Originally Posted by OLDXTECH
Other than having to redo the program list, is there any other good reason why you can't just "turn off = unplug" the DVR to add life to the HDD? This naturally assumes you don't have anything to record - duh! OR, it could be connected through a timer switch so you could record IF it would boot up and IF it did not loose the recording list [this could kill the whole idea!]
If DVR manufacturers felt that a true 'off' button would significantly extend product life, they would all offer that feature. With perhaps one exception, cable and satellite companies have standardized on DVR hardware and software designs that operate 24/7 (typically @ ~30 watts or $2.30/mo in VA).
The prevailing sentiment among manufactures seems to be that an 'off' button on a DVR is a recipe for failure. As taxing as it is on the hard drive to perform sustained writes of 3-4 MB/s throughout the day, constant power cycles and/or drive "spin downs" evidently present an even greater threat to DVR longevity.
Before long, I'm sure we'll see some members experiment with drive upgrades / replacements. If/when your hard drive fails, drive replacement could be a viable option. Until then, I would take the normal precautions. Make sure that your DVR has adequate ventilation and connect it to a functional surge protector. If your area is known to experience regular brown outs, you might also consider a UPS.