TiVo vs. DVR: Which is better?

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Difference between TiVo and DVR

For most people, DVR is a blanket term that covers all devices whether or not they carry the TiVo brand. While TiVos are indeed one type of DVR, there are a number of differences between the two terms that warrant making a clear distinction between both of them. This comparison aims to show the most telling differences and possibly help you make a choice between one or the other.



All DVRs–TiVo included–offer users the ability to record their favorite TV shows for later viewing at their convenience. Users also have the option to pause, rewind and fast forward the recorded shows while they are being played back. These features are available with virtually any model DVR, and many people actually refer to generic DVRs as a TiVo regardless of brand, much to the consternation of the hardcore TiVo set.


Where TiVo edges away from the competition is in the option to allow users to upgrade to an HD DVR, which gives them the ability to record television shows in High Definition. This feature is also available in a few non-TiVo brand DVRs.

One of the notable disadvantages of a DVR is that the unit itself will have to be returned to the provider if the owner opts to move to another home. This of course means the loss of any TV programs that have already been recorded. With a TiVo on the other hand, you won't have to worry about losing your recorded shows, since you can take the unit with you when you move to another home or office.


Refurbished TiVo models in 2010 usually command a price tag of about $80, and you could expect to pay up to $600 for a brand new model. If you rent a DVR from your TV service, expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $20 a month. The disadvantage of a TiVo on the other hand, is that you will have to purchase the service separately from the unit at a cost of about $12.95 a month, depending on the terms of the contract. Satellite TV providers generally do not charge extra for DVR services.



  • The original digital video recorders brand
  • Commonly used to refer to DVRs made by other manufacturers
  • Allows users to record TV shows after they have aired for later viewing
  • Several TiVos can be connected in a network
  • Some models can be programmed over the Internet
  • Can be set to record shows that you may possibly like, based on your previous choices
  • Costs from $80 (refurbished) to $600 (brand new)


  • Allows you to record your favorite shows for later viewing
  • Allows you to pause, rewind and fast forward television shows
  • Usually rented from cable or satellite TV providers
  • Costs about $10 to $20 a month
  • Usually does not involve a service fee when rented from cable or satellite TV operators

Which recording medium is a better value?
  • TiVo
  • DVR

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • Olga wrote on June 2010

Brand new DVR price can be not so high - they start from $200, of cause, the higher the quality the higher the price, but still - 640x480 in realtime for some purposes is enough

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