What’s the Difference Between a DVR and an HD DVR?

Digital video recorders, more popularly known as DVRs, manage TV signals and allow TV viewers to record programs from satellite or cable feeds so that they can be viewed later. Introduced in the late ’90s, DVRs have replaced VCRs as the recording device of choice in most homes. When shopping for a DVR to use with satellite or cable service, buyers will need to decide if they’d like to buy a standard DVR or a high-definition DVR (HD DVR). Many cable and satellite companies rent or lease DVRs and HD DVRs to their customers.


Understanding Home Recording Options: DVR vs. HD DVR


Most satellite and cable companies now offer customers the option of traditional DVR equipment or HD DVR equipment. While the functionality of these devices is essentially the same, there are differences in the types of programming that they can manage and record. Deciding between a DVR and HD DVR is a matter of looking at the capabilities of both machines and determining which best suits a viewer’s personal needs. It’s important for consumers to remember that a DVR does more than just record shows. It also acts as the conduit for cable or satellite feeds. Without at least a basic DVR, consumers cannot watch cable or satellite TV programming.


Choosing a DVR


Standard DVRs allow consumers to view television programming, access satellite or cable company programming, and record shows as they are on the air. Most cable and satellite companies offer DVRs that are capable of recording multiple shows at one time. With these DVRs, viewers can also watch a program on one channel while recording a second program on another channel. Some newer DVRs offer recording of up to four different channels at one time. While DVRs can manage all standard-definition TV channels, they cannot process or record from high-definition channels.


Choosing an HD DVR


Newer HD DVRs provide consumers with the same basic functionality as traditional DVRs, but they are designed specifically to handle HD TV channels. Without an HD DVR, consumers aren’t able to watch HD channels even if they are included in a cable or satellite package. Of course, HD DVRs also provide for recording of multiple programs at one time. It’s important to remember that HD DVRs allow for viewing of both standard and high definition programming. There is no need to use both a DVR and an HD DVR at the same time.

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