Standard television is now a thing of the past as new laws now require all broadcasts to be digital. A whole new set of appliances are now available for consumers that make use and take advantage of this technology - high-definition television sets and various types of digital receivers and recorders. Just as standard TV broadcasts could be recorded on VCRs, these new devices are also capable of recording digital TV broadcasts.
1. Utilize a digital video recorder (DVR).
The phrase "digital video recorder" can refer to a specific machine that's dedicated to record digital video or it could describe one feature of a multifunctional device that happens to be also capable of recording digital video. For example most of the latest and sophisticated models of digital satellite or cable receivers can record incoming digital transmissions. DVRs or DVR capable devices store these recordings on internal hard disks. These disks have considerable space that is at the gigabyte range. They are adequate for instances when you wish to copy a show for later viewing and then eventually erase them. Some receivers are equipped to have two channels simultaneously activated. With this feature it would be possible for you to watch one TV program while at the same time recording another show. As the digital TV broadcast is recorded in the hard disk it is also automatically indexed. Even when several shows have already been recorded, looking for one particular show would be as easy as browsing for a file on a computer.
2. Utilize a DVD recorder.
DVD recorders can also be separate dedicated machines much like VCRs or combined into one device with digital satellite and cable receivers. The main difference between DVRs and DVD recorders is that the latter completes the recording to an optical disk rather than an internal hard disk. This offers some advantages such as archiving collectible shows onto DVDs. If the copying of the digital TV broadcast is only done for purposes of later viewing and doesn't need to be saved, you can use re-writable DVD discs (DVD-RW). As with DVR-receiver combination devices, a DVD recorder/receiver with a twin channel feature can also allow you to watch one show and record another simultaneously. DVD recorders are slightly more complicated to operate because they offer more options in formatting and finalizing the output disk.
3. Utilize a personal computer.
Current hardware configurations of personal computers now give them the ability to physically connect with other digital media devices such as an HDTV. This is usually facilitated by either the Digital Video Interface (DVI) port or the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port. These connections are usually also present in most current models of HDTVs. Video capture software must be installed in the PC to record the digital TV broadcast in its hard disk. If the PC has a DVD drive with burning capabilities, the recorded show can then be transferred to a writable optical disc this time using disc burning software.
When copying materials from digital TV broadcasts, you need to be conscious of copyright laws. Most TV networks or other parties that may own the copyright to the show you're recording may let the copying slide if the purpose is only to archive the material in your personal collection (strictly speaking this is already a violation). What would really get you in trouble is if you made other copies and started distributing them, and its irrelevant if you distributed them for profit or for free.