What is the Difference Between a DVD Recorder and TiVo?

By Erin Monaghan
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We all hate to miss our favorite television programs and movies; and essentially both TiVo and DVD recorders help us rectify this problem. They can both record television programs for later viewing. However, they are both very different pieces of hardware and frankly their functionality is a little confusing.

A DVD recorder, in its strictest sense, records data and immediately transfers the information to a piece of removable media like a DVD-R. TiVo is a service and digital video recorder (DVR) that has a hard drive and stores all of the recorded information directly in the TiVo box.

Let’s break it down for you:

DVD Recorders Defined
DVD recorders are very similar to their VHS predecessors. You can program the DVD recorder to record a movie or television show at a particular time. You can also hook up your video camcorder and transfer your home videos to the DVD recorder and many DVD recorders allow you to watch one program while recording another. All of the information is transferred directly to a hard disc media like a DVD-R. No information is stored on a hard drive for later viewing.

You do not have to sign up for a subscription of any kind to use a DVD recorder.

TiVo Defined
Tivo is a DVR and subscription based service that provides you with the ability to program and record your favorite television programs and movies. You can schedule it to record an entire series every time it is broadcast, automatically record movies with your favorite actors or directors, and you can start watching a program even if TiVo is still in the middle of recording it.

The Fuzzy Line Between TiVo and DVD Recorders

Here is where it gets a little tricky. Some DVD recorders are also DVRs. Which means they have a small internal hard drive that can store recorded programs like movies, then at a later date you can choose to record those movies to a DVD-R or RW. Now, you have a hard copy of your movie or television series. These combination DVD recorders and DVRs still work like a DVD recorder. You have to program it to record specific programs at a specific time. They are not intuitive like TiVo.

Additionally, TiVo DVR boxes can include a DVD recorder. Third-party companies like Pioneer and Toshiba manufacture TiVo powered DVD recorder machines. Which means these DVD recorders support the TiVo subscription and will work just like a TiVo box, with the additional DVD recording functionality.

The TiVo company does not sell these products. All boxes purchased directly through TiVo are strictly DVRs and you cannot transfer your recorded programs to a hard disc DVD.

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