Can a DVR record high definition programming?

Q: Please settle an argument my friend and I are having. He says that a DVR cannot record high definition programming and I say it can. Who’s right?

A: As much as I’d like to award bragging rights to just one of you, I have to be honest and say that you are both right.

A lot of people get confused because DVR, which stands for digital video recorder, has the word digital in it and they have been told that high definition television is broadcast digitally. So naturally you would think that a digital recorder could record any digital signal.

Although from a technical standpoint, your DVR should really be able to record whatever signal it receives, it really comes down to whether or not the signal your DVR receives can be decoded properly for your television.

In other words, a DVR that only knows how to decode standard definition programming will claim it can only record standard definition programming. Conversely, a DVR that knows how to decode high definition programming will claim it can record high definition programming.

So your friend is right in that a standard DVR cannot record high definition programming. But you are right in that a high definition DVR can record high definition programming.

Keep in mind that high definition programming will take up a much greater amount of space on your DVR’s hard drive than standard definition programming. For example, a DVR with an 80 GB hard drive may be able to store up to 80 hours of standard definition programming, but only 10 hours of high definition programming.

This post was originally broadcast Friday, September 21, 2007 on Tech Talk with Noobie, a weekly radio show on WCBK 102.3 FM in Martinsville, Indiana. Tech Talk with Noobie airs every Friday between 11:30 a.m. and noon. If you have a question you would like Noobie to answer on the air, simply e-mail your question to [email protected].