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The Video Disk Recorder (VDR) is a free, non-commercial project from Klaus Schmidinger to realize a digital video recorder with standard PC components. It is possible to receive, record and playback digital TV after the DVB standard. The program runs under Linux, is available as source code and lies under the GNU General Public License.


In the probably most common use case VDR behaves extensively as a normal digital receiver. The picture is send to the television an the control happens through a remote control. A simple but functional On Screen Display (OSD) simplifies the handling of VDR, at channel switching Electronic Program Guide (EPG) information are shown, like the title of the current next next show. In the main menu are diverse functions, like channel list, schedule, timer programming, or the list of already recorded titles. The channel list is freely sortable, the EPG function allows displaying the shows of only one telestation, or of all current broadcasts in "What's on now?/next?". Commercials can be removed from the recording with the help of the cutting functions.


VDR also masters time shifting, that is, a broadcast can be recorded to hard disk and played back at once or after some time, but still while recording. This way one can jump over commercial or halt the playback to go to the kitchen,...

If there is more than one DVB card in the system, it is possible to record more than one broadcast at a time. This is already possible with only one DVB card, but only those who are broadcasted from one transponder only.


Besides the basic function of VDR, there exists, thanks to a large community, a barely manageable quantity of extension in for of patches, plugins and other programs or scipts.

There are extention that change or add

  • OSD functionality
  • playback of other than the native media format (MP3/(S)VCD/DVD/DivX/...)
  • Webinterface
  • creation of DVDs
  • ...

The hardware fraction fiddles about HTPC and and the buildup of the ideal living room compatible PC (case, fans, noise reduction,...). Other things are LC-Displays, infrared remote controls and receiver, extension boards for DVB cards. In general one can say, this area needs lots of manual work and some previous knowledge or at least the willingness to learn. The newbie we encourage to first familiarise himself with the basic function of VDR and Linux. There are some ready to use Linux distributions dedicated to VDR.

Alternative scenarios

There are other use cases than the above possible. The VDR computer could be used as a server in the cellar or the attic. The video signal would then be fed into the home cable net through a modulator, or directly be streamed over the computer network.

Aim of VDR Wiki

This wiki should centralise the knowledge of the german discussion forum and the mailinglists, so beginners could easily find the necessary information to start with VDR.


[1] Klaus Schmidingers VDR homepage
[2] GNU General Public License
[3] DVB/VDR mailing lists
[4] german speaking Forum (also has a international section)
[5] DVB Project
[6] Presentation in PDF/PPS (german)