In order to get the most out of HDTV (high-definition television) you need to have an HD-ready TV, preferably with a surround sound or a home cinema system and an HDTV receiver, whether that is cable, satellite or a set-top box. Complete your system with an HDTV DVR (digital video recorder), and you will be able to record programs on all your HD channels and watch them whenever you want.
Satellite HDTV DVRs
If you have an HDTV Satellite receiver, it will act as a DVR so you don't need an extra box. Dish NetworkR offers a free HD upgrade to all customers taking a two-year subscription or with a one-time upgrade fee. The number of available HD channels depends on the service you subscribe to, but there are well over a hundred on the more expensive packages, and the DuoDVRR ViP 722k box has dual tuners so two TV sets can watch different channels in different rooms in HD. It also has a 500-gigabyte hard drive and a picture-in-picture (PiP) feature so that you can watch two programs side by side on one screen.
Similarly, an HDTV receiver from DirecTV will allow you to watch and record your favorite HD channels, and the number of channels available depends on your service subscription, and there are more than 170 available altogether, including nine HD only channels. DirecTV offers a whole-home DVR service for an extra monthly fee which enables you to watch and record any program from any room using only one DVR box. Their top-of-the-range HMC receiver will record up to 800 hours of HDTV and record up to five programs at once.
Cable HDTV DVRs
TiVoR is probably the best-known DVR for the cable market. Your cable network may supply an HDTV-ready box with or without DVR capability, or you can buy a TiVo or competitive DVR and insert your CableCARD into the box. The TiVo Premiere XL comes with 1 terabyte of memory and a dual tuner so you can watch one program while recording another.
Freeview HDTV DVRs
If you don't want to be tied to a monthly subscription to watch and record HDTV, you can always get a HD Freeview box with personal video recorder function (PVR), which is the same thing as a DVR. These can be set-top boxes like the Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder or the Gaming Edition that connects to a PC, PlayStation3R, Xbox 360R or Nintendo WiiR. Alternatively, you can connect to your PC and watch and record HDTV that way using internal HDTV cards or external USB tuners, such as the Diamond TVW750USB ATI Theater HD 750 USB TV Tuner, effectively turning your PC into a PVR.
However you choose to complete your system, today's PVRs and DVRs mean you can watch all your favorite programs in HD anytime you chose in a way that makes sense to you.