How to Transfer Recorded Shows When Replacing a DirecTV DVR

By Michelle Carvo

Updated October 10, 2017

Upgrading to a new DirecTV DVR may bring new features and functionality, but it also may mean that your recorded shows are lost. You can, however, transfer recorded shows when replacing a DirecTV DVR by utilizing one of these alternative methods.

Contact DirectTV

DirecTV DVR boxes cannot be linked together to transfer recorded shows from one to the other – and the boxes also cannot be directly hooked up to the computer to transfer recorded shows. This is due to encryption on the box and is meant to prevent unlawful copying and distribution of recorded shows. If you are replacing a DirecTV DVR with another DirecTV DVR, you may be able to get DirecTV to transfer the recorded shows from the old box to the new box as they have special equipment for some boxes that makes this possible. You can contact DirecTV over the phone to see if this is an option. If it is not, then you can try an alternative method such as those discussed in the sections below.

Use a Video Capture Card or Device

If you want to preserve the shows you recorded on your DirecTV DVR but are OK with the shows being transferred to a computer then you may consider using a video capture PCI-e card or video capture device. The video capture card or device works by capturing any audio and video from an analog cable (such as a composite, component or coaxial cable) hooked to another device such as a video game system or DVR. This video is then captured and saved onto your computer. An HDMI cable will not work for these purposes due to encryption from the DirecTV box.

You can transfer recorded shows from your DirecTV DVR with a video capture card or device by plugging an analog cable into the output jack of your DVR and then plugging the other end of this cable into the input jack on the video capture device. Play your recorded show and hit the record button on your video capture device to save it. Use the device’s included software and follow the software maker's suggestions for getting the best quality video capture.

Use a VCR or DVD Recorder

If you do not want to purchase a video capture card or device, you can take the less expensive route and use either a VCR or DVD recorder to keep a copy of your recorded shows. Both the VCR and DVD recorder devices work in a similar way to the computer capture device, except the recordings are not transferred to the computer and are instead saved to either a VCR tape or a DVD.

As with any capture device, you will need to playback the shows and manually record each with either a VCR or DVD recorder. DVD recorded shows have the benefit of being higher quality and can be transferred from the DVD to your computer, while recording with a VCR may be much cheaper if you already have an old VCR lying around your house.


Do not share your recorded shows with anyone. You cannot easily copy shows from your DirecTV DVR because of piracy concerns by cable networks and your cable provider. You can, however, legally record and play back shows as the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1984. Recorded shows do not violate copyright laws unless the material is redistributed.