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Build your own DVR

Build your own DVR

Ever since TiVo came around, I was eager to jump on the time shifting bandwagon. After all, nothing makes a productivity junkie happier than turning an hour-long show into forty minutes. But for all its loyal fan base, TiVo never seemed like the right fit for me.
For my money, time, and, let’s be honest, the gratification of a solid DIY project, I’m a big proponent of building your own digital video recorder (DVR). TiVo is pretty good at what TiVo does, but imagine a world where you can also tweak your TiVo to do anything you can do with any other computer.

With all the potential controversy and uncertainty surrounding TiVo firmware upgrades, the time to build your own DVR has never been better. With your own DVR, you can get all the benefits of a TiVo and more without the recurring cost for subscription. This week, I’m going to show you how simple it is to turn your computer into a DVR. After that, I’ll show you a few ways that I use my DVR to take it beyond TiVo.


Whether you’re using your current PC, repurposing an old one, or going all out on a dedicated DVR to put under your TV, you can get so much more out of your own DVR than you could ever get out of a TiVo.

NOTE: Keep in mind that the setup I used here is far from the only way to go. After struggling for a while with how to put together an article that would work for everyone, I decided that I would just go ahead and describe how I do things. The main purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to the world of DIY DVRs, hopefully planting the seed for the possibility of a world beyond TiVo. On the other hand, if you do choose to take a route similar to the route I’ve chosen, this should provide you with a good starting point.

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