Virtual DVR isn’t the same as On Demand television. It’s not internet TV, it’s not Joost, and it doesn’t involve a box in your home, so it’s not quite a DVR or a video recording device. It’s also been ruled to be a technology that, when used by cable companies, violates copyright laws.
So What is Virtual DVR, and Why is it So Elusive?
“Bricks and mortar” digital video recorders record the television transmission on the DVR itself, on the hard drive. The renter or owner of the DVR then plays the recorded show on demand. The hard drive has a specific capacity and storage limits.
Virtual DVRs aren't located in the user’s home. The provider of a virtual DVR service, such as a cable company, simply buys servers at locations they specify, and the user selects and records the programs he or she wishes to record—everything is transmitted via broadband through a virtual service.