Digital Video Recorders or DVRs have enjoyed an almost meteoric rise in consumer popularity. From just 1.2 percent of households with a DVR in 2006 to over 42.2 percent in 2011, the DVR is quickly ensuring that the separate VCR and DVD players are being regulated to the relic pile.
What a DVR Is
A digital video recorder is an electronic device or application software that records digital video onto a disk drive or other memory device, such as a hard drive or memory stick or card. Most DVR devices also have the capability of reading and playing the recorded video and its accompanying sound track; they simply need connection to a compatible viewing device, such as a computer monitor or a TV set.
A DVR is the device that allows you to view the favorite TV shows that you missed, movies and other videos, including the downloaded movies you can rent from such organizations as NetFlix or Amazon. They don’t, however, record or play text, so reading an e-book from a DVR isn’t possible—yet.
Many DVRs are proprietary: They are secured from “miscellaneous” video viewing. You must subscribe to a service to enable their limited-access use. You can, however, purchase devices that can play most non-secured streams. There are even detailed instructions for constructing your own DVR if retail prices are higher than your budget can easily afford and you have the mechanical and electrical ability to build them.
Advancements and Enhancements
Since the first DVR was introduced in early 1999 at the Consumer Electronics Show by ReplayTV and TiVo. ReplayTV won the coveted “Best of Show” within the video division, but TiVo had better consumer response and quickly took top slot in the DVR market. They shipped their first units in March of that year, and they’ve enjoyed increased demand almost consistently.
ReplayTV presented the automatic commercial skip option, which was a technological enhancement that was widely popular with consumers, but media companies forced ReplayTV to remove that option, presumably due to the reduced potential viewing audience that advertisers disliked. The feature did, however, reemerge later. By that time, however, TiVo had a firm hold and a considerable market share.
Microsoft also presented their DVR version in the same electronics show, but its model was not commercially available until late in 1999.
As the technology stands today, the most popular feature on most DVRs is the record-now-view-now capability that enables viewers to watch the videos or shows of their choice while recording and reviewing or replaying favorite scenes or catch missed dialogue. The machine continues to record with no loss of data because the record and play functions within the machine are completely independent of one another. The incoming data is streamed and recorded. As the data is recorded, it transmits through a cache, and that cache allows simultaneous viewing. The users pauses viewing and can access the recorded data for review, then resumes viewing the cached data right where they left off.
The second is the live streaming capability. Whether you use a TV set that has Wifi capability within it or you access through the DVR, access to thousands of movies and popular TV show episodes are earning providers millions of dollars every year. Most are subscription services requiring recurring payments, and they don’t offer the full range of video media that makes cable and satellite services so popular, but expanding entertainment options and even Internet access options keep consumers happy, paying either full-priced or discounted fees and viewing month after month.
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