Comparison of PVR software packages

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This is a comparison of digital video recorder software packages.

General information[edit]

Basic general information for popular DVR/PVR software packages.

Name Windows MacOSX Linux BSD Android Prices License Latest stable release Notes
Beyond TV Yes No No No No Terminated

(See notes)

Proprietary 4.9.3 Build 6335

(October 15, 2010)
(final version)

Not compatible with DVB tuners.

While Snapstream is providing minor fixes for Beyond TV, they no longer actively updating and developing the software as they are focusing on commercial applications. Despite the lack of a new version, their fanbase (in the forums) maintains active and the program is still available.
See also: List of digital television deployments by country

CenterStage No Yes No No No Free and open-source software GPL 0.6.2

(August 20, 2007)
(final version)

Development ceased December 2008
DVB Dream Yes No No No No $49 Proprietary 2.7.2

(July 1, 2015)

Focused on DVB and live TV
DVBViewer Yes No No No No €15 Proprietary
EmbyTV Yes ? ? Free and open-source software 3.0 Compatible with SiliconDust HD Homerun Tuners.[1]
EyeTV No Yes No No No Bundled Proprietary 3.6.1 Bundled for no extra charge with all Elgato USB tuners, but also sold separately for use with other tuners.
Hauppauge WinTV Yes No No No No Bundled Proprietary WinTV8, CD4.1

(current Jun 15)

Bundled for no extra charge, only works with Hauppauge TV cards and peripherals.
InterVideo WinDVR Yes No No No No Discontinued Proprietary
(final version)
Discontinued. Previously Bundled for no extra charge with various TV tuner devices.
JRiver Media Center Yes Yes Yes No No $49.98 Proprietary 17.0.50

(December 2011)

DirectShow video player, audio, images, 10 foot GUI, Remote control, DLNA
Kodi (formerly XBMC) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Free and open-source software GPL 15.0 "Isengard"

(July 21, 2015)[2]

High quality cross-platform free and open source software PVR frontend application, able to watch/record live TV, music, photos and has one of the most expansive collection of plugins/addons, enabling the system to do anything from browsing the web or downloading movies, to dimming the lights in the sitting room.
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter Yes No No No No MediaPhoenix - Unreleased
ShowShifter - Discontinued (Was £30)
Proprietary 3.1


(final version)

Supports some older TechnoTrend/Hauppauge boxes which are not BDA compliant, such as the Dec 2000-t/3000-s and first generation Nova-t USB boxes, which are unsupported by other PVR software.
MediaPortal Yes No No No No Free and open-source software GPL MP1 1.12.0

(July 6, 2015)[3]

MP2 Summer '15
(July 10, 2015)[3]

built on the .NET 2.0 Framework
MythTV Limited[1] Yes Yes Yes No Free and open-source software GPL 0.27.5

(June 16, 2015)

NextPVR Yes No No No No Freeware Proprietary 3.4.8

(April 25, 2015)

SageTV Yes[2] Yes Yes No No Free and open-source software

(acquired by Google) Previously was proprietary and had been $79.95 software or $29.95 per client/mediaMVP client.

GPL 7.1


(final version)

Java based. SageTV was purchased by Google on June 20, 2011 and its online store was shut. On 10 August 2015, it was announced by Narflex that SageTV officially became Open Source.[4]
Tvtime No No Yes No No Free and open-source software GPL 1.0.2

(November 10, 2005)

High quality television application for use with video capture cards on Linux systems. tvtime processes the input from a capture card and displays it on a computer monitor or projector
Video Disk Recorder (VDR) No No Yes Yes No Free and open-source software GPL 2.2.0

(February 19, 2015)

TV Done Right, VDR can use one to eight video cards and support DVB-S, DVB-C and DVB-T. Record and read any DVB flux with a lot of plugins.
Windows Media Center Yes No No No No
  • Bundled for no extra charge prior to Windows 8
  • US$100: Windows 8 and 8.1 (Pro Pack retail boxes)
  • US$10: Windows 8 Pro and 8.1 Pro (Media Center Pack download)
Proprietary 6.3.9600.16384 (© 2013)


(final version)

Included in Windows XP MCE 2005, Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions, Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate, and some Windows 8 preview/developer editions. Not included in Windows 8, 8 Pro, 8.1 or 8.1 Pro. Not available for Windows RT or Windows 10.[5]
VBox Home TV Gateway VBox@TV Yes Yes[3] Yes No No Bundled Proprietary 2.46

(November 11, 2014)

Bundled for no extra charge with VBox Home TV Gateway - Network TV Tuner, Manage and schedule recordings from any web browser, local or over the internet

^ Porting MythTV to Windows is under development.[4]
^ There is also a Windows Home Server Edition
^ Manage and schedule recordings

Digital/Personal Video Recorder (DVR/PVR) features[edit]

Information about what common and prominent DVR features are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons unless stated otherwise).

DVR Subscription free electronic program guide (EPG) power management Multiple TV tuner cards support CableCARD support CAM support ATSC tuner support Automated commercial skipping Teletext Schedule timed recordings Personalized intelligent recording and scheduling[f 1] DRM support DVB (T/T2, S/S2, C) tuner support Smartphone/Tablet playback Smartphone/Tablet syncing Smartphone/Tablet remote control
Beyond TV Yes Yes[f 2] Yes No ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No ? ? ?
CenterStage No Unknown No No ? Unknown No Unknown No Unknown No ? ? ? ?
EyeTV DVB;[f 3] other guide info varies by region[f 4] Yes Yes No ? Yes External add-on Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ?
WinTV Yes Yes Yes Limited[f 5] ? Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes ? ?
Kodi (formerly XBMC) Yes Yes External add-on External add-on External add-on External add-on Yes External add-on Yes External add-on External add-on External add-on Using Plugin Using Plugin Using Apps
NextPVR DVB/XMLTV[f 6] Unknown Yes No ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Yes ? ? ?
MediaPortal DVB[f 3]/XMLTV[f 8] Yes Yes Partial[f 9] Supported on some specific cards Yes Using Plugin Yes Yes Yes Partial support Yes Yes[f 10] ? Yes[f 10]
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter DVB[f 3] Unknown Yes No ? Unknown No No Yes Yes Unknown Yes No No No
MythTV DVB;[f 3] other services region dependent[f 11] Yes Yes Limited[f 12] Yes[f 13] Yes Yes Yes Yes Requires external add-on[f 14] No Yes[f 15] Yes[f 16] No Yes[f 16]
SageTV Yes Yes Yes Partial Using Plugin[f 17] ? Yes Using Plugin[f 18] No Yes Yes No ? ? ? ?
Video Disk Recorder Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Using Plugin Yes Using Plugin No Yes Using Plugin No Using Plugin
Windows Media Center Yes Yes Yes[f 19] Yes[f 20] ? Yes External add-on[f 21] Yes Yes Yes[f 22] Yes; also respects the "do not record" flag, not supported by US courts.[citation needed] Supports DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S/S2; does not support DVB-C[f 23] Yes Yes Yes
VBox@TV DVB Guide info varies by broadcaster and TV service provider No Yes No Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes
  1. ^ A system similar to TiVo's which enables the DVR/PVR application to record programs based on past viewing habits and interests.
  2. ^ To take advantage of operating system power management with Beyond TV, the main user interface must be closed.
  3. ^ a b c d Supports over-the-air EPG when using cards/boxes which support this functionality, and in areas where such a service is available. For example, over-the-air 7-day programme data is available in the UK for DVB-T services (Freeview, TopUp TV etc; DVB-T2 listings for Freeview HD are encrypted) and Freesat (DVB-S/S2).[f 7]
  4. ^ Elgato's contract with TitanTV for the US market expired in 2010. When it expired, TV Guide became the sole EPG provider for EyeTV in the United States. There, one year of TV Guide EPG service costs $19.95.[6][7]
  5. ^ Support is limited to content broadcast as 'copy freely' (DRM Free)
  6. ^ No native subscription free EPG built in, but EPG data available using third party services. With analog devices XMLTV is the only choice, with digital devices the simpliest choice is OTA, but after a bit of configuration an XMLTV source is likely to offer more detailed data although won't be updated as often and requires an internet connection.
  7. ^ Unlike the UK DVB-T EPG, the Freesat EPG uses its own channel and thus must be specifically set up in order to be used. Consequently support for DVB EPG may be insufficient to access it.
  8. ^ Supports XMLTV programme data which is provided by various sources for various costs depending on territory. For example, the (supported) 14-day Radio Times feed for the UK is free of charge.
  9. ^ Version 1.5.0 or higher required - only 'Copy Freely' support - No Encrypted 'Copy Once' support[8]
  10. ^ a b via aMPdroid app; requires WifiRemote and MpExtended plugins[9]
  11. ^ Subscription-free EPG is available in areas where program listings data is freely available without violating copyright laws or data owners' Terms of Service. In North America, Schedules Direct provides legally-licensed EPG data for a nominal fee of $25 per year.[10]
  12. ^ Support is limited to content broadcast as 'copy freely' (DRM Free)
  13. ^ Supports hardware-based CAMs supported by LinuxTV framework.
  14. ^ External third-party plug-in required, e.g. "tvwish", "MythMiner"; not supported.
  15. ^ Supports any tuner card supported by LinuxTV framework.
  16. ^ a b The official MythTV plugin MythWeb allows users to browse the programme guide, schedule recordings, manage media and playback video via a Flash-based player, which works on Android phones and tablets.[11]
  17. ^ Support is limited to content broadcast as 'copy freely' (DRM Free) - Smartphone and tablet control of the full range of Windows Media Center features is possible on iOS and Android.[12]
  18. ^ Supported by 3rd party plugins: ComSkip and ShowAnalyzer
  19. ^ Windows Media Center supports two NTSC (Analog) tuners and two ATSC (Digital) tuners out of the box. Using additional tuners requires registry modifications. Windows 7 Media Center supports up to 4 tuners of each type out of the box, DVB-T, DVB-S, NTSC/PAL.
  20. ^ Windows Media Center supports CableCard when used on CableLabs certified OEM Hardware.[13] Windows 7 Media Center supports CableCard on any hardware that passes the Digital Cable Advisor tool in MCE.[14]
  21. ^ Requires an external plug-in such as "DVRMSToolbox", "Lifextender" or "MCEBuddy"; not supported by Microsoft.
  22. ^ Vista Media Center can do partial intelligent recordings based on keywords, actor(s) name(s), or genre.
  23. ^ DVB-C is achievable using certain cards that are detected as DVB-T tuners. And also using addons such as DVBLink

Video format support[edit]

Information about what video codecs are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons) in the PVRs.

DVR MPEG-1 MPEG-2 MPEG-4 ASP (MPEG-4 Part 2), i.e. DivX, XviD H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) HEVC (H.265) VP8 VP9 WMV AVI ASF QuickTime MP4 RealVideo MKV
Beyond TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Yes Unknown No No No Unknown
EyeTV Yes Yes Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown
WinTV Unknown Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown
GB-PVR Unknown Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown
Kodi (formerly XBMC) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MediaPortal Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Yes Yes No[v 1] Yes No[v 1] Unknown
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
MythTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Yes Unknown Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown
SageTV Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown
Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown No Unknown Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown
Windows Media Center Yes Yes Yes Yes[v 1][v 2] Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Yes Yes Yes[v 1][v 2] Yes[v 1][v 2] No[v 1] Unknown
VBox@TV Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
  1. ^ a b c d e f Possible with third-party software.
  2. ^ a b c Windows 7 only

Information about what video codecs are implemented natively (without third-party add-ons) in the PVRs.

Network support[edit]

Each features is in context of computer-to-computer interaction. All features must be available after the default install otherwise the feature needs a footnote.

DVR Tuner Sharing Hard Disk Pooling Shared Media Database Home Automation Media Extenders Placeshifting/Spaceshifting Two-way Remote Control Second Screen
Beyond TV Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Unknown
EyeTV Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown
GB-PVR Yes Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Kodi (formerly XBMC) Yes Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Unknown Yes3 Unknown
MediaPortal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes4 Unknown
MediaPhoenix/ShowShifter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
MythTV Yes Yes Yes Yes3 Yes Yes Yes Unknown
SageTV Yes Yes Unknown Unknown Yes Yes Unknown Unknown
Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Unknown
Windows Media Center Yes6 Yes7 Yes Yes2 Yes Yes5 Yes2 Unknown
VBox@TV Yes Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown Yes Yes Unknown

1 Yes with registry change
2 Yes with retail third-party plugin
3 Yes with free supported third-party plugin
4 Yes with free unsupported third-party plugin
5 Yes with free third-party software Web Guide 4
6 Yes with add-on software called DVBLink Server
7 Yes with using symlinks, or just adding folders in settings

TV tuner hardware[edit]

Main article: TV tuner card


TV gateway network tuner TV servers
DVRs require TV tuner cards to receive signals. Many DVRs, as seen above, can use multiple tuners.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]