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Transfer DVR to hard drive or DVD? (Mac or PC)

by mdlesq / January 20, 2005 5:38 AM PST


Can anyone tell me how to transfer something from a DVR like TiVo or Dish onto my Mac or PC hard drive and then use the computer's DVD burner to burn it to a disk?



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DVR to Mac
by spamguy--2008 / January 24, 2005 10:13 AM PST

You can back-up video from RelayTV to a Mac very easily.

Use DV Archive to pull the video to the Mac.

Use Drop DV to convert the video to a standard video format for editing.

Then use iMovie or Final Cut Express to edit the video.

NOTE: You'll need about 8GB space for an hour of raw video.

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dvr to dvd on the mac
by gawilson / January 28, 2005 1:09 AM PST

you need a device to get the signal to your computer. there are several brands out there. with mine, i can take vcr, audio or a digital signal and transfer it to my hard drive via iMovie then to iDVD to burn. the mac works great. i can also use Toast to burn as well (this is a software program from Roxio).
you should have some kind of out from the DVR so you'll need this AVI device to get it into your computer--it's a piece of hardware, a little black box in my case and it works fine. I can't remember the exact name--i'm not at home. if you look around, you can find these things---i believe el gato makes something too.
hope this helps...

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How involved do you want to get??
by clem2270 / January 28, 2005 7:06 AM PST

Hi Michael;

As with anything technology based, there are a number of different ways to do the same thing. But there are a number of questions that have to be answered first.

1: What DVR is this question in reference to? As your solutions might vary depending on which DVR you have.
I?m not familiar with all the different models and brands of DVR?s in the market; I?m only familiar with TiVo ( series 1 and series 2 ). With an un-altered ( un-hacked TiVo unit, and without the ?TiVo to Go? option installed ) the only way to move data from the TiVo unit to a PC or VCR was to connect to the A/V output on the TiVo unit and have the VCR(PC) record the play back of the shows you want to save ( analog transfer ). With the new service from TiVo, ?TiVo to Go? ( available to Series 2 machines; you will have an option to do a digital transfer of your archived shows directly to your PC, but you will still need extra software to convert the Tivo files to standard DVD format.

2: I know that this is a MAC related forum; but do you have both systems, PC and MAC? What are the specs for both systems? For the PC side, your system will need to be pretty ?beefy? to handle the data stream and the data encoding to DVD format?

3: Do you care what the video quality is once the finished program is burned to a DVD? Because there is basically two different ways to transfer the video to your computer: either analog or by digital.
Analog ?Transfer? would require you to connect the DVR A/V outputs some how to your computer. Just the transferring of the DVR output will add ?noise? to the data that finally reaches the computers harddrive. This is why the VCR copy of a copy of a copy of a copy has noticeably worse picture and sound quality as the original copy. This signal loss doesn?t happen with a pure digital to digital copy
Digital transfer would require that you somehow connect your DVR using either USB or Ethernet and uploading the DVR data to your computer.

4: Depending on what shows your trying to archive to DVD format and which solutions you decided to use; you might also have to think about Copywrite / Digital Rights Media (DRM) / Macrovision copy protection

Here is a forum site that I have been a member of for over a year and there is a lot of good information to be found here.

Honestly, unless you really want to get involved with this hobby and have to deal with a lot of troubleshooting; tweaking of software settings and lots of trial and error, you might be better off transferring the DVR files to a VHS tape and then buy yourself one of the VCR / DVD burner combo units ( not sure how well they work, never used one ). Or get yourself an interface device for your computer, such as:

Plextor?s ? ConvertX ? device ( )
Sony?s ? DV Direct DVD recorder ?
( )
ADS Tech


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DVR hook up
by dsrtflyr / January 28, 2005 12:33 PM PST

I have a Digital Video Recorder. I have desk top. I do this all the time. I have a Digital Camera that I edit what I want from the DVR. I connect the AV output jacks (RCA)on the DVR to my camera. I then download to the pc. It uses a lot of memory. I often transfer movies and prints to an external HD or a CD

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by tomas martinez / January 20, 2006 10:49 PM PST
In reply to: DVR hook up

I never thought of that.... this has to be one of the simpliest ways to move something from your dvr to your computer.

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by gjbonner / January 31, 2009 10:48 AM PST
In reply to: DVR hook up

I know this is an old post and i may be behind the power curve but isnt the AV an output only? how do you take the information off the HDD of a dvd recorder and send it to the PC with a digital camcorder? thanks if you could explain this.

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DVR to Digital camera
by wenfen / June 22, 2010 12:02 PM PDT
In reply to: DVR hook up

How do you transfer from the DVR to the digital camera. I tried but I can't fig;ure out how to comand the DVR to move program to the camera.

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This would be worthy of a new thread,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / June 22, 2010 10:13 PM PDT
In reply to: DVR to Digital camera

NOT in the Mac forum though.

That said, why not just connect the output of the DVR, S-Video, Composite, (or whatever input your camera will accept)
Start the Record feature on the camera and the play feature on the DVR.

If you camera cannot record video from an external source, then it's Game Over for you with this method


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DVR to Sony camcorder to Macbook Pro
by gofastest / May 17, 2012 7:08 AM PDT
In reply to: DVR hook up

I connect RCA out from DVR to Sony Hi8 camcorder with the cord that came with the Sony (it looks like a headphone jack on the end that connects to the camcorder). Turn on to VTR mode. Go into the Sony VTR settings menu and set the A/V > DV out to "On". On the DV IN/Out port, you have to buy a Firewire 4-pin to 9-pin Cable (Amazon $2.97). Connect the Firewire to the port on the Macbook Pro. I use Media Edit 3 software to import and record the video in real-time to hard drive, you probably can use any software to capture video. And you don't need a video tape, you're just using the camcorder as a through converter. Hope this helps.

Macbook Pro OSX 10.7.3
Intel 2.3 i5

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(NT) iMovie works well, and it is already on the Mac.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 17, 2012 9:02 AM PDT
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Can't get it to work!
by silviat64 / March 27, 2016 2:50 PM PDT

I know this is a pretty old post, I hope someone will reply.
I bought all the connectors. My camcorder does get the signal from the DVR. I am even able to record it on my camcorder's tape. However, as soon a I connect it to the computer, the screen goes blue. All apps that I use to capture video, can only capture whats on the tape. It seems that as soon as I connect it to the computer, it (the camcorder) is expecting to use the DV port as input. However, if I try to record with one of the applications, my camcorder starts playing what I have on the tape.
BTW my ancient camcorder is a sony DCR-TRV8

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Please don't bury new requests.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 27, 2016 2:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Can't get it to work!

It sounds like you are trying to use the camcorder as a video to firewire encoder. One thing I recall is that this only worked on some models. And one model I had would only do this if there was no tape in the camcorder.

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Re: Transfer DVR to hard drive or DVD? (Mac or PC)
by Themisive / January 29, 2005 5:38 AM PST

There is a way, but to do it correctly you need either/orthe following items:

1: a good CD R / RW for CD's; or
2: a good DVD R/RW for DVD's.

NOTE: the latest DVD R/RW units will also allow CD R/RW facilities as well.

I also recommend the use of a good CD/DVD programme such as Nero - I use Nero 6 and keep it up to date (personally I feel that's where a lot of the problems that others find with the programme stem from). Basically then, whatever software system your supplier recommends (usually by including their driver/programme disk with the appliance), stick with it and keep it updated.

As I said, I use a DVD system, and regularly back up sections of my hard drives just in case.
With regard to the two types of format you are wanting, I am not sure if Nero would accommodate them; however I'm sure you can download "shareware" or "try-before-you-buy" types of software for these types of programmes. Remember though, keep to the orginal writing/rewriting progamme making new backup disks for that programme.

Please note though, the above only applies to copies from the original disk to the hard drive. Nero also has a facility to copy disk-to-disk. I do not know if it would copy these formats - though you'll quickly find out. If it won't. make a new folder on your'e hard drive of the same name as the disk, transfer the contents of the disk to the hard drive, then use an autorun programme (mine is called Autorun v2.9.2 - you can get the original via CNET, but it's only a "try-before-you-buy" type of software. I have the full version, either will allow you to creat autorun programmes and files on other systems. Needless to say, I find it extreely useful.


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Re: Transfer DVR to hard drive or DVD? (Mac or PC)
by nunia / February 28, 2005 9:34 PM PST

have you even read all the previous posts before you typed up your message? Not that i'm trying to be mean or anything, but it has nothing to do with anything anyone is talking bout in this thread.. nor do you make any sense

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Do what now??
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 28, 2005 10:07 PM PST

I, like Nunia, also wonder if you actually read the question before leaping off into the wild blue yonder.
Judging by your post, I'm not even sure you actually know where you are.
Read the question, engage brain, post! In that order

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Nuina Wake up from your sleep
by zuluking / August 19, 2005 12:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Do what now??

Did you read the question before you answered?

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by m_wade_thompson / April 10, 2007 10:15 AM PDT

yea ditto...that would be a useful thing to know.

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DVR to hard drive?
by Josiah_Rowe / September 8, 2008 9:44 AM PDT

I'm interested in transferring video files from my DVR (a Motorola DCT 6412 III) to an external hard drive. The DVR has two USB 2.0 ports and one Ethernet port, but when I connect either one to my Mac (planning to connect my Mac to an external hard drive, to copy the files) the DVR doesn't show up in the Finder. Is there something special that I need to do to find the DVR's hard drive? I'm running OS X 10.5.4 on a MacBook. I don't know much about networking, so I might need this in pretty basic terms. Thanks!

(The reason I'd like to do this is that I may be switching from the cable company to AT&T's U-verse, which would give me a new DVR ? but I've got TV shows on the old one that I'd like to keep.)

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by Josiah_Rowe / September 10, 2008 1:41 PM PDT
In reply to: DVR to hard drive?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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As you are so intent on getting a reply,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 10, 2008 9:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Hello?

I thought I would oblige you.

Maybe the reason you did not get an answer to your question is because all the people who read this particular forum don't have one or have already told everything they know on the subject.

I have a Directv DVR which connects to my network but I cannot take stuff off its HD using the network.

You could try asking the same question in the Home audio and Video forum Here


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by Josiah_Rowe / September 11, 2008 3:34 AM PDT

Thanks for the reply and pointer. I did wonder if I was asking in the wrong place ? I added to this topic because it had already been started, so I thought perhaps people here would know something. Thanks anyway.

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Bueller Here
by jjrichs / October 24, 2008 12:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

hi. there is logic in most current dvr's that prohibits the ability to copy the digital code of the content from the dvr. This is why you cant mount it like a server (doesn't appear in the chooser). This is the only way that the media companies who own copyrights to the shows/movies would allow the DVR community (Tivo, Replay, etc.) to sell their products without lawsuits. That explains the action you can't do. Now for what you can do. This thread goes back a way and there were good replies (about the solution).

The shows you seek from the DVR can only be captured from it's "analog" output: the S-video or composite or component ports. That is where the DVD-R gear comes in handy. If you record to a DVD-R the content in now on a media you can move from the DVD-R to your Mac. From there it's a matter of choice on software to use to finalize the process. Good products were mentioned. Even the guy who was flamed recommended the tools I use which is Nero.

My kit: TiVo Series 3 HD with S Video out to a Pioneer DVD-R for recording. Component Video to an inFocus IN26 DLP (1080i) projector with a DA-LITE boardroom 120" powered screen. MacBook Pro OS X 10.4.11 with Nero.


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Beauller Again
by jjrichs / October 24, 2008 12:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Bueller Here

I was unclear on something. The Nero software is actually used on a Dell PC with a Sony DVD-R. Once finalized, the content is moved to the Mac for playback.

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by Josiah_Rowe / October 24, 2008 1:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Beauller Again

I may try that if I have some time to spare. I'd actually decided against the U-verse service because all the options for copying the old DVR's content were so time-consuming (if I had time to copy all the old programs I want to save, I'd have time to watch them too), but I might be able to get around to it someday.

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This 2005 discussion is now closed.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 27, 2016 2:57 PM PDT

Please start new discussions with all the details if this old post doesn't answer your new questions.

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