How to Transfer a DVR Recording to a Mac With Firewire

by Alexander Poirier

Digital video recorder (DVR) devices allow you to record and save television broadcasts to the unit's hard drive for later viewing. Most DVRs have a FireWire port on the back of the unit used to connect it to an external source, such as a Mac computer. With the DVR connected to your computer via the FireWire, you may transfer noncopyrighted DVR recordings stored on your DVR's hard drive to your computer's hard drive.


Open the computer's web browser and navigate to the "Apple Developer: Registration" website (see Resources). Follow the on-screen instructions and fill in the appropriate information to register for the Apple Developer program. Once you are registered, sign in to your Apple Developer account. Click the "Resources" tab at the top of the page, followed by the "Developer Downloads" link. On the "Developer Downloads" page, click the "FireWire" link located under the "Downloads" subheading on the right side of the page.


Click the "FireWire SDK 26 (Disk Image)" link on the "FireWire" download page to download the FireWire SDK 26 developer tool set. Install the FireWire SDK 26 onto your computer. When the tool set is done installing, turn off your Mac computer.


Connect the Mac to the DVR unit with the FireWire cable. The FireWire ports on both the computer and the DVR unit will be designated by the FireWire symbol. This symbol looks like a "Y" shape with a circle in the middle. If you are having trouble locating the FireWire ports, see the FireWire Booting page (see Resources) for a detailed look at the FireWire logo and a standard FireWire port.


Turn on the computer and the DVR unit. On the computer, open the "Finder" window and click on the computer's hard drive icon. Then click the "Developer" folder, followed by the "FirewireSDK26" folder. There, open the "Applications" folder and launch the "AVCVideoCap" application.


Click the DVR unit under the "Device" subheading in the "AVCVideoCap" application window. On the DVR unit, locate and begin playing the DVR recording you want to transfer to the computer. With the recording playing, click the "Capture" button in the "AVCVideoCap" application window.


Specify where you want the video file to be saved when prompted. When asked how long you want the capture time to be, enter a time equal to the length of the DVR recording and click the "Continue" button to begin the transfer. The transfer process occurs in real time, so the entire DVR recording must be allowed to play through. Once the recording is finished playing, it will be saved to the computer's hard drive.


  • check Only noncopyrighted video files can be transfered. When the transfer process starts, AVCVideoCap displays the DVR recording file's "EMI status." Only files that have an EMI status of "Copy Freely" can be transferred to your computer's hard drive.

About the Author

Alexander Poirier began writing professionally in 2005. He worked as the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine "Calliope," garnering the magazine two APEX Awards for excellence in publication. Poirer graduated from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera USB image by Ewe Degiampietro from