PVR Australia (Personal Video Recorder)
Rather than recording TV onto VHS video cassettes, a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) allows you to record TV programmes onto a hard disk, similar to those found inside a desktop computer.
There are several advantages to this approach – no tapes to rewind, the ability to pause live TV, integrated programme guides, and series recording, plus a lot more storage space than a
standard VHS cassette. You can copy programmes down onto video tape for archiving, if you wish.
The personal video recorder (PVR), also called digital video recorder (DVR) or digital personal video recorder, is a consumer electronics device that records television shows to a hard disk in digital format. Since first introduced by TiVo at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1999, PVRs have steadily developed complementary abilities, such as recording onto DVDs.
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 PVR recorders use the MPEG format for encoding analog video signals. The most popular PVRs on the market in the United States are the TiVo and DNNA’s ReplayTV, although most home electronics manufacturers now offer models. In the UK Sky Plus dominates the market, though TiVO have a small presence. Many satellite
and cable companies are incorporating PVR functions into their set-top box, such as with DirecTiVo, Motorola 6xxx from Comcast, Moxi Media Center by Digeo (available through Charter, Adelphia, Sunflower, Bend Broadband, and soon Comcast and other cable companies), or Sky Plus. In this case there is no encoding necessary in the PVR, as the satellite signal is already a digitally encoded MPEG stream. The PVR simply stores the digital stream directly to disk. Having the broadcaster involved with (subsidizing) the design of the PVR, and directly recording encrypted digital streams can lead to fancy features – like the ability to use interactive TV on recorded shows, pre-loading of programmes; but can also lead to too much control by the broadcaster – like denying the ability to skip adverts and automatically expiring recordings after a time determined by the broadcaster.
Other entrants into the market include products such as Microsoft’s Media Center and MacMini.
In 2003, the Yakima, Washington Police Department began using PVRs in their patrol cars to record the activities of officers and suspects. Since then, many other police departments have followed suit, due to the increased reliability and decreased cost compared to analog video systems.
There are ways to make one’s own PVR using software and hardware available for Microsoft Windows, Linux and Macintosh operating systems. There are even people working on turning the Xbox into a PVR with a modchip.
Link: Personal video recorder