How to Move Recorded Programs From a DVR to a Thumb Drive

By Jack Gorman

A DVR is a very useful device for storing your favorite movies and television programs but it is essentially a glorified cable box equipped with a hard disk drive. Like any hard drive, the drive in your DVR will fill up and need to be emptied to make room for new videos. If you have some programs you'd like to save on a long-term basis, storing them on a thumb drive is a great option.

Things You'll Need

  • Canopus box
  • Computer with Firewire or 1394 port
  • RCA audio/video cables (yellow, red, white)
  • Firewire cable

Step 1

Check to make sure your computer has a Firewire (or 1394) port. This is a more or less rectangular port with two corners indented inwards. If your computer does not have this port, you will need to add one. Adding a Firewire port to a laptop is easy; most laptops have extension slots for cards that have various ports on them. Adding to a desktop computer is more difficult, as you will need to permanently install the card into your computer.

Step 2

Locate the RCA audio/video outputs on your DVR, typically at the back of the unit (the outputs are color-coded yellow, red and white.) Insert the RCA audio/video plugs on one end of the cable into these ports, making sure to match up the color-coding. Insert the plugs on the other end of the cable into the corresponding analog "In" ports on the Canopus box.

Step 3

Plug one end of the Firewire cord into the Digital I/O port on the Canopus box. Insert the other end into the Firewire or 1394 port on your computer. Set the Canopus box to "Analog In" so it is ready to receive the signal from your DVR.

Step 4

Prepare your computer to capture video. Windows PCs and Macs both come with free movie making programs that can capture video. On a Windows PC, it is Windows Movie Maker; on a Mac, it is iMovie. Assuming you only have one video device plugged into your computer (and not a camcorder or something similar), choose to capture from the only device that is connected. In Windows, set the program to capture to WMV format; on a Mac, capture to MOV format.

Step 5

Start the program on the DVR and hit the "Record" button on your computer simultaneously. Press "Stop" on both once the program recording is finished. Exit the movie program; no further steps are necessary.

Step 6

Plug a thumb drive into your computer. On a Mac, the thumb drive icon will appear on your desktop; in Windows, it will be available in "My Computer." Double-click on the thumb drive and then drag and drop your WMV or MOV file into it. To eject, on a Mac, drag it to the trash can; in Windows, look for the "Remove Hardware Icon" in the lower right corner of your screen near the clock, then click to "stop" your thumb drive.

References & Resources