big splash in the consumer market, but competitors have come along in recent years to give it a run for its money. So what features should you look for in an HD digital video recorder, now that you have a multitude of options available?

Compare Features of DVR Recorders

Here are the most important features that determine how well a given DVR will perform:

  • Storage space and programming capacity. This is, perhaps, the single most important factor to consider. Look not only at the amount of storage space available on the DVR's hard drive, but also at the number of hours the recorder is capable of storing. The best DVRs on the market offer as much as 2 terabytes of storage, and can record up to 300 hours of HD programming.
  • Scheduling features. While all HD digital video recorders allow you to schedule recordings of your favorite programs, some are more intuitive and user-friendly than others. Check out demos of the DVRs you're considering to learn more about their scheduling features.
  • Viewing features. Not all DVRs allow you to do everything you might want to do while watching a program, such as pause, rewind, or generate your own instant replays. Sports fans in particular may want to pay close attention to the various viewing features offered by a given DVR.
  • Compatibility. You should make sure your DVR is compatible not only with your cable box, but also with your television and any other external or peripheral devices which are connected to your home entertainment system.

In addition to TiVo, some of the leading brand names in the world of HD DVRs include DISH Network, DirecTV, Magnavox and Channel Master. Prices can range considerably, so look for the DVR that offers the best combination of the features you need and a price you can afford to pay.

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