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Ten reasons for buying a personal video recorder

Time to ditch your VCR and get a digital receiver with a hard drive.

Time to ditch your VCR and get a digital receiver with a hard d
published on UK Free TV

You have a VCR and switchover is coming

If you have a video cassette recorder (VCR) it will not be suitable for recording television once digital switchover has happened in your region.

Inside the VCR there is an analogue tuning device: this will be redundant once switchover has happened. Whilst you could get a Freeview box and attach it to the VCR, this would be a poor solution, when compared to a PVR such as Freeview+.

You just never "got" a VCR

If you could work out which programmes you wanted your VCR to record (from four or five channels) you also needed the correct length tape. Even with those "simple" Videoplus code, you could never be quite sure what the VCR was going to do.

There's nothing too complicated with a PVR. Instead, use the regular on-screen programme guide to find the programme you want to record and press one button on the remote. No "finding a tape" or leaving the device in a special mode, as long as the PVR has power, it will record your programme.

There's two things on digital TV you want to see

All personal video recorders have at least two digital tuners, so they can record two programmes at once. They can do this, even if you are watching a third recording at the time.

You want to start watching that programme before the end is broadcast

One of the reasons that people NEVER go back to videotape is the "random access" nature of a computer hard drive. You can start watching a recorded programme from the moment it starts recording. You don't need to wait until the recording ends so you can rewind the videotape, just find the programme and press the start button.

You want to watch TV when you want, not when it is broadcast

Most people find that once they have a PVR, then they only watch live TV for live events: sport and news. Everything else can be recorded and stored and then watched when you have the time.

You want perfect recordings

Programmes stored on a PVR are just digital copies of the broadcast. They are stored without modification onto the hard disk, so replay is the exactly the same quality as watching the programme live. Most PVRs record the subtitles, not a feature that a VCR can manage.

You can keep watching those digital channels that do not broadcast 24 hours a day.

There are quite a few Freeview channels that only broadcast during the daytime (like UKTV History) or in the evening (like Virgin 1). With a Freeview+ PVR you can record everything that interests you, even on channels that are normally "on" when you are "out".

Many channels, such as BBC THREE and BBC FOUR have "narrative repeats" of their programmes late at night perfect for setting recordings of programmes that clashed earlier in the day

You don't want to watch the adverts

You can make every channel have the "BBC effect" no adverts. All PVRs allow you to jump forward and backwards through the recording at high speed. Just a little practice and you'll be able to skip the adverts with a few button presses.

Even when you are watching "live" you can "pause" to take a phone call, and then when you resume, you can use the fast-forward control to skip the ads.

You want to record ever episode

With a PVR you can just press one button to record every showing of a programme, no matter show the programme is scheduled.

You like to keep recordings but you don't want your house overrun with video cassettes

Even the smallest PVR, with just a 40Gb drive can store the same as 11 VHS tapes.












What are the PVR options?



TUTV Anytime









Very soon

Cost to buy






Monthly fee






Records from


Freeview and TUTVA

Sky/Freesat from Sky

Virgin Media


Special requirements



Dish must be fitted with 'quad LNB' and two cables run in


Dish must be fitted with 'quad LNB' and two cables run in




Sky+HD required

Yes, however very poor quality


* Sky discount 10 when subscribed to any Sky digital package. ** V+ fee waived with XL package.

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Monday, 20 February 2012
B Hall
1:50 PM

I have a Sony Bravia KDL-37EX403 Freeview+ HD set.
In order to record from it with the pause etc. features I assume a basic PVR recorder (hard drive) would suffice. I do not need a receiver type as my set already does that.
Or am I mistaken.

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B Hall's 1 post GB flag

6:41 PM

B Hall: I really do think that you will be severely limiting your recording options by going down the route of recording from the TV, as you have to remember that its only possible to record what you are presently viewing, whereas a Freeview PVR would give you the best of all worlds as its a totally flexible easy to use type of device with the ability of being able to record one channel whilst viewing another, or alternatively recording two different things at the same time. I am of course referring to the more commonly available twin tuner types.

The other point about PVR's being that they are totally self contained units that record purely from their own inbuilt tuners and "not" from any external devices.

As far as cost is concerned there isn't really that much difference between a PVR of the type mentioned and a DVD recorder with built in hard drive such as would be required for the purpose that you have indicated, plus recorders of that type all have built in tuners, so you couldn't escape that.

link to this comment
jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag

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