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Digital Video Recorder (DVR) Technology

There are more solid state, digital video recorders (also known as DVRs and PVRs) being made now that flash memory is becoming cheaper. Although hard disk drives will be the cheapest form of mass storage for some time to come, flash memory is now an affordable way to record audio and video files. The big advantage for extreme sports enthusiasts is that flash memory cannot be damaged by shock and vibration in the same way hard disk-based recorders can.

However, the difference in build quality, picture and audio quality and reliability between these new DVRs appearing on the market can be enormous. What looks like a bargain, can turn out to be a waste of money once the result is viewed on even a reasonable size TV or PC monitor.

Look at the specification carefully before making a decision. The recording resolution and frame rate are the biggest factors when it comes to overall picture quality. High Definition (HD) is still in it's infancy, so we will be looking only at Standard Definition (SD) products here.

The maximum resolution and frame rate possible for SD (non widescreen) is 720 x 576 at 25fps for PAL (The European TV Standard) and 720 x 480 at 30fps for NTSC (The North American standard). Full resolution is also known as D1 resolution.

There are numerous DVRs being sold which cannot record at full D1 resolution and at the full frame rate. This will make the picture look 'blocky' or 'jerky' when played back. There are also several methods of compression which can be applied during the recording to reduce the filesize and hence the amount of storage needed for a given recording time. Compression methods include MPEG2, MPEG4 and ASF. Within these standards, there are even more choices a manufacture can make which affects picture quality. Some recorders use cheap components inside which can affect picture quality and colour rendition.

Ultimately, the only sure way to find out if a recorder is good enough for your purpose is to get hold of a sample of original video to view on your chosen device (TV, PC, PDA etc.).

The Drivedata FB2 and DR1recorders are probably the highest quality DVRs available today and are certainly the smallest and lightest D1 recorders capable of true DVD/Broadcast quality results.

Drivedata is committed to selling only high quality, ultra-reliable products, so make sure you look carefully at the specifications and sample recordings before making a buying decision.

Finally, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that all video equipment conforms to the correct standards. Any electrical equipment sold in the EU should be CE certified. If sold in the U.S. it should be FCC certified. Non-CE/FCC approved equipment could interfere with other electronic systems in its vicinity. In a vehicle, this could cause problems with the engine/braking control systems and there have been cases where a non-CE approved DVR has caused problems of this kind.

All Drivedata products are CE/FCC certified. In addition, we are committed to ensure that all new products are built using lead-free components and assembly procedures and conform to the RoHS directives.

Read more about television standards here

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