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Personal TV (Digital Video Recording, DVRs)
(Last updated in 2012)

The term "Digital Video Recorders (DVR)" on this webpage is
synonymous with the older term "Personal Video Recorder (PVR)."

Timeshifting - (a.k.a. Time Shifting, File-served Television, Time Delay Recording, Digital Video Recorder {DVR}, Time-shifted TV, Timeshift-TV, Digital-video-recorder, Personal Video Recorder {PVR}, Hybrid PVR, Personal TV, Multiroom DVR, PTV, Personalized TV, Personal TV Service, TV-placeshifting, In-Home PVR, Time-Shifted Video (In-Home PVR), Time-Shifted Video (Network PVR), Personal TV Receiver, PTR, Personal Video Station, PVS, Hard Disk Recorder, HDR. (May also be known as: Individualized TV, though more often in Europe}.  Other hardware that can be associated with timeshifting include VCR, the Digital VCR, Digital Videocassette Recorder, Personalized TV Playback Devices, Digital Disk Recorder, Home Media Server, Virtual VCR, IP Media Appliance, Digital Network Recorder, Digital Videotape Recorder, Digital Storage Unit, PC-based DVR). (Loosely associated would be Videodisc Recorders and Players.)  Personal TV as a term gets used more often in Europe now-a-days than the States. In the States the terms Time shifting, ("Time Shifting"), "DVR" and "Media Center" are now more prevalent than "Personal TV."

(1) You timeshift video or audio programming when you record it and later view it or hear it locally. (If you record programming and later view it somewhere else via a network, then it's both timeshifted and "placeshifted".) Timeshifting allows you to watch video programming when you want to and thus not be limited to having to watch it when your network operator schedules it, (a.k.a. Appointment TV.) Typically video timeshifting devices come with DVD-like features such as slow motion, fast forward, rewind and pause. The device can continue to record a program while you watch another program. It might come with enhanced features such as high definition recording, interactive advertising, interactive program guide, Internet connection, home networking and related security features (CCTV).

The digital video recorder (DVR) set-top box typically is a standalone device that digitally records video to a disk drive or other medium. While set-top boxes and gaming consoles can offer digital video recorder functions, DVRs can also come in the form of software for PCs. With the later, viewers can watch TV on their PCs and possibly send PC-based, or gaming console based DVR recordings to their TV via a media extender.

While TV timeshifting is a term most often used in regard to digital video recorders (DVRs), but can be relevant to any video recording and viewing device that has access to an adequate-size hard drive, such as a video iPod or PC. With a PC-based DVR, typically software is downloaded to the computer and the computer's hard drive is utilized. (A TV tuner card or equivalent will most likely be necessary.) A DVR "card" may be used.

Timeshifted TV is the viewing of live television programming in a manner that gives the viewer options such as:

  • The ability to playback recorded programming without commercials, or skip blocks of commercials
  • Send programs from one room to another between networked units
  • One-touch recording with on-screen channel guide (a type of Electronic Program Guide)
  • Often recording programming is easier with a DVR compared to recording on a VCR.
  • Pause, rewind, instant replay, slow-motion and frame advance, depending on the motel, at a variety of different speeds
  • Depending on the DVR's capacity, record up to hundreds of hours of television before having to erase any previously recorded shows
  • Store and view your digital photos on TV
  • You can send shows to others who own like units. (a.k.a. Box to Box Networking. Most often a broadband connection is needed for this)
  • If it has this feature, your DVR unit can automatically search for and record shows by keyword or theme (i.e. programming you prefer.) If you want your unit to search for and record all the programming that has a particular actor/actress in it, the DVR can automatically do that for you, whether you knew those shows had him/her in it or not
  • You can use your remote to jump past the show's boring parts
  • You can use a broadband connection or your standard phone line for access
  • You can program your unit while away from home using the Internet
  • You can use your unit as an online gaming console
  • Watch HDTV through it
  • Provide picture-in-picture capabilities on any TV
  • Record as many as two programs at the same time while watching a third pre-recorded program
  • Record programming on your DVR unit and send it to a portable media device for viewing while away from the actual DVR unit.
Because the incoming signal is digitized and the DVR is an advanced digital set-top box, it's possible that the use of a DVR will enhance the picture quality.

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are used both to digitally record, and play back programming. Your network operator (cable company, telco,  satellite company, etc.) sends the content (TV shows, news, etc.) and you plug your line (feed) from your network operator into the DVR "unit" using a compression scheme such as MPEG. The unit saves the incoming live TV signal on its hard drive. Generally put, the viewer's DVR unit compresses the signal of the live TV show, saves it on it's hard drive and then with a very short delay, the DVR plays it for the viewer. Literally the viewer is watching it off of their hard drive, not straight from the antenna, satellite, telco or cable connection as they're used to.
Traditional TV content suppliers (such as cable networks, TV studios and broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, ABC etc.) are offering legal challenges as people can alter the TV programs that they receive, in particular skip commercials and other parts of the programming they find aggravating.

Time shifted digital video recording can be software-based (but generally still needs access to a hard-drive, such as in your computer.)

(2) Timeshifting may also refer to the availability of network affiliates from different time zones and places, (something there's an incresing number of thanks to Internet TV.) These stations make television programming available at additional times throughout the day.

(3) Video on Demand is a type of Timeshifting.


"Personal TV" is a term unrelated to timeshifting that some companies use for their service that lists customer's favorite programs as well as scheduling and information about those programs.

"Personal TV" is also a term sometimes used (primarily in the past) interchangeably for Enhanced TV or Interactive TV.



Network DVRs - (Remote Server-Digital Video Recorder, RS-DVR, Remote-storage Digital Video Recorder, Remote-storage DVR.)

Telco TV providers can provide RS-DVR service also due to their larger bandwidth capacity than satellite TV.

More Definitions and Sites Related to Timeshifting (Personal TV):

Various Related Definitions

 Related Articles from the Past

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  1. Motorola's Home Media Hub Challenges TiVo
  2. TiVo to Expand Internet-Based Content
  3. The Reach of a Single DVR Starts to Slither Beyond the Den
  4. TiVo Launches Product Watch: Commercials On Demand
  5. Nielsen DVR Data Analyzed, 80% Skip Ads
  6. TiVo offers it's first iTV ad.
  7. Nearly 70 percent of advertisers believe VOD and digital video record rendering traditional TV ads less effective
  8. New TiVo pop-up ads, copy restrictions raise consumer concerns
  9. Television still king of media (UK)
  10. Worldwide subscribers to DVR services will rise by a factor of nearly seven between 2005 and 2010
  11. TiVo owners get to set their DVR from their mobile unit (phone).
  12. Nielsen to keep track of DVRs
  13. Yahoo Internet TV
  14. Google low cost Computer Talk Mounts
  15. US networks: PVR owners watch more ads