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rdsii64
Sep 20, 2009, 05:23 PM
I have a few shows on my set top dvr that I would like to save. What I would like to do is hook my dvr to an external tv tuner and hook the tv tuner to my imac. then I can play my shows and record them on my imac so I can dump them to disc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



spice weasel
Sep 21, 2009, 07:28 AM
I don't think you can do what you want to the way you describe. There are several threads around on how to copy TV shows off your DVR. But in a nutshell, what you need to do is download the Firewire SDK bundle from the Apple Developer's Connection site. Connect your DVR to your computer via firewire and use the AVCVidCap application in the SDK bundle. Launch it and your DVR will show up as a device. Click "capture" and then enter a running time. Meanwhile, queue up your TV show on your DVR. Hit play on the DVR while you hit record in AVCVidCap. Only works for broadcast stations, not cable or premium channels, and it only works with certain DVRs (most Motorolas and Scientific Americans, for example).

ftaok
Sep 21, 2009, 08:28 AM
You have several options to do this ... some of it depends on the outputs on your DVR.

The method that you describe will only work if your DVR outputs to your TV using coax cable (with your TV set to Channel 3 or 4). This is usually the lowest quality video that you can get.

You video quality will improve if you use better connections. From worse to best ... coax/composite/s-video/component

If your DVR has composite or s-video outputs, then you can use a hybrid tuner with the included (typically) breakout cable.

Alternatively, if you have an older miniDV camcorder with A/D pass-through, you could use that (but keep in mind that it'll record in DV format).

If your DVR is HiDef, and you want to preserve as much video quality as possible, use component cables and look into the Hauppauge HD-PVR device. It's the only device currently on the market that can do this. It'll record in h.264 format. Steven Toth has an application that will work with the HD-PVR on a Mac. ElGato's newest version of EyeTV works as well.

Good Luck

spice weasel
Sep 21, 2009, 09:49 AM
You have several options to do this ... some of it depends on the outputs on your DVR.

The method that you describe will only work if your DVR outputs to your TV using coax cable (with your TV set to Channel 3 or 4). This is usually the lowest quality video that you can get.

You video quality will improve if you use better connections. From worse to best ... coax/composite/s-video/component

If your DVR has composite or s-video outputs, then you can use a hybrid tuner with the included (typically) breakout cable.

Alternatively, if you have an older miniDV camcorder with A/D pass-through, you could use that (but keep in mind that it'll record in DV format).

If your DVR is HiDef, and you want to preserve as much video quality as possible, use component cables and look into the Hauppauge HD-PVR device. It's the only device currently on the market that can do this. It'll record in h.264 format. Steven Toth has an application that will work with the HD-PVR on a Mac. ElGato's newest version of EyeTV works as well.

Good Luck

These methods seem like a royal P.I.T.A. to me. Just use firewire. You get no picture quality degradation and it is cheap - Firewire SDK is free, and the only piece of equipment you need is a firewire 400 cable. I've done this dozens of times and it works perfectly.

ftaok
Sep 21, 2009, 10:02 AM
These methods seem like a royal P.I.T.A. to me. Just use firewire. You get no picture quality degradation and it is cheap - Firewire SDK is free, and the only piece of equipment you need is a firewire 400 cable. I've done this dozens of times and it works perfectly.

I agree ... however, we don't really know if the OP has a DVR that has a functional FW output. I didn't want to repeat what you wrote, so I added options for the OP.

mscriv
Sep 21, 2009, 12:51 PM
These methods seem like a royal P.I.T.A. to me. Just use firewire. You get no picture quality degradation and it is cheap - Firewire SDK is free, and the only piece of equipment you need is a firewire 400 cable. I've done this dozens of times and it works perfectly.

What kind of DVR do you have where this works? I'm with At&t Uverse and have a Motorola VIP 1216 box. I didn't think the firewire connection was active? If so, then this would help me out a lot. Is there a way to test if the connection is active before downloading the Firewire SDK?

spice weasel
Sep 21, 2009, 01:46 PM
Don't quote me on this, but it is my understanding that all such boxes are required by the FCC to have active firewire ports. That said, I don't know if your particular box will work. The Firewire SDK bundle is free, so just download it and connect everything up to see if it at least recognizes the device.

rdsii64
Apr 26, 2010, 08:19 PM
Last night I tested the firewire solution. so far so good. I captured a small clip from one of the shows I recorded from the HD smithsonian channel and I was able to play the clip in vlc with no problem.

when I get home tonight I will do the live tv test.

keep your fingers crossed

ftaok
Apr 27, 2010, 07:23 AM
Good Job by you!

rdsii64
Apr 27, 2010, 01:29 PM
the live tv test was a success so far. I haven't tested all the HD channels I like to watch. But so far the one I did test works.

rdsii64
Sep 30, 2010, 09:35 PM
The fire SDK works very well in concept. the problem is that since the signal is digital the service provider can applay broadcast flags at will. These flags are
record once, record free, no record and I cant remember the other two. There are 5 all together. What I found was that some shows they flag and some they don't. In the end I solved my problem with the Happaug HiDef PVR. Since all HD programming is currently 720P or 1080i, compnent video works just fine. Since compnant video is analog the broadcast flags don't work. I can now record anything I want on any channel I have access to at will using Elgato's eye TV software and the Happaug HiDef PVR.
I sudenly have a need for more hard drive space. All is good in my media world.