“No You Can’t”: Transferring HD shows directly from DVR to DVD (in the year 2012) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-12-2012, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I have some shows I’d like to remove from the HD DVR unit I rent from my service provider, but I’d like to archive them first. All of these have been recorded in High Definition. I believe I’m not the only person who wants to do this! The following is a summary what I “think” I’ve found out; I’ll appreciate any feedback or corrections.

[I know there are other threads on this broad subject, some of which are 400 posts long and were started in 2005. Perhaps what I write is redundant; alternatively it could serve as a current summary of “the sad truth”.]

Additionally, I’ve narrowed this post to the simple “transferrment” of HD content from DVR directly to DVD (so, I’m not talking about using interfaces and transferring data to my computer, then trying to send the information to my television).


What I think I know:
1) There are no HD recorders (Blu-Ray disc recorders) for sale in the US; and, unless current laws/agreements change drastically they will not be available in the near future (next five years) either.
2) No Digital Recording - One can only transfer HD content from their DVR to DVD’s (burnt on a DVD Recorder) via their DVD recorder’s analog audio and video inputs. Because, recorders sold in the US do not have HDMI (or any other type of digital) inputs. [Except for firewire, which as best as I can tell is for use when downloading content from one’s HD camcorder, sometimes only from HD camcorder only to same brand DVD Recorder (?); so this is of no use to us since DVR’s don’t have firewire outputs (?).]
3) Video Recording - Philips used to make a DVD recorder that had component video inputs; however, as best as I can tell DVD recorders currently for sale in the US have only composite video and S-Video inputs. Don’t question why, just purchase a “good” S-Video cable and transfer shows from your DVR - this is as good as it gets.
4) Video Playback – What you record will be in a 4:3 format. (Doesn’t matter if it is stupid or not, there are no DVD recorders for sale at this time that will record in widescreen mode for playback in widescreen mode.*) If you play your burnt DVD’s on your friend’s (as in my case) old 4:3 television, the picture will be (half-decent quality) letterboxed. If you play these DVD’s on your HD widescreen television they will be windowpaned (black bars top and bottom, left and right). Watch it this way or use your zoom function (and loose 5% or less of the picture); these are your two options. You can wish you could record 1080i 1.78:1 material in a (480i) widescreen manner so you could play it back (upscaled, and "full screen") on your widescreen (HD or not) television – it cannot be done in the US.

*Someone please verify this, as I have purchased some burnt DVD versions of CMT’s Crossroads shows and they do play back in a widescreen format. Perhaps they were “made” on a DVD recorder that had (no-longer-available-on-a-DVD-Recorder) component video inputs?

5) Audio - There is no way to transfer audio from your DVR to DVD player in a digital manner. DVD Recorders currently available for purchase only receive incoming audio via analog R and L RCA jacks. Additionally (or therefore) you cannot transfer current 2012 audio (such as Dolby True HD) to your burnt DVD – the best audio transfer you can hope for is to scrounge up some old $100/pair RCA audio cables left over from your 2-channel hi-fi days and use them to transfer analog audio from your DVR to your DVD Recorder.
6) Audio Playback – I believe all one can hope for is better-than-average quality 2.0 stereo audio: audio that will sound pretty good through your sound-bar or when your A/V processor “decodes” it using it’s “oldest” decoding format. No true surround processing will be possible, not even old formats like Dolby 5.1 or DTS (?). [I could be wrong about the latter, but it is probably of little consequence.] What you can expect is “good” sound, with no bells or whistles from this millennium.
7) It seems there might be advantages of having a hard drive built into your DVD Recorder, however: it will not take the place of your current cable or satellite service provided HD DVR (from a recording convenience standpoint especially, as the HDD won’t allow you to look at a programming menu and set a recording using one (or two) clicks on your remote, like your service provider’s HD DVR will do). Also, I’m not sure current HDD’s will record HD shows for playback on your HD television exactly as they were delivered). Regardless, it seems to me the convenience of the DVD Recorder with HDD would be the ability to “purge” shows from one’s DVR to the HDD at any time, perhaps allowing one to then burn shows to DVD at a later time (or never).

I'll appreciate any comments or corrections.
And, I'm not trying to be redundant, but I was (initially) shocked that with today's technology there is no way to transfer HD video to Blu-Ray disc (or even to lower quality DVD, keeping the same aspect ratio). Usually there is "a way", if one tries hard enough. In this case, 15 year-old technology (and as fast as audio-visual technology has progressed, that's like 100 years in most other areas) is as good as it gets, and it's not likely to get better.

So, I hope summarizing what I spent half a day researching (due to my unbelief - or more accurately, "increduluity") will be useful to the common half-technologically savvy masses, like myself.
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-12-2012, 12:09 PM
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I haven't read your entire post, but for starters, I can't see how a full episode of any show would fit on a regular DVD in high def. Even the highest quality setting on a DVD recorder (one hour per disc) doesn't fall into the HD catagory.

Also, just because something is in widescreen, that doesn't mean it's high def. You can have a widescreen standard def DVD. They make them all the time. Commercially released DVDs are not HD. Ever. You have to have a Blu-Ray disc for that.

There may be really fancy hacks that would allow a very saavy person to remove a hard drive from a cable company DVR (I wouldn't recommend it) and sort of rip the recordings to another hard drive, and then convert the files to a form that can be burned to optical disc, but it's likely well beyond the ability of the average videophile.

The only way I know of to do what you're looking for is to just play the recording off the DVR and record it in real time to a DVD, possibly using a stabilizer between the two units so's to make sure the picture holds up. (Not even sure if that's legal.)

Even if it is legal, since you'd have to use A/V connecting cables between the units, even if the output is HDMI (then converted by the stabilizer to something else), your copy would be an analog one, so not digital.

If the output was in widescreen and the stabilizer didn't letterbox it, it'd record without black bars on the optical disc, and so you'll have a true widescreen picture once it's played back into a widescreen TV (if the DVD player and TV are set right). It likely wouldn't be anamorphic, tho', so it'd look weird if played back into an older 4x3 TV.

Hope this was of some help to you, even if not what you wanted to hear.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-12-2012, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DelsFan View Post

[I know there are other threads on this broad subject, some of which are 400 posts long and were started in 2005.] . . . . No Digital Recording - One can only transfer HD content from their DVR to DVD’s (burnt on a DVD Recorder) via their DVD recorder’s analog audio and video inputs. Because, recorders sold in the US do not have HDMI (or any other type of digital) inputs . . . . best as I can tell DVD recorders currently for sale in the US have only composite video and S-Video inputs . . . . this is as good as it gets.

Yes, there are many threads that have dealt with this topic.

Since you stipulate in the beginning of your post that PC's are off limits, then yes, that is as good as it gets. Without using a PC in the workstream the best you can do is hook the S-Video output from the DVR into the S-Video input of the DVD recorder and record the content in real time from the DVR output as SD/2.0. Furthermore it is almost certain that your DVR will letterbox any widescreen content it sends out of S-Video or composite -- it's not the DVDR's fault, it will record what ever it is fed. It's your providers DVR that will assume any connections to its S-Video or composite outputs must be going to a legacy 4:3 TV so it will automatically letterbox the output. That means you will be screwed there unless you buy a converter to take the component output of your DVR (which maintains the proper aspect ratio) and convert it to S-Video to feed your DVDR. Good converters are expensive; cheap converters yield a sub-par picture you may not want to watch. In the end you are still stuck with SD/2.0.

People that want to record and archive HD/5.1 use a PC -- it is the new paradigm. There are many choices in the market that will allow you to tailor a HD/5.1 recording solution to your particular needs and situation. I've been doing it for 3 yr. If you limit yourself to no PC and only want to entertain a stand-alone recorder than an SD/2.0 DVD recorder is the best you will be able to do.

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post #4 of 7 Old 04-14-2012, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DelsFan View Post

I have some shows I'd like to remove from the HD DVR unit I rent from my service provider, but I'd like to archive them first. All of these have been recorded in High Definition. I believe I'm not the only person who wants to do this! The following is a summary what I think I've found out; I'll appreciate any feedback or corrections.

1. You can do that with a MTV7000D machine, look this thread:

Recorder with HDMI Inputs? Yes it exists

No HDCP at all so you can share all your records to your PC and then to a BR.

2. Ask to your company about a TuVo, I'm sure that you can share non copy protection records to a PC and then to a BR.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-14-2012, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profhat View Post

1. You can do that with a MTV7000D machine, look this thread:

Recorder with HDMI Inputs? Yes it exists.

So how does somebody in the US actually get one of those units. IOW, where do you go to buy one and how much does it cost.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #6 of 7 Old 04-14-2012, 09:40 PM
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That is the big question. I want to get one but have not found a place in HK to buy it from. I cant remember if i asked magic TV directly yet. I ahve not been looking for a while. Basically you will need to import it which usually is not hard but you just got to find a site that has people that speak/read english whcih should not bee too hard in HK but they also need to be willing to ship overseas. I found one site who would sell me one but they they said they wont ship it to me but they said i could arrange for a courier to pick it up from them but then what?

Cost, from memory is approx $500 USD, depending on from where you find it online, the exchange rate etc. Could vary as much as $100 more or less, but 'roughly' $500.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-14-2012, 11:48 PM
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DelsFan,

You can record from a Dish DVR to a stand alone DVD recorder in 16:9 full screen wide screen presuming that was the source. It does not letterbox. This would accomplish part of what you are trying to do.

However it has to be done using either S-Video or composite output from the Dish DVR, depending on the model. While not a digital to digital transfer it does look pretty good, perhaps because the source is HD.

Having the HDTV automatically display in 16:9 depends on a few things. Some DVD recorders may or may not set the 16:9 flag. My Panasonics do if recording onto a DVD-RAM disc. If using a DVD-R disc I have to use the TV's Zoom feature in order to expand from 4:3 to 16:9. There is no difference in picture quality between these two modes. The widescreen is always recorded in squeezed or anamorphic mode. It's just a matter if the 16:9 flag is automatically set by the DVD player or not. YMMV, but that's how my DVD recorders & HDTV work.

Your CMT's Crossroads shows may have been recorded on a DVD recorder which sets the 16:9 flag or maybe they were transferred to a PC which in turn can set the flag so the shows display in full screen.

The audio in the above scenario will be only in stereo & done using pair of RCA cables. But they no way cost $100. Should be able to get them for $5-$10.
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