These days, many cable companies offer the option of renting a Digital Video Recorder, or DVR. A DVR is a revolutionary way to enjoy television and it's quite simple to use. Here are some tips on how to use a DVR:
- Programming shows. You can pre-program any show you want to record with the simple touch of a button on your DVR system remote control. All you have to do is do a search for the show you want to record, by typing the first four letters of the show's title under the Search screen. Once you find the show you want to record, you just select the red Record button. The show will automatically record at the time the show is scheduled to air. You can also choose the Record option from the "TV Guide" screen - just click on any upcoming show and hit the red Record button.
- Deleting shows. In your DVR queue, you can delete any watched shows by selecting the show from the menu and then clicking Delete. This will free up space in your queue in your DVR systems.
- Series Recordings or Season Pass. If you want to record every episode of a television show, you can elect to do a Series Digital Video Recording (some cable and satellite companies refer to this option as a Season Pass). In the Record menu, just select Create a Series Recording. You can then opt to record first run episodes, repeats or all episodes.
- Space limitations. DVR servers have space limitations. Most DVRs can hold at least 80 hours of programming (or less if you are recording high definition programs on your HD DVR). While this may seem like plenty of space, it can get eaten up quickly if you are saving a lot of old programs in you queue. Keep in mind that once you reach your space limitation maximum, old shows will be deleted automatically as new shows are recorded. To avoid losing old shows that you want to keep, it's best to clear out your queue every few days and just save programs that are really near and dear to your family's heart. Another option is to move your favorite shows to your computer from your digital video recorders.
- Real-time functions. One of the coolest features of the DVR is the real-time features. You can pause or rewind shows as you watch them - even if you aren't technically "recording" the program. Here's another tip: set a program to record, then wait to start watching it five minutes after it starts by selecting the Restart from the Beginning option. This will enable you to Fast Forward through all of the commercials, since you will be watching it five minutes behind schedule.
A DVR offers you tremendous flexibility when it comes to watching television -- no more VCR tapes to fumble with and no more flipping channels back and forth between two favorite programs. Most importantly, you can watch television on your own schedule. Indeed, once you learn how to use your DVRs, you will never look at television the same way again.