Which one is better: Video On Demand or the DVR? This depends primarily on one's lifestyle and what level of service one wants.
DVRs, which stands for Digital Video Recorders, are often set top boxes (also known as converter boxes or the name brand TiVo) that allow one to record their favorite programs from their cable or satellite subscription television service.
Video On Demand is typically a streaming service providing thousands of programs for immediate access to the subscriber. Many On Demand programs are free while some can cost anywhere from a few dollars for hit movies to $49.95 and more for some concerts and sports programs.
Both On Demand and DVRs essentially let you access the programs you want when you want, so they offer a great convenience which is desirable to most consumers. One can have both services at the same time, meaning one can watch Video On Demand (VOD) on their DVR.
Pros and Cons of DVRs
Digital Video Recorders are devices that allow one to record any of their favorite programs. Do you love soap operas but work during the afternoon when they air? Record them! Do you like two shows airing at the same time? Record one and watch one, or record them both simultaneously. Most DVRs allow two programs to record at once. Easy to use with most systems, simply set the device to record whatever movies, televisions series, concerts, or any other program you'd like to view. Watch these programs over and over from your DVR once they are recorded.
With a DVR you can pause, rewind, and fast forward your saved programs. Pause your recorded movie in order to use the rest room, or fast forward through the commercials if you'd like!
Some companies charge a hefty rental price to lease a DVR each month while others offer them at bargain prices or even free for the first few months or even free for the first year or two... Or three!
I've always found my DVR to have ample memory, but if you are a person who loves to record a great many programs and not delete them after you watch them, you might soon run out of space on the DVR and need to remove some of your saved programs. Some companies allow consumers to purchase extra space via internet storage or by other means.
One major downside to a DVR is that if your box malfunctions (or "crashes") you might lose your saved programs if the cable or satellite company cannot copy them from one device to the next or remove the memory card which stores your saved programs.
Pros and Cons of Video On Demand
Video On Demand is a great technological breakthrough where the subscriber can instantly view literally thousands of free programs with the click of a button on the remote control. One can watch any number of free movies, television series, concerts, educational programs, and more. One can also purchase new releases for movies and special programs through On Demand. Some movies are available On Demand as the same day they are released in theaters or for rental.
One of the downfalls for Video On Demand is that sometimes network shows are not immediately available for viewing, which means if you missed that new episode of your favorite tv show last night, you might have to wait a few days before it's made available On Demand. If you had recorded the program, you can watch it immediately or whenever you choose. Some programs featured on VOD are only available for a limited amount of time.
Also, some programs do not allow fast forwarding through commercials when one watches them On Demand.
Additional Information: DVRs and VOD
While both DVRs and VOD create convenience and easy ways to view all of one's favorite programs, many people are concerned about privacy issues. With both systems, one's viewing habits could potentially be monitored and data collected for whatever purposes.
DVRs are also sometimes called PVRs (Personal Video Recorders). Check with your cable or satellite company for more information, including pricing.
personal experience working at a cable company
personal use of DVRs and On Demand
Wikipedia: Digital Video Recorders
Wikipedia: Video On Demand