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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. My name is anthony and i have huge problem with my DVR. Im sure the solution is somewhere in this HUGE forum, but for the life of me i cannot find it. I have a DVR from Charter. I live in Southern California. picture is below. I am not sure what type it is or anything. What i want to do is be able to connect this DVR to my computer and save HD movies/Boxing to my Hard drive. Problem is, i have no clue how to do this. Can anyone help me? Someone said to be a External hard drive, but then i was told if i disconect the hard drive from the DVR and put it in my PC, it everything will erase. I dont want to waste money on something that wont work. I would love to get the classic hitchcock films that are shown on my HD channels and not available on Blueray yet. This is totally runing my month. Can anyone help. Thanks.


 

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It's not particularly easy, but can be done. You have to connect your DVR to your computer using the firewire connector (all cable TV digital cable box/DVR units are required by the FCC to have a functional firewire output). You can then record *unencrypted* material only. Any protected content, such as premium channels and Pay-Per-View/On-Demand will not allow you to record.


Note: This does not involve opening your cable box or messing with its hard drive at all. Just get a firewire cable and connect from your PC to the cable box and then install the needed driver on your PC. The only driver available will work only with 32-bit Windows XP or 32-bit Windows 7 (or Vista). It does not work with any 64-bit version of Windows (for this reason, I have a another machine with 32-bit Windows XP set up next to my DVR). Mac users have it a little easier, as there is 64-bit support available for OS X.


You want to pay close attention to the information in the following forum:

Information about recording HD content using Windows XP (also works for Vista and Windows 7, but only 32-bit)
Recording HD content via Firewire (IEEE 1394)


One of the most annoying things about recording HD material is that it can only be done in real time. So a two hour movie takes two hours to dump via firewire. And while that is taking place, you are not able to watch anything else on that cable box. Plus there are some recent bugs with the latest Motorola firmware that cause errors to occur in the recorded files (hopefully Motorola will get that fixed soon). I often find that I must redo a firewire dump due to these errors, which can be quite time consuming.


For protected HD material, such as premium channels and Pay-Per-View/On-Demand, you must purchase a special device to record. There are several devices available...I use the Hauppauge HD-PVR. All the devices work the same way by recording using Component cables (analog video). There is no way to record protected HDMI, so these devices utilize what is sometimes called the "analog hole" and hook up to your cable box using Component Cables (AC3 Dolby Digital audio is captured via a Toslink optical cable). *Note: these devices all work by taking the Analog signal output by your cable box and compressing it into a digital MPEG 4 video file...the quality will be noticeably reduced, but should still look quite good.


Anyways, recording HD material from your cable box can be done, but it can be a bit tricky...particularly right now with the latest bugs in Motorola's firmware.
 

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The make and model number of your DVR tuner should be on a label on the bottom of the box.

Depending on the make/model and the services you are subscribing to from your cable company it may not be easy for you to obtain any progaming in HD fromn the cable box to your computer other then the free local broadcaster chanels which might be easier to obtain with an OTA tuner and a small antenna.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 /forum/post/19613045


You can then record *unencrypted* material only. Any protected content, such as premium channels and Pay-Per-View/On-Demand will not allow you to record.

Not true. If the channel is encrypted AND flagged with anything other than CCI=0x00, you cannot record to your computer. Most channels other than the locals are encrypted by the cable provider, yet all of the copy freely flagged content will be passed through the firewire ports in the clear. So, just because a QAM channel is encrypted does not mean it cannot be captured in the clear off the 1394 transport. I cap encrypted channels every day. Only the copy once/never channels are encrypted coming out of the boxes firewire ports.


And yes-if you have a mac, it is very easy. Just plug in a firewire cable, download the firewire SDK OR install FireRecord and capture away.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/19615096


The make and model number of your DVR tuner should be on a label on the bottom of the box.

Depending on the make/model and the services you are subscribing to from your cable company it may not be easy for you to obtain any progaming in HD fromn the cable box to your computer other then the free local broadcaster chanels which might be easier to obtain with an OTA tuner and a small antenna.

He mentions he wants to be able to archive "classic hitchcock films that are shown on my HD channels".

I cannot recall the last time they broadcast this type of content on the major networks,

other than maybe PBS, so I'm not sure an OTA tuner would address this particular desire.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd /forum/post/19616169


Not true. If the channel is encrypted AND flagged with anything other than CCI=0x00, you cannot record to your computer. Most channels other than the locals are encrypted by the cable provider, yet all of the copy freely flagged content will be passed through the firewire ports in the clear. So, just because a QAM channel is encrypted does not mean it cannot be captured in the clear off the 1394 transport. I cap encrypted channels every day. Only the copy once/never channels are encrypted coming out of the boxes firewire ports.

True, I should not have used the term "encrypted". I would have used the term 5c, but pretty much nobody would get it without further explanation. Other than the premium channels (HBO and the like) and Pay-Per-View/On-Demand, I find that almost all of my HD channels allow me to record. So what I should have said was that it's essentially impossible to get a perfect digital recording of premium channels, Pay-Per-View, or On-Demand.


The recent breaking of HDCP technically means that a copy could be made, but it would be uncompressed and take up far too much space to be of any real use. It would be better to rely on the analog hole and use a DVR such as Hauppauge and deal with a little loss of quality (There'd be quality loss anyway when you compressed the huge digital copy, but you'd at least avoid the whole Digital-to-Analog-back-to-Digital that occurs when using one of those devices).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toosmooth /forum/post/19621226


If i were to get this dVR, would it be easier for what i want to do?


Yes.


The Motorola DVR's should work well (as long as the software your cable provider installs on the DVR doesnt screw up the firewire ports). I have used several generations of Motorola DVR's on Comcast and have no issues capping using either Windows XP 32 bit or Apple Snow Leopard. You should be able to get the drivers working on Vista/7 32-bit with CapDVHS. I currently have a DCH3416 or maybe its a DCX, I dont recall.


What some people do is record the content on the DVR, then playback the recording and capture off the DVR. This is done because sometimes there are random glitches in the stream and if you are just capping live, you cannot rewind and re-transfer the content where the glitch occurs.


Worst case is you can pick up a used DVHS deck on fleabay which has firewire and can record the premium channels. (Basically anything except PPV).


As one of the other posters mentioned, the cable company is required by US law to provide you with a box with functioning firewire ports.


Here are the drivers you will need for windows and instructions on installing them.
http://home.comcast.net/~exdeus/stbfirewire/


Read this page only to take note of which firewire port to use on the back of the DVR.
http://replayguide.sourceforge.net/dct6412/

Read Item 1 in the "DCT64xx Firewire mpeg2 capture using Windows XP" section.


CapDVHS & HDTVtoMPEG2 are very usefull free tools and can be found in the "Tools" section of Videohelp.com

CapDVHS allows you to capture the transport stream coming off the DVR.

H2M allows you to trim out the stuff you dont want (commercials)

A more flexible commercial replacement for H2M is VideoReDo. Highly recommended and easy to use.


Get yourself a big hard drive and go for it. Good luck.
 

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I don't think there'd be any difference between capturing HD material off your Moxi (which is made by Motorola) vs. one of the other Motorola set top boxes.


I'm pretty sure it'd be the exact same irritating process of hooking up a firewire cable and going through all the same steps detailed in the forum mentioned in my previous post.
 

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^ Well that is a problem. You absolutely can NOT do it with 64-bit Windows 7 (or 64-bit Vista or 64-bit XP). It's got to be 32-bit. And it'll be easier with 32-bit Windows XP.


Hopefully you have some other machine you could use. It doesn't need to be fast (mine is one I built in 2004). All it needs is a 32-bit copy of Windows and firewire (which can be added...even old laptops can be upgraded using a PCMCIA card).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah i have one somewhere. I will have to dust it off.


You guys have been great. I guess i have one last question. What is the best way to do what i am asking. Boxing and Old Movies on HBO and other premium channels. Aside from my DVR. if i had a blank check and wanted to do this, what would you suggest?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toosmooth /forum/post/19623109


Yeah i have one somewhere. I will have to dust it off.


You guys have been great. I guess i have one last question. What is the best way to do what i am asking. Boxing and Old Movies on HBO and other premium channels. Aside from my DVR. if i had a blank check and wanted to do this, what would you suggest?

You have a few options:

1. DVHS vcr, like a JVC30K/40K/100U, or Mits HS-HD2000U.

Archival capacity limited only by the number of tapes. No monthly fee.

2. Tivo (but requires monthly fee) + TivoDesktop. Replaces your Moxi DVR and requires a cablecard and you lose pay-per-view.

3. AVHDD - but you wont find the equipment.

4 Windows Media Center + cablecard tuner(s). No monthly subs fee.


Tivo is probably the easiest, cheapest up-front cost, and wife/kids useable.

I personally have all and more unlisted options.
 

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I don't think you can do what you want with a Tivo. If I understand you correctly, you want to be able to copy the HD material from the device and save it permanently, such as burning it to a BD (Blu-ray Disc).


I'm not aware of any way to get content off of a Tivo or Windows Media Center. I think both lock the content to that machine.


I think your choices are to use firewire to copy it off the machine, or get a DVHS VCR and use firewire to copy to it (You'd be copying it to a video tape, like the old days, but it would be high definition and digital instead of analog).


I have several JVC and Mitsubishi DVHS decks and can attest to the pain in the ass it can be getting any unit other than the one that recorded the tape to properly play it back without occasionally glitching. I wouldn't wish that headache on anyone.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toosmooth /forum/post/19623109


Boxing and Old Movies on HBO and other premium channels. Aside from my DVR. if i had a blank check and wanted to do this, what would you suggest?

If any of the movies are out on Blu-Ray then buy them. I don't think you're going to have much luck archiving HBO, that's going to be flagged for copy protection.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 /forum/post/19624304


I don't think you can do what you want with a Tivo. If I understand you correctly, you want to be able to copy the HD material from the device and save it permanently, such as burning it to a BD (Blu-ray Disc).


I'm not aware of any way to get content off of a Tivo or Windows Media Center. I think both lock the content to that machine.


I think your choices are to use firewire to copy it off the machine, or get a DVHS VCR and use firewire to copy to it (You'd be copying it to a video tape, like the old days, but it would be high definition and digital instead of analog).


I have several JVC and Mitsubishi DVHS decks and can attest to the pain in the ass it can be getting any unit other than the one that recorded the tape to properly play it back without occasionally glitching. I wouldn't wish that headache on anyone.

If you can transfer it via firewire to your PC, then you can also use TivoDesktop to transfer it to your PC.

In other words content flagged CCI=0x00=Copy Freely -> Unencrypted Output over Firewire -> Tivo Transferable.

Obviously you would have to have the content recorded on the HD Tivo to use TivoDesktop.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd /forum/post/19629010


If you can transfer it via firewire to your PC, then you can also use TivoDesktop to transfer it to your PC.

In other words content flagged CCI=0x00=Copy Freely -> Unencrypted Output over Firewire -> Tivo Transferable.

Obviously you would have to have the content recorded on the HD Tivo to use TivoDesktop.

Is that right?!? That sounds pretty great! So freely copyable HD material can be transferred via firewire off of a Tivo?!?


Does it copy over exactly as it was broadcast from the cable company? (MPEG 2 TS file here in the South SF Bay area)?


If so, I might seriously consider dumping my Comcast STB in favor of a Tivo...I never use PPV or On-Demand anyways.
 
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