Can You Record on a Smart TV?

You want to record a live show to watch later, but you’re not sure if your TV can record, and if it can, how to get it to work. Maybe you noticed your remote has a recording button but it doesn’t do anything when you press it.

In this article, I’ll explore some ways to record on a smart TV, so you’ll be able to record shows and programmes to watch when you have time. I was struggling with the same problem, and what I discovered about recording on smart TVs might help you.

Can You Record on a Smart TV?

It’s possible to record on a smart TV by using the TV’s built-in PVR (Personal Video Recorder) storage or connecting an external device, such as; USB storage, setup box, and even some media streaming boxes can record live TV.

Smart TVs with Built-in PVR:

While there are smart TVs with built-in recording functions on the market, that you can use to record TV, they are prone to issues. Do note that PVR and DVR are the same. Generally, PVR is used for permanent storage, while DVR is temporary.

Based on consumer reviews, TVs with built-in PVR have extensive issues such as very limited storage space, clunky UI, low-quality recordings, and others. Most technicians recommend buying a separate device for recording on a smart TV. Not to mention TVs with PVR are also quite expensive and the selection of TVs with built-in PVR is quite small too.

Another potential issue with built-in PVR is if the hard drive has issues, getting it serviced is not only a challenge but also costly. Connecting an external USB storage device is much easier to manage.

How to Record on a Smart TV to USB:

In most cases, your smart TV will have the option to record to a USB device, but you will need to attach an external device. Here’s what you need to do:

1 – Determine if Your TV can Record

First things first, you’ll need to figure out if your TV is capable of recording at all. You can usually find a list of your TV’s features in its manual. Another way to find your TV’s manual is to search the specific model online, most TV manufacturers have PDF files with the manuals that you can download.

But if you misplaced the manual, you can check for USB ports and also check the remote, you should see a small button that says REC in red letters. Got both of those? Great, chances you’re TV can record to an external device.

2 – Insert USB Storage Device (Flash Disk, Portable Hard Drive, etc)

Insert the USB storage device into one of the free USB slots, browse to a TV channel, and tap the record button on the remote. Depending on the TVs software, it should run a quick speed test on the storage device, and then start recording to it.

To view the media you recorded, you can tap the source button, browse to USB, select it, and it should find the recorded media. Very simple. Bear in mind, every TV has different recording features, some only allow you to record one channel, and it has to be open at the same time, while others can automatically record for you. You will have to check your TVs manual for more information.

The upside here is portable HDDs are inexpensive, you can find 1TB (1,000 GB) portable HDDs for under 50 pounds. You can also find portable SSDs, which are much faster, but also a little pricey. In my opinion, using USB storage to record on a smart TV is the best option.

See also:

Recording TV to USB Tips:

Another pointer when it comes to recording TV to a USB device is the USB device will have to be formatted. In other words, all the content on the device will need to be removed, so make sure you backup important documents before plugging it into your TV, or at least before you hit the record button.

Once again, not all TVs require a freshly formatted storage device, but some do, so it’s always better to be safe. Either way, the TV should display a warning telling you it will format the device.

Recording to a USB device like a thumb drive is probably the easiest solution, but if your USB storage is a little older, you might run into issues with read and write speeds. Another potential issue could be that your TV fails to recognize the USB device. One thumb drive you can consider is the Kingston DTEG2 with 64 GB of storage.

In that case, here are some other options you can explore, too.

Alternative Options to Record on a Smart TV:

While recording to a USB storage device is the easiest option, there are some other options you can consider to record on your smart TV.

1 – Set Top Box (DVR)

There are lots of set-top boxes that offer a wide range of services, your cable company might have included one of their own with your subscription. One popular set-top box would be a Freeview recorder, which allows you to record Freeview to a hard drive, amongst other features. Do note that some TVs have built-in Freeview recorders too, but usually the HDD space is limited.

These boxes are very convenient but can be a little pricey and the storage might not be the best, most come with 500 – 1,000 GB of HDD space. It’s worth doing a little digging to find a box that has the features you need.

A lot of media streaming devices support recording from TV too, and some even have built-in Freeview tuners to pick up air channels. The August DVB400 could be another option, but you will need to buy a USB storage device separately.

2 – Record to DVD with DVD Player

Even though DVDs are slowly dying out, one way to record a TV show is to save it a DVD via a DVD recorder. You might already have one of these DVD players in your living room. The downside is you will need fresh DVDs to record to, and each DVD can store around 4.7 GB of data. I wouldn’t recommend buying a DVD player solely for this purpose, but if you have one lying around it might do the trick.


Can You Record on a Smart TV and Watch Another Channel?

Yes. But to record on a smart TV and watch another channel you will need two TV tuners, one for recording and one for watching channels. The tuners can be on separate devices, for example, one on your TV, and another from a DVD recorder. In some cases, you can find DVRs with multiple tuners, allowing you to record and watch several channels at the same time.

What Memory Size Do You Need for TV recording?

There are many factors that affect the size of your recordings, such as quality, duration, bitrate, and more. For TV recording, I recommend a memory size of 128 GB or more. It’s always better to have more storage than too little.

Wrapping it Up:

To summarize, you can record on a smart TV but you’ll probably need to attach an external storage device or a media hub. My recommendation is to record directly to a USB storage device, either a thumb drive, a portable HDD, or SSD. The other options require buying additional hardware that might not be worth it just to record a few shows. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

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About S. Santos

👋 I'm a technology columnist and blogger with over 10 years of experience, currently serving as Blue Cine Tech's AV Editor. Specialising in gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology, my work has been featured in top technology blogs. I'm dedicated to breaking down the complexities of the latest tech trends, from explaining the intricacies of Dolby Vision to optimising your streaming experience. This blog serves as a platform for my ongoing exploration of the ever-evolving tech landscape. If you see me at industry events like CES or IFA, feel free to say hello.

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