How to Download DVR Recordings

by Lori Spencer
computer cables image by timur1970 from

If your DVR's available memory is almost full with programs you've saved, you want to find a way to keep them without taking up space on the DVR. One option is to download your favorite shows to a computer. Using a USB 2.0 video capture device is the least expensive and most user-friendly method.

Step 1

Buy a USB 2.0 capture device. Some popular choices are EasyCAP, Pinnacle Dazzle, the Hapaugge HD PVR. As of September 2010, prices for these products range anywhere from $10-$200, depending on the quality and functionality you seek.

Step 2

Insert the USB capture device's setup software disc into your computer's CD drive and follow the on-screen installation instructions.

Step 3

Plug the video capture device into a USB port on your computer.

Step 4

Connect the video capture device to your DVR using standard RCA, S-Video or HDMI cables (if supported).

Step 5

Open Windows Media Center (or any video software program of your choice.)

Step 6

Scroll to "Tasks," then select "Settings." Choose "TV," then "Set Up TV Signal."

Step 7

Cue the program you wish to transfer on your DVR and press "Play," then hit "Record" in Windows Media Center.

Press "Stop" when recording is complete. Name and save the file. If desired, you can now edit the file, add effects, remove commercials, convert it to different formats, upload to the Web, or burn to a DVD.


  • Don't change the channel while recording is in progress. Any action you perform on the DVR (pause, fast-forward, rewind, channel-surfing) will record onto your computer.
  • In most cases it is permissible to make copies of shows you've recorded on your DVR for personal use. However, unlicensed reproduction, sale or broadcast of copyrighted material is prohibited by law.


  • If your HD DVR and computer both have HDMI ports, it is recommended you use an HDMI cable instead of coax or RCA cables for the best quality video transfer.
  • Use Windows Media Setup to download TV program listings for your cable or satellite provider. You can then search for new shows to record by title, actor, keyword or director. Now you can record TV directly to your PC.


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About the Author

Lori Spencer has written professionally since 1986. She is the author of three nonfiction books, is writing her fourth and provides content for eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. She also produces and hosts a weekly radio show. Her subjects of expertise include history, media, music, film and the performing arts.

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