PVRs: How to buy the best PVR What is a PVR?

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Personal video recorders, or PVRs, record television programmes. They're also sometimes called DVRs, or digital video recorders. 

Unlike video recorders or DVD recorders, which use removable tapes or discs to store programmes, a PVR records TV to an internal hard disk. 

This means that a PVR's storage capacity is huge – more than 100 hours of programming is typical, and the largest can store more than 500 hours worth of standard-definition TV before the hard drive is full. 

There’s also no degradation in picture and sound quality when you record a programme – when you play it back it’s just as good as watching live TV.

Take a look at the top scoring models in our Best Buy PVR round up.

Sky satellite, Virgin cable, Freeview or Freesat?

You’ll need to buy a PVR that suits the platform you use if you want to record TV. Some PVRs are designed for pay-TV services, such as Sky TV (Sky+HD) and Virgin Media, and a whole host work with free-to-air services from Freeview or Freesat. 

If Freeview is available in your area you can buy a Freeview PVR and save yourself the monthly expense of a cable or satellite-based service. If not, consider the Freesat satellite TV service instead. You'll get a different selection of channels depending on which service you opt for, though both provide a number in high definition.

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