TV Receiver and DVR Buying Guide

When you sign up for television service through a satellite provider like Direct TV or DISH Network, you have the option of renting or buying equipment from the company. Renting adds more money to your monthly bill, but buying equipment from the company may cost more than you can afford. Some companies now give satellite customers the option of buying new and refurbished TV receivers and DVRs that they can use with the services offered by those companies. You may even find products that work with your cable service and some that do not require any service at all.

Types of TV Receivers and DVRs

There is a clear difference between a DVR and a TV receiver. A TV receiver is a device that connects your television to the satellite or cable signal outside of your home. A DVR is a small box that lets you record some of the programs that you watch, rewind to watch some of your favorite scenes again and even pause those programs.

Before you begin shopping, you need to decide whether you want a device that will work with the satellite service that you already own or if you want access to channels you typically cannot watch. Many of the combination receives and DVRs available for sale will only work on networks established by specific satellite providers like DISH Network or Direct TV. If you do not have service through one of those companies, you'll only see a blue screen when you plug the device into your television.

Some of the newer combination receivers and DVRs feature a design that will work with those who own older analog televisions. New federal laws now require that networks use a digital signal, which you cannot view on an analog TV. These boxes plug into your television and the cable line to provide you with clear digital picture.

You'll also find a few free satellite services available via these boxes. Glorystar Satellite Systems makes a receiver box for those who love and enjoy religious programming. Once you install the satellite and receiver, you can view free religious stations.

Pay Attention to

Used vs. Refurbished

Buying used from an individual seller may result in you purchasing equipment that no longer works or products no longer recognized by the provider. If buying equipment for use with Direct TV or DISH Network services, but directly from the company.

Memory Space

When buying a combo box because you want to record some of your favorite shows, check out the amount of available memory space. Some provide you with enough space to save more than 100 hours of programming, and some boxes let you add extra memory with a USB stick.

Included cables

Read the description carefully to determine if it comes with all the necessary cables and cords. In addition to a cable that plugs into the wall, you will also need an HDMI or similar cord for connecting to your television and a power cord.

Required service

Make sure that you understand any required services you may need to buy after purchasing one of these boxes. Satellite boxes require service directly from the network, but other boxes may require that you have cable service or a connection to the local cable system in your home.


Look at the ports and outlets on the cable box carefully to see if it will also function as a streaming device. Some of the newer boxes feature a WiFi connection that lets you download and save apps like Hulu or Netflix to the box and ports that let you plug in streaming devices.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Direct TV

One of the biggest names in the world of satellite television is Direct TV, which explains why the company is also one of the leading producers of DVRs and TV receivers. These electronics will work with the services offered by the company, but buyers will need to list those items as leased products with the company because of the policies put in place by Direct TV. These products let you record shows and movies you want to watch later and stream live television to your TV.

DISH Network

Save money with a DVR or television receiver that you buy refurbished from DISH Network. While these boxes will perform all the same functions as a new model, you can save as much as 50% off the retail price. DISH Network ensures that all boxes are in perfect working condition before selling one to a new customer.

Glorystar Satellite Systems

Enjoy some of your favorite television shows and programs without paying a high monthly fee with receiver sets from Glorystar Satellite Systems. You receive a small satellite dish, receiver that hooks up to your television and a remote control. It then provides you access to more than 70 television stations.


Designed for those who opt for traditional cable service and those who cut the cord with cable companies, the boxes from HopCentury let you turn your television into the center of your entertainment system. The DVR lets you pause, rewind and record live television, and the receiver lets analog televisions view digital broadcasts.


Get access to more channels without paying for expensive cable or satellite services with boxes from ViewTV. Its receivers let you enjoy digital broadcasts from older sets that still require an analog signal. If you have cable or satellite, you can even view channel guides, watch with closed captioning on and create parental controls.