How to Download DIRECTV HD DVR Recordings to a PC

By Contributing Writer

High-definition, or HD, DVRs make watching and recording TV programming a breeze. They are much easier to operate than VCRs. They also make programming easier and provide a much higher level of audio and video quality. But the VCR still has one advantage over the HD DVR--you can save a tape forever and watch it any time you want. You can achieve the same result through the use of your computer. Follow a few simple steps to download your HD DVR recordings to your PC.

Things You'll Need

  • Video-capture hardware
  • Video-capture software
  • Video cables
  • Audio cables

Step 1

Check the type of video-input jack on your video-capture hardware. Depending on your model, it could be S-video, mini plug or RCA. If you are unsure of the type, refer to your owner’s manual.

Step 2

Check the type of audio-input jack on your video-capture hardware. Depending on your model, it is probably RCA left (white) and right (red). If you are unsure of the type, refer to your owner’s manual.

Step 3

Check the type of video analog output jack on your HD DVR. The most common analog video output jack is S-video, but it also may be component video. If you are unsure of the type, refer to your owner’s manual.

Step 4

Obtain the video and audio cables that match the jack types of your video-capture hardware and your HD DVR. Connect the video and audio cables from the HD DVR to the video-capture hardware.

Step 5

Launch your video-capture software. (Windows operating systems come with Movie Maker.) Press "Record" on the software, and then press "Play" on the HD DVR.

Step 6

Wait until the show is finished, then stop recording.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your HD DVR supports HDMI outputs, and your computer supports HDMI inputs, use an HDMI cable to achieve the best quality video transfer.
  • CDs and hard drives wear out eventually, but you can store your digitized video online indefinitely.
  • Make sure you have enough hard drive space. You may need an expandable hard drive to capture all the data.
  • Do not change the channel or interrupt the HD DVR while recording. What you see is what you get. You are recording in real time.
  • Always obey copyright and privacy regulations when dealing with digital video files.