What is a Digital Media Recorder?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2019
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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.

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.


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.


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