Difference Between PVR and DVR

The invention of VideoCassette Recorder (VCR) proved to be a boon for future generations. The function of a VCR is to record the analogue audio and videos from television or any other devices and then play it as a recording so that it can be seen multiple times. The advent of VCR in the television industry where you can watch your programs at your own convenient time was referred to as the time-shifting phenomenon. VCRs became very popular in the 1980s and 90s. Then came PVR and DVR, which was the advanced version of VCRs.


The main difference between PVR and DVR is that PVR stands for Personal Video Recorder and DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. PVR was used for personal use, and it can select the programmes and shows based on an individual’s preference. In comparison, DVR was a digital format that can be used both in TVs and digital setup boxes. It was more advanced than PVR.


PVR stands for Personal Video Recorder. It was a type of recording device used in the cable TVs to record videos and audios. The main function of a PVR was to record the television programmes and then replay them, but there was a slight time difference with the original programme. It has other features as well where an individual can pause, rewind, stop, and fast forward the recorded shows.

DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder. It is a digital device that records videos in a digitalised way, unlike VCRs which uses analogue. It can store videos on a USB drive, SD Card, SSD, disk drive, or any other storage device with a large storage capacity. DVRs were first launched in the year 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada, by ReplayTV and TiVo. DVRs are more popular than PVRs, and it has become an integral part of the modern age.

Comparison Table Between PVR and DVR

Parameters of ComparisonPVRDVR
Full-FormPVR stands for Personal Video Recorder.DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder.
Definition PVR is a type of recording device used in cable Tv.DVR is an electronic device that uses digitalised format.
LaunchedIt was launched in 1997.It was launched in 1999.
SignalIt uses both analogue and digital signals.It uses only digital signals.
StorageIt can store data of 160 GB and can be expanded to 500 GB.It can store data of 2 TB and has no limitations.

What is PVR? 

PVR is a better version of Video Cassette Recorders and was invented by Anthony Wood in the year 1997, who is the founder of ReplayTV. With the coming of PVRs, it was said that it had destroyed the television industry because PVRs gave you the option to record your shows and programmes and then watch them later at your times. It can pause, rewind, stop or fast forward the recorded videos.

PVRs usually came with the cable TV set because they can only be used in televisions sets. It can use both analogue and digital signal to record audios and videos. It has the capability of time marking, non-linear editing and indexing. PVR has storage of hard disk drive within itself to store the data much like VCRs, and it encodes the video data stream that was coming as MPEG-1 or MPEG-2. 

It has 160 GB hard drive storage in which you can store 30 hours of HD videos and 80 hours of SD videos. Camcorders, which was first launched by Sony in 1983, can be said to be the earliest form of Personal Video Recorders that came very handy and easy to use. Unlike video recorders which were large and heavy to move.

What is DVR?

DVR, a more advanced form of PVR, began to rule the television industry in the year 1999 when Replay TV and TiVo launched their first DVR sets. Although TiVo became more successful commercially, selling 1 lakh units in the same year. DVR uses a digital signal to record, and it has the feature of recording videos directly from setup boxes direct to disk, Tv getaways and Portable media players. 

DVRs were being widely used by professional filmmakers and production houses for recording videos as it doesn’t have a limit like VCRs and PVRs. With the advent of DVRs, time-shifting becomes more easy and convenient to use as it can pause live TV, chasing playback, instant replay and skipping the advertisement etc. This caused a lot of hassle in media houses, and legal actions were taken to remove such features. 

DVRs also uses the format of MPEG to compress the video digitally. Recording the videos on the setup box and viewing them later has become a necessary part of modern times as it gives full control to the consumers. DVRs are incorporated into television sets, Over the air setup boxes, certain software and hardware are available which can turn PCs into DVRs. 

Main Differences Between PVR and DVR

  1. PVR stands for Personal Video Recorder. DVR stands for Digital Video Recorder.
  2. PVR is a type of recording device only used in Television sets. DVR is an electronic device that uses the digitalised format to record videos and can be used in any type of devices having massive storage.
  3. PVR was launched in 1997, and it has become obsolete nowadays. DVR was launched in 1999, and it is still popular in modern times.
  4. PVR uses both analogue and digital signals. DVR uses only digital signals.
  5. PVR can store data of 160 GB and can be expanded to 500 GB with external storage. DVR can store data of 2 TB and has no limitations, which make it so convenient.


There is very little difference between a PVR and a DVR. As both the devices are used to record and capture videos but from a different source. With the launching of DVRs in the market, there was a lot of confusion to distinguish between PVR and DVR. In terms of superiority, we can say that DVR is much better than PVR.

Although both PVR and DVR have different features, which differ according to the company, DVR came out as a replacement for PVR, which has no limitations of recording videos. That is why it was so widely used by filmmakers and production companies. PVRs have become very rare in terms of usage, and DVRs are being commonly used in modern times. Both the devices were launched by Anthony Wood, who is believed to be its founder who created havoc in the television industry.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5735499/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4588028/
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