TiVo is a popular brand of digital video recorder (DVR), and a term that is synonymous with personal video recorder (PVR). It is a consumer video device which allows users to capture television programming to internal hard disk storage for later viewing (sometimes refered to as "time shifting"). The ability Tivo has to record, pause, and rewind live television is a great piece of hardware for those who watch a lot of television.
TiVo systems function similarly to VCRs, but use non-removable hard-disk storage, and contain much more sophisticated software to record the desired programs. Not only does it record those the user specifically requests, but also other material the user is likely to be interested in. Additionally, programs being watched "live" can be paused or "rewound" to repeat a sequence just watched. Unlike tape-based recorders, a program that is still being recorded can be viewed from the beginning.
A TiVo DVR allows a user to specify which programs to record by time, by program title, and by specifying combinations of genre, actors, directors, etc. Based on a database of programs available to the user—based on his or her location and/or cable/satellite services he or she uses, and updated roughly once a day via phone or network connection to TiVo headquarters—it selects and records the desired programs. Programs may be stored until internal storage is filled, at which time the unit will dispose of older programs (unless flagged to be saved until manually deleted), to allow for new programs to be recorded.