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DVR to hard drive on Motorola DCH3416

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I hooked up a new Motorola DVR from Cox Cable in Baton Rouge, but I can't hook up my VCR/DVD recorder to it, so I figured that I would just use it to DVR shows in the future, including the Super Bowl tomorrow. I was wondering if it was possible to transfer the DVR recordings to an external hard drive on my Mac, and if so, what equipment should I use? I know there's a USB port on the front of the receiver, but I'm just not sure if this will work, or if it will even void the warranty. What should I do in this situation?
post #2 of 27
If your Mac has a FireWire connection, you can hook that to the DVR and use the Apple FireWire SDK to record to your hard drive.

Warning: The Motorola DCX boxes are known to have some serious problems with using FireWire to record shows to the hard drive. The older Motorola DCT and DCH cable boxes are 100 times more reliable at doing it.

You'll need to buy a FireWire cable with a 6-pin FireWire IEEE-1394a connector on one end. The other end of the cable will depend on what connector (if any) your Mac has.

If your Mac doesn't have FireWire, you could always buy an add-in card for ~$35 to $50.
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm assuming that the Firewire cable goes out from the port slot on the front of the receiver to the port on the Mac, right?
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
My Macbook Pro has a Firewire 800 port, I'm just not sure what exact cable works with it, though.
post #5 of 27
^ Post a picture of the Mac FireWire port. That way I can give you better guidance.

The cable box does not have a FireWire port on the front...that 's a USB port and it can't be used for recording.

The FireWire port(s) can be found on the back of the cable box. The older DCT and DCH cable boxes have 2 of them, while the newer DCX cable boxes have only 1. They should be labeled IEEE1394
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
I will ASAP.

Just wondering, can the hard drive be used to record pre-recorded programs saved on the DVR?
post #7 of 27
Yes, but there are awful bugs with the DCX boxes that prevent most people from doing it. The DCT and DCH boxes can do it. (a few people have claimed that their cable companies have pushed software updates to their DCX boxes that have solved the problem, but I've seen zero evidence of it and there are still tons of people complaining about the bug).

The bottom line is that if you have a DCT or DCH Motorola DVR, you will be able to FireWire-transfer the recording later. If you have a DCX Motorola DVR, you will likely NOT be able to FireWire-transfer the recording later (due to long-standing unresolved firmware bugs that plague the DCX boxes).
post #8 of 27
BTW, the cable you need should be ordered on the Internet, otherwise you'll pay waaayy too much. (Best Buy charges something like $30-$40 for FireWire cables).
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
I do have a DCH box, so it should work out...
post #10 of 27
Originally Posted by chrish738 View Post

I do have a DCH box, so it should work out...

Sweet! Do NOT allow your cable company to swap it out for one of the new DCX's! They suck. And you can open up your DCH and toss in a 1 TB hard drive, thus eliminating any advantage that the DCX boxes have (granted, it's a little more involved than just sticking a blank 1 TB hard drive in it, but I have a step-by-step guide that shows exactly how to do it).
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
I am going to go way off topic here, because with the amount of taping I'm going to do in the next few months (I will be recording the Olympics), I figured I'd ask this: is there a way to hook up a VCR/DVD recorder to the Motorola DCH3416 receiver? I know I won't be able to get an HD signal on any recordings unless I use a Blu-Ray recorder (which I don't have). When my mom helped me hook it up, she was told by Cox that it's not recommended to hook it up to a VCR/DVD recorder. I'm not sure if doing this would void the warranty or what. What should I do about this? The Super Bowl I recorded took up 30% of space.
post #12 of 27
Yes, you can hook a SD VCR or DVD Recorder to it. It'll look like sh1t (SD always does), but it'll work.

You should perform the 1 TB hard drive swap...It'd make recording the Olympics waaayy easier.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
How would I do that swap? Does it involve an external hard drive? I should say that this will involve more than one VCR, and the other coverage I will tape will be via a regular cable feed. It's going to be very extensive.
post #14 of 27
Originally Posted by chrish738 View Post

How would I do that swap? Does it involve an external hard drive? I should say that this will involve more than one VCR, and the other coverage I will tape will be via a regular cable feed. It's going to be very extensive.

Read my guide

It does not involve an external drive. It involves you having (or buying) a 1 TB hard drive and then following my directions to get it properly formatted for use in the cable box.

You need one computer (nothing fancy...I used an 8 year old machine) with a CD-RW or DVD-RW drive (you need to burn a free bootable Linux Live CD). You also need a USB thumbdrive of any size (only about 700 KB is needed).
It's rather easy stuff.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
As I mentioned, the box did come from Cox, and as I saw in your guide, it probably wouldn't work either way. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

I guess I will just have to find a way to hook up the machine to my DVD recorder, even though I won't be able to record in HD, and even though Cox said it's not recommended...
post #16 of 27
Cox can't handle large hard drives, but there's nothing preventing you from hooking FireWire to your computer and recording in HD.

You just need a Mac (and download the Apple FireWire SDK), or a 32-bit Windows PC (64-bit Windows won't work) and my FireWire Driver MSI Package.

The challenge is that 160 GB is not a lot of room for HD...and the Olympics are long! You'd need to really be on top of off-loading it via FireWire in order to not run out of space.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
You're right. Even though I have 5 months to prepare, it's likely that I will have to record the primetime coverage on my DVR, and then, immediately afterward, transfer it to my hard drive for recording, then erase it and do the next night, and so on. Anything else I do, I will have to do on the regular cable TVs in my house. I'm just not sure exactly what kind of firewire cable I need, though. I have an Apple Macbook Pro, and I did download the Apple Firewire SDK.
post #18 of 27
If you can post a picture of the FireWire port, I'll be able to identify it.

My guess is that you could use a FireWire 400 cable 4-pin to 6-pin. I'm pretty sure that FireWire 400 cables can plug into FireWire 800 (but it runs at the lower speed). Cable boxes only run at the lower FireWire 400 speed.

Sometimes those cables are called IEEE1394a 4-pin to 6-pin cables.
(the "a" means it runs at the FireWire 400 speed...if it was "b", it would mean FireWire 800 and wouldn't fit the cable box).

I know that the connector for the cable box is the larger 6-pin connector (it looks similar to USB), what I don't know is what your laptop has. But, being a laptop, I would think it would use the smaller 4-pin connector (which also saves battery life, as it is unpowered). And all of my Windows laptops use the 4-pin FireWire connector (not that most laptops even have FireWire...I only have 2 that do).

You want to get the cable either from Fry's Electronics or on the Internet. Best Buy charges way too much for them.
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Attachment 236444

Here is the Firewire port I have on my Macbook Pro.
post #20 of 27
Okay, your laptop has FireWire 800, also known as FireWire b or IEEE1394b. The nice thing about FireWire 800 is that there is only one size for the plug (FireWire 400 comes in 6-pin and 4-pin varieties).

So you need a FireWire 800 1394b 9-pin to FireWire 400 1394a 6-pin cable:

I'm not sure what the best price would be, as this is not a hugely common cable...But I'll bet that it would cost a fair bit more at Best Buy. I paid nearly $40 for a FireWire 400 1394a 6-pin to FireWire 400 1394a 4-pin cable a year ago (I really needed it that same day, so it was worth it).

More info about FireWire can be found here.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
I know I mentioned this before, but I have thought of just hooking up the VCR/DVD recorder to the digital cable box. My mom and I talked about this, and I think that the reason that the cable company told her that it wouldn't be a good idea to hook up the receiver to the box is because of copyright protection on some channels, making it impossible to record things. I've heard of cases like that in the past, especially among people who record sports events. I wonder if it's true of this receiver.
post #22 of 27
Nah, that's a bunch of crap. They don't even bother trying to protect analog or SD content. The worst that they sometimes try is something called SOC (Selective Output Control), whereby the Component Video outputs are disabled whenever HDMI is in use.

If you're okay with SD quality, hooking up a DVD Recorder will work perfectly fine.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
That's probably what I am going to do, knowing that I will only be able to copy from an SD source. I don't mind that at all.
post #24 of 27
Olympics - does anyone have the Olympics recorded on their PC from DVR? this is exactly why i'm doing this.. but I only have 4 programs recorded (mostly swimming) frown.gif

Would anyone be willing to send an sd memory card or dvd of them I'll pay. After I looked around to realize no one sold the games on dvd this is the only option, help!
post #25 of 27
Hi, I have the same issues. So I would connect one end to the cable box and the other to my computer, but how exactly do I transfer my recorded shows to my hard drive?

Thanks in advance for any help.
post #26 of 27
And please feel free to respond at williamian@me.com.
post #27 of 27
If you have the Motorola DCH3416, you should buy a FireWire cable (also known as a IEEE1394 cable) to connect from your PC or Mac to your cable box.

One thing we don't know is if your computer has FireWire currently. You should post a picture of the outputs so that I can identify them. If you do have FireWire, you need to determine the type and size of the the FireWire connector on your machine. Laptops typically have either the 4-pin IEEE1394a connector or the IEEE1394b connector. Your cable box has the 6-pin IEEE1394a connector (all Motorola cable boxes have the IEEE1394a connector.)
It's likely that you'll need a "4-pin IEEE1394a to 6-pin IEEE1394a" cable, but we'll determine that when you get back to use with more info. It is also very possible that you have no FireWire on your computer at all, in which case you'll need to buy a FireWire card.

Once you get squared away on the FireWire stuff, you'll want to download my Windows Installer .MSI installation package which simply bundles together the needed drivers and software to capture HDTV. You can download it from here, but it only works on 32-bit editions of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8; The drivers can not work on 64-bit Windows (64-bit drivers don't exist for capturing HDTV and nobody is working on creating any.) This installation includes a freeware software product "CapDVHS", which allows you to capture HDTV. It's pretty easy to work with and my install includes some documentation.

If you use a Mac, you simply need to download and install the Apple FireWire SDK, which includes an app that captures HDTV.
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