How to Transfer Off of a DVR to Your Computer
By Fraser Sherman
DVRs allow you to watch recorded television shows and movies at your convenience, but you can make your DVR even more useful by recording and/or streaming the content onto your computer. The exact process varies depending on your brand of computer and the DVR model. Note that some computers and recorders are incompatible -- DirecTV's DIRECTV2PC doesn't work for streaming to an Apple computer, for instance -- and transferring your DVR's content to a computer for viewing doesn't mean you can necessarily store it there.
Connect your DVR to the Internet. If you have DirecTV's Whole Home DVR Service, which links all your televisions to one DVR, DirecTV recommends you have a professional make the connection. If you don't have Whole Home, run an Ethernet cable from the DVR to your router.
Press the "Menu" button on the remote, then select "Parental, Favs and Setup | System Setup | Network Setup | Connect Now." When the connection is complete, click "Continue" and "Done" to establish your connection.
Download the DIRECTV2PC software from DirecTV's website. As part of the download process, you have to enter your email address, which DirecTV uses to give you the activation code for the software.
Open the application on your computer and, when prompted, enter the activation code emailed to you by DirectTV. The same interface for the playlist comes up that you see on your television. Use it to watch a recorded show, or watch a show while it's taping for someone else.
Run a component cable from the "Component Video" plug on the back of your HD DVR to your cable or satellite receiver. Use a USB cable to connect the USB port on the back of the DVR with your computer' sport. Turn on the DVR and follow the software setup assistant's instructions for configuring it.
Download Elgato's EyeTV software program to your computer (see Resources). Open the software and use the playlist to identify the shows you want to watch or record on your computer's hard drive. The program-guide service comes from "TV Guide" and requires an annual subscription after the first year.
Set the recording schedule using the EyeTV interface to have your DVR send the shows you want straight to your computer's hard drive. If you intend to keep the recording, use EyeTV's editing option to cut out parts of the show you don't want, such as commercials.
Hook up your TiVo DVR to your home network. If you have a wired network, connect an Ethernet cable from TiVo's Ethernet port or Ethernet adapter to the router. To connect wirelessly, purchase a separate TiVo adapter to connect with Wi-Fi (see Resources).
Download the necessary software to your PC or Mac. PCs use free TiVo Desktop Software, but if you use a Mac, you have to purchase Roxio Toast Titanium software to obtain the TiVo Transfer application. Install and open the software.
Look up TiVo recordings in the software interface and identify the ones you want to transfer from your DVR. On a PC, click "Pick Recordings to Transfer," then select a show. On a Mac, first enter an access key, available from TiVo's website, then press "Create Transfer" to identify the shows you want to place on your computer. Clicking "Auto Transfer" allows you to set your TiVo to transfer all subsequent episodes of the same series.
- DirecTV: What's the Best Way to Connect My HD DVR to the Internet?
- DirecTV: DIRECTV2PC - Activation Code
- DirecTV: Enjoy Your Favorites Movies and Shows on Your Computer
- Elgato: EyeTV HD
- Elgato: EyeTV 3
- TiVo: How to Connect Your TiVo Box to Your Network and the Internet
- TiVo: How to Transfer Shows to Your PC or Mac
- DirecTV: What Do I Need to Get DIRECTV2PC to Work at My Home?
- DirecTV: Connecting Your HD DVR to the Internet
- Some shows are not available because of content or copyright restrictions. TiVo Desktop Software, for instance, marks copyright-protected shows in your program listings with a red slash to show that it won't duplicate them. Broadcast television such as ABC, CBS and NBC, isn't protected, so you're free to stream and record them.
- If you set parental controls on a DirecTV DVR, you'll have to set them independently on the PC, using the DIRECTV2PC interface.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.