Digital video recorders (DVRs)--those mysterious black boxes with names such as TiVo, DirecTV DVR with TiVo, Sony Digital Network Recorder, UltimateTV and ReplayTV--have a devoted following for a ...
1?Decide if you want a generic or subscription-based DVR. Generic models are programmed like a VCR: You choose the channel and the viewing time after looking up a show in the newspaper. Subscription- based DVRs have a user-friendly onscreen program guide, but you must pay a monthly or lifetime fee to use the services.
2?Choose between a monthly fee and a onetime charge if you decide on a subscription-based DVR. The onetime charge is a better deal in the long run; the service can be transferred to the new owner if you sell or give away the DVR.
3?Compare the features of each subscription-based DVR's program guide. With an interactive list of upcoming programs, it selects the shows you want to record by title, genre, actor or other features. Try the program guide at a store or a friend's house to see if it makes sense for your TV viewing.
4?Compare prices. Subscription-based DVRs run from $250 up to $1,000, depending on the size of the machine's hard disk. The subscription service can cost $200 to $400 (a onetime fee) or $6 to $15 per month. The lowest prices are available through package deals with satellite or cable companies; see Step 8.
5?Decipher the remote. Pausing live TV, doing instant replays, fast-forwarding, or creating the David Hasselhoff Channel is fun only if you know how to work the remote.
Digital Video Recorder