A digital video recorder (DVR) (or personal video recorder (PVR)) is a device that records video without videotape to a hard drive-based digital storage medium. The term includes stand-alone set-top boxes and software for personal computers which enables video capture and playback to and from disk.


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The first DVR was tested on July 8, 1965, when CBS explored the possibilities of instant freeze-frame and rewind for sporting event broadcasts. Ampex released the first commercial hard disk video recorder in 1967. The HS-100 recorded analog video onto a digital hard disk and could store a maximum of only 30 seconds.

Hard disk-based DVRs
The two early consumer DVRs, ReplayTV and TiVo, were launched at the 1999 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Although ReplayTV won the “Best of Show” award in the video category, it was TiVo that went on to much greater commercial success. The devices have steadily developed complementary abilities, such as recording onto DVDs, commercial skip, sharing of recordings over the Internet, and programming and remote control facilities using PDAs, networked PCs, or Web browsers.

This makes the “time shifting” feature (traditionally done by a VCR) much more convenient, and also allows for “trick modes” such as pausing live TV, instant replay of interesting scenes, and skipping advertising. Most DVRs use the MPEG format for encoding analog video signals.

The two consumer DVR brands in the United States are the TiVo and DNNA’s ReplayTV. In the UK TiVo has a small presence; Thomson, Topfield, Fusion, Pace and Humax also supply digital terrestrial (DTT) DVRs. BSkyB markets a popular combined EPG and DVR as Sky+.South African based Africa Satellite TV beamer Multichoice recently launched their PVR which is available on their Dstv platform.

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