Media Kit: Recording TV programmes

IF you want to record an upcoming TV programme, then you might be looking at the choice between a DVD player that has a recording function or a digital video recorder, aka a PVR (personal video recorder).

It’s a question of whether you want to keep, for posterity, any programmes, in which case you’d go for the DVD player with the recording function. In other words, you’d record the programme on to a DVD disc (once-only or re-writeable). A PVR is often described as a ‘time-shifting’ rather than an archiving device, because its recording is done on an in-built hard drive, which has a finite capacity.

Often sold as ‘set top boxes’, PVRs allow for the recording one programme while watching another and possibly even the facility to record two separate programmes simultaneously while watching another you have previously recorded. By contrast, DVD recorders – unless they have their own, built-in source of programmes (unlikely) – can only record the TV programme that is on.

Set top boxes come with a remote control and choosing what to record from a scrollable schedule of upcoming programmes ought to be child’s play.

Like a DVD recording, a PVR allows for pausing and rewinding. They tend to be, on average, cheaper to buy than DVD recorders.

Among the better known manufacturers of PVRs is Humax. Also, Sony and Panasonic. There are PVR versions for Freeview, YouView, Freesat, etc.

If you are a Virgin Media subscriber, you might wish to consider the TiVo set top box, instead. And of course Sky also provides its own programme recording box, Sky+.

Got your own thoughts on how best to record a TV programme? Email them to

Check out PVRs in the store.