Leichtman Research Group's survey of 1,300 households found that 52 percent of the ones that have pay-TV service also have a DVR. That translates to about 45 percent of all households and is up from 13.5 percent of all households surveyed five years ago by another firm, Nielsen.
The first DVRs came out in 1999, from TiVo Inc. and ReplayTV. Later, they were built into cable set-top boxes. The latest trend is "whole-home" DVRs that can distribute recorded shows to several sets.
Even with the spread of DVRs, live TV rules. Nielsen found last year that DVRs accounted for 8 percent of TV watching.