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A digital video recorder (DVR) or personal video recorder (PVR) is a device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, sd memory card or other memory medium within a device. The term includes stand-alone set-top boxes, portable media players (PMP) and recorders (PMR as camcorders that record in memory cards) and software for personal computers which enables video capture and playback to and from disk. More and more manufacturers have started to offer television sets with digital video-recording hardware and software built into the television itself; LG was first to launch one in 2007

 

 

Hard-disk based digital video recorders

The two early consumer digital video recorders, ReplayTV and TiVo, were launched at the 1998 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft also demonstrated a unit with DVR capability but commercial availability of this software would have to wait until the end of 1999 for full DVR features in Dish Network's DISHplayer receivers. TiVo shipped their first units on March 31, 1999, and to this day the last Friday in March is celebrated as a company holiday known as 'Blue Moon'. Although ReplayTV won the "Best of Show" award in the video category with Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen as an early investor and board member, it was TiVo that went on to much greater commercial success. While early legal action by media companies forced ReplayTV to remove many features such as automatic commercial skip and the sharing of recordings over the Internet, newer devices have steadily regained these functions while adding complementary abilities, such as recording onto DVDs and programming and remote control facilities using PDAs, networked PCs, and Web browsers. The marketing label "Personal Video Recorder (PVR)" has almost completely fallen into disuse in favor of the more popular DVR descriptor.

Hard-disk based digital video recorders make the "time shifting" feature (traditionally done by a VCR) much more convenient, and also allow for "trick modes" such as pausing live TV, instant replay of interesting scenes, chasing playback where a recording can be viewed before it has been completed, and skipping of advertising. Most DVRs use the MPEG format for compressing the digitized video signals.

Digital video recorders tied to a video service

At the 1999 CES, Dish Network demonstrated the hardware that would later have DVR capability with the assistance of Microsoft software . Users would have to wait until June 1999 for simple time shifting capabilities in the 7100, rebranded as the DISHPlayer satellite receiver,which also included WebTV Networks internet TV. By the end of 1999 the Dishplayer had full DVR capabilities and within a year, over 200,000 units were sold.