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Tired of dragging out your VCR whenever you have to record something from TV? Now there is a better way.

When the VCR gave way to the vastly superior DVD player, nobody complained until they finally had to record something from TV. Yes, DVDs sound, look, and play better than videotape (and you don’t have to rewind them), but I hated having to drag my VCR out of mothballs every time I want to save something on TV.

Luckily for me (and every person equally as lazy) DishNetwork has solved the problem with its DishPVR 921. I can record shows with the push of button, without a second thought about buying or rewinding tapes. It even records in HD, to boot.

DishNetwork’s digital video recorder (recently reduced to $549 MSRP) is actually built right into the satellite receiver, so there’s no separate device to buy or install. It’s a bit bulky and heavy, but it’s still preferable to fitting two different devices into your entertainment system. My main complaint is that it makes quite a bit of noise, due to the fans needed to keep it cool. It’s not loud enough to distract you from what you’re watching, but when your TV is off, it’s hard to miss the loud humming. The noise doesn’t bother me very much, but one of my housemates saw it as a definite drawback.

The size and sound of the device are hardly deal-breakers considering the incredible ease of use. You simply open up the program guide, choose whichever program you want to record, and then press a button. You can record the program you picked once or every time it comes on, and start the recording early or end it late. Also, the built-in hard drive allows you to save about 200 hours’ worth of regular TV, or about 30 hours of high-definition TV. No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of “Alf” reruns.

I did have one or two occasions where the device failed to record a program correctly, either stopping midway through or not recording anything at all. But that was maybe twice out of about 100 or more recordings, and since I was never able to duplicate the problems on my own, it’s hard to say what caused them. But other than that, I can’t recommend this device highly enough.

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