what is best way to capture video from my DirecTV DVR?

By milky ยท 7 replies
Feb 26, 2005
  1. I want to put all my South Park episodes that are currently stored on my DirecTV DVR onto my computer so I can burn them to DVD. What would be the best way to go about doing this with the least quality loss?

    Do I need to buy a PCI card for capturing video or can it be done through my video card or through firewire?

    Are all of the connections on the back of my video card outputs?

    Video Card: ATI Radeon 9200se
    Standard VGA (output to monitor)
    S-Video (output to TV)
    ?? DVI-I ?? <----- Is this connector for output or input?

    Samsung DVR Outputs:
    Optical Audio
    Composite A/V (red, white, yellow)
    ??? Control Out - Serial, IR ??? (These 2 "control out" connectors look like they recieve an 1/8" pin...What are they?)
  2. shadow_29

    shadow_29 TS Rookie Posts: 211

    you'll probably require a capture card,get a good one with a tuner if you want your pc to record programs directly like tivo.there are a lot of options in this category,I'll probably suggest either one of the 2 depending how much you want to spend on them one is the hauppauge pvr 250(sold as wintv-pvr or something)140$ and up,the other is hauppauge pvr 150 for around 70$ and up.well both of these cards offer hardware encoding into mpeg2,which basically means that they convert raw video in avi format that could go up to 5 gb for 4-5 minutes is encoded on the fly into mpeg2/4 which can be recorded in anything from 1.5 to 5 gb an hour.both these cards also have an mce version which works under windows media center edition,they also work with tons of other dvr programs like snapstream,sage etc.there is little difference between the 2,the 150 is only designed differently in order to cut cost while keeping all the 250's feature.they dont put much strain on your pc so you can be doing other things while they unseemingly record and store tv programs.i would suggest the latter one the 150 to be a good choice.get that and hook up either your svideo cable or composite cable(only yellow) to the cards input and the other a/v cable(namely the audio-red and white) in your audio card or your onboard audio ports line-in and you're done now you can record hours of programming on your hd' and save them to dvd's as you like.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    I'm not familiar with that DVR device, but if it records to MPEG-2 (TS probably) format to internal hard disk, the best method would void the warranty but possibly with no quality loss whatsoever: Take the hard disk drive out of the DVR and copy the files to PC. It may require re-encoding though, but at least it would leave the AD/DA conversion out.
  4. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 85

    Thats a great idea. I can't believe I didn't think of it. Its a Samsung DirecTV sattelite receiver and DVR in one, and I believe it does record to the HD in MPEG-2 :grinthumb. I will give it a try...
  5. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 85

    I connected the DVR HD as a slave to my windows HD and the DVR drive is not there when I opened My Computer. I tried the jumper settings on Slave and Cable Select. neither worked. When I go into BIOS setup, It shows the DVR HD as the Primary IDE Slave, but windows doesn't recognize it. any tips to getting to the files?

    DVR HD is Western Digital WD400
  6. shadow_29

    shadow_29 TS Rookie Posts: 211

    hey milky...that was a very dumb and ILLEGAL idea.first dvr device use a variation of linux as there os and encrypt there recording.so the entire hdd is encrypted to prevent exactly what you are trying to do.it's ILLEGAL,read around and you'll see and not to mention you have just voided you warranty,if you had anyleft.that's why i gave you the longer and a little cotly procedure than just hooking up your drive for some good old transfering and burning.the method of recording your videos on your pc again,however is legal,there are a lot of cards and programs that facilitate this.your pc acts like your dvr and you have complete control over the files.so you should have read around the net a bit more before you decided to yank your hd out............sorry.
  7. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 85

    First of all, I didn't void any warranty since there is no "void tape" or any other security feature that would let someone know I even opened the DVR let alone took out the HD. Also, since I own the DVR and therefore the HD inside it including the contents of the HD, there is nothing illegal about it. I have the right to backup my files as many times as I like, as long as its for my own personal use.

    Now that we have all that legal stuff (my specialty) out of the way, lets get back to the computer stuff (your specialty).

    I emailed someone at www.weakness.com where you can buy larger HD's for my DVR (Samsung SIR-S4040R) to find out why my PC won't assign a drive letter and let me access my DVR HD. The response was "The files are in a locked proprietary format and there is no way to do this [extract files]". OK. now back to your expertise...

    If the files are on there, there must be some way to unlock the drive and extract them. right? Funny that you mentioned Linux. I was thinking that another OS such as this might be the key, so I installed Red Hat Linux v9 on my old PC last night.
    I don't know anything about linux but I do know that Red Hat is quite user friendly (much like windows).
    Will I be able to unlock the DVR HD with Linux? If so, can you tell me what I need to do?

    I know I can do this the long and costly way, but I would really like to get it done this way to avoid any quality loss converting from DV to AV back to DV through a capture card.
  8. shadow_29

    shadow_29 TS Rookie Posts: 211

    hey milky.one thing that i would like to clear up is that-yes,you do own the dvr and the hd and are free to do what you please with it.but unfortunately you dont own the tv shows that you are burning and copying,thats how tv network make there millions by releasing season dvd's of there popular shows.as for the thory that you're only backing up the contents to your hdd well..that can be debated first of all you havent paid for those programs(paying your cable co. doesnt count)and two you still cant do that tried doing that to windows/office xp/games/movies/music all copies are also called bootleg.but I havent yet seen or heard of any action being taken against anybody doing this to tv recordings,so maybe its not that big of a deal.however you cant talk or post about a lot of stuff like this on a lot of forums because they consider giving directions to doing this illegal or taboo.dont believe me...well google around to some dvr/cable/tivo forums and read up.it must be one of those dont ask,dont tell sort of things which you cant talk about but ok if you're doing them.

    well as for your question if you'll be able to copy videos from your hd the answer is ...not likely.those videos are encrypted in a different format,I have heard of some workaround/hack or a software like tivotogo that can do this but havent yet seen one.you might want to google around and check out some hack sections to do this but at your own risk.just installing linux wont give you access to them(comeon these companies are not that stupid).i told you that if you decide to do this through the capture card,a good pvr card would at the minimum cost you 70$ but you can use it later as well to do some recording,a lot of people prefer recording shows through there capture card than there tivos/dvr just because you're in complete control.as for your concerns about quality loss..well if you had tivo i think it has a dv out through firewire or ilink(not sure)to transfer to pc but in your first post you mentioned that you dont have an output port for that so sorry.look around,read up if there is a way to do this,I would suggest doing it through a capture card...if you can find a better way than great for you.good luck
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