How to Download Shows From a DVR Cable Box

By James Clark

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • PC with video capture card and recording software

  • Ethernet cable or USB cable

Offload DVR programs to a PC hard drive using a USB port.
i portable pc image by Albo from

Downloading shows from a DVR cable box will free up memory space on the component's internal hard drive, since old shows can be deleted to make room for new programming. A simple solution for transferring shows from the DVR involves connecting the component to a computer equipped with video recording software. If the PC is also equipped with a DVD burner, you can copy the program to a long-lasting disc, if desired.

Check the back of the DVR to determine if a USB port is available. If so, plug one end of the USB cable into the DVR and the other end into a free USB port on the PC. If your DVR does not have an open USB port, go to Step 2. Otherwise, skip to Step 3.

If your DVR does not have an available USB port, connect it to your PC video card using the Ethernet cable, which resembles a land-line telephone cable, only wider. Plug the ends of the Ethernet cable into the jacks on the DVR and the PC, with the narrow end turned upward.

Turn on the computer and DVR, then open the video recording software on the computer by double-clicking the name of the program.

Press the "Menu" button on the DVR and use the down arrow key to select "Programs," "My Programs" or "Recorded Programs," depending on the DVR model.

Use the arrow keys to select and highlight the desired show, then press "Play."

Press the "Record" button on the computer software to begin copying the show. Click "Stop" when finished, then choose "File" and select "Save." Type a name for the recording and click "Save" to store the show on the computer's hard drive.

Delete the program from the DVR, if desired, by highlighting and selecting the show, selecting the "Options" menu to then "Delete" or "Erase."


Plan to need approximately 10 megabytes of free hard-drive space for each hour of digital video.


Unplug the DVR and shut down the computer while connecting AV cables.