Always On: How to record live TV to a computer
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Always On: How to record live TV to a computer

4:57 /

Don't have a DVR? No problem! Sharon Vaknin shows you how to record over-the-air TV onto your computer.

-Cable companies are way behind. I wanna be able to take what I record on my TV and transfer it to my computer. Well, until they fix that, there is a solution. It's called an HD PVR. And today, I'll show how to record live TV directly onto your computer. But before we continue, you should know that CBS Interactive does not condone or encourage illegal duplication or distribution of copyright content. -Okay, with that out of the way, we can get started. Here's what you'll need. You'll need an HD PVR. I got this from [unk] on Amazon.com for about $200. You'll also need your source. For me, that's my cable box. But it can also be your TV or even a gaming console. Lastly, you'll need a computer. Now, let's get everything linked up. So, first I'll connect the HD PVR to my cable box. -I'm using component cables because right now you cannot use HDMI. Component is the best quality you'll get. That will give me 720p video, which looks really good on a computer and on mobile devices. So, once I have it kept my HD PVR, I'll hook everything up to my cable box. Okay, this isn't Rocket Science where there's match up all the colors. That all set now. The last thing I need to do is connect my computer to the HD PVR. It uses USB 2.0 because right now 3.0 isn't available. Okay, everything is linked up and it really is that easy. Now, we should be able to see what's on my TV on my computer screen. So, a launch with software that came with the HD PVR. It's called TotalMedia Extreme. As soon as I launched it, there it is. I can see what's on my TV right here. Before we start recording, we have to change a few settings. So, I'll go into format settings and here is what's important. You wanna take a look at the max beat rate. This will determine the video quality and the files size. So, the lower the beat rate, the worse the video quality and the higher the beat rate, the better. For me, I'm going to choose 7 megabytes for a second. That will give me pretty decent video and a smaller file size. So that's all set. Okay? Lastly, I'll choose the format of the video. I'm doing MP4 so that I can put on my Android phone and in my Google hard drive, but if you're burning it to a DVD or a Blu-Ray, you're going to wanna choose TS. We're all set and ready to capture. So, I'll hit play on my cable box and the video and the audio come rolling through here or hit capture and my video is recording all at this one for a couple of minutes and then I'll show what it looks like when it's done. Alright, I think that's enough video. I'm gonna hit stop. I'm gonna pause my DVR. And right now, the file is saving and I set it to save in my video folder so let me show you what that looks like. Alright, my videos-- let me open that for you. And there it is playing on my computer and you'll see just how good this quality is even at 7 megabytes for a second and you saw how easy that was. Now, if I was recording an entire movie, it would be a much larger file size and it would of course take longer because you're recording in real time. Now that I have this on my computer, I'm going to transfer it on to my phone and I'll show you what that looks like. So pause the video, just plug my Android phone into the computer. And of course, what's easy about this is that it's just drag and drop. If you have an iPhone it might take some converting. Again, if you recorded a movie, it's going to take much longer to transfer on to your mobile device, but that's a price you pay, right? So, for this example, you notice that I'm using a PC. If you use the HD PVR with a MAC, you're going to need to purchase a $30 program, but what comes at the HD PVR that software is free for PC. Alright, the video is transferred. Let's see what it looks like. It should show up in video app. There it is. The video that was on my TV is on my phone and it worked just like that. Now, as you witnessed, that was super easy and once you have all the components set up in your media cabinet, it will take no time to record live TV on to your computer. Now, if you do make a habit out of doing this, you will wanna buy an external hard drive. Okay, if you have any questions along the way or wanna more about the HD PVR, tweet me @sharonvac or send your questions alwayson@cnet.com.
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