Can I use any digital TV recorder to record from Freeview, Satellite or Cable?
The simple answer is ‘No’. The digital TV recorders we have tested are dedicated to a particular broadcaster.
Most are suitable for Freeview only and some are suitable for Freesat only. These can be easily bought in the high street or via the Internet. These are available as the convenient hard drive digital TV recorders (PVRs) or as hard drive + DVD combination recorders. Sky offer a choice of two (Sky+ and Sky HD) and Virgin offer their TIVO recorder. Both these are available only by subscription and are provided and installed by the broadcaster.
So a Freeview digital recorder will not record cable or satellite subscription services.
If you want to record from Sky or Virgin without the cost of the extra recorder subscription, any stand-alone DVD recorder or VCR will do the job, but without some of the convenience features found on DTRs. For example you won’t be able to watch one channel while recording another – you can only record the channel the box is tuned to.
For our recommended digital TV recorders see Easiest to use digital TV recorders
What do I need for digital recording?
If I buy a digital TV recorder can I make a copy on to DVD or VCR if I want to keep a recording?
What products can you use to record Sky? Can I record Sky on a Freeview digital TV recorder?
Can I link my DVD recorder to a digital TV?