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what is a PVR

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by mckayajmc, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. mckayajmc


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    came some one tell me what a PVR is and what it dose i'm sorry for the silly question but i'm new to this seen and i'm trying to set up my own home cinema thanx to anyone who help
  2. njp

    Well-known Member

    Oct 20, 2004
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    PVR: Personal Video Recorder. Some people here (TiVo advocates, mostly) will argue that a "true" PVR
    should have more advanced functionality than what I am about to describe. They will tell you that a PVR should be able to record speculatively based on your previously expressed preferences, record all programmes of a certain kind and so on.

    However, here, I mean simply a device that has one or more
    tuners, a hard drive to store recordings, and (crucially) access to an
    EPG. My description uses terms applicable to my own Freeview PVR, the Thomson DHD4000, but the same general principles will apply whatever the model.

    EPG: Electronic Programme Guide. This is downloaded automatically every
    night (over the air), and contains details of the programming on all
    channels for the next 7 or 14 days (depending on whose guide your PVR
    uses) on a rolling basis. As well as the programme title, there will
    normally be a brief textual description of the content, just as you
    would find in a magazine listing. You access this guide via the remote
    control of your PVR, and use it to select programmes you wish to view or
    add to your Record List.

    Record List: A list of programmes you have scheduled to record, but
    which have not yet been transmitted. Once they have been recorded, they
    appear in your Record History.

    Record History: A list of the programmes you have already recorded.
    These are stored on the hard drive. The amount of programming you can
    store will depend on the capacity of the hard drive. The Thomson
    DHD4000, for example, can store around 20 hours on its 40GB drive. You
    can select programmes from the record history for viewing, just as you
    would from the EPG. The title and textual description from the EPG are
    stored with the recording, together with the date the recording was
    made. This makes it very easy to find what you are looking for. And
    because a hard drive is a random access device (unlike a tape), you can
    view recordings in any order with no delay in finding them, delete them
    in any order and so on. You can even be watching one recording whilst
    making two new recordings from two different channels (if you have a
    dual tuner PVR)! You can add bookmarks to recordings so that you can
    find places of interest again easily. If you stop viewing a recording,
    the PVR will remember where you were so that you can resume from that
    point next time.

    As if all that wasn't enough, most PVRs automatically 'buffer' live TV. That
    is, while you are watching a live transmission, it is being recorded to
    a reserved section of the hard drive. This mean you can pause live TV
    (say if the phone rings) and then carry on watching where you left off.
    If you miss something, you can rewind it to watch it again. You can
    choose to delay the start of a programme on a commercial channel for 10
    minutes or so, fast-forward through all the adverts, and still end your
    viewing at the same time as the broadcast programme ends! Most PVRs
    buffer for up to 30 minutes, on each tuner (so you can even pause and
    flip between channels, if you brain can handle it!).

    You can record subtitles, and choose to display them or not on playback
    (this was just about possible on a S-VHS VCR, on a good day, with a
    following wind).

    Oh, and because Freeview PVRs are 'bitstream' recorders, there is no
    degradation of picture quality. The image you get on a recording is
    exactly the same as the live broadcast.

    Get one. You'll love it.​
  3. Cyril

    Active Member

    Jul 20, 2005
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    Yes, there are various levels of personalisation.

    TiVo, Windows Media Centre and a build-your-own-full-time-job-to-maintain PC-based PVR can have pretty much every thing you can dream of - season pass/series-link prioritisation and automatic programme conflict resolution, remote control over the web with your wap phone, recording every film starring French Totty (Sophie Marceau, Emanuelle Beart, etc..), recording only new episodes of a certain series in a certain genre, cross-reference conflicting EPG info with Digiguide, soft-padding so you don't miss the start or end if a programme schedules early or late, watching and controlling your PVR over the internet, automatic archiving to a PC with a DVD recorder, automatic downloading and-resizing of shows to a portable device, transfer of shows from one machine to another in another room, one month long fully searchable EPG, daily email of current show status and to-do-lists, special shows, pop-video promos, advertising and competitions sent to your machine which you can either ignore or enter, record a programme with two button presses when you see an advert for it, etc.....

    Less sophisticated DVRs (Toppy, Sky+ etc..) are still a vast leap ahead of your normal VCR.

    Even very limited DVRs (Pace Twin etc..) are still a big leap in terms of functionality compared to a VCR.

    After a few months of using a true PVR you probably won't want to go back to anything else.

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