Can video be sent from a DVR to PC? Easy DIY hard disk upgrade?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by patent10021, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. patent10021 macrumors 68020

    patent10021

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #1
    I'm close to Buying a DVR. I have two choices. Plain DVR with hard disk or combo hard disc + Blu-Ray recording devices. I'll probably opt for no blu-ray since it's on its way out and the price is almost 30% higher.

    I would like to eventually get the video from the DVR unit to my Mac for conversion to iPhone etc. Is it easy to get into these DVRs and say upgrade drives and/or send the captured video to a Mac?
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
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    #2
    Your probably not going to get too many replies on this. Most folks on this board are from the US and unfortunately, we don't really buy DVRs in this country. We typical rent them from the cable company. Those who do buy typically buy Tivos or build their own HTPC using WMC or SageTV.

    Each of those devices have their methods to getting video off of the DVR onto a computer.

    Not sure what the DVRs in Japan are like, but at the very least, you could record the component output using something like the Hauppauge HD-PVR or ElGato EyeTV HD. Both of these work in real-time, so it's not like transferring a file from a hard drive.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. patent10021, Jan 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

    patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68020

    patent10021

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #3
    Found the Hauppage-HD-PVR on Amazon Japan.

    So what you're saying is at the very least if the DVR I buy isn't able to connect to my Mac via USB or HDMI then the Hauppage or Elgato could do it. All these DVRs I've been looking at have HDMI and/or USB so hopefully I won't need that extra hardware. I remember that the ATV2 has HDMI. Could this be utilized in any way?

    EDIT: A bit confused though because my TV has all sorts of INs including HDMI buy not component video. My TV's RCA inputs lare the same as the RCA inputs on the front of the Hauppage in the photo here. Yellow for video and white & red for audio.

    [​IMG]

    The Hauppage's component connectors are on the back would I connect the box to the PC via USB? How would I capture the video and audio to the PC? Comes with Mac software? How would I watch the video on my TV at the same time I'm recording?

    [​IMG]

    .
     
  4. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #4
    It really depends on the DVR. In the US, I can pretty much guarentee that you won't be able to get the files off via USB. As for HDMI, I don't think there are any consumer HDMI capture devices.

    As for the Hauppauge/ElGato devices, they are component capture devices. The DVR you buy would need to have component outputs. Are these prevalent in Japan? Essentially, the component output of your DVR would be connected to the input of the Hauppauge. The Hauppauge would convert the analog HD signal and convert it to h264 via USB. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if the Hauppauge would work with Japanese devices. You better do some research before buying.

    Honestly, I doubt that a direct connection would work. There is one other way ... using Firewire. In the US, the DVRs provided by the cable companies are supposed to have a Firewire port. Using software on a Mac/PC, you can "emulate" a D-VHS deck and dub programs from the DVR to the Mac. Do the DVRs you're looking at have FW ports?

    No.
     
  5. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #5
    Yeah, like I said, I'm not familiar with Japanese specs. The yellow/red/white is composite. It's limited to 480i ... you don't want to use it.

    You would connect the componet output of the DVR to the component inputs of the Hauppage. Then you connect the Hauppauge to the Mac/PC via USB. The Hauppauge has component outputs (although I'm not sure the ElGato does) that will pass the signal through to a TV. All the Hauppauge does is convert the analog signal (audio/video) to h264 and transfers it to the computer over USB.

    If your TV had component inputs, then you'd utilize the component pass-thru feature ... but yours doesn't. If you have a powerful enough computer, the software that handles the recording has a preview feature, but I've heard it's buggy.
     
  6. patent10021, Jan 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

    patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68020

    patent10021

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #6
    Sure would be sweet. Here all the DVRs have HDMI.

    Yes

    So this would be analog only hey since it's RCA. Too bad since the DVRs are all 1080p. But I wonder if that is native 108-p or upscaled.

    They may. I'll check.

    How does it do this? There's no voodoo going on so Hauppauge must come with some Mac software yeah?


    Many of these DVRs are labeled as tuners/recorders. I'm thinking that a tuner is something special when in fact all it means is that you are able to change channels with the DVR instead of just being able to capture the video right? So if I had many channels and the ability to schedule recording I'd obviously want the tuner variety right?

    2011 and it seems like such a process just to record shows and be able to convert for iPhone. Ughh I just want to sit down and record what I'm watching and have the option to later convert for iPhone.

    Anyway going to the store today to ask questions. I'm sure I'll be there for at least 3 hours asking questions. Hopefully I can walk out with something.


    EDIT: DVRs store data in 2.5" hard disks don't they? I'm thinking I could remove the 500GB/1TB drive once it's full and dump into my Mac. Wouldn't that be easy? I don't care about breaking warranty. AND...there is a jailbreak for ATV2. There must be some HDMI hack I can utilize.



    .
     
  7. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #7
    Yes, it's analog, but the hauppauge reconverts it to digital h264. There's some loss of quality, but it's not bad depending on how high you set the bit rate.

    The Hauppauge doesn't come with Mac software. You could get a copy of EyeTV 3 which supports the Hauppauge, or there's an app called HDPVRCapture that works. http://www.steventoth.net/blog/

    That's right. A tuner is basically channel changing.

    Yeah I know. I would think in Japan, the options would be more prevalent. Maybe that's not the case.

    Not likely. The DVRs don't typically use a standard file system. They do this on purpose so that you can't get content off the DVR except in the manner they intend (e.g. Tivo wants you to use TivoDesktop).

    aTV2 has nothing to do with this. The aTV2 doesn't have any inputs or the processing power. It also doesn't have a hard drive for storing movies.

    There may be HDMI hacks, but it won't do you any good. HDMI is used for tranmitting audio and video. Not for data. It's not like USB at all.
     
  8. patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68020

    patent10021

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    Apr 23, 2004
    #8
    So I ended up saying f_cuk all that PC stuff and bought a $700 Sharp 1080p / Blu-ray / 500GB HDD DVR unit. You just can't compare all those made for PC devices with the real deal. Also you need a special DVR to be able to record captions/subtitles. Most brands aren't even capable of recording captions for example Toshiba models can't record them, but the Sharp model can.

    I just couldn't stand messing with all that PC junk you gotta mess about with and hope it works here in Japan. No hassle for me is well worth the extra $300/$400. Not to mention I saved $400 because it was marked down for New Years. It actually retails for $1200 USD.

    After that I bought an ATV2 and Airport Extreme. I found out that you can connect multiple external hard drives to the USB on the Airport Extreme (with USB hub) so I'm hoping that all goes smoothly. About to connect everything now.
     
  9. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #9
    Good idea. I agree that dedicated DVRs can make more sense than a HTPC. Too much tweaking and setup for an activity where I'm just trying shut off my brain.

    As for captions, in the US, DVRs record the actual broadcast data stream and that includes the captions. I wonder why it's different in Japan.

    Sweet. I think you're gonna love the aTV2. I love mine. The AEBS is also rock solid.
     
  10. patent10021 thread starter macrumors 68020

    patent10021

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    #10
    The guy said that Sharp DVRs are compatible with the caption signal. The way the captions are broadcast here might be different. Didn't get deep into it.

    The AEBS is da' bomb. Wow. I have a couple of 2TB drives and I didn't even know they could be wireless just like Time Capsules. 2TB SATA drives are selling for $100 USD. Can buy 5 for the price of one 1TB time capsule. Sick. Not to mention my signal is stronger than my Airport Express. I'm miffed as to why the expensive AEBS doesn't have iTunes sharing. Seems like a grave blunder.

    The ATV2 is about to be jailbroken using aTVFlash. From today I will be able to stream ALL media using Plex from my AEBS to my flat screen. Sweet!
     

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