- One thing worth noting is that most DVR’s with digital tuners that claim to offer HD output, up to 1080p, HDMI, etc. capability actually have standard definition digital TV tuners with HD upscaling. On the other hand, standard definition digital tuners are not affected by the February analogue cut off, as the cut-off does not put an end to standard definition digital broadcasts.
DVR’s that have built-in HD tuners are much more expensive than those with standard definition digital tuners. As you are upgrading from a VCR, it’s worth thinking about whether you really want to go straight to recording HD, especially if you currently get just a few HD channels and that the upcoming February analogue cut-off time has been more of a concern than the analogue broadcasts, never mind the VHS picture quality. It’s also worth noting that there’s a substantial difference in the picture quality between recording on VHS and recording on DVR, even from a standard definition digital TV channel.
For when the time comes that most channels in your area are in HD, DVRs with HD tuners would have come down a lot in price and I’m sure you’ll find another room to use the original DVR in.
Generally as long as the DVR says it has a HDD (e.g. DVD+HDD recorder), it will record to DVR. For DVD+HDD recorders, typically give the option of recording to DVD or HDD.
The majority of DVRs (excluding Satellite DVRs) have video inputs for recording from external source. If you have a DV camcorder with iLINK or IEEE 1394 (Firewire) connectivity, make sure the DVR has this if you are looking to get the best transfer quality.
While many DVRs have USB connectivity, some provide it to watch video from USB flash drives, HDDs, etc., while others allow the exporting of recordings to USB. Note that very few DVRs allow recordings to be exported to USB drives and some that do will also encrypt the recordings (e.g. TiVo DVRs) such that they cannot be watched on another device or PC. On the other hand, the majority of HDD+DVD recorders allow recordings to be transferred from HDD to DVD at high speed.