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Chapter 9. Residential Gateways > PERSONAL VIDEO RECORDERS

PERSONAL VIDEO RECORDERS

The digital television industry has been abuzz the past couple of months about a new category of product called personal video recorders—PVRs, for short. PVRs are similar to traditional VCRs in many ways—they record, play, and pause TV shows and movies. There are, however, a number of fundamental differences.

Instead of using traditional videotapes, PVRs use a large hard disk along with sophisticated video compression and decompression hardware to record television streams. The PVR software is optimized to allow recording and playback at the same time. This lets the user pause live television, do instant-replay, and quick-jump from place to place. If you are using a VCR tape, you must fast-forward and rewind to move from place to place. These new PVRs are more like DVD players and allow you to quickly move to any location on the recording media. Coupled with an easy-to-use electronic program guide and a high-speed online service, these devices can pause live television, recommend shows based on your tastes, and record your favorite shows automatically. For instance, a viewer could pause a movie, take a break, come back, and resume viewing, even though the movie in reality has continued past that point.


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