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A digital video recorder or personal video recorder(pvr is a device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive,usb flash drive, sd memory card or other memory medium within a device. The term includes stand-alone set-top boxes, protable media palyers (PMP) and recorders (as camcorders that record in memory card) and software for personal computers which enables video capture and playback to and from disk. Some consumer electronic manufacturers have started to offer televisions with digital video-recording hardware and software built into the television itself; LG was first to launch one in 2007.
The two early consumer digital video recorders, ReplayTV and TiVo, were launched at the 1998 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft also demonstrated a unit with DVR capability but commercial availability of this software would have to wait until the end of 1999 for full DVR features in Dish Network's DISHplayer receivers. TiVo shipped their first units on March 31, 1999, and to this day the last Friday in March is celebrated as a company holiday known as 'Blue Moon'.Although ReplayTV won the "Best of Show" award in the video category with Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen as an early investor and board member, it was TiVo that went on to much greater commercial success. While early legal action by media companies forced ReplayTV to remove many features such as automatic commercial skip and the sharing of recordings over the Internet , newer devices have steadily regained these functions while adding complementary abilities, such as recording onto DVDs and programming and remote control facilities using PDAs, networked PCs, and Web browsers. The marketing label "PVR" has almost completely fallen into disuse in United States trade news media (it is still use in the United Kingdom and South Africa) in favor of the more popular DVR descriptor. The phrase "personal video recorder" never really caught on, although its use has not entirely vanished. As of December 29, 2008, Armstrong Cable still uses PVR terminology.
Hard-disk based digital video recorders make the "time shifting" feature (traditionally done by a VCR) much more convenient, and also allow for "trick modes" such as pausing live TV, instant replay of interesting scenes, chasing playback where a recording can be viewed before it has been completed, and skipping of advertising. Most DVRs use the MPEG format for compressing the digitized video signals.
- Digital video recorders tied to a video service
At the 1999 CES, Dish Network demonstrated the hardware that would later have DVR capability with the assistance of Microsoft software . Users would have to wait until June 1999 for simple time shifting capabilities in the 7100, rebranded as the DISHPlayer satellite receiver, which also included WebTV Networks internet TV.By the end of 1999 the Dishplayer had full DVR capabilities and within a year, over 200,000 units were sold.
In the UK, digital video recorders are often referred to as "plus boxes" (such as BSKYB's Sky+ and Virgin Media's V+ which integrates an HD capability, and the subscription free Freesat+ and Freeview+). British Sky Broadcasting markets a popular combined EPG and DVR as Sky+. TiVo launched a UK model in 2000, and while no longer on sale, the subscription service is still maintained. South African based Africa Satellite TV beamer Multichoice recently launched their DVR which is available on their Dstv platform. In addition to ReplayTV and TiVo, there are a number of other suppliers of digital terrestrial (DTT) DVRs, including Thomson, Topfield, Fusion, Pace Micro Technology, Humax and AC Ryan Playon.
Many satellite, cable and IPTV companies are incorporating digital video recording functions into their set-top box, such as with DirecTiVo, DISHPlayer/DishDVR, Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8xxx from Time Warner, Total Home DVR from AT&T U-verse, 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+. Astro introduced their DVR system, called Astro MAX, which was the first PVR in Malaysia. Sadly, it was phased out two years after its introduction.
In the case of digital television, there is no encoding necessary in the DVR since the signal is already a digitally encoded MPEG stream. The digital video recorder simply stores the digital stream directly to disk. Having the broadcaster involved with, and sometimes subsidizing, the design of the DVR can lead to features such as the ability to use interactive TV on recorded shows, pre-loading of programs, or directly recording encrypted digital streams. It can, however, also force the manufacturer to implement non-skippable advertisements and automatically-expiring recordings.
In the United States, the FCC has ruled that starting on July 1, 2007, consumers will be able to purchase a set-top box from a third-party company, rather than being forced to purchase or rent the set-top box from their cable company. This ruling only applies to "navigation devices," otherwise known as a cable television set-top box, and not to the security functions that control the user’s access to the content of the cable operator.The overall net effect on digital video recorders and related technology is unlikely to be substantial as standalone DVRs are currently readily available on the open market.----------User Technologies