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USB recording: connect the hard drive to the television - and record!

Your favorite show is on again - and you have an important appointment at airtime of all times. Never mind - just record the episode. You don't need a separate recording device to record TV shows these days. Many current TV models have a recording function - the so-called USB recording. You connect a USB stick or hard drive to the TV and you can record. UPDATED explains exactly how USB recording works!

Connecting a hard drive: you need to know that

In principle, you don't need much for USB recording: a television and a USB storage medium are sufficient. Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider here so that the project succeeds - and your favorite show is reliably recorded.

Which TV sets are capable of USB recording?

Basically, you need a television that supports USB recording - this is called PVR-compatible (“Personal Video Recorder”). A whole range of televisions can do this, but by no means all models.

Devices from the lower price segment in particular are often not able to accommodate. So first make sure that your existing TV supports this function. A look at the manual your device provides reliable information about its functions.

Extra socket for recordings: what is the name of the interface?

Some manufacturers mark one of the USB ports on the television with HDD. This is the port designated for recording. Other names are REC, Recording and PVR. Most of the time, recording only works via this interface.

USB recording with a memory stick: yes or no?

Next point: the recording medium. The prospect is of course tempting, just take one Plug the USB stick into the corresponding port and record. Theoretically, this also works, but in practice you will quickly reach your limits due to the rather low storage capacity. The stick should have at least 64 gigabytes (GB), 128 or 256 GB are better.

For orientation: A 90-minute film in HD requires between six and ten GB of storage space, depending on the broadcaster, transmission path and data rate.

Please also note: Compatibility problems can arise with USB recording on a stick - not every television records on every stick. That depends, for example, on the Write and read speeds of the USB stick together. If these are too low, the television will refuse to record.

Guide values ​​are at least 20 megabits per second (Mbit / s) for the read speed and at least 34 Mbit / s for the write speed. The stick must also have at least the Standard USB 2.0 dominate.

Online TV recorder: This is how it works via the app and offline

Which hard drive is the right choice for USB recording?

External hard drives are best for USB recording, both 2.5 ”and 3.5”. 3.5 ‑ inch disks usually cost a little less, but are bulky and need their own power supply. 2.5-inch data carriers usually get their power via the USB connection - this saves a socket outlet. However, problems with the power supply can occur with these memories. In this case you should connect the hard drive to the HDD or similarly labeled port, if available.

The silver bullet are the so-called SSD hard drives ("Solid State Drive"): Although they are more expensive than conventional storage media, they work faster and use less power.

Not only data sets can be stored on portable hard drives, but also feature films and entire series series.

Attention: TV formats hard disk

Before connecting the hard drive to the TV, make sure that the memory does not contain any important files. Most televisions format the storage medium in its own format and encrypt the data it contains so that it can only be played back on the television in question - and not on the PC or any other device. Unfortunately, this means that important documents or beautiful holiday photos are lost.

Important difference: twin tuner and dual tuner

Before you start recording, consider the following: As a rule, you cannot record a program and watch another at the same time. Many TV sets only receive a digital signal and can therefore only record this signal.

Help is provided by TV models that have a so-called Twin or double tuner dispose of. Here you can switch back and forth between the two receivers and record a program with the first tuner while you watch another program with the second tuner.

But be careful: Twin tuners are not to be confused with dual tuners. Dual tuners can receive television signals in several ways (for example, cable and aerial television), but they can only play back one signal.

Record programs: this is how USB recording works

Once all the preparations have been made, things can get down to business. Fortunately, the USB recording process itself is uncomplicated: If the television supports USB recording, it also has a corresponding menu that guides you through the necessary steps.

To record a current program, press the RECButton on the TV remote control - and recording begins.

If you want to program recordings, the EPG ("Electronic Program Guide") integrated in the television is ideal. With the Arrow keys on the remote control navigate to the desired program in the list and press REC - done! The recording will then start at the selected time.

Determine the start and end time of the recording

If you want to be on the safe side, you can move the end of the recording backwards manually. Some Saturday evening shows make it across the finish line much later than planned (and stated in the EPG). To prevent the crime story you've recorded from ending before the killer is determined, enter a later end time. This is often done via the EPG itself. Some devices allow you to enter time buffers by default. If not, you have to open the programming again and set the new times.

By the way: If two programmed recordings overlap, the earlier recording usually has priority.

Time-shifted television: no problem thanks to USB recording

One of the greatest advantages of digital USB recording is the time-shifted television, also called timeshift. The phone rings, you have to go to the refrigerator - no problem: one press of the pause button on the remote control and the picture freezes. The current program is recorded on the connected hard drive.

When you return, press the play button - and playback continues exactly where you paused.

Attention: With many TV sets, the timeshift function is limited to a maximum of 90 minutes.

Restrictions on USB recording

As practical as USB recording is now, there is one major drawback: The broadcasters decide what can be recorded. You can easily record the public channels - i.e. ARD, ZDF, the third parties, Arte, etc. The situation is different for the private sector (ProSiebenSat.1 Media, RTL Group, etc.).

In standard definition (SD), recording works in most cases, whether the reception is via antenna, cable or satellite. Programs in high definition (HD) are often used by private broadcasters Subject to admission restrictions. Some programs cannot be recorded at all, others can be recorded but not fast-forwarded, and still others can only be played for a certain period of time. The only thing that helps is: try it out.

By the way: With payment platforms such as Sky and Netflix, the broadcasters prevent recording on devices other than the receivers they provide.

Watch Sky without a receiver - that's how it works!

Hard disk receivers as an alternative to USB recording?

If USB recording is not possible with you, it is a good idea Hard disk receivers as an alternative on: These devices are connected to the television, receive TV programs and record them on a built-in hard drive.

There are models for all types of reception - cable, satellite or antenna. Most have multiple tuners, so you can easily watch one station and record another (sometimes multiple) station. Storage sizes of one to two terabytes (TB) are now not uncommon. Various models already master the HD successor standard 4K.

Some providers such as Vodafone and Telekom provide you with such a hard drive receiver for a monthly rental fee available. Even with a Sky subscription, a Sky hard drive receiver is usually included.

USB recording: Inexpensive, but with restrictions

USB recording enables you to record TV programs relatively easily and inexpensively. However, your television set has to meet certain technical requirements, and private broadcasters in particular repeatedly set hurdles to enjoy viewing. In some cases it is therefore worthwhile to buy a hard drive receiver. In all other cases, thanks to USB recording, you'll never miss your favorite show or the exciting weekly thriller again.

Disclaimer OTTO (GmbH & Co KG) assumes no liability for the correctness, topicality, completeness, effectiveness and harmlessness of the information and recommendations made available on It is expressly pointed out that the official manufacturer's specifications are to be observed with priority over all other information and recommendations and only these can guarantee a safe and proper use of the respective purchase items.

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