My uncle had a problem with his Panasonic DMR-EH56: The DVD-drive broke down and the whole recorder seems to be useless. But I wrote a script to copy most of the data from the hard drive disk. The data will be saved as MPEG files. So almost every application should be able to read them.
For this special Panasonic recorder the script worked really good. From the 160 GB (~ 149 GiB) hdd I could automatically recover about 70 GiB (this means, that the script found parts of the same recording itself and the film was complete without manual work). But I cut the files, so the size is without any advertisements.
The script also found the other data (so probably around 70 GiB), but it wasn't able to recognize which of the pieces belong together. But I think, that many of this recordings were deleted, because most of them are very short. The script has also problems, if advertisements are cut out, because after this process the timecode is not continuous anymore. I don't really know the content of the hard drive disk, because it wasn't actually my recorder.
Now the problem: The script should work, but I can't test it more than I already did. Also some parts of the code are far from perfect (and the very last thing is not completed yet), but my time is limited.
Is anyone here who has interest? It's a Python script (tested with Python 2.6 ). I used it on a Linux based system with a copy of the hard drive disk (copied with dd). So I needed the space for the copy of the hdd and for the MPEG-output of my script (~ 2× size of hdd). But it should be possible to use the hdd directly as input (haven't tested this, but it definitly requires root-priveleges.). I don't know if it's possible to use the script on Windows, too. If Windows can create a exact copy of the disk there is no problem. On Linux you can use the hard disk directly as input file (/dev/sdX), don't know if this is also possible on Windows (I'm not a Windows user anymore).
It took me a while to write this script, so I would be happy if my solution could help others too. But be aware: Maybe it's a bit complicated (especially for Windows users), but not as complicated as looking for the MPEG-chunks by hand
If there are no interested people, further work would be unnecessary in my opinion. Then I would use my time for other things
But would also be a pity if the (currently not fully completed) script would lie around on my hard drive.