How to Connect a PC to a DVR

By Chris Moore

A digital video recorder can be hooked up to your PC with the right equipment for either recording or playback. How you connect the two devices depends on if you want to play DVR videos on the PC or record videos from the PC to the DVR. This not only determines whether you connect the DVR's output to the PC's input or vice versa, but the exact type of adapter needed for the connection, as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Video capture card
  • VGA-to-video adapter cable
  • Video and audio cables

Playing DVR on the Computer

Step 1

Get a video capture card that connects external video devices for playback on the computer and connect it to the PC. Some cards might use the FireWire port, but USB is more common.

Step 2

Insert the CD-ROM included with the capture card into the PC. From the CD, install the software that allows the PC to recognize the card's drivers and provides a video screen application to watch the DVR videos on.

Step 3

Attach the DVR's output to the capture card. With most cards, you can use a straight RCA composite cable (yellow, white and red plugs) or an S-Video cable (circular plug with five pins) with an RCA audio cable (white and red plugs only).

Recording PC to DVR

Step 1

Check the DVR's available input ports. If it includes a computer VGA port, which is a trapezoid shape with multiple pinholes inside, connect the PC's video output to the DVR with a VGA cable. If it doesn't, look for an adapter cable.

Step 2

Connect the PC's video output with a VGA adapter cable that will connect to an available input on the DVR. If the DVR has component input (red, green and blue RCA ports), get a VGA-to-component cable to link the two, Otherwise, you need a VGA adapter with a yellow RCA port to connect the DVR with an RCA composite cable's yellow plugs.

Step 3

Connect the PC's audio output to the DVR with a stereo-to-RCA audio cable. This cable has the mini stereo coaxial plug at one end and the red/white RCA plugs at the other.

Step 4

Link the DVR's output to the computer monitor only if it has a video port besides VGA (component, composite or S-Video). If it doesn't, connect it to a TV set. If you use a monitor with no speakers, connect the DVR's audio output to external speakers.

Tips & Warnings

  • When recording videos from the PC to the DVR, use the full-screen mode on whichever media player you are using.