How to record digital television

We describe the different methods you can use to record digital TV

Over half of all Australian households watch digital television. But if you've got a shiny new digital television or set-top box, chances are that recording shows using your old VCR will be awkward and deprive you of the quality offered by digital broadcasts. We've rounded up the options open to you to make good quality recordings of your favourite shows.

Option 1: Buy a digital video recorder (DVR)

This is probably the most hassle-free option for recording digital television. A Blu-ray disc recorder like the DMR-BW850 or DMR-BW750 will decode the digital television signal from your antenna and display it on your television via HDMI. These devices have twin television tuners so you can record one channel while watching a different one. A large internal hard drive allows you to store many hours of high-definition digital content, while a Blu-ray drive allows you to copy shows to recordable Blu-ray discs and store them for later use. Of course, you can also watch Blu-ray movies with them.

DVRs without a Blu-ray drive also exist and they are generally much cheaper. They usually record to a hard drive (like the DVICO TViX R-3300 media streamer does), but models with DVD recorders like the Panasonic DMR-EX79 also exist. These aren't as feature-packed as Blu-ray DVRs, but they might do the job.

Option 2: Use a media centre PC

For those comfortable with technology, a media centre PC offers a wide range of options — you can even build your own. If you have the time and money, you could spec one of these babies out with four digital television tuners, a powerful CPU and a bunch of 1TB internal hard drives — creating the most powerful option for recording digital television short of the Cell Regza TV and recorder. Companies like Claritas offer custom-built media centre PCs in Australia, while larger companies like Sony and HP also offer preconfigured solutions.

Option 3: Buy a television with an internal recorder

If you're not keen on buying an extra box just to record television — hell, isn't this the era of convergence anyway? — your choices are limited. However, LG's Time Machine plasma televisions like the LG 50PS80ED plasma television feature dual internal television tuners, an internal hard drive for storing content and a USB port for transferring saved videos to free up space. If you're keen on cutting down on devices — or just don't want to learn to drive another remote control — a television with an internal recorder is your best choice.

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Campbell Simpson

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