This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which DVR is best?

In today’s hectic and fast-paced world, technology has made it possible to be in multiple places at once and greatly increased our productivity. However, missing out on a limited-time showing or live broadcast can still cause anger and frustration. There’s a simple and obvious solution in the form of DVRs or Digital Video Recorders, so you can enjoy all the thrill of watching your favorite sports team without the annoying commercials. 

With a reliable unit like the TiVo BOLT OTA DVR at your disposal, you can rest assured that you’ll never miss another show again.

What to know before you buy a DVR


Regardless of your particular need to record and watch love programming at a later date, it is very important that you buy a DVR that best suits your needs. While those who are looking to cut cables and slash spending should purchase a unit that can be easily connected to an antenna, cable TV subscribers will need to double check that their DVR comes with the ability to install a CableCARD™ that’s compatible with your service provider. Depending on the intended purpose behind purchasing a DVR, you will need to select an appropriate model to avoid disappointment.


While this is certainly a more subjective consideration, those interested in reducing their entertainment bills and reducing their overall number of electronic devices should consider buying a DVR that also functions as a streaming box. Streaming boxes include devices, like Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Roku, that consolidate your various streaming accounts into a single, easily accessible location for managing your entertainment. While you don’t need to purchase a DVR/streaming box combo if you already own such a device, those who are looking to reduce their use of technology will undoubtedly appreciate the convenience.

Content storage

Depending on the number of shows that you are interested in recording and how deep your backlog of unviewed content is, you may have to sacrifice some older episodes to make room for incoming content. If this sounds like a nightmare of lost entertainment to you, you may want to invest in a DVR that offers a significant amount of storage.

 It may also be worth considering a DVR that comes with the ability to accept external hard drives so you can preserve your content without clogging up your DVR storage. Check out the buying guide on to learn more about content management and how DVRs can assist you.

What to look for in a quality DVR

Internal and external storage space

You should take care to purchase a DVR with an appropriately sized hard drive to accommodate all your recording needs. Even if you only want to keep track of a couple programs, you may be surprised at just how quickly your hard drive can fill up before needing to make room.

That being said, you should strongly consider purchasing a DVR with at least 500 gigabytes of internal storage to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Furthermore, your unit should also come equipped with the ability to connect to external hard drives via eSATA or USB cable to facilitate all your recording needs.

4K programming

Whether you are interested in decluttering your life, picking up free broadcasts or keeping up to date on your favorite shows, there is a very good chance you would like to enjoy your programming in the highest quality available. As such, you should make sure to purchase a DVR that is capable of supporting 4K recording from any included applications and any other compatible content.

Multiple tuners

If you have ever experienced the frustration of trying to watch two separate channels at the same time without missing anything, you’ll know that it can vary from difficult to virtually impossible. To avoid this experience, your DVR can come with a different number of “tuners” that are capable of watching individual channels. In other words, the more tuners that your DVR has directly translates to how many channels you can record simultaneously. Given that the general industry standard for DVRs is a total of two tuners, you may wish to purchase a better equipped model.

How much you can expect to spend on a DVR

Depending on your desired features and any budgetary considerations, a quality DVR can cost anywhere from $90-$300.


How much programming does a 500GB hard drive actually hold?

A. Depending on the formatting of the footage, a 500GB hard drive can hold anywhere from 75 to 300 hours of content.

Can I record multiple shows at the same time with my DVR?

A. Absolutely! The more tuners your DVR has means you can record more shows. For example, having four tuners means that you can record four separate channels simultaneously.

What are the best DVRs to buy?

Top DVR 



What you need to know: An ideal system for those who want access to content in 4K Ultra HD.

What you’ll love: This unit comes with access to recording 4K Ultra HD movies from Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube, as well as TiVo VOX Remote with hands-free watching via Alexa, TiVo’s SkipMode for skipping over entire commercial breaks and access to the TiVo app for digital downloads of recorded content.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with difficult installations, repeated freezing of content and poor customer service.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top DVR for the money

AVerMedia EZRecorder

AVerMedia EZRecorder

What you need to know: An affordable option for recording footage from satellite, cable, video game consoles and more.

What you’ll love: This unit features the ability to record digital video from a wide variety of devices, as well as saving files in MP4 and JPEG to enjoy on any mobile device or PC, one click record and snapshot in 1080p30 HD video and a built-in video editor.

What you should consider: This unit does not come with any internal hard drives and you must format your own before installing it yourself.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out



What you need to know: A DVR for those who want the best of both worlds.

What you’ll love: This unit is capable of streaming and recording your favorite apps and replacing your existing cable box, provides full 4K/Ultra High-Definition compatibility and up to 75 hours of HD footage recorded.

What you should consider: Users have reported issues with drops in OTA channel signal strength as well as unwanted advertisements in recordings.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews. 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.