How to Copy Files From a DirecTV DVR to a Laptop

By Steve Lander

A composite audio-video cable connects the DVR to your notebook.
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DirecTV digital video recorders store video files on their hard drives in a proprietary format. However, their video outputs make it simple for you to transfer video to your notebook computer. All that you need to do is to connect those outputs to a video capture device connected to your notebook computer and you can then record the program right on your computer. Since there are a number of video capture devices that connect over USB, you don't need a desktop computer to do this -- just about any notebook computer can capture and record video.

Step 1

Plug your video capture device's USB plug into an open port on your notebook computer.

Step 2

Insert the red and white connectors on your analog stereo interconnect into the correspondingly color-coded jacks marked "Audio Out" or "Audio Output" on the back panel of your DirecTV DVR.

Step 3

Plug the other end of the audio interconnect cable into the red and white input jacks on your video capture device.

Step 4

Insert a video cable into your DirecTV DVR's video output. If both your DVR and your video capture device have one, use a round four-pin S-video cable for the best connection and plug it into the port marked "S-Video" or "S-Video Out." If you cannot use an S-Video cable, use a composite video cable that will look like an audio cable but may be color-coded yellow. Plug it into "Video Output" or "Video Out" jack on your DVR.

Step 5

Plug the other end of the cable into the video input on your capture device.

Step 6

Start your computer's video capture software.

Step 7

Press the "Power" button on your DVR's remote to turn it on.

Step 8

Press the remote's "List" button to bring up the list of recorded programs in your DVR.

Step 9

Scroll down to the program that you want to transfer to your laptop by using the up or down arrows on your remote's directional pad.

Step 10

Press the "Play" button on your remote control to start the program.

Step 11

Press the "Record" button on your laptop's video capture software as quickly as possible after starting the program.

Step 12

Press the "Stop" button on your laptop's video capture software as soon as possible after the program finishes.