How to Edit DVR Recordings

by Lori Spencer

The main reason you might want to edit your DVR recordings is to remove commercials before burning a recorded show onto DVD. There are two main ways to accomplish this: either transfer the show to your computer using video capture, file conversion and editing software or use a standalone DVD recorder.

The former method requires some additional computer hardware, software and technical know-how. It's also a far more time-consuming process. Unless you have extensive edits to do, editing the video on your computer is not generally recommended. If you are only looking to do some basic editing tasks (such as removing commercials), using a standalone DVD recorder is your best bet.

Connect the DVD recorder to your DVR unit. Run RCA, coaxial and/or S-Video cables from the outputs on your DVR unit to the video/audio inputs on the DVD recorder. (See Reference 2 for a video tutorial.) The type of cables you use will vary depending on your personal preferences and what types of plugs your specific DVR/DVD recorders have on the back. Check the input and output jacks carefully and make sure you are using the correct types of connection cables.

Press the "On/Off" button on your DVD recorder to turn on the power.

Insert a blank recordable DVD disk into your DVD recorder. It will take a minute or two for the machine to format the blank disk and prepare it for recording.

Use the DVD recorder's remote control to access the "Setup" menu (on most models). Select "Preferences," then "Recording Preferences." Choose the recording speed you want for the disk. (On the highest quality setting, you will get two hours of video on a DVD; at lowest quality, you can put eight to 10 hours on a single-sided standard disk.)

Press "Rec/Pause" on your DVD recorder's remote. The recorder is now in pause mode, ready to record.

Use your DVR's remote to scroll through the list of your previously recorded shows and select the one you want to transfer. Begin playback of the selected program, then rewind five seconds from the point where you want DVD recording to begin. Press "Pause."

Un-pause your DVR and count backward five seconds, then un-pause your DVD recorder. This makes for a clean edit without network promos or station identification.

Edit commercials in real time by pausing the DVD recorder while you fast-forward through the commercials on your DVR. Use the same countdown method in steps 5 to 7 to get a tight, flawless edit. Repeat this for every commercial break.

Press "Stop" on your DVD recorder when you are done recording, then stop playback on the DVR.

Press "Finalize" on your DVD recorder when you are finished recording on the disk. This ensures that the DVD will be compatible with other DVD players.


  • check If you wish to edit the program further, you can insert the DVD into your computer's DVD drive and import the show into a video editing software program such as Windows Movie Maker, Roxio Creator or Corel DVD Movie Factory. (See References and Resources sections for a video tutorial, reviews and pricing information.)


  • close Make sure you are using the correct format of blank DVD disk: DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW are standard formats, but are not supported by all machines. Check your user's manual to find out which DVD formats your unit is compatible with.
  • close Unlicensed copying, distribution or sale of copyrighted material is prohibited by law. Copy-protect technology on some DVR programming may prevent you from burning a copy to DVD. If your DVD recorder displays an error message when you try to record a particular show from your DVR, this is probably the reason why.

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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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