How to Download a DVR to a Computer

By John Csiszar

One of the main advantages of a digital video recorder (DVR) is the ability to save programs for future use. However, as the storage capabilities of a DVR are not infinite, at some point you may want to transfer your recordings to an additional storage device, such as your home computer. With some video software and connection devices, transferring DVR recordings to a computer is a fairly straightforward process.

Things You'll Need

  • Video capture software
  • Digital video recorder
  • Audio-visual cables
  • Computer

Step 1

Select the video transfer software for your computer. Depending on your needs, you might prefer basic software, which can be downloaded for free over the internet, or software with more advanced editing and presentation capabilities, which you can purchase in most computer and electronics stores. In either case, you will need some type of software in order to properly process your DVR recordings on your computer. The AVS Video Converter is a popular free download, while Pinnacle Video Transfer is an example of a more advanced program.

Step 2

Connect your computer to your DVR. Most systems can be connected using audio-visual connectors known as RCA plugs, which have color-coordinated ends to help connect your outputs and inputs. Usually, the yellow end is plugged into the "video out" jack on your DVR, and the white and red ends are inserted into the "audio out" jacks. The other ends should be plugged into the corresponding jacks on your computer. More advanced systems can be connected through a simple USB cable, using available USB ports on the DVR and computer. If your DVR is a TiVo, you can download TiVo-specific software which will allow you to transfer recordings over your home wireless network. In this case, you will not need to make any cable connections between your DVR and computer.

Step 3

Start your transfer. Select the show you wish to transfer from your DVR, and open the video software on your computer. Choose the location where you want to record your transferred program, and make sure that you have enough available disk space to accommodate the program. Press "Play" on your DVR, and at the same time start the recording device on your video software. Your transfer should begin recording in real-time. Check in on the transfer to make sure that it is not interrupted. When finished, verify that the quality of the transfer is satisfactory.