How To Build A DVR

Learning how to build a DVR can make a huge difference in your home theater. Learning how to build a DVR can also be great for your living room or entertainment room and even the bedroom. There are many reasons to learn how to build a DVR instead of buying one. Building a DVR will enable you to customize it to your needs, everything from hard drive space to networking capabilities. Building a DVR will make a huge difference in your television viewing experience.

  1. Select a computer model. Select a computer to use as a base for a DVR. Purchasing a mini system can be a good option. Laptops and old PC's will also work. Many users find purchasing a mini system is the best alternative to save space when building a DVR. Choose a computer to make into a DVR that is fairly quiet.
  2. Install necessary upgrades. Consider installing necessary upgrades to your computer model. These upgrades may include a large hard drive (500 GB or more). Other upgrades include a TV tuner card which will allow you to connect the machine to your TV feed. Consider purchasing a remote control for your PC as well, typically USB based.
  3. Connect the system. Connect the computer system to act as a DVR to your television with an HDMI cable if possible. If there is no HDMI output on the computer consider using a standard A/V cable or a scan converter. Purchase an HDMI video card for the computer you wish to turn into a DVR for best results.
  4. Install software. Install DVR software on the computer system. Consider using Windows Media Center which is included with the Home Premium version of Windows 7. Consider alternative third-party software which you can search for.
  5. Configure the software. Configure the software on the computer you wish to make into a DVR. Configure the software for your location, allowing it to download the proper guide information.


  • When building a DVR it is best to have a computer with multiple hard drives allowing for a total space of 500 GB or more.
  • Building a DVR is possible with both Windows and Linux. Many DVR software solutions are Linux based. 
  • Remote control is key to a DVR as it will enable you to use it comfortable from the couch. Remote control kits typically consist of a USB receiver and a remote control.
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