How to Download From a DVR to a Laptop

By Anthony Markesino

Digital video recorders (DVR) are a popular option, allowing shows to be recorded to an internal hard drive and then played back anytime you like. Unfortunately these aren't always very portable and it is difficult to move the recorded shows to another format such as your laptop if you want to take images or snippets for your own use. Fortunately many modern DVRs come equipped with a little-used port for S-video that can make all of this possible.

Things You'll Need

  • S-video cord
  • Laptop with S-video port
  • DVR
  • PVR Explorer (see Resources)

Step 1

Attach the S-video cable to your DVR as well as to the laptop you wish to move your programs to. These cords are often very short so you will likely need to have your laptop close. This cord allows your laptop and DVR to communicate.

Step 2

Download PVR Explorer to your laptop computer and install it. DVR machines use a Linux based language, whereas your laptop typically uses a Windows based operating system, making it difficult for them to communicate. PVR Explorer translates between the two.

Step 3

Run the PVR executable file to locate your DVR device. This will open up a new window where your recorded programs are stored and sorted by time recorded and length.

Step 4

Drag and drop any programs you wish to move from your DVR to the appropriate folder or desktop on your laptop. This will initiate a copy procedure. You will not be able to delete files on your DVR using the laptop.

Step 5

Wait several minutes for each program to copy. The copy process is slow--be sure not to try to copy multiple files at once as it will slow this down even further.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will need to import the DVR files into a digital media program such as VideoRedo in order to move the videos to a format that may be transferred to additional media such as DVD.
  • While you may not be able to delete files on your DVR using this method, you can change file names and locations. Do not change the names or locations of system files--only your recorded programs--or you risk seriously damaging the ability of your DVR to function.