Digital Video Recorder(DVR): Meaning, Usage, Comparison

Melissa Lee updated on Dec 13, 2023 | Home > Glossary and Terms

What Does a Digital Video Recorder Do?

A Digital Video Recorder, or a DVR, is an electronic device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card, SSD, or other storage device.

It exists in various formats. Set-top boxes with direct-to-disk recording, portable media players, TV gateways with recording capability, and digital camcorders can all be seen as DVRs. Also, personal computers can be used as DVRs when they are connected to video capture devices. In such cases, the screen recording software is an integral part of the DVR.

With a DVR, you can basically record and play H.264, MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-2 .mpg, MPEG-2 .TS, VOB, and ISO images video. Moreover, they can display images in JPEG and PNG format and play music files in MP3 and OGG format.


What are the Different Types of Digital Video Recorders?

There are five main types of DVRs. They are:

Integrated television sets

This kind of DVR is integrated into TVs. It employs a single power cable and has no interconnected ports (e.g., HDMI).

VESA compatibility

VESA-compatible DVRs are designed to attach to the VESA mounting holes (100×100 mm) on the back of an LCD TV so that the TV and DVR can be combined into an integrated unit.

Set-top boxes

This type of DVR records broadcast television programs. Some of it allows subscribers to attach their own network-attached storage (NAS) hard drives or solid-state or flash memory to record video, audio, and photos.


This type of DVR contains both software and hardware that can turn personal computers running Windows OS, Linux OS, and macOS systems into DVRs. It is mostly used to record videos on a PC.


An embeddable DVR is designed to be integrated into more complex systems. It is typically supplied as a compact and bare circuit board to be embedded as a subsystem component within larger equipment. The DVR circuitry usually resides inside the equipment.

Embeddable DVR

DVR v.s. NVR

NVR is also called Network Video Recorder. Both NVRs and DVRs record and save video data transmitted from security cameras in a common multimedia file format. However, they differ in many ways. Let's check the detailed comparison information in the table below:

  🗂️DVR 📚NVR
Video Data Source Analog cameras IP (internet protocol) cameras
Cable Used Coaxial cables Ethernet cable or WiFi
Functions Process raw video data Encode and process data
Storage On-premise storage On-premise storage and cloud-based servers
Price Cheaper than NVR More expensive than DVR

The Bottom Line

After reading the whole article, we believe you have got the information you want. We give you the introduction, types, usage of DVR, and the comparison between DVR and NVR. If you find this post helpful, please share it with more people!


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Updated by Melissa Lee

Melissa is a sophisticated editor for EaseUS in tech blog writing. She is proficient in writing articles related to screen recording, video editing, and PDF file conversion. Also, she's starting to write blogs about data recovery, disk partitioning, data backup, etc.

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