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Time-shifting is a procedure where a person uses a video recording device in order to copy a program to be viewed later. It is used mostly to catch a show that is being transmitted at an inconvenient time, for perusal at the viewer’s leisure, but is also used when one wishes to view two programs that are being shown simultaneously, watching one while recording the other.

Enabled by the invention of the VCR, the practice is being made easier to perform with the advent of hard-drive-based (like the storage in a computer) video recorders such as the TiVo. Such devices also communicate with a service provider for program information. (Fears exist that the machines also transmit demographic and behavioral data back.)

The VCR, already facing demise from the superiority of the DVD as a playback media, will soon fade now that it is no longer needed to timeshift. However, the use of the word "tape" to record something will probably remain, joining concepts like "dial" and "cool your heels" as a term that will baffle future generations as to its origin.

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