How to Buy a Cable DVR

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Using a cable DVR (digital video recorder) is a way for family members to have their favorite television programs available for viewing when the time is convenient. The option to record two programs at a time, or record one while watching another, are great tools for working around busy schedules. The decision to buy a cable DVR over leasing from a cable company is often more a financial decision.

  • Buy a cable DVR to schedule programs in advance for recording. Depending on the brand of DVR and cable service, you can schedule programs several days to several weeks in advance.

  • Choose a cable DVR that records standard, enhanced and high-definition programming to get the most recording options. Technology is continually changing, and television programs are progressing at various levels, so make a selection that covers multiple recording options.

  • Get a cable DVR with high-quality output to make your television viewing a home theater experience. You can find a superior all-digital video quality DVR from your cable company or through a retail outlet.

  • Purchase a single-tuner DVR to record a program while watching a previously recorded program. A dual-tuner DVR allows you to watch a program while recording another program, or you can record two programs while watching an already-recorded program. Make your selection based on the amount of recordings you expect to make.

  • Check with your local cable service provider to determine your options to buy a DVR. The unit you choose must be compatible with the connections and service available in your area.

  • Ask if a cable digital video recorder can be used with an external hard drive before you buy it. In the places where this technology is available, it provides the user with an extended recording time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Compare the cost of buying versus leasing a cable DVR. The choice depends on whether you want to own the equipment or pay a monthly fee for its use. Some prefer the small monthly fee over the cost of repairs or replacement of owned equipment. On the other hand, the monthly cost can add up significantly over time, thereby making it more economical to buy a cable DVR.
  • Technology changes rapidly and buying a DVR may hold you back from the latest technology. Leased equipment can most often be upgraded without penalty.
  • Make sure the DVR is compatible with the connections on your television and surround sound setup before you buy it.

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