What is a Digital Media Recorder?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Digital media is electronic media in the form of audio, video, graphics, or text. A digital media recorder is a device to capture, hold, and replay digital data, often in one specific medium or from one specific device or input. A digital media recorder may be used to preserve a performance that would otherwise be fleeting, to create a backup copy of digital data, or to transfer an acoustic performance into a digital medium.

A digital media recorder may burn media onto a CD.
A digital media recorder may burn media onto a CD.

Two of the most common uses of digital media recorders are for recording sound or audio, on the one hand, and images or video on the other hand. A digital media recorder for the human voice could be a digital voice recorder, made especially for that purpose. This might be used, for example, by a physician who wanted to record notes about an appointment with a patient that could later be entered into the patient’s record in document form. Voice recording can also be done using other devices, such as a cell phone or a digital media player, which might require a special application and an add-on microphone. Storage may take place on a hard drive or removable memory, such as a memory stick.

Smartphones can function as a digital media recorder.
Smartphones can function as a digital media recorder.

Images and video can be captured by a digital media recorder of several different types, depending on the source of the material. If actual events are being captured, then a camera or video camera may be the device of choice. This type of device performs the functions of both creating original digital media and recording them onto a storage device, such as built-in memory or a memory card.

If the data being captures is, for example, being broadcast on television, than a digital video recorder, such as a TiVo™, might be used. This device, often called a DVR, allows shows to be captured and viewed at a more convenient time. It also allows live TV to be paused, rewound, fast-forwarded, and played in slow motion. The data can also be transferred to another device, such as a portable device, for viewing. Another use of a digital media recorder is as part of a security system. In this application, a digital video recorder records video feeds from surveillance cameras.

Most digital cameras can act as a digital media recorder.
Most digital cameras can act as a digital media recorder.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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