Exporting from DVR


What would be the best way (time efficient) to capture video from my DirecTV DVR to my PC? I don’t want to capture Hollywood movies—I can buy those. My interest is in capturing the near 100 hours of Brazilian Carnival on my DVR, then editing it down to a “best of” DVD or two. My PC has plenty of USB ports and free PCI-E and PCI expansion slots available.

—Jeff Absher

Jeff, if your machine were a TiVo, exporting video would be fairly easy using the on-board USB, but the DirecTV DVR is trickier since any USB ports it has are disabled and there’s no way to enable them. Since you have a free PCI-E slot, we think your best bet (though it will be a time sink) is to get a PCI TV tuner and output your DVR to its input ports. Some higher-end videocards from ATI and Nvidia also include Video In Video Out, so (with the addition of video-capture software and/or specialized drivers) you can record directly from that port. Either way, you’re looking at bad news on two fronts: First, your output signal will be analog and the quality may suffer; second, you’ll have to do it in real time. But hey, it’ll do the job.

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