Can Video Be Extracted From a DirecTV DVR?

By Alexis Lawrence

How Do DVR Surveillance Systems Work?
i (Image retrieved from public domain)

Like other digital video recorders, the DirecTV DVR records and stores television footage so that it can be viewed later. If you would like to keep a recording from a DirecTV DVR, you can either leave it on the DVR, which may prove a problem since DVRs have limited space, or you can extract the video to a computer for storage.

How Video is Stored on a DirecTV DVR

The video on a DirecTV DVR is stored in the same way that it is stored on the DVRs offered through other companies. DVR units have built-in hard drives and, when video is recorded from the TV, the footage writes to that hard drive and remains on the hard drive until a user deletes it.

Capturing Devices

Before you can extract video from a DirecTV DVR, you must make a connection between the DVR and the computer that you want to use to capture the footage. A couple of different devices can be used to make this connection. The first device, a digital video capture device, is created for the sole purpose of connecting a video source to a computer and converting the video feed. The second device that can be used to connect a DirecTV DVR to a computer is any digital video camera that has a video pass-through setting. The camera can be connected to both the DVR and the computer using cords provided with the camera.

Programs That Can Capture

A number of video-editing programs have the tools to capture video from a digital video camera pass-through or a capture device. Programs native to both Windows and Mac systems, Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, respectively, have capturing wizards, as do more advanced editing systems, such as Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas and Final Cut Pro.

Storing Captured Video

When you capture video from a DirecTV DVR, the video captures into a format that is native to the program in which you are capturing. Windows Movie Maker, for instance, captures in both WMV, or Windows Media Video, and AVI, Audio Video Interleave, formats. iMovie, on the other hand, captures mainly in MOV, Apple's native QuickTime file format.