Anyone have one?

I’d like to get an inexpensive one to replace our VCR. I’m not quite sure though how they work. We don’t have cable. We have an old tv with a digital converter box.

Can I get a DVR that will record the digital signal? Does it go:

Digital Attenna => DVR => Converter box => TV, or
Digital Attenna => Converter box => DVR => TV

What is Tivo? It sounds like some sort of subscription service. Would I need that or ?


A DVR is the hardware/software that allows you to record television programs. TIVO is a type of DVR (The first analogy that popped into mind was toilet paper. DVR is toilet paper, TIVO is Charmin. There are many types of toilet paper (DVRs) out there, one brand happens to be TIVO).

A DVR will allow you to set up future recordings of television shows such as:

  1. Record a show that I’m watching right now because I have to leave before the end of the show.
  2. Record a show that starts in an hour so I don’t have to be in front of the TV to watch it live.
  3. Record a TV series so that every week when the TV show plays it’s recorded and I don’t have to remember to set up a recording every week.

A DVR also allows you to ‘pause’ the show. Say you’re watching a football game and the phone rings and you have to answer it but don’t want to miss any of the game. You ‘pause’ the show, answer the phone, and come back ten minutes later and ‘play’ the show. You can then fast forward or rewind to eventually catch up to ‘live’ time. This happens because when you’re on a channel the DVR knows to record what you’re watching so that you can rewind, pause, etc while you’re on that channel. Once you change the channel or turn off the TV the DVR stops recording that channel.

You may want to check with your local cable provider for what equipment you need. I go through Charter Communications and I do not have a converter box AND a dvr. My digital cable converter box IS my DVR.

Personally, I really enjoy having the DVR and it would be a sacrifice to go without now.

I love my DVR! I have an old square tube TV and simply the basic network channels via Comcast, but I haven’t needed any extra box or digital converter. I can’t remember offhand how all the wires are hooked up in the back. I don’t know if it’s Cable > DVR > VCR > TV or if it’s Cable > VCR > DVR > TV. We have our old VCR hooked up, too. So, potentially, we can record one channel on the DVR, record a second channel on the VCR, and watch a third channel live.

My inlaws lease a DVR through their cable company. I think they can record up to two shows at once, which is a nice feature, but it only allows them to record in 1/2 hour blocks. I always like to start recording a few minutes early and end a few minutes late. That was especially necessary recording shows like Lost that would often run over a few minutes.

I’ve been very happy with what we got. It’s a Phillips and it’s also a DVD player. So we can actually record stuff to the HDD [Hard Disk Drive] (with our choice of 7 different recording speeds) and then burn it to a DVD. It’s pretty handy to burn 6 hours of kids shows to one DVD for those long family car trips. :slight_smile:

With small kids, we got in the habit of recording everything we want to watch for viewing later. It’s nice to be able to skip through the commercials anyway. Getting the DVR makes that much simpler. We don’t have to worry about being at the right place on the tape or running out of space when we go out of town. We can watch things in any order and simply delete the title when we’re done with it. It also remembers your place, so you can stop halfway through one show, switch to another, then simply return to the other one and pick up where you left off.

Ours also lets us edit what we record, so you can take out the commercials before you burn to a DVD.

Takers is right, though; now that I’m used to having one, it would be pretty tough to do without it. How easy it is to get spoiled. :o

Is there any way to get a DVR without a subscription to a cable service?

My family recently decided that we did not want to pay all the extra money to our cable provider, so we canceled our cable and are opting for a digital antenna. (It sounds to me that this is similar to what the OP has currently.)

The DVR was wonderful when we had it, though! I could record my kids’ shows and let them watch whenever it was convenient for us. I’d love to still have one, but there is no way that I’m going back to cable; we really only utilized the local network channels, anyways. The thing I miss most about having a DVR was that I felt it gave me more freedom from the TV. I didn’t have to sit there during a specific block of time. I could still enjoy the shows I like, but I could do it at my convenience, rather than planning my life around the TV schedule, which is what I feel like I’m going to start doing without a DVR.

I don’t see why not. Just go to Amazon and search for “DVR” and avoid all the TiVo ones. :slight_smile: The Phillips DVR I have looks to be discontinued, but it looks like Magnavox and Toshiba both still sell ones of their own. Although I do have the minimal cable package, my DVR is not tied to it at all. We bought it (well, it was a gift) just as we would buy a DVD player or a VCR. There were no calls to the cable company or anything.

If the digital antenna is where you get your TV signal from rather the cable outlet in the wall, I see no reason why you couldn’t just run the wire from the digital antenna to the DVR. You’d just have to check with both items to make sure you can get the right wire to run between them (if it doesn’t already come with the right one, which it may).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit